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Putting People First, Not Profits – Nadia Jama, Labour NEC candidate

“As a party, and as a country, we can’t go back to business as usual. There is another way, but we’ll have to fight for it together – and that’s why I’m asking for your support in this election.”

Nadia Jama.

I’m Nadia Jama and I’m standing to be your voice on Labour’s NEC. I grew up immersed in the values of solidarity and community that should be at the heart of our movement. My grandad was a Liverpool docker and my dad was a Sheffield steelworker. I spent my childhood on an estate a few miles from the police riot outside the Orgreave coking plant in the ’84-85 miners strike.

I’m the child of a working-class migrant family in a community decimated by Thatcher’s Tory government. That was always going to shape my socialist politics – speaking out for working class people and ensuring their voice is heard. That’s why I joined the Labour Party, fighting hard for our 2017 and 2019 manifestos, and it’s why I’m standing in this election – because it’s our task now to fight for those policies, to defend them and develop them. They’re the blueprint for a fairer, more equal and just society where people really matter.

As the public health, economic and environmental crises bite, those people-powered politics are more relevant than ever. The last ten years of austerity have left us badly prepared to face these challenges. The pandemic highlights the inequalities that have been allowed to fester under the Tories – while living standards plummeted, profits for big business soared. The Black Lives matter movement has shown us the disproportionate effect this has had on Black people.

That can’t continue. We can’t allow corporations to make a killing from the crisis. Any bailouts shouldn’t be for bosses and shareholders, but for ensuring workers keep their jobs and livelihoods, putting people first – not profits.

When you put people first, you fully fund our NHS, providing a modern, well-resourced service for people at their time of need. You fund an education system that’s free to all, throughout their life, and public services that benefit the community – not shareholders. It means fixing the crisis in social care and implementing a real social security system. For too many, our “safety net” is a symbol of fear, with its harsh uncaring measures that pit people against each other and where poverty is rife for whole sections of our society.

To put people first you empower them in their communities and their workplaces. We need to strengthen trade union rights and invest in our economy to produce good, well-paid unionised jobs. That also means public ownership of key utilities and our transport system, and a Green New Deal to create sustainable energy and infrastructure, facilitating a just transition to net-zero emissions and climate justice for the Global South.

Because standing up and speaking out for communities shouldn’t end at our borders. It’s right that Labour is an internationalist party. When you put people first, you have an ethical foreign policy that implements arms controls to prevent aiding wars and persecution – which stands for solidarity and human rights across the globe. That’s why I joined a delegation to the West Bank to hear from the people there about life under occupation, and it’s why I’ll continue to amplify the voices of Palestinians calling for self-determination.     

I’m standing in this election because I want a Labour Party that gives people power over their lives and their communities – that strengthens the grassroots voice of our movement, embedded in our workplaces and our communities. That has to start with our party.

The Tories have millionaire donors; we have our members and our power to organise. Time and time again members have got it right on policy. We need more opportunities to make a difference in the party – more of a say over our campaigning and our political platform. We have to resist moves to erode our party democracy. Key decisions about policy and how our party works shouldn’t be made by a handful of people in a committee room, or a zoom meeting; they’re for our annual conference – for our members – to decide.

As a party, and as a country, we can’t go back to business as usual. There is another way, but we’ll have to fight for it together – and that’s why I’m asking for your support in this election.

  • Nadia Jama is one of 6 Centre Left Grassroots Alliance candidates for Labour’s NEC. Please also support Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Ann Henderson, Laura Pidcock, and Mish Rahman. Share and more info here.

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