Saturday, September 5, 2015

How the Labour Left is organised and the NPF elections by Peter Rowlands

As Red Labour have observed, why elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader and then allow the NPF to be taken over by the right. However, there is a distinct possibility of Labour doing no better, or even worse than two years ago when right wing slates generally triumphed in these elections. Then it was only Wales and the Yorkshire region that achieved a majority of the four seats, with two in Eastern, one in three others and none in five. This year we have only managed to put up a full slate in six of the eleven regions, and in two of the five others have conceded the youth election to Labour First by not putting up candidates. Clearly the focus on the Corbyn campaign has been at the expense of this election.

This poses the wider question of how the left is organised in the Labour Party, and despite the above it is true that the left did well in the NEC elections last year, partly due to the failure of the right to agree a common slate.

There are left organisations, some of which are organised locally, publications, blogs and an e-mail network,  and this has obviously all contributed to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, although the extent to which that is so is difficult to establish.  

The main, indeed the only general left organisation for the UK is the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), particularly since Compass ceased to have a Labour orientation. It has a monthly publication, Labour Briefing, no longer independent since 2012 after a bitter row with the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), which specialises in constitutional change and is always very active at conference, but is a significant tendency in its own right. CLPD does not organise locally, but LRC does, with 17 local branches in England, leaving Scotland and Wales to the Campaign for Socialism and Welsh Labour Grassroots respectively, neither of which organise locally to my knowledge.

The only other organisation on the left of any size is Red Labour, which has seemingly come from nowhere in the last two years, although it exists only on Facebook and does not seem to have a centre or a conference. Nevertheless, it boasts 46 branches, some of which are quite active, others dormant or little more than a facebook address.

Other publications include Tribune, Chartist, and Renewal. The leading blog is Left Futures, but others are worthwhile including Socialist Unity and Socialist Economic Bulletin.

Other than that there are some local groupings that are not tied to any of the main groups and a range of informal groupings and networks in CLPs, Labour groups and trade unions.

Whatever happens on September 12th, the left is now a more significant force than it was four months ago and a new organisation that is able to unite it and carry it forward is urgently needed.

1 comment:

  1. What about labour list it is more or less dragging it's self from the right to the left mainly because of a few people who are backing Corbyn it is far bigger these day then left futures although it does have a lot of ham fisted Blair rites on it.