“Labour needs a coalition based not on waving flags or attempting to appeal to the law-&-order imperial nostalgia of Tory voters, but based on a vision of society that unites everyone.”Sam Browse
By Sam Browse, Arise
It was Rosa Luxemburg who said ‘if you don’t move you won’t feel your chains’.
In 2015, people moved, and that movement found expression in the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn, propelling him into the leadership of the largest left party in Europe.
The conditions leading to that eruption haven’t fundamentally changed; they have intensified. Our socialist solutions were the only solutions then – and so they are now.
The economy has pitched from juddering stagnation into nosedive. The “muscular liberalism” that conceived the interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya has transformed into an out-and-out imperial nostalgia. And the racist “go home vans” have been matched in deed by the scandal of Windrush and the latest deportation of black British people.
All the while the climate emergency has become more urgent, while the Tories fiddle with the same market solutions that created the crises in the first place.
But still people continue to fight.
From the NHS workers demanding a 15% pay rise.
All those workers demanding an end to poverty sick pay and end to the scandal of fire and rehire tactics.
The BLM activists tearing down the monuments to our colonial past.
The countless young people protesting their right not to inherit a burning planet.
The 100s of 1000s who marched for the rights of Palestinians just a few weekends ago.
The heroic Glasgow community that lay beneath the border control buses to stop the deportation of one their own.
And I might also add all those who will be attending the People’s Assembly demonstration on the 26th June – which you should all attend.
People continue to strain against the chains.
So the Labour Party has a choice, it can stand aside and watch – or even worse, become the jailer, cracking down on its own internal democracy to prevent discussion and democracy, and the tide of those movements from flooding into the party.
Or it can be the instrument for breaking those chains and unfettering all those who fight to put people before profit. That’s our task – to aid that transformation and bring those struggles into the party so that Labour becomes not only the tribune of our members but of the movement in our streets, in our communities and in our workplaces struggling for a better world.
That means forming a coalition based not on waving flags or attempting to appeal to the law-and-order imperial nostalgia of Tory voters.
But based on a vision of society that unites everyone – from the so-called Red Wall to the city centres – in defending and extending living standards.
And offering a place for Britain in the world that engages constructively with the decline of American empire and the new multipolar realities.
So that’s our choice and the choice of all people who claim to be progressive. Because, comrades, the people are moving – they are straining against their chains, and the only things that will break those chains are the white heat of our solidarity and the strong and steady beating of our socialism. Thank you and solidarity!
- This piece is based on Sam Browse from Arise’s speech at the Socialist Solutions to the Crisis – Taking on the Tories, Building a Fighting Labour Left event on June 12. You can watch the whole event here.