Latest post on Left Futures

#SaveLabour – Vote Jeremy

A beautiful short film made by activists and filmmakers in Liverpool, featuring a wide range of local Labour members explaining why they support ‪#‎JeremyForLabour‬. Thank you Phil Maxwell, Hazuan Hashim and Lola Perrin!

If you would like to volunteer your talents for Jeremy’s campaign, let him know through his campaign website.


  1. Bazza says:

    Whoaah! Beautiful!
    “Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone, you’ll never…walk alone!”
    By chance I was in Liverpool on Thursday and as I told the taxi driver (a Liverpool fan) my heart as an eleven year old child is no longer broken over Liverpool 2 Leeds 1 in an FA Cup Final!
    Love and solidarity!

  2. James Martin says:

    Great film, which deserves widespread viewing. Yet another example too of how Jeremy is connecting to working class voters of all ages in a very real and special way that the media and the PLP coup rats will never understand. This is what the start of a social movement looks like.

  3. Sam says:

    Isn’t it cosy preaching to the converted? Who wants to win elections anyway? That’s what those evil Tories are for.

    1. Bazza says:

      JC has a vision.
      Many of us are visionaries too.
      A JC led Labour Government could be possibly more exciting than what it may have been like in 1945.
      Have faith, get off your knees, stand for what we believe in – join the visionaries!
      The wind of change is coming!

  4. Martin Read says:

    Yes Sam, we’ve won elections before, with the blessed St Tony. The thing is though, when we were winning those types of elections, and offering those types of Labour alternatives, lots of us quickly came to realise that we weren’t winning at all. Most of us were still being left out of ‘the boom’ or being squeezed to ensure that ‘the boom that never really was’ kept on working for exactly the same people as before. That’s why so many of the PLP are currently appearing to side with the Tories. Time to ditch the Tory Lites.

  5. Bazza says:

    I will tell you who is worried – the Tories!
    They have ditched Osborne and have Theresa May as a fig leaf for pretend ‘moderation’ – to pretend that they rule for all the people when THEY RULE FOR THE RICH.
    In their double speak (as they must win the popular vote) they also declare they are the party of working people as they try to CON the masses!
    They will be calling themselves socialists soon!
    All of us in Labour by talking to friends, family, neighbours, in leaflets, letters, social media etc. must expose the TORY CON and this is your mission should you wish to accept it!
    The question is: Can the CONservatives CONTINUE TO CON the masses?

  6. David Pavett says:

    Sorry to add a discordant note to this love-in but I find the politics of films like this thoroughly depressing. It has two features: (1) to tell that Jeremy Corbyn is the only person with the integrity and the policies to right the wrongs of our society; (2) a few headline economic claims without a figure in sight and without a hint of the problems of the problems of implementation. This is thus the view that JC is the new Messiah who will lead us to the sunnlight uplands. I find this disturbingly infantile.

    This sort of thing has no other value than telling the converted what they want to hear. Socialist always had the idea that a large part of their work involved education about the problems of this society and how a different one is possible. The educational value of this clip is zero.

    I attended a momentum meeting yesterday in which one of the speakers from the floor actually said twice that Corbyn was a Messiah. We need to steer well clear of this nonsense if we are serious about wanting deep social and political change.

    I voted for Corbyn and will do so again but not on the basis that he is the only one. What if he is struck down by illness? Any movement that depends on one person is in a precarious position.

    I voted for Corbyn because, for all his faults, he was the best of the candidates and offered some chance of a break from the grip of top-down machine politics. I am sorry that in ten months so little has been accomplished in giving a voice to members in LP structures and despite the extraordinarily difficult job he has I don’t Corbyn and his team have done all that could and should have been done in that respect.

    I will vote for Corbyn again because the alternative (Owen Smith) would be a return to the past that I still hope that Corbyn can lead the party away from.

    If he is re-elected I think that he needs to make a big offer. (1) He needs to make a big effort to show the left and centre members if the PLP that he wants them on board by giving them jobs to do and by showing that he is prepared to take their criticisms seriously, he must isolate the right. (2) He should encourage criticism throughout the Party so we can get past the stupid reflex of thinking that anyone who criticises him or his team is opposed to his objectives. We need an atmosphere of adult debate. (3) He and his team have got to get beyond slogans and deal far more with detailed policy problems (e.g. Labour’s stance on the free movement of capital, its plan for our schools, pensions policy ….). The policy cupboard is alarmingly bare. And to do all this we need a series of proposals to show how members will be informed and empowered regarding policy. On this nothing has changed in ten months (admittedly under Angela Eagle’s leadership of the NPF). Without some big movement on things like this the promise of a left leadership will inevitably turn sour.

