Solidarity with socialists in Labour

Writing in the Guardian G2 today, actor Julie Hesmondhalgh expressed the disappointment many Labour members feel at the departure of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. She felt that his time as leader was a missed opportunity; and while she encouraged Corbynistas to stay and work within the Labour Party, she nevertheless conceded that this work will now all be about getting the Tories out rather than creating an “amazing socialist utopia”.

Despair amongst the left in the Labour Party is understandable, but one consequence of Jeremy Corbyn’s brief time as leader has been a recognition by many within the Labour Party that they have more in common with members of socialist parties to the left of Labour, especially the Communist Party, than with their own right wing. In the 2017 general election, and again in 2019, when the right wing of their own party was actively conspiring to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, the support they received campaigning on the doorstep from card carrying communists and in the pages of the Morning Star, the only national newspaper to give Jeremy Corbyn unwavering support, will not have gone unnoticed.

As communists, we never believed that a Corbyn-led majority Labour government would result in the “amazing socialist utopia” which Julie envisaged. This will take a social revolution, not a fleeting parliamentary majority, and a wider social base than the Labour Party can presently provide. The bonds of solidarity and respect we have established with socialists within the Labour Party are nevertheless real ones which must not be allowed to wither on the vine now the right wing is back in control of Labour. It is not for the Communist Party to lure members from Labour, but for those Labour members who want to do more in the coming years than simply campaign to get the Tories out, we are here to welcome you.

HOPE DESTROYED?

Croydon communists share the dismay and disappointment of our friends in the three Croydon Constituency Labour Parties at the general election results last night. Their own results were good, with Croydon North and Croydon Central (a marginal) retained and a little bit of a shock for the Tories in the smug Tory heartlands of Croydon South due to a spirited campaign focussing on school cuts. Although we questioned Labour’s decision to abandon their commitment in the 2017 manifesto to implement the EU Referendum, we recognised (although didn’t agree with) the argument that this was a strategic necessity given the leave/remain split amongst Labour voters and we welcomed many of the other commitments in the manifesto for this election.  How sad the strategy failed. This was the true cause of the results last night, not, as the right wing of the Labour Party are already claiming, a shift too far left.

An internal battle inside the Labour Party for its future has already begun and the prospects don’t look good. The Parliamentary Labour Party is even further to the right than it was before the general election and it’s hard to believe they would allow another left wing candidate to stand, even assuming a credible candidate could be found. The left won’t easily surrender the gains they have made in the constituency parties but it nevertheless seems inevitable that much of the political struggle for the next five years will have to be extra-parliamentary and ‘on the streets’. The prime target? Aside from fighting Austerity and advancing privatisation, it has to be exposing Tory acceptance of  global warming and their implicit belief that the 0.1% who fund them can insulate themselves from the consequences.