The Labour right could suffer a major defeat over a redevelopment plan in north London that threatens to drive many working class people from the area.
And it will raise questions nationally about how Labour councils implement austerity and social cleansing.
The Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) would see seven estates redeveloped in Haringey, north London, in a £2 billion deal with private firm Lendlease. It affects 4,000 households.
If Labour councillors vote for what they believe in next week, it will mean victory for the anti-HDV campaign.
It’s a victory for campaigners that council leader Claire Kober—who spearheaded the HDV—announced on Tuesday that she won’t stand again in local elections in May.
But, before May, there is still a majority of pro-HDV Labour councillors.
Kober said the “final decision” on the HDV would be up to the next council leader.But the right could still tie the left’s hands.
Anti-HDV councillors fear to vote against it for fear of being disciplined.
But on Tuesday of last week the Labour national executive committee (NEC) voted unanimously to ask the Haringey council leadership to reconsider its plans.
Unfortunately it also called for mediation, clearing the way for manoeuvres by the right. The right hit back with an open letter to the Sunday Times signed by more than 70 Labour council leaders. It called the NEC decision “an affront to the basic principles of democracy”.
Nevertheless the NEC decision has raised the prospect of the left now voting against the HDV. If they do so alongside the anti-HDV Lib Dems at an emergency council meeting on 7 February, then the project will fall.
Campaigners are mobilising to hold the councillors to their words.
The prospect of defeat for the HDV has horrified the Labour right. It could encourage party members to remove other councillors who vote through cuts in other councils.
And if the NEC speaks out about Haringey, why not about other cuts and attacks on workers?
Phil Rose from Haringey Labour Party told Socialist Worker, “The media like to make out that it’s the left which are ideologically motivated but it’s the right that are acting irrationally.
“The fact is that council housing pays for itself. We’re told that it’s subsidised but it’s not.”
The right blamed Kober’s resignation on “bullying” by left wing Labour Party members.
In reality the HDV was brought to the brink by a campaign in the estates and on the streets. There must be more mobilisation now—and everywhere that Labour councils act like Tories.