“I am determined to stay and do whatever I can to contribute to the fight for socialist values and policies from within the Party. I have found my role as CLP Women’s Officer to be a good antidote to despair and despondency.”
By Carmen Williams, Mid-Bedfordshire CLP Women’s Officer
At a time when we are witnessing a ruthless attack by the Party leadership against the socialist principles that have always been at the core of Labour, it is understandably difficult for thousands of members to remain motivated to stay and remain active.
Years ago, I resigned from the Party as the then leader Kinnock accelerated his own crusade against the left, reformed the Party’s policies and eased the way for Blair’s New Labour, in his (failed) attempt to gain power.
This time around, however, I am determined to stay and do whatever I can to contribute to the fight for socialist values and policies from within the Party. I have found my role as CLP Women’s Officer to be a good antidote to despair and despondency, a great springboard for opportunities to get actively involved on various fronts and an opportunity to maintain a left-leaning agenda not only in our Women’s Group activities but also in full CLP meetings.
We have passed excellent motions in support of industrial disputes. Women members have played an important role organising trips to picket lines where our CLP banner has proudly supported local Royal Mail workers and RMT members on strike.
As Women’s Officer I have organised informal get-togethers in the park every summer. The main focus of last summer was to organise support for one of our members, as she prepared to undertake a 79-mile circular walk to raise funds for Luton Food Bank and awareness about food poverty in Central Bedfordshire.
We make sure our Women’s Group brings motions and nominations to the CLP to ensure we are actively involved in the Annual Women’s Conference. In recent years we tabled successful motions on women and Covid, Palestinian women, and the UCU dispute on pay and working conditions.
I was very pleased to work with sisters in the unions and other CLPs to put together composites, and then speak on motions that went on to become the policy of Labour’s women’s organisation. I also consider an important part of my WO role to support the National Women’s Committee, their drive to facilitate the creation of Women’s Branches and their efforts to regain the stand-alone National Women’s Conference that women Party members need.
- Carmen William is the Women’s Officer for Mid-Bedfordshire Constituency Labour Party.
- This article is reproduced from the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) briefing, “Labour activists – for the many, not the few – How Labour Party activists can organise in their CLP in pursuit of a radical agenda,” it explores in detail how grassroots activists can still make a real difference in the party. You can read it in full here.
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