    I will not be emailing links to this video clip.

    1. John Walsh says:

      … yes, and the video is billed as ‘Part 1’ – how much more of this inane twaddle are we expected to witness?

    2. Martin Read says:

      I think that what you say ‘appears’ to hold weight. I say this, not meaning to be dismissive or because I necessarily claim to have a deeper grasp of events, but because it is so very difficult to find a reliable mainstream journalist who will break with the current anti-Corbyn narrative. Therefore, it is difficult to believe (or know) that 1) the manner in which he is being undermined will soon change, even if things in the party do appear to seriously calm down, and 2) what the current situation is, with regards to unacceptable behaviour. For example, we now know that Benn was briefing Kuenssberg far more openly than he was communicating with his party leader. We also now find out that it was not Eagle’s office window that was broken, although she has done nothing to dispel this untruth. In truth, we do not know who is actually behind much of this behaviour, but we do know that our media would sooner report it as part of the current narrative, than investigate further. We also now know that, without valid reason, the NEC has deemed £3 members votes to be less worthy than those of £25 members.
      From the moment that the merest concept of Momentum was initiated, we have had the convenient media link with Militant. Thus, the issues have already been misrepresented as ‘returning to the ‘bad’ ol’ days of the 1970s. So, even open media coverage has already been tainted.
      I too voted for Corbyn first time round, and I too will be continuing to support Corbyn. But I do seriously worry about the health of our current ‘democracy’ and am beginning to think that the current reported one-way-intimidation might be more indicative of the poor health of ‘our democracy’ than it is the behaviour of Momentum et al.

      1. David Pavett says:

        Martin, of course I agree with all your points about the media treatment of Corbyn and Momentum. Even leading journalists in allegedly serious newspapers (e.g. Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer) report stories of intimidation and even “thuggery” as if they were fact without the slightest evidence. This is the well known technique of “repeat a lie a thousand times …”. They are so hostile to any sign of a break up of their cosy Westminster-based political world that they are prepared to say anything about those who threaten it with the idea of a broader democracy.

        But none of this is a reason for a Corbyn cult and that is the last thing a serious left movement needs. That was my central point.

        P.S. I don’t agree with you about the £3ers vs £25ers. The £3ers are not members, they are supporters and it was always wrong, and opposed by the left, to treat them as full voting members. Now that it turns out to be to the apparent advantage of the left should that change the issue of principle? I worry that many people who talk a lot about “principled positions” a only too ready to ditch principles which don’t serve their perceived immediate interests.

        1. C MacMackin says:

          I agree with you on the registered supporter issue, but I still think the change from £3 to £25 was unjustified. I don’t see the purpose it could possibly serve other than to price out those on lower incomes. Given that the NEC couldn’t get rid of the registered supporters, if they truly wanted to attack it then they should have set the price so ridiculously high that no one would pay it (e.g. £1 million). It appears especially sinister when coupled with the decision not to allow new members to vote. I don’t object to having some time limit on joining to vote in the leadership election but 1) that should be made known when people join and 2) six months is far too long–it should be no more than one or two.

        2. Martin Read says:

          Except, of course, that the idea of £3 subscriptions was to seek to involve those of a lesser wealth. It also reeks of manipulation of the leadership campaign, and it will not look good abroad.

      2. Tim Barlow says:

        “In truth, we do not know who is actually behind much of this behaviour…”

        Really? By now I would have thought Len McCluskey’s outing of Portland Communications PR as the guilty party would be widely known. It is to be hoped that his call-to-arms to any investigative journalists still left at the BBC (ie: Panorama) will be heeded…

    3. Historyintime says:

      JC deserves more time. I hope he can lift and show more effective leadership though.

    4. C MacMackin says:

      The issues you raised with Corbyn/the Labour left are real ones. We should have absolutely no tolerance for treating Corbyn as the soul of the movement, let alone the messiah. That was always one of the creepiest aspects of Chavez’s presidency and we should have absolutely no time for it here.

