The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 15th February 2019

Preparing the movement for future struggles

by New Worker correspondent

MEMBERS and delegates from affiliated organisations, including the New Communist Party (NCP), attended the annual conference of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) in London last Saturday.

The LRC was established in 2004 by left-wing Labour Party members, MPs and trade unionists who want to restore the Labour Party to its original socialist roots.

The NCP affiliated to the LRC in 2005 and a number of party members and supporters took part in this year’s conference, including NCP leader Andy Brooks as well as National Chair Alex Kempshall and Theo Russell from the Central Committee.

Although membership and affiliations were slightly up, this was not reflected in the turn-out at Student Central however, the home of London students that was formerly known as the University of London Union (ULU). Just 127 LRC activists took part in the one-day conference, which largely opted to close ranks around the policy statement of the National Executive Committee. This was reflected in the defeat of motions to the left of the LRC mainstream, including an NCP motion on taxation, others on Zionism, and at elections that saw most candidates returned unopposed.

Fire Brigades Union leader Matt Wrack and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made important contributions to the general discussion on where Labour is going in the run-up to a possible general election this year. Walter Wolfgang, the veteran Labour activist, moved the Labour CND motion on peace that was passed unanimously.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn — one of the leading founders of the LRC — to the leadership of the party in 2016 and the crushing defeat of a Blairite challenge the following year has led to a mass influx of new Corbyn supporters into the party. With over 550,000 individual members, Labour is now the biggest party in western Europe. How to reach out to them and to the other left pressure groups inside Labour was another key topic in the afternoon’s discussion.

Finally, in what has become an LRC tradition, the conference closed with a rousing speech from Ian Hodson, leader of the Bakers’ Foods and Allied Workers’ Union, followed by the singing of the Red Flag and the Internationale.