Socialist Worker

How can Labour be relevant to its new members? Activists debate next steps

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2559

Crowds of people enthused by Corbyns general election campaign

Crowds of people enthused by Corbyn's general election campaign (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A meeting in central London last week revealed how the general election has enthused and emboldened the Labour left—particularly new members.

Around 130 people packed into the sweltering Labour Assembly Against Austerity meeting last Thursday.

One woman who joined Labour to support Jeremy Corbyn told Socialist Worker, “The change has to keep happening in the Labour Party and in the political system. I came here because I wanted to talk about things we can do.”

Many were bitter at and wary of the right wing Labour MPs who have come crawling back after trying to force Corbyn out.

One Labour member said, “All these calls for unity from the right of the party. I’m very concerned that this is just code for, ‘We’ve got to get back to the old agenda’”.

Some emphasised the race to get delegates elected to Labour conference for a fight over rule changes, and to two of Labour’s internal committees.

Fixated

But Derby North MP Chris Williamson warned, “Don’t let’s get fixated on internal battles. If we just continue as normal we’ll be missing a trick.”

He also echoed the concerns of new members who talked about searching for details for their nearest Labour Party meeting—and finding it uninviting.

“You have to be dedicated to go to some of these meetings sometimes, they can be as dull as dishwater,” he said. “We need to find ways to make them more engaging”.

One new member wanted to know what happened to the “movement” Labour activists talked about launching after Corbyn’s first leadership election campaign.

“That never occurred,” he said. “I never fully understood why the Labour Party never pushed that along.”

Others pointed to the Fast Food Rights campaign and the People’s Assembly demonstration on Saturday 1 July as examples of the activity members could get involved in.


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