Socialist Worker

As thousands rally for Corbyn—who says we can't beat the Tories?

Issue No. 2515

Jeremy Corbyn addressing over 3,000 people in Hull last week

Jeremy Corbyn addressing over 3,000 people in Hull last week (Pic: PA)

Up to 10,000 people joined a rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn in Liverpool on Monday night. It was another sign of the growing support behind his campaign to be re-elected leader of the Labour Party.

Thousands of people had also marched and rallied for Corbyn across the North of England last weekend.

Over 2,000 supporters joined the rally in Leeds on Saturday—an even bigger audience than during last year’s leadership race.

Colette, a student in Leeds, said, “When Jeremy Corbyn says we have to make the world a better place I believe him. He’s had those beliefs forever. It’s not a career for him—he represents something exciting to you as a young person.”

As 1,600 crammed into the venue, Corbyn had to address an overflow rally of some 600 outside.

Corbyn had just arrived from Hull where some 3,000 people stood in the baking sun to hear him speak.

The Labour right are going all out to unseat Corbyn with their candidate Owen Smith, because they fear losing their grip on the party.

A march in Newcastle on the same day, with people chanting “Tories out—Corbyn in”, showed that many new members see themselves as part of a bigger movement fighting for change. Organisers said that over 1,000 people joined the demonstration.

“Socialism used to be a dirty word, but now they’re trying to turn it into a buzzword,” Lyndsey, a teacher, told Socialist Worker.


She added, “We need more events like this—and get the message out to show more people what Jeremy Corbyn represents.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell is building support for Corbyn with a tour on the “new economics”.

Some 350 people joined a meeting in Liskeard, Cornwall, last Friday, and hundreds packed a room in Oxford the previous night.

Labour left group Momentum is mobilising members within the Labour Party.

Ben Sellers from Red Labour ran Corbyn’s social media campaign last year. He told Socialist Worker, “For Red Labour it’s about winning the battle in the Labour Party.

“But we have to mobilise people in the community to break it out from just being about the leadership election.

“If we’re going to build a movement it has to involve other people.”

Leeds college student Zayba described herself as somewhere between the Green Party and Labour. “I agree with his policies but I don’t think Corbyn will get in,” she told Socialist Worker. “If he does, he will be overwhelmed.”

To avoid that means not compromising with the Labour right and looking to where Corbyn’s real strength lies—in the streets and workplaces. That can both bolster Corbyn and help build a movement capable of winning real change.

Who really supports rights at work? John McDonnell

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to force any company with more than 250 workers to recognise and bargain with a trade union.

He had previously said a Labour government would repeal the Tories’ Trade Union Act and launched “Workplace 2020”.

This is a forum that was supposed to produce Labour policy on workplace rights ahead of the next general election.

His announcement was significant, as it was one of Corbyn’s first specific proposals on workplace rights.

It was partly in response to leadership challenger Smith tacking left and pledging to repeal the Trade Union Act. Smith had hypocritically tweeted last Wednesday, “Not once have I heard a debate be led by John McDonnell on rights at work.”

PCS union members at the National Gallery in London, who were on all-out strike against privatisation last summer, also hit back.

A statement said, “John McDonnell was at our picket line on day one of our strike and he and Jeremy Corbyn consistently supported us.

“Owen Smith didn’t join our picket line at any point or even sign the early day motion against privatisation.”

CWU third union to give Corbyn official backing

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) officially backed Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour Party leader on Monday of this week.

It became the latest union to give their support, after train drivers’ union Aslef and construction workers’ union Ucatt.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said, “It’s policies like extending the recognition for trade unions which we believe will make a real difference to the working lives of millions. The CWU is proud to support him.”

The major union leaders’ backing for Corbyn was key to thwarting the Labour right plotters’ attempts to oust him.

Unison, Unite and the GMB—Labour’s most powerful affiliated unions—are still to declare who they will support.

Trident renewal, which Unite and GMB supported, has already tested their support for Corbyn.

Every trade unionist must pressure union leaders to give full support to Corbyn.

Branches look to the left

A majority of Constituency Labour Parties (CLP) have nominated Jeremy Corbyn in the face of bureaucratic manoeuvres by the party machine.

Out of some 650 CLPs 70 have made supporting nominations—57 for Corbyn and seven for Owen Smith.

One Labour member said on Facebook, “In West Ham we backed Jeremy Corbyn with an all-member vote in 2015.

“Last night the vote was limited to CLP General Committee delegates only and a nomination for Owen Smith was contrived.”

That’s also how the Labour right produced nominations for Smith across south London CLPs, showing their desperation. But these bureaucratic tricks are in line with Labour Party standing orders—the way to beat them is by looking outwards to the movement.

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