      The lack of policies is concerning. It keeps being hinted that they are being worked on and we’ll find out about them soon. I hope this is true. However, policies passed down from above are not what really I’m looking for. The membership has to be involved too. You are right to criticize the lack of a move to member involvement in the party. However, I think you may have the issue a bit back-to-front. While Jeremy et al. should have done more to open up party workings, at the moment the membership isn’t really in much of a state to make use of it were that to happen. The way I see it, the membership needs to get organized and develop these capacities themselves. At that point we’ll be able to demand greater involvement in the running of the party and hopefully force the changes to be made. This approach is the only one which I can think of that would provide a route for us to actually do anything about the lack of member involvement. Of course, we’d have to convince the membership to actually act independently of Corbyn, which I guess is the point you’re trying to make.

      I think many of the problems which you have highlighted are due to the upside-down nature of recent events. The Left capture of the Labour Party should have occurred via organizing the membership within it, revitalising the CLPs, getting left-wing people elected to committees, getting left-wingers selected as councilors and MPs, and finally taking over the leadership. Somehow we managed to skip to the last step, but without having taken the previous steps we’re in a very poor stake to actually take advantage of it. The challenge we face now is to try to get the left infrastructure which would have been 10-20 years in the making built before the next election or, at least, the one after that. This is a truly massive task and, although I would like to help with it, I feel at a bit of a loss as to where to begin.

      1. Matty says:

        Yes, it is a massive task. As you note, new members (and old) need to get more involved eg taking on Branch officer roles, GC delegates etc

        I myself need to get more involved – having young kids has put a massive dent in my capacity though.

      2. C MacMackin says:

        For me, natural shyness is a big impediment. I also don’t know if it would be right for me, as a Canadian PhD student who will probably only be here for a few years to try to start taking a leading role in changing the culture of a CLP. People could quite rightly ask “who is this person with a [North] American accent coming in and telling us we need to do things differently?”

      3. David Pavett says:

        I agree with you about the upside-down nature of what has happened to Labour and the general state of unpreparedness of the left. However, I think there was, and is, a readily available way forward.

        For example Emily Thornbury produced an excellent opener to a discussion on defence including Trident. The problem is that there was no follow up. There are people at every level of the Party with strong and divergent opinions. Leading voices from both camps should have been invited to put their case to the membership as the basis for an informed debate. This could have been arranged very quickly and at near zero cost. The papers could have been put on Your Britain and a note sent to CLP and Branch secretaries asking them to circulate the papers and organise a debate. This could have been fed through to the National Policy Forum (making it, and its chair, Angela Eagle, do something useful on the basis of clear information about member’s informed views).

        This approach could have easily been repeated for education (plenty of willing authors with divergent views) and the other policy areas according to a timetable to allow the discussions to be organised.

        Such an approach would have the galvanising effect of resolving major issues through a massive collective effort.

        This would be a relatively simple and low cost exercise. Why has it not been done? I think that neither on the right or the left of the LP I there a culture of informed debate in which contrary views are given a fair hearing. Neither left nor right have a culture of considering the best and strongest case for the views the wish to oppose. The left is perhaps maginally less guilty of this but not much. That’s why LP disputes are so essentially dumb and never clearly resolved.

        The only sensible way to advance is through the organisation of proper informed debate in which contending views are fully explained to members for them to decide. While this is, in a sense, tritely obvious it is something the LP has never tried. It is a culture of adult debate which is yet to be created. I wish that I could see somewhere in the leadership a recognition of the need fir this.

        P.S. I am aware that the above proposed way forward would hit the rocks in some areas such as the economy where neither right nor left has much of a clue what they are talking about and where sticking plasters and a good dose of snake oil is all that is on offer. Approaching that problem needs a discussion all of it own.

        1. C MacMackin says:

          Sure, that would work well as a way forward. My point was, rather, that since it’s not happening, we the members will have to build engagement to be able to demand it. It is that task which I find overwhelming and where I don’t see an obvious way forward.

