"Labour Transformed" meets

Submitted by martin on 17 December, 2019 - 6:02 Author: Katy Dollar
Labour Transformed

The "Labour Transformed" conference on 14 December attracted over 100 people despite being held two days after an election defeat.

The event was called by a group of people around some organisers of The World Transformed (a fringe festival run at Labour conferences since 2016), and has been given soft support by John McDonnell and part of the Momentum leadership. (TWT was originally sponsored by Momentum).

The room was much younger than your average Labour meeting, largely I think activists from London who had been attracted to Labour by Corbyn.

The first session saw a comradely discussion between Remainers and Lexiters on the reasons for the 12 December defeat and what we do next. A wide variety of views were raised, but it was unclear where lines of disagreement exactly lay and what that meant for Labour Transformed.

The day was oddly broken up by a speech by one of the leaders which sat in its own session between two breakout sessions. Archie Woodrow proposed establishing a democratic centralist organisation.

The proposal was not debated any further. Instead people broke in to working groups to discuss areas of activity. The day made no decision other than to organise a further meeting in 2020.

The comrades trying to establish Labour Transformed are right to worry that the election defeat could mean many attracted to Labour by Corbynism might drop out of Labour and politics after the election. They are right that we need a new forum for the left to debate and organise.

They should join a wider left regroupment needed to create a pole to stop both Labour and the Labour left drifting rightward. They do not have the level of political clarity or programme to establish a new "left group".

But the day suggested that many of the attendees could bring some of the energy we need for the period ahead.


The printed paper carries an abridged version of this report.

Comments

Submitted by Mark on Thu, 19/12/2019 - 18:40

I'm surprised that this report does not mention the repeated, unpleasant attempts of the organisers to prevent Workers' Liberty members selling our materials and running a small stall in a corridor.

I'm surprised, also, that the report does not mention the organisers' comments to our members that AWL supporters would not be welcome in the organisation they were setting up, or their silly attempts to demagogically label us as the people who are members of the "democratic centralist organisation in the room."

It is also true, is it not, that the little clique which was running the event was actually trying to set up a "democratic centralist" organisation themselves by maneuvering the audience into it without telling them what they were doing. Now, that's a very weird business.

They offered no programme (a few little planks like "abolish the anti union laws" is not a programme of a socialist group), and held no serious programmatic discussion , while actively avoiding the key dividing issues of Brexit and antisemitism.

No doubt plenty of the people at the event were perfectly reasonable, and were there to discuss a left-wing, Labour response to the election defeat. We're not going to help those people by not being straightforward and clear about the strange little group manipulating the event.

Submitted by Mark on Sun, 22/12/2019 - 09:08

A follow-up email from this group states, "As this is an attempt to build a new organisation, (our) next meeting will not be open to members of pre-existing democratic-centralist revolutionary organisations."

I.e. they have confirmed that AWL will not be allowed in. Therefore reducing the chance of any difficult discussions taking place or awkward questions being asked.

In a coy sort of way it is also an admission that they intend to declare a "revolutionary democratic centralist organisation." As if such an organisation can simply be wished into existence without a solid political basis.

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