We are not going to get anywhere if we only play a parliamentary-only plan, which I fear Corbyn and co are being boxed into. We need a fourfold strategy.
- Organisation. We need a co-ordinating body of the Labour Left, and I stress co-ordinating only to push back on rows about structure and delegates. We need a regular meeting both nationally and locally where the Left can come together exchange information about suspensions, reports, fightbacks, ideas, education, training and agree on some activities and motions. Progress does this well, we don’t.
2 Political offensive. The apathy and disorientation of the working and middle classes is a result of the past 30 years of neo-liberalism. New Labour failed to change the actual power structures of society, with its lack of reform of government, minimum-only union and workplace reforms, failure to regulate finance. Eg why is Theresa May being allowed to champion workplace representation on boards, because New Labour wouldn’t go near it. New Labour grandees, London-based Spads and Progress the Guardian and associated press have gotten away with completely avoiding accounting for the problems of the “left behind areas and apathy” . This has to be taken on and laid at their door as much as the Tories.
3. Campaigns and trade unions. Lots of people are doing a lot of things. Only this week I have read about MacDonnell’s letter supporting Deliveroo workers. The Left in Labour need to bring these things into the Party and then force the Party to go out with them. All members in Labour who aren’t union members should be allowed to join a connected union cheaply (ie a reverse of the union/labour link). Frankly, I would have offered striking doctors, railway staff membership and got them to tour the country. Labour affiliated unions along with regions should look into setting up workers’ centres for advice and training, crowd fund disputes and so on. We need Labour to champion a wave of unionisation targeting the precariat in warehouses and in white collar jobs and build organisations. Possibly even new unions.
4. Finally the media. It is no good bemoaning the media. We know what they do. There are enough talented people around, and maybe a bit of money, to set up a rebuttal unit to challenge the media at every point. It doesn’t have to be a physical astro-turf organisation but could be connected people researching and giving time. The person who challenged Laura Kuennsberg’s interview with Corbyn did a great service but we need some sort of organisation to do that on a daily basis, and to launch alternatives.