Solidarity with Supporters of Socialist Appeal!
Sheffield Labour Left condemns the right-wing proposal, to be discussed via a motion at next week’s meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee, that Socialist Appeal be a proscribed political organisation. Labour Against the Witch Hunt, the Labour In Exile Network and Resist, the new political organisation founded by former Labour MP Chris Williamson, are also included in the NEC motion. This initiative marks the beginning of the latest phase of the right wing’s witch hunt of the left in the Labour Party.
It is reported that the NEC motion cites Chapter 2, Clause I.4.B of the Party’s Rule Book in support of the proposal for proscription; in other words, if this motion were carried, support for Socialist Appeal (such as selling or writing for the newspaper of Socialist Appeal, running Socialist Appeal street stalls, or describing oneself as a supporter of Socialist Appeal) would become incompatible with membership of the Labour Party.
This rule is intended to exclude people who support political organisations which stand candidates against the Labour Party in elections. Yet supporters of Socialist Appeal have always campaigned in support of the Labour Party, in both local and general elections.
Sheffield Labour Left suspects that it is the work that supporters of Socialist Appeal have done to promote socialist ideas within the Party and their expression of no confidence in the current leadership, that is the real reason for the proposed proscription, and it asks why right-wing organisations, such as Progressive Britain and Labour First, have not been proscribed, given the damage their supporters did to Corbyn’s leadership and to the Party’s chances of success in the General Elections of 2017 and 2019. Moreover, it recalls what the Party said in 2012, when the GMB union proposed that Progress, a right-wing political organisation that merged with Policy Network to form Progressive Britain, be proscribed: that the Labour Party is a ‘broad church’ and is ‘not in the business of excluding people.’
Sheffield Labour Left therefore opposes any expulsion of supporters of Socialist Appeal from the Labour Party and stands in solidarity with them and with the hundreds of other Party members who have been unjustly suspended and expelled in previous phases of the witch hunt against the left.
The leadership of the Party must change, the right wing in the Parliamentary Labour Party must be held to account through a process of mandatory reselection, and Party officials, including the General Secretary, must be elected, not appointed. We want the Labour Party to become a mass political party of the working class that is led by socialists who will fight for the interests of the working class.
We call on Labour Party members in Sheffield to join us in our fight against the persecution of the left in the Labour Party.