A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Coming soon to a CLP near you

To their credit, McDonnell's lot don't give up. I've just received this email:

"Comrades,
To build on the successes of the John4Leader campaign in mobilising thousands of activists, we're setting up local LRC groups right across the country.The LRC is a national network of Labour party activists and trade unionists who are fighting for socialism in the Labour party. Membership is open to members of the Labour party or of no party at all."

If the John4Leader campaign was a "success" to be built on, I'd hate to know what a failure looked like.

Note that you don't actually have to be a Labour Party member to get involved in all this fun.

39 Comments:

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

1. It was very successful at grassroots level if not at Parliamentary level in terms of raising the left's profile.

2. So what? In case you hadn't noticed, not many people are these days.

9:32 am, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous tim f said...

"Note that you don't actually have to be a Labour Party member to get involved in all this fun."

You don't have to be a Labour Party member to get in Gordon Brown's cabinet, either.

9:53 am, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

You don't have to be a Labour Party member to join the Fabians or the Co-op Party either.

Obviously there's lots of people who don't feel comfortable joining the party at the moment (we've lost well over 50% in a decade) so we're going to have to think of more imaginative ways to recruit people - even if that means gradually.

11:44 am, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Note that you don't actually have to be a Labour Party member to get involved in all this fun."

or leave your very own Trotskist group -

http://www.labourhome.org/story/2007/4/7/74359/23968

11:46 am, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Owen, don't you mean "there's lots of people WHO DON'T ACTUALLY SUPPORT THE LABOUR PARTY who THEREFORE don't feel comfortable joining the party at the moment BUT MIGHT ENJOY TRYING TO DESTROY IT BY GETTING INVOLVED IN A FACTION DEDICATED TO MAKING LABOUR UNELECTABLE"

The link above goes to this:

"Leeds Socialist Youth Network held a launch meeting towards the end of March. Unfortunately there were only five of us `youth' there (three members of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, one from the CPGB and a supporter of Permanent Revolution) - most of whom don't actually live in Leeds but other parts of West and North Yorkshire. part of a letter in Weekly Worker
Thursday April 5 2007"

11:52 am, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Is this the start of a witch hunt? There are AWL activists in the Labour Party in several areas - not just the SYN. Would you like to see them kicked out?

I think the CPGB stand candidates against the LP so their members would not be allowed to join the SYN.

PR have at least one member in the LP that I know of.

None of this is unique to the LRC/SYN.

And New Labour have been doing their damnedest to make the party unelectable since being swept to power on a 'Labour' ticket and on the back of a broad coalition which they soom dumped.

12:07 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

AWL is the same organisation as Socialist Organiser, which has been proscribed since about 1990 i.e. under Labour Party rules you can be expelled for being a member of it (as per Militant/Socialist Party).

The AWL runs candidates against Labour in Hackney under the banner Socialist Unity or something similar, so yes I do think they should be expelled and where I ever find out about AWL members in the Labour Party I write to the Regional Director and ask for them to be expelled.

12:14 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

This is all a bit silly. The "Leeds SYN" was set up by someone who is not eligible for membership of SYN, and indeed the group is not recognised by the SYN Executive as a SYN group.

SYN rules are totally clear - you cannot be a member of SYN if you are a member of another political party. Luke will probably remember the furore back in January - which spilled over on to this blog - when we banned a list of people from joining SYN on the grounds they were members of another party. That's why the Weekly Worker denounced me as a bureaucratic witch hunter.

Those members of the AWL who are in SYN are not members of a political party that stand candidates against Labour. They are members of the Labour party - and indeed the LP hasn't moved against them, so why should we?

In any case, the vast majority of the SYN membership aren't in any such group!

I understand that whenever a new leftish member joins his CLP, Luke automatically presumes them to be a member of the AWL. I have absolutely no intention of starting some sort of Luke Akehurst-style witch hunt.

