Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Election special: Labour left

Part 5 of Hagley Road's pre-election special. Today, Harpymarx explains why some MPs in the Labour Party are still worth your vote.

New Labour has severely damaged the Labour Party and plunged the party into a crisis. There have been 3 terms ranging from massive to reasonable majorities; unfortunately with a party geared towards a neoliberal agenda squandered it. As opposed to creating a truly equal transformative society, they choose the financial markets and fight unjust and illegal wars.

So with an election looming why should people vote for a pro-imperialist, warmongering and neoliberal party?

Well, that’s the thing with the Labour Party: the answer is far more complex. There are MPs in the Labour Party who are solid Socialists, dissidents in their party, who fight for the interests of the working class.

Over the past number of years, they have proved an invaluable thorn in the side of the New Labour machinery especially opposing the war in Iraq, always there to the put pressure on and reflect the public opposition to war. And as a Labour Party (on and off for 25 years) and a member of the Labour Representation Committee, I will be canvassing for those MPs and PPCs (Prospective Parliamentary Candidates) who backed the John McDonnell for leaders, against the privatisation of public services, against the war in Iraq.

If you are LP member or not but don’t want to see a Tory Party but can’t stomach canvassing for NL warmongering clone, then canvass for a principled leftie MP or PPC (see the list on the LRC website).

As I am based in London, I am hoping to do work for John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) and Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) and PPC Gary Heather (Tunbridge Wells). If you want to see solid Socialist MPs returned to Westminster, then canvass for them.

The likes of John McDonnell are beacons for political change and for an alternative to the reactionary neoliberal unequal agenda that has been adhered to by New Labour. The alternative that seeks to transform society into a equal and just society. Those dissident voices within the LP need our support to continue the fight against the NL machine and a possible Tory government.

You can read Harpymarx's blog here.

[Tomorrow: Plaid Cymru, by Ceri Ames]


Stan Moss said...

I had a look at the LRC website. Good luck to them. Unfortunately the Labour candidate in my constituency (Dudley North) is a proper party-line New Labourite. He's been as loyal as an apostle to Gordon Brown.

That aside, I'd like to know the exact criteria upon which Labour MPs or candidates are backed by the LRC.

Anonymous said...

Stan, the LRC criteria for backing MPs is based on whether they back John McDonnell's leader campaign, their stance against Iraq/Afghanistan wars, cuts in the public sector and so on. That's the basis.
Does that answer your question?

Stan Moss said...

Thanks harpymarx.

So who and when decided that Jon Cruddas was representative of the party's "left"? I know he's not in the LRC, but the press has been talking him up a lot as some kind of leftist Labour MP. I may be wrong, but he wouldn't tick any of the LRC boxes.

socialist sam said...

The problem with the LRC is that these people claim political purity by nominally clinging on to some vague notions of socialism but in effect they have been propping up a corrupt and neo-liberal party for 15 years.

If they were serious about helping the Labour movement they would have formed a splinter group when they had the numbers i.e. around the time of Tony Blairs first term,like when Ken Livingstone ran as Mayor for the first time.

Failing that, which they did, they could have channelled the Stop the War Coalition movement into a broad party of the left instead of leaving it as the sole responsibility of the SWP and Respect.

A vote for the pious souls mentioned in the OP is a vote for New Labour. Come election night what the nation will watch is whether the Tory win or New Labour win. People are not going to think that McDonnell or Meacher voted against the Iraq war in 2003. They remained IN the party and supported it through thick and thin no matter various mutterings and pretend stalking horse ambitions.

A Sane Person said...

"Vote Labour, we're not all bad" =D
So, essentially, and I say this as a non-British person so forgive my ignorance, voting for the ruling party is voting for the current political course, while fervently hoping that it will somehow find a way to change?

Ceri said...

Part of me agrees with SocialistSam, after all the Labour left has achieved nothing positive through New Labour's governments.
But, in a way, he answers his own question- why don't left-wingers leave the party and form another splinter group.
Because no left-wing party beyond Labour has, so far, managed to sustain any sort of large-scale support without another issue to coalesce around (the environment, nationality) and it's debatable how much of the Green's and nationalist support are refugees from Labour.

I wish the LRC luck, I think they are doing possibly the right thing by staying and fighting. If they win, I might be back myself.

Anonymous said...

"So who and when decided that Jon Cruddas was representative of the party's "left"?"

Stan, the LRC doesn't back Cruddas. The problem with Cruddas is that he talks left and votes right. Indeed he is projected as representative of the left when he isn't as he voted for war in Iraq, he voted for 42 days, and he voted for the Welfare Reform Act...and so on. And now he seems to be now part of a double-act with that infernal Purnell.

socialist sam said...

A particularly good point a few comments up from A Sane Person.

"no left-wing party beyond Labour has, so far, managed to sustain any sort of large-scale support without another issue to coalesce around".

I believe the Stop the War movement was a massive chance. Of course you need an issue to propel the whole thing. But you also need MPs. Imagine if 10,15,20 Labour MPs had formed a splinter group in the Commons. That would have given them immense momentum for the following elections.
If Respect managed to gather so many councillors (and one MP) starting from nowhere, imagine my scenario.

The numbers were/are there. There are at the very least two million people to the left of Labour with nowhere clear to go who would not touch Labour with a bargepole, no matter what the LRC say.