    5. Bazza says:

      Hi David and fair points.
      I guess for me I like to see other working class people and the progressive middle class in other cities fired up too -it helps to build solidarity!
      But I support Corbyn because I see him as a leader but more importantly as a facilitator of grassroots members power and yes we need to reform confrence, policy making and involvement and participation in decision making and I know we agree on also putting this into practice on the Left ie in choosing a Left Wing NEC slate etc.
      I am sat on a draft piece on this to post because the priority now is to fight for JC to be reelected but you are right too JC may be pushed under a bus and we need loads of great left wing democratic socialist MPs (about 170 new ones would do) and members ready to answer the call and I have come across so many diverse talented people at Momentum rallies and meetings.
      But when you are under attack and it may be me and a working class thing but it is good to lift each others spirits as the drip, drip, drip of attacks can wear people down.
      We should not say we don’t need the music just the book – we need both and I believe we will win primarily with organisation (and I have joined CLPD) but also with art, music, comedy and poetry!
      So come on David as well as your practical suggestions give us a song, a poem, a joke, a painting too – you know it makes sense!

      1. David Pavett says:

        Bazza, thanks for the response. I entirely agree that spirits need to be lifted and that this can be done using all sorts of cultural resources. So I am not against that at all, on the contrary. But those resources need to be a part of an intelligent effort and developing a Corbyn cult, which this video does, is absolutely not what our movement needs. The selection or editing of the interviews is not helpful. There are plenty of Corbyn supporters who can express their enthusiasm without cultish devotion. We surely want people on the lift to be strongly independent and critically minded. We don’t need no Messiah.

      2. Verity says:

        Like many I also have a personal preference to avoid all this exuberance around Corbyn. Primarily because it seems to me to be essentially non – political. It could also be potentially diversionary.

        After years of social democratic ‘management’ of the ideas of what change should mean, to many, this has come as an emotional release from the contrived concerns of the former masters on the Left. For some others – mostly those new to politics, understanding of strategy, policy and organisation may have no place in their thinking at all. Maybe all ‘social movements’ are like this.

        For those with a grasp of the importance of strategy, policy and organisation, why should this be a problem? Is there anything stopping us continuing to develop these or continuing to trying attract more people to these tasks? No, we have a further channel with which to communicate. I hate to have to admit it, but it may be my own frustrations at not being so successful with what I consider important that lays behind some of the irritation. It seems to me that both the ‘social movement (with its variable grasp of issues and variable motives), and the political strategist can happily live side by side or operate in parallel. If they were come together then there would be great success, but I suspect that that may not happen. The task for the most politically involved beyond a social movement, is to bring about the same levels of engagement for policy, strategy and organisation as they have achieved in support for direction. Unfortunately, in this respect we on the Left have nowhere near the necessary levels of consensus, cohesion and understanding of the way forward than even either the dominant Tories or the liberal – social democrats.

        It is my opinion the Left would be wise to get on and make more of a success of our own priorities and objectives rather lamenting the weaknesses of a social movement which does not necessarily commit to our approach and who put their trust and priorities to somewhere where there is consensus and cohesion.

    6. James Martin says:

      Sadly David has missed the point of this short film entirely, or else deliberately uses it as a peg to hang other criticism up with. Either way, this sort of approach is both wrong and insulting to the film makers involved who essentially use film as an art form to document working class life and social movements. I do not see this as propaganda video, it is far more than that. In fact their previous work is well worth watching, particularly when viewed as historical art –

      Now of course art is not everyone’s interest, and people will have different views on what makes art to begin with. There are other discussions on here for learned debate and professor-like analysis, but art too has its place, and the beauty of this particular film as a social document is in the naturalness of the working class voices on it, which was itself connected to the very spontaneous short-notice rally and march through the Liverpool streets in support of Corbyn involving thousands of people that was the main resource for the film, and which also illustrates the relationship between crowd and individual leader where an individual can be the container for the ideas of the group that resonates through history.

      1. David Pavett says:

        James, hold on! My criticisms of the film may be valid or not but to describe them as “insulting” takes the debate to a place that it should not go to. You defend the film as art and say that it is not a propaganda video as if those things were mutually exclusive (think of Eisenstein). It is your view that it has artistic merit, I don’t agree. I find the techniques, the background music all far too obvious. But I guess we’ll just have to disagree about that. I don’t doubt for a moment that there were people at the rally with far more thoughtful things to say about the fight to change the LP. The makes of the film chose those sequences because it fitted the simplistic cultic film they wanted to make. This has nothing to do with “professor-like analysis” and that sort of general purpose rebuttal does not advance debate.

