Opportunities at Labour party conference 2021

Preview of Labour party conference 2021

Labour Party conference 2021 will take place in person from 25 to 29 September in Brighton. This will be an important point for the left of the labour movement to regroup and halt its retreat and dissipation. Probably the most important aspect of that political regrouping will be around motions and policy. Socialists in Labour should look here for a list of motions to support.

Starmer won his election as Labour Party leader with 60% of the vote in 2020. This was an indicator of how badly the Corbyn project had been discredited – Corbyn’s chosen successor, Rebecca Long-Bailey, failed to get even a fraction of the vote share that Corbyn received in 2015 and 2016. But Starmer was elected on the basis of a manifesto that promised a continuation of at least part of Corbyn’s left-wing political platform, just independent of the widely (and rightly) mistrusted chiefs of staff in Corbyn’s leader’s office; Murray, Milne and Murphy.

Since his election, Starmer has shifted substantially to the right, reverting to the Miliband-era tactic of agreeing with the government on the fundamentals and offering small, qualified criticisms here and there – a “small target” strategy that avoids doing anything bold, decisive, or setting out an alternative agenda – and shored up his authority by picking fights with the pro-Corbyn left through high-profile disciplinary measures. Most recently, that office-led fight on the left has been stepped up with an NEC decision to proscribe Socialist Appeal and other pro-Corbyn groupings.

Left-wing policies winning out at conference would be a signal to the rest of the movement that the Labour left has not gone away. It would provide a boost to attempts to re-organise the Labour left more broadly.

In particular, the politics of the internationalist left need to be re-asserted, against any and all accommodation to Johnson’s Brexit nationalism and anti-migrant demagogy; and for a vision of working-class, socialist internationalism, rather than the Blairite internationalism of NATO and global capitalist institutions.

In terms of nominations for the Conference Arrangement Committee, we are backing Seema Chandwani (L1187007) and Billy Hayes (A065571) and for the National Constitutional Committee we are backing Rheian Davies (L1443442), Anna Dyer (L0081865), Annabelle Harle (A002070) and Emine Ibrahim (L0150489). These are the consensus candidates being supported by Momentum and the wider Labour left. In our view several of these individuals represent some of the worst politics on the Labour left, being involved with the disastrous Haringey “Momentum Council”, or promoting anti-trans politics, or engaging in absurd anti-communist agitation against Workers’ Liberty. But in the absence of better left candidates, it is better that they beat the right wingers.

Momentum Internationalists will be seeking to organise support for the politics of socialist internationalism at this conference. It will be backing the following motions:

1) Build Back Fairer – a motion setting out a programme of demands on how society should be rebuilt after the pandemic, in the interests of the working-class majority.

2) China, Hong Kong and the Uyghurs – a motion expressing solidarity with the Hong Kong democracy movement and the struggle of the Uyghur people against repression and genocide; and taking a position against Cold-War rhetoric from western powers

3) Global climate justice – a motion setting out what the labour movement should be demanding in terms of a serious and socially-just response to climate change

4) Migrants welcome: end deportations and the racist Hostile Environment – a motion from the Labour Campaign for Free Movement 

5) A motion from the Free Our Unions campaign entitled “Unshackling workers from draconian anti-trade union laws”6) A motion on racism and policing, setting out demands around addressing the unaccountable and racist nature of policing in the UK and putting forward a programme for cutting the social roots of racism and discrimination.

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