12:41 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWL also run candidates in Nottingham against the Labour Party - does JJJ think members of this organisation should remain as Labour members?
and if so, with what justification?

PR are a tiny offshoot of Workers Power - who have also run candidates against Labour.

12:47 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

These traitors who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our bitter enemies (Respect, SWP, Stop the War coalition), not only the enemies of Labour but the enemies of Britain, should be booted out.

1:11 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Sham to be fair to AWL they are enemies rather than allies of the SWP/Respect and have a rather more balanced view on Middle East issues.

1:18 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Quite - the AWL oppose calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, are opposed to the Stop the War Coalition, take a hard line on "Islamism" and support a two-states solution for Palestine/Israel.

As you can guess, I have pretty strong disagreements with AWL comrades.

Sham - I noticed on Tom Miller's blog you expressed your strong disagreement with a guy called Jim Denham on one of these issues. Just so you know, Jim is a member of the AWL.

1:29 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Oh yeah - those people who support including frothing-at-the-mouth rightwingers who refuse to join the Labour party in a Labour Government are in absolutely no position to call for members of groups such as the AWL to be expelled.

1:30 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous tim f said...

"not only the enemies of Labour but the enemies of Britain"

Sham, I found this comment fascinating. Do you mean to say that there are occasions when the enemies of Labour aren't automatically the enemies of Britain?

And if someone was the enemy of Labour but the friend of Britain, would you support him/her or not? What about if someone was the enemy of Britain and the friend of Labour?

I'd be grateful if you could clear up this pressing matter.

1:46 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

anonymous - I personally don't really care too strongly about any of this nonsense. If a particular person has recently stood against Labour then I'd feel quite uneasy about welcoming them at a party meeting.

Sham shows his usual ignorance by not being aware that the AWL favour the ongoing occupation.

1:58 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Just to clarify, my earlier comment wasn't an attack on the AWL, but an attack on Respect/SWP/StopTheWar.

Tim F: Being our domestic political enemies, like the Tories, is better than being an enemy of Britain, like the Jihadi-loving Gallowayite scum who support attacks on British troops and are equivocal in their condemnation of terrorist attacks on UK soil; such people are infinitely worse than Conservatives or even Lib Dems.

1:59 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Gregg said...

These traitors who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our bitter enemies (Respect, SWP, Stop the War coalition), not only the enemies of Labour but the enemies of Britain, should be booted out.

Wow.

Anyone know if Cameron is looking for a Karl Rove? Because I think we've got a live one here.

2:02 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger el Tom said...

"Owen, don't you mean "there's lots of people WHO DON'T ACTUALLY SUPPORT THE LABOUR PARTY who THEREFORE don't feel comfortable joining the party at the moment BUT MIGHT ENJOY TRYING TO DESTROY IT BY GETTING INVOLVED IN A FACTION DEDICATED TO MAKING LABOUR UNELECTABLE"

Reminds me of Hazel's 'Labour supporters network'. You don't even have to be eligable to join to be in it.

2:06 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

I'm not much of a Galloway fan myself, but when did he support attacks on British troops, out of interest?

2:11 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

JJJ, that's the very reason he was thrown out of the Labour party, describing British troops as donkeys and wolves.

He also said: "the only people fighting legally are the Iraqis, who are defending their country" and "Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?"

In effect desribing those fighting the coalition as freedom fighters, and in so doing supporting them in their murderous actions.

ie. Incitement to murder British troops, there undr a UN mandate and at the request of the democratically elected Iraqi government.

2:24 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A LRC speaker once came to address a meeting of my university Labour Club at a time when a Marxist was in charge. She was a member of the AWL and about as impressive as a wet fart. I don't think anyone was convinced of the merits of joining the pompously named "Labour Representation Committee". I've always thought the LRC was a peculair choice of name since the original LRC was a shining example of Labourite political moderation. For many years it consistently opposed adopting socialist ideology and many of the middle-class revolutionaries left it in despair. How ironic. Isn't one of Britain's numerous Communist Parties a founding member of this LRC outfit?

