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Sheffield Labour Left  - For Socialism

A bulletin for Labour Party Members who supported the direction the party moved towards under Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell.
Opposing racism, antisemitism and political Zionism.
Opposing all expulsions/exclusions targeting the left.

SLL E-Bulletin #55 - 22 June 2021

For fighting, political unions!

“Now I'm a union man, Amazed at what I am, I say what I think, that the company stinks. Yes I'm a union man” – some of you may remember this as the opening verse of the Strawbs hit single which hit the charts in 1973.
 
As a piece of nostalgia, it leaves a glow but we are now in an era where being part of a union is not as straightforward as their lyrics suggest.
 
Three of the UK’s largest unions are going through leadership changes and the machine politics of the right has so far triumphed in two of the elections with Unison and the GMB returning Starmer sympathetic general secretaries.  There is a bit of good news with the 'left' taking the majority of the NEC places on the Unison NEC, including the position of President.
 
Perhaps the most important is yet to poll – Unite with the prize of succeeding Len McClusky as the goal. As one of Corbyn’s biggest supporters – and a vocal critic of Starmer’s lurch to a policy lite right stance – this is a key election for both wings of the Labour Party.
 
As the right cement their control of the machine – did they ever relinquish it? – unions are the last hope of a challenge to the leadership within the Party in face of a PLP that is little more than a nodding dog.
 
If you go back fifty years, the trade union movement was the backbone of the Labour Party and workers’ rights, pay & conditions and role in the economy were central to the Party’s policies.
 
Now, as we consider the Anneliese Dodds’ led “Labour’s Stronger Tougher roadmap” which was previewed recently (who comes up with these meaningless straplines?), it is clear that the idea of supporting workers is over.
 
A trite promise for “Better jobs and work” – what an earth does that mean? – is number one on a list that gets vaguer by the pledge. “Public services that work”, “A future where families come first”– really, how does these make Labour different from the Tories’ lies?
 
But what is telling is the complete absence of any practical or specific support for trade unions fighting to protect their members’ jobs or pay as employers use Covid to restructure and make redundancies.
 
McClusky has been a constant voice reminding the Labour leader of the day that workers should come first in a party indebted to the trade union movement.
 
But if the runes are being read accurately by those watching the Unite poll, it is likely that Unite’s left leaning influence will be diluted by whoever is chosen.
 
For the left, continuing to organise within trade unions is vital as one of the few organisations in the labour movement where debate and democratic discussions are still possible – albeit increasingly confined to those unions on the left.
 
The Labour Party has been hollowed out in terms of democracy with even MPs now rebelling against Starmer’s presidential style of leadership which looks like being a negative factor in the upcoming Batley and Spen byelection.
 
For the maintenance of a class perspective where workers come first and organising in the workplace should be a natural Labour pledge, the left needs to fight for every opportunity to influence how trade unions fight back against attacks by the Tories.

Open Meeting:

‘International Solidarity with Palestine & Latin America’


Date:  Wednesday 21st July.

Time:  7pm until 9pm.

Online: us02web.zoom.us


With international institutions, and local Israeli organisations, now publicly calling Israel an apartheid state, plus the ongoing attempts to oppress socialist-orientated movements in South America and elsewhere, it is as important as ever that socialists here show solidarity with those oppressed and fighting back for a better world.

This meeting is open to all, there will be plenty of time for questions and contributions.

Speakers:

Musheir El-Farra – Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

John Smith – Sheffield Cuba Solidarity Campaign. Author of ‘Imperialism in the 21st Century’.

Maria Vasquez-Aguilar – Chile Solidarity Network (Sheffield)

The meeting will be chaired by Martin Mayer, the Chair of Sheffield Labour Left.

(SLL reserves the right to deny entry.)

Sheffield Labour Left

Sheffield Labour Left (SLL) is a network to help co-ordinate the genuine Labour Party left across the six CLPs covered by Sheffield.

We have a page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldlabourleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 50 bulletins.

We are connected to no other group, but work alongside others whose aims we share to see elected a socialist-led government.  In July 2019 we affiliated to the Labour Left Alliance.


Want to get involved with SLL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.

Sheffield Labour Left at the rally outside the Home Office opposing the hostile environment
 - Sheffield 18 June 2021



Local labour movement meetings and events in July:


Saturday 3rd July:  NHS Anniversary - Rally and demonstration.  Barkers Pool from Noon until 2pm.

Wednesday 21st July:  Sheffield Labour Left open meeting. See box above.

Tuesday 27th July:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) meeting.  All trade union members welcome.  Only delegates can vote.  7.00pm start.

Labour Party Meetings:

Sheffield LCF monthly meeting held 2nd Tuesday of the month.

Brightside & Hillsborough CLP monthly meetings held 1st Thursday of the month.

South East CLP monthly meetings held 3rd Friday of the month.

Central CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.

Hallam CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.

Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month

Heeley CLP monthly meetings held last Thursday of the month.
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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