  7. Karl Stewart says:

    I voted Corbyn last year and of course I’m definitely voting Corbyn again and urging others to do likewise.

    I think the film’s great. It’s positive and comes across in a ‘voice of the people’ kind of way.

    We do really need some meat on the bones, however, where does Corbyn stand on ‘free-movement’ for example? What about EU nationals already settled here? Does he think the UK needs to be in the ‘single-market? What is his economic and industrial plan for Britain? Should we have a second referendum? What’s his view on trade union legislation? Housing? Tax? Education? Local democracy?

    We know he’s against bad stuff and in favour of good stuff, but we need more details.

    1. Verity says:

      There is undeniably a vacuum here. I suspect that much of this vacuum could be explained by the fact that the leadership has not been much greater than a two-man project. The two have been pretty much engaged in fending off opposition attempts to remove them or accommodating to give personal attention to the 172 (+2).

      A very neat solution would be to adapt somethings of the ambitions of ‘Labour Tomorrow’ recently launched by Blunkett and Brenda Dean, (LabourList) although the company was registered in April and no doubt in discussion for at least six months before that. ‘Labour Tomorrow’ is intending to develop the financing of initiatives and policy, amongst others. Its concern is:

      “The process of renewal in opposition cannot be restricted to sorting out its leader. We need to ask much more fundamental questions about where the new ideas are coming from, how we devise an attractive offer ……………. and how we organise our party to campaign in the digital age.” And

      “Our starting point should not just be the party itself, important though that is, but the wider network of ideas, organisations, people and campaigns”.

      Of course much of this is implicit to everything we do, but I do think a promotion here would be a valuable development of Momentum since the organisation reaches out beyond the Party as is well placed to gaining a contribution well beyond the leadership issue. Of course the Left has less consensus of the Blairites, and will suffer more from distractor divisions amongst ourselves. There are however thousands of Momentum members not attached to groups who have been in need of organisational initiatives in which they could contribute, held back only by the inertia in the form of absence of focus from the Momentum itself.

      Suggestions have also been previously made on this site with offers to initiate. The start of term is September, we could make plans now if we were to act with the seriousness required.

      1. John Walsh says:

        Well said verity and, as you note, the theme of how to enact the participatory democracy that Corbyn’s ‘new kind of politics’ promises is a theme that a number of commenters here keep returning to. The suggestion that Momentum learn from the ‘Labour Tomorrow’ initiative should be added to the list of good ideas for change. However, while there are good local initiatives, is there an appetite by Momentum nationally (including the National Committee) for thinking about and developing a participatory political culture of the left? For me, the #SaveLabour (Part 1) video is instructive here.

        As James Martin notes, the filmmakers are experienced (photojournalists, visual artists and filmmakers according to their web site). For example, the ‘on the streets’ feel to the city centre scenes is highly likely to have been designed in, rather than the result of a chance filming. Moreover, the film itself is likely to have been commissioned by Momentum (at least from discussions, if not paid for by Momentum). The point is that the film appears to deliberately represent a conception of membership. The hordes of members trudge the streets or passively stand or sit before the speakers. The local leaders – the vicar and the activist – are afforded the status of studio takes (whereas the masses can only speak from the street). And, of course, our national leader is our hero – the messiah, his status described and celebrated by the ‘man of the cloth’. In short, our purpose as hordes is to be led, to be motivated by our spiritual leader to be devoted supporters. Similarly, rather than providing a voice for the people on the streets, we see a stylised portrayal of ‘working class’ people (is the youth in the closing scene reading a script or saying what he thinks?).

        For me, a conception of membership, which is the primary barrier to a participatory political culture, is what the film represents. I’m not looking forward to Part 2 and I don’t know how to break the impasse.

    2. David Pavett says:

      Karl, one of your questions can be answered. Corbyn has said many times that he is unequivocally for free movement of labour (which in practice has become the free movement of people). However, this has the status with him only of an abstract principle since he never discuss problems connected with it, He has also never, to my knowledge, pronounced on its counterpart, the free movement of capital. As for the rest of your points the most we have is headlines.

© 2023 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma