A new democratic and genuine grassroots alliance of the Left in the UK Labour Party launched this summer. The Labour Left Alliance is a network of national and local left groups and individuals, who recognise the vacuum within the Left in the Labour Party and who want to organise democratically and transparently in order to:
- Support Corbyn (and by extension, his supporters) against attacks by the right (and when necessary, criticise him);
- Support struggles against austerity and against all forms of oppression;
- Oppose racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia and all forms of discrimination, and oppose any attempts to conflate anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism, for as internationalists, we support the democratic and national rights of Palestinians;
- Campaign to radically transform and democratise the Labour Party and the Trade Unions, as well as campaign to make the PLP more reflective of the pro-Corbyn majority membership.
We’re determined that this will be a genuine grassroots movement, where supporters get to decide the direction it takes. Every local group has an elected representative on the organising committee, and groups with a national reach have three representatives. We’ve a Facebook discussion group for all our individual supporters, where ideas are shared and discussed. The need to move at pace must be balanced with the need to build in a democratic and sustainable way.
We are committed to working within the Labour Party, and as such, the majority of our supporters are Labour Party members. But we also recognise that genuine Labour Party supporters and very committed activists have been barred from party membership for a variety of dubious reasons. We seek to embrace a culture of tolerance and acceptance on the left, not one of division and exclusion, and therefore welcome these individuals as well.
We realise that it is not sufficient to call for people to join this or that existing group. And we also have to be brutally honest: none of the existing Labour left organisations are, by themselves, the answer. But they can be part of the solution. So, as well as individual supporters, we want to involve as many principled local, regional and national Labour left organisations and union bodies as we can. Two national organisations (the Labour Representation Committee and Labour Against the Witchhunt) have got this initiative started. At present, over two dozen local and national groups have supported LLA, and we are having positive discussions with many more.
We are not in competition with any existing left group. There is no need to resign from or disaffiliate from any other left organisation to participate in the Labour Left Alliance. Indeed, we recognise the desperate need for us to have thriving networks of local and regional left groups who can be responsive to local issues as well as join in coordinated national actions. That’s the difference with this endeavour: we want to help the left link up, not create it.
We encourage all comrades not already members of local Labour Left groups to get involved in one or help set one up. Our database of supporters puts activists in the same CLPs in touch with each other. We can even help in coordinating local groups, find speakers and advertise meetings. Many such groups are already holding their first face-to-face meetings as a result of this coordination.
Labour Left Alliance will have a presence at this year’s Labour Party conference in Brighton (September 21-25). We are holding an LLA meeting (after the Leader’s speech on the last day), which is an opportunity for signed-up supporters to meet with one another and discuss priorities for the near future. In addition to our own fringe meeting, representatives from Labour Left Alliance will be speaking about how we are moving forward at both Labour Against the Witchhunt and Labour Representation Committee’s fringe events. If you are at conference, do try to get to one or more of these.
Sunday: JVL meeting, 5.30pm
Monday: LRC meeting, 6.30pm
Tuesday: LAW meeting, 7.00pm
Wednesday: LLA supporters meeting, 3.00pm
Encourage your friends and comrades to also join us, and if you are involved in a local group, consider getting it to affiliate to the Labour Left Alliance.