2:24 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Doesn't look like it:

http://www.l-r-c.org.uk/about/affiliates.asp

2:26 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owen said: "The AWL oppose calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, are opposed to the Stop the War Coalition, take a hard line on "Islamism" and support a two-states solution for Palestine/Israel.

"As you can guess, I have pretty strong disagreements with AWL comrades."

Does this mean you take a soft line on "Islamism" and don't support a 2-state solution? Indeed, what is your solution?

Can you please clarify where esactly you disagree with the AWL

Thanx

2:51 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Dave Brinson said...

AWL were affiliated to the Socialist Alliance, forerunner of Respect, which did stand candidates against Labour.
No problem with LRC, as long as the "Labour or no party" line is genuine.

3:08 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous tim f said...

Sham,

"Being our domestic political enemies, like the Tories, is better than being an enemy of Britain"

I have to say, this raises as many questions as it answers.

What's the criteria for being an enemy of Britain?

Are the Normans our enemies? What about the Vikings? The Romans? And if the Romans are our enemy (they invaded Britain after all; if that doesn't make them an enemy of Britain I don't know what does) does that mean the Tories are better than the Romans?

3:13 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Tim, do I have to spell it out?

A-L Q-A-E-D-A and all who support it. All those trying to change our way of life and their apologists. Those who attack Britain, UK forces and British interests both here and abroad.

I'd've hoped on this point there'd be no argument.

This is 2007. This is now. We are at war; you're either with us or against us.

I can't see how dredging up two millennia of history helps the debate.

3:36 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

I'd quite like to change our way of life in several ways.

What a meaningless phrase.

3:41 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous other anonymous said...

"I've always thought the LRC was a peculair choice of name since the original LRC was a shining example of Labourite political moderation."

Yeah, but it did at least stand for the interests of organised labour. Trade union freedoms, that sort of thing. Things opposed by 'New Labour' pro-business marketeers.

4:00 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous dean said...

"Reminds me of Hazel's 'Labour supporters network'. You don't even have to be eligable to join to be in it."

Or Compass which is open to non-Labour members.

4:10 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous tim f said...

Sham,

"Those who attack Britain, UK forces and British interests both here and abroad."

I'm not arguing about Al-Quaeda. I'm not a big fan of theirs, you'll be pleased to hear.

What I'm suggesting, is that it's just about possible that not everything that's in British interests is a good thing. Colonialism, for example, was in British interests. Britain grew rich from it.

I'd like to ask you one more question. Some people in the Labour Party opposed British colonialism even before direct rule became unprofitable. Were they enemies of Britain - and thus worse than Tories?

4:22 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Jackson jeffrey jackson said,

"I'm not much of a Galloway fan myself, but when did he support attacks on British troops, out of interest?"

The point JJJ he was trying to address was if a country were to occupy us we would do all what we could to end the occupation. This would presumably include attacking occupying troops. As Sham quite rightly says

"....the enemies of Britain, should be booted out."

4:40 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sham said

"I can't see how dredging up two millennia of history helps the debate."

Is that what the whole middle east/Al-Quaeda, problem all about?

4:45 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

The point JJJ he was trying to address was if a country were to occupy us we would do all what we could to end the occupation.

Well, imagine a parallel universe in which Britain was ruled by a murderous dictator, and Iraqi troops overthrew the bastard. I wouldn't care about the legality of such action and if I were a Briton in such circumstances, I'd be cheering the liberators, not blowing them up. Thankfully, such an eventuality is extremely unlikely.

Is that what the whole middle east/Al-Quaeda, problem all about?

Yes, but it has little to do with the Romans or Normans.

Tim: I still don't understand the point you're making. What's hapenning now in Iraq isn't 19th century colonialism and Empire building. Maybe you think it is?

4:59 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous tim f said...

Sham,

I'm not arguing about Iraq at all.

