Labour Party history

How councillors could fight the cuts

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Councils lost about a quarter of their funding during the 2010-15 Tory and Lib-Dem coalition government. Now they face the same order of attack again. Libraries, social care, and all community services beyond the minimum councils are legally compelled to do face futher chops.

Labour councillors should refuse to make cuts, defy the Tories’ plans, and help mobilise the labour movement and the community to defeat them.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The Ice-pick again?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

According to Stephen Bush in the New Statesman, the Labour Party machine’s spate of expulsions and bannings in the run-up to the leadership election which Jeremy Corbyn won was talked about as “Operation Ice-pick”.

The name echoes the sick in-jokes popular among leaders of the Labour student organisation in the 1970s and 80s; they admired the Stalinist assassin who used an ice-pick to kill Leon Trotsky in 1940.

Workers’ Liberty was involved in the Socialist Alliance and stood some candidates against Labour in seats where there was no chance of letting in the Tories in the early 2000s. Workers’ Liberty people contested some elections after 2003, mostly under socialist unity banners, but have backed no anti-Labour election campaigns recently, and have taken themselves off the Electoral Commission list of electoral parties.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Build a Labour youth movement!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Since the late 1980s, the Labour Party has had only a token youth movement. Yet throughout working-class history, the energy of younger activists has always been the first essential for a dynamic labour movement.

History suggests that the new Labour leaders could more or less at will transform Young Labour into a lively movement. They should change the rules to give a democratic breath of life to Young Labour, and openly campaign to build it. Even if the leaders drag their feet, there will be local openings now for building lively constituency Young Labour groups.

Since the late 1980s, the Labour Party has had only a token youth movement. Yet throughout working-class history, the energy of younger activists has always been the first essential for a dynamic labour movement.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Organise Labour's newcomers! Remake the party!

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

The trade unions and the working class have re-taken the Labour Party! An enormous beginning has been made to regain the working-class representation in Parliament that in the years since the Blairite coup in 1994 has been more or less absent.

The trade unions and the working class have re-taken the Labour Party! An enormous beginning has been made to regain working-class representation in Parliament.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The "mandatory reselection" panic

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The Guardian on 6 September tried to stir up panic by claiming that "Jon Lansman, a Corbyn supporter who acts as the spokesman for the Bennite Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), is planning to table a motion at the party conference calling for the reintroduction of... mandatory reselection of MPs", as a plan for "weeding out MPs opposed to the hard left".

Is the motion at Labour Party conference calling for the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of MP's a plan for "weeding out MPs opposed to the hard left" as The Guardian claims?

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Getting things wrong

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Some delegates at the Labour Party special conference on 12 September estimated that maybe a majority of those in the hall were unhappy about Jeremy Corbyn being elected Labour leader.

Among ourselves, in Workers’ Liberty, we consider it tacky to applaud “leaders”; indeed, we have a rule banning such applause at our conferences. In the Labour Party, it is reckoned routine courtesy to give standing ovations to leaders. But many in the hall, so I’m told, could only bring themselves to clap politely.

Unlike in the 1980s, we have a Labour Party where the rank and file members are on average to the left of the delegates, secretaries, and such. Activists should work to draw the newer, more left-wing members into the constituency organisations and into Young Labour groups.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The lefts we've had and the left we want

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The Labour Party has always had left wings, more or less organised, more or less diffuse. The thing is, up to now, they have always been defeated. A look at the history tells us what we need from a new left.

In a way the Labour Party’s founding (as the Labour Representation Committee, in 1900) was a high point for the Labour left. The left wing was embodied in affiliated sub-parties, able to operate regular party structures of their own, without witch-hunts or bans.

All too often, the Labour left has had only diffuse, slow-moving networks, and leaders more scared both of the right wing and of “the Trotskyists” than keen to mobilise the rank and file. A new left should change that.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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How the Labour Party began

Author: 

Brian Pearce

Down to the 1880s there was no “labour movement” [in Britain] in the continental sense at all. There were strong trade unions (of skilled workers), and these unions were politically-minded — but the only parties were the two ruling-class ones, the Tories and the Liberals.

A 1961 article by Brian Pearce, a translator and author of many articles on working-class history who died in 2008.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The Last Time the Labour MPs Revolted Against Party Democracy

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

AT ITS SCARBOROUGH conference in 1960, the Labour Party voted in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament by Britain.

This decision had tremendous implications for British politics, for it opened a fundamental breach in Labour-Tory foreign and 'defence' policy bipartisanship, one of the pillars on which class collaboration rests and on which depends the possibility of orderly changes in party government at Westminster.

In 1960 the Labour left won the party to British unilateral nuclear disarmament, and then buckled under the big right wing counter-attact that followed.

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