The Labour leadership at Keir Starmer’s personal behest have blocked Jeremy Corbyn from standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election. We say Corbyn must stand anyway, as an independent candidate! Huge support from strikers, young people and campaigners could be mobilised into a massive organised campaign to reach every voter in Islington North, securing Jeremy’s re-election. Solidarity groups could be established across Britain to mobilise wider support. This could be the start of building a new struggle-based left party for the hundreds of thousands of people looking for a way to get politically organised to the left of Labour.
There is no shortage of support for left-wing ideas. Up to half a million people joined the Labour Party under his leadership, around half of which have left since Starmer took his place. Labour gained two million votes in 2017 and would have won the election if the campaign had continued longer, or started sooner. With the massive upswing in trade union action over the last year, left-wing ideas have only increased.
‘Splitting the vote’?
Socialist Alternative believes that founding a new party should have been done already. Some people fear ‘splitting the anti-Tory vote’, but while a new party should definitely be about defending Corbyn’s seat and could be an important starting point for developing an electoral alternative to the mainstream capitalist parties, it should not be only, or even primarily, about standing candidates. It should be a means to organise, discuss, mobilise, and bring together the hundreds of thousands who see themselves as socialists with the numerous recent movements against the effects of capitalism on working-class and young people.
A new alternative can cut across the right-wing rhetoric spewed out by the Tories and Starmer and appeal to young and working-class people. Clear policies are needed, such as a £15 minimum wage, secure tenancies and affordable rents, secure contracts at work, an end to misogyny and racism, rebuilding the NHS with funds and a reversal of all cut-backs and sell-offs, rebuilding social care by taking it into public ownership and increasing funding and wages for workers, full public ownership of all privatised services starting with the energy sector, and a socialist climate plan to end the system driving climate breakdown.
Were a new party to be established around Corbyn, it would make sense for the few genuine left MPs who remain in Starmer’s Labour to join it. Nonetheless, it could be the case that, at the next election, some will want to stand candidates against the worst Blairites and Tories. Some will want to support left Labour candidates in other seats. A friendly approach to genuine Labour lefts and supporters is important but the left needs to be outward-looking, concerned mainly with struggle rather than the minutiae of Labour’s internal structures which are dominated nationally by the right-wing.
A crucial task of a new party is to secure Corbyn’s re-election. The strategic task is to build a new mass party rooted in struggle and organising to fight for change. Socialist Alternative will take part in any serious discussions and steps toward building a viable mass left alternative. We will put forward Marxist ideas on policies, strategy and tactics within that process.
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