Socialist Worker

The failed strategy of reclaiming Labour for the left

Issue No. 2100

The alternative of “reclaiming” Labour has proved a dead end.

First the left rested its hopes on an influx of new members who would throw out the right and reinstall “real” Labour policies.

When that didn’t happen it was claimed that the trade union members would force their delegates and representatives at Labour conference to shift the party’s policy leftwards.

Next it became a matter of hoping that a group of left union leaders would do it from above.

And finally the hope was that Gordon Brown would be better than Tony Blair.

All have proved false. The crisis of New Labour is deepseated and organic, not just some passing fad.

It is of course possible that Brown will be forced to make some concessions to the left if strikes and protests grow.

A rise in class struggle would see many New Labour leaders “rediscovering” an interest in more radical rhetoric.

But what we need now is an honest debate about how we can create an alternative for ordinary people.

Socialists outside the Labour Party very much want to work with people inside the party in joint activity wherever possible.

But the critical arena of struggle lies outside Labour.

And loyalty to Labour will hold that project back.

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