I'm interested in your attachment to the idea of the nation above all else.

I'm trying to find out if you mean the things you wrote, or if you only mean them in connection to terrorists and specifically Al-Qaeda.

5:31 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Considering Luke was - only a few days ago - entreating us all to welcome the newest member of the PLP (somebody who has been standing against Labour candidates all his life) I think this post should not be taken too seriously.

If we can have people in the government who refuse to join the party, I think there can be some flexibility amongst grassroots organisations. Apart from anything else, the John4Leader campaign and the LRC have done an excellent job of recruiting people to the party - something I presume we approve of (despite Luke's occasional trigger-happy approach to getting people kicked out).

But Luke has ever been like this. I remember when he was Labour Students chair, looking at his delegates list, and on the York one there was a mark by the name of me and a left-wing colleague. We thought we were being marked as 'trots' (despite us emphatically not being) but it turned out we'd been passed as 'okay' and it was the other three who were dodgy (two of whom were more emphatically Blairite than Luke!!!)

7:45 pm, July 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sorry timf, this must get a little tiresome. I feel like I am arguing with a brick wall, but I love a challenge.

Sham, you are right if I lived under the yoke of a despot, his removal from power would be most welcome. However if we play this out further the collapse of law and order, intermitant electricity and water supply, collapsing social infratructure, hospitals filled with maimed and dying people unable to cope, the use of white phosphorous on civilians and the arrest, detention and abuse of citizens by "liberation" forces might make me feel a little hostile to the liberators.
You see this expection of the iraqis to feel grateful does smack of imperialism. The british used to say the countries under our dominion should be glad of our benevolent rule. The actuality of the situation never matched our rosey view. Now in the 21st centuary we are making the same mistakes we did in the past. If people wish to question an idiotic policy such as this it is their patriotic duty, if you can't handle debate why crow on about the need to protect democracy. I say this because you want to boot people out of the party that have a contary view to the war than yourself.
With regards to kicking people out the Labour Party a number of people have rejoined the party both present and past after being kicked out, Michael Foot, Ken Livingstone and from what I hear Derek "Degsy" Hatton. I bleat this all the time, if people like me find myself in the same party as Sham I think we can call ourselves and wide church. The Labour Party is big enough for everybody, after all socialism is about the many and not the few. Debate on issues by all members, left and right should be allowed, you can love the Labour party and still find yourself disagreeing with it time to time.

I should appologise for the rather clumsy statement about millena long arguements. My point is that in many contexts problems we face now are often rooted in the past.

3:40 pm, July 03, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

While taking on board the criticisms regarding the present situation it comes down to this: was it the right thing to do?

The partition of India resulted in many millions of deaths, the end of Apartheid could have led to Civil war, the end of UDI in Rhodesia has - two decades on - resulted in terror in that country ... were these things the right thing to do (the end of British rule, the end of Apartheid, black rule in Zimbabwe) inspite of the consequences?

Tim, I don't think foreign policy should be solely about British national interest, which is why I'd've supported the overthrow of Saddam regardless of the WMD argument, and why I supported Kosovo and why I'd back intervention in Burma or Zim.

4:27 pm, July 03, 2007

 
Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Good God, have we let Degsy back into the Party ?!?!?

11:42 pm, July 03, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

I do disagree with the partion of India. The creation of Pakistan has led to the devoloment of a Nuclear arms race, (I think) 3 wars, the instilation of the Taleban and the sponsorship of terrorist action in India to name bur a few. To be fair to you though Sham you never did say that was a good thing but you did say the means justified the ends. However you won't get any disagrement with me on the end of British colonial rule was a good thing. That said the liberation struggle for SA and India was more or less lead by peaceful means. Gandhis "Quit India Campaign" and the years of international sanctions and anti-apartheid protests in Britain and elsewhere (by the likes of Peter Hain) upon SA forced change for the better. My arguement is we can make a change for the better without waging war.

12:52 pm, July 04, 2007

 

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