The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th March 2017

The key to Labour victory

TREACHEROUS Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, has taken yet another underhanded shot at his own party by announcing to the right-wing media that there is a plot between Jon Lansman, the man who founded and owns the Momentum organisation, and Len McCluskey, leader of the giant union Unite, to take over the Labour Party and change the nature of the party completely.

This is a ridiculous claim on so many levels it is breath taking, yet the BBC and all of the rest of the right-wing media gang are happy to swallow this unsubstantiated fake news.

Lansman is no left-winger. He has used underhanded and totally undemocratic Blairite tactics to impose his own control on the Momentum organisation that grew exponentially in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s sudden rise to the leadership of the party. It attracted thousands of former Labour working class activists driven out by Tony Blair’s deconstruction of the internal democratic structures of the party, and others who had never joined because they saw Labour as incorrigibly right-wing supporting privatisation, imperialist war and the Tory austerity programme.

When members of Momentum started to try to create a democratic structure within the group Lansman seized control and drove out the best and most experienced activists, labelling them all as Trotskyists and entryists. Politically Lansman and McCluskey have nothing in common.

Unite the union reacted furiously to Watson’s allegations, seeing this as an attempt by Watson to interfere in the union’s current leadership election, in which McCluskey is standing for re-election.

And Momentum, as a part of the Labour Party, is just as entitled as any other group — like Progress, the Fabians and so on — to try to assert its policies within the party and to get its supporters elected to official positions. The affiliated unions also have this right — they founded the party and largely finance it. Many MPs are sponsored by unions and part of their job is to voice the concerns of the workers in Parliament. There is nothing undemocratic about that — except in the eyes of Tom Watson and the right-wing media.

But, with the imminent signing of Article 50 to formally start the negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union, many backbench Tories are clamouring for a snap general election.

To stand any chance of winning Labour needs is old structure of thousands of volunteer activists to go out knocking on doors and talking to people face-to-face. Labour, with Corbyn as leader, is not going to be able to use the right-wing media to put its case to the people. The media — and some Blairite MPs — never waste a day without demonising Corbyn.

Most voters are cynical about what the media tells them now. But they are left uninformed and confused — and convinced Labour is hopelessly divided — unless Labour volunteer Labour activists come and knock on their doors and have a conversation with them. Lansman seems to be dead set on preventing turning the thousands of Corbyn supporters into just that desperately needed army of volunteers.

But the big affiliated unions could provide such an army of young and willing volunteers. They did so a few years ago in the early days of Hope not Hate, when they mobilised thousands to combat the racist hate lies of the British National Party that were being told to people on their doorsteps (the BNP were well aware of the value of door-to-door work and gaining ground). The BNP was quickly consigned to history because of those masses of trade union volunteers. Not just Unite — also Unison, the NUT, PCS and many others.

Local volunteers add very little to election expenses totals but are more powerful than the biggest advertising hoardings, newspaper adverts and so on.

And there is nothing like being out on the streets with your comrades from other unions and groups to build solidarity and to learn the logistics of organised activity, to give confidence to the foot soldiers of the future army of the working class.