The battle for Labour Party democracy against Keir Starmer’s Attacks – Rachel Garnham

“There are many hurdles, but in 2017 we showed against all the odds that a left Labour government could be possible. Only through defending, & making the most of, Party democracy can we hope to win in the future.”

Rachel Garnham, CLPD

By Rachel Garnham, Vice Chair, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

Recent elections and polling demonstrate that only through building a coalition of those who want to see a challenge to this profit-before-people, incompetent and corrupt Tory government and who support a society for many not the few, particularly engaging young voters, can we win progressive administrations who will challenge the status quo. To do that we must defend our democratic processes within the Labour Party, trying to ensure our leaderships at every level are in touch with grassroots members and trade unionists and thereby in touch with the communities in which they need to win support to win elections.

This is demonstrated most clearly in Wales, where Mark Drakeford as Leader, elected on a left platform by grassroots members and trade unionists and now governing on a programme of people first, investment not cuts, and supporting public services, has been able to regain majorities in seats lost in 2019 and win a significant victory in the Senedd elections. This is a direct outcome of Party democracy – a huge benefit to people in Wales, and to all of us in demonstrating a centre-left Labour government is not only possible but successful.

Labour was created to represent working people in parliament. To successfully do this we need to grow and inspire our membership, empowering those members, representing ordinary people across the full diversity of the population, to have a genuine influence on candidates and to develop the policies we need to achieve a transformational Labour government.

Our current democratic structures include members’ rights to select candidates, agree policies, and organise at a local level to promote Labour values. But Party democracy is under attack, through imposition of candidates, abuse of disciplinary processes, and Starmer’s disregard of the pledges on which he was elected. We as grassroots members need to continue to defend and make the most of available processes – for example, we must win policies and places on the new National Women’s Committee at Labour Party women’s conference, we have important elections to the Conference Arrangements Committee and National Constitutional Committee over the summer and we have annual conference coming up, where we can promote motions to maintain a left, popular platform and, according to media reports, win a rule change to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.

There are many hurdles, but in 2017 we showed against all the odds that a left Labour government could be possible. Only through defending, and making the most of, Party democracy can we hope to win in the future.

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