Fifty Labour activists from ten boroughs across London attended a 4 February emergency meeting in Lewisham to discuss the Labour Party’s stance on migrants’ rights.
The meeting was called by Labour for a Socialist Europe, Labour Campaign for Free Movement and Another Europe is Possible, in cooperation with local left activists, in response to Labour’s fiasco over the Tory Immigration Bill. In Parliament on 28 January, the Labour front bench at first recommended abstention on the Tory bill. It swung to voting against only under pressure and at the last minute.
The meeting heard speeches from two L4SE Steering Committee members – Urte Macikene of Dulwich and West Norwood and Alena Ivanova of Tower Hamlets – before a wide-ranging discussion. The contributions touched on issues ranging from the party’s position on Brexit and how we can organise most effectively to stop Brexit over the next weeks, to Labour councils and policies under which children are denied school meals on the grounds that their migrant families must have “no recourse to public funds”. We also talked about the role being played in all this by Stalinist politics in the trade union bureaucracy (particularly in Unite). And we discussed the more general question of exerting pressure on the Corbyn leadership and the role of the organised left.
Participants suggested amendments to a statement drawn up by Labour for a Socialist Europe and added their names; the meeting also came up with other ideas for campaigning. L4SE campaigners around the country were on the streets on 9 March with “stop Brexit” stalls, are gathering signatures for a petition demanding Jeremy Corbyn back a new public vote, are pushing motions in Labour Parties and trade union branches. And will protest in Parliament Square on 14 February, the day of the next Commons votes.
•For more and updates, see the L4SE website
•Labour for a Socialist Europe conference — Saturday 9 March, 11:30 to 5, at Camden School for Girls, Sandall Road, London NW5 2DB. Register now here
•Labour for a Socialist Europe protest at Parliament Square, on the day of the next Commons votes about Brexit — Thursday 14 February, from 5 p.m.