In the wake of Syriza’s victory, and in the run-up to the Left Platform conference called by John McDonnell MP for 7 February, 15 Labour MPs have made a statement calling for a shift to the left by Labour.
They oppose continued cuts, and call for “public investment to kickstart the economy out of faltering growth and to generate real job creation and rising incomes”, financed maybe “through taxing the ultra-rich by a special levy”.
They want a Labour government to return “rail franchises when expired to public ownership rather than subjecting them to competition”.
They demand “the restoration of collective bargaining and employment rights”; they want to “strengthen the rights of trade unions to recognition, and of their members to representation”.
Syriza’s victory — and the collapse of Pasok, which was once a “Bennite” social-democratic party but became more and more just another vehicle for managing capitalism — shows that the labour movement can best mobilise support in this recession against class-war conservatism by standing up for such working-class demands.
With luck the Left Platform conference on 7 February, designed to bring together left Labour MPs and candidates with left trade union leaders, will go further, and call explicitly for the restoration of workers’ rights to organise solidarity strikes and pickets, for the full restoration of the NHS as a public service, etc.
In parallel, the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory is organising at a rank-and-file level for a more comprehensive socialist set of demands, so that we can work both for a Labour victory against the Tories and to rally and reassert an activist socialist pole within the trade unions and the Labour Party.