“Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories” – Dave Nellist
Dave Nellist discusses application to join Labour on the Sunday Politics
Dave Nellist was on the Sunday Politics today discussing the application from 75 expelled Labour Party members, including himself, to rejoin the party and support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Dave was a Labour MP and was expelled in the early 90s for his support for backing the campaign to build non-payment of Thatcher’s Poll Tax. The Sunday Politics said he was “synonymous with the most radical side of Labour.”
During the feature a clip was shown from one of the many meetings held by Militant members fighting the witch-hunt within the party. Two of the speakers on the platform were Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn himself!
Some people in the Labour Party are apparently “terrified” of the prospect of our members being allowed to rejoin. Why is that? Why are our ideas so terrifying to the right-wing “moderates”? Apparently they are to John Spellar MP, who referred to us as “dedicated Trotskyists” with our own organisation.
He also claimed that we “caused trouble” in Coventry. What trouble would that be John? Having a Labour MP elected in 1983 and 1987 on an increased majority? Was it ‘causing trouble’ that Dave only took a workers wage, unlike the majority of politicians who take the massive salaries and claim huge expenses on top?
We are not ashamed of our ideas or methods.
Are we Trotskyists? Guilty.
Are we organised? Guilty.
Do we support Jeremy Corbyn against the so called moderates? Guilty.
Are we Socialists? Guilty.
Are we committed to replacing capitalism with a new type of society that puts the needs of working people and the planet before private profit? Guilty – and proud of it!
We will continue to help organise campaigns against the capitalist austerity cuts that are damaging so many lives. All Labour MPs and Councillors should be doing the same!
Capitalism has long proven that it can not provide even the basics for the majority of the population here in the UK and around the world. We need socialist change more than ever and that explains why Jeremy Corbyn has gained so much support amongst people.
Agree with our ideas? Want to support the “organised Trotskyists” trying to change the world? Get in touch by filling in the form below!
Video: Dave Nellist talk and Q&A at Warwick Politics Society
Dave Nellist, a Coventry Socialist Party member and national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, recently spoke as a guest at a Warwick University Politics Society Q&A event about the current Corbyn movment and battles inside the Labour Party and his experiences as a ‘Militant’ supporting Labour MP.
Dave was elected for Coventry South East in 1983 and took only half an MP’s wage, basing his income on the average skilled workers’ rate in Coventry factories. He was expelled from the Labour Party in 1992 for his refusal to pay the Poll Tax. He was elected as a Socialist Party city councillor in Coventry from 1998 to 2012. Mr Nellist is currently national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which in the last two years has been the sixth largest party in terms of the number of candidates stood at elections.
We would like to thank Warwick Politics Society again for inviting Dave and Warwick Socialist Students for coming along in their numbers to support Dave.
Packed meeting discusses Trotskyism, Corbyn and socialist change
It was “standing room only” at a packed Coventry Socialist Party public meeting on Thursday 25th August.
People came from all over Coventry to hear Socialist Party General Secretary Peter Taaffe speak on “Trotskyism, the Militant tendency, the Corbyn insurgency and the struggle for socialist change.“
Introducing the meeting former Coventry Labour MP Dave Nellist put the current attacks on the Socialist Party, formerly Militant, in their historial context.
Peter Taaffe outlined the role of Trotskyism in the 21st century, the role of Militant and its successes in Liverpool and Coventry, how Militant led the campaign against the poll tax which brought down the Thatcher Government, while also discussing the current Corbyn insurgency and the Socialist Party’s role now and in the future.
Peter discussed the role of the Militant leadership in Liverpool City Council in the 1980’s who refused to make cuts, redundancies and closures, instead setting a needs budget with the support of a mass movement of local trade unions and communities against the Tories to fight for the money the city needed. The council won, with the Thatcher Government providing millions more to Liverpool council, allowing them to build 5000 more houses and created thousands of jobs, with not one job lost!
Compare the fighting stand taken by Liverpool Council who took on Thatcher, building homes and community facilities with Coventry City Council who are closing libraries, public toilets and children’s centres. Quite a contrast!
On the issue of the Poll Tax Peter outlined how it was the Militant that mobilised the mass non-payment which eventually led to the downfall of Thatcher.
Both Dave Nellist in his introduction and Peter in his speech made clear that it was these huge victories of the working class, aided by the leadership of the Militant, that have fuelled the attempts of the establishment and right wing of Labour to whitewash history and attempt to discredit Trotskyism and the history of the Socialist Party.
He also discussed the success of Dave Nellist and the precedent he set as Coventry MP in only taking the average wage of skilled workers within his constituency, with Peter highlighting that you can only represent working people if you’re going through the same struggles they are, which came up within the contributions with many commending him for doing so.
Talking about the role of the Socialist Party after being expelled from the Labour Party, Peter set out how we have been the only 100% anti austerity alternative within politics. While many would agree that the election of Corbyn was a massive victory for the labour movement, this is undermined when the likes of Sadiq Khan aren’t helping those being evicted in Walthamstow by rip off landlords and it is the Socialist Party that is organising occupations and protests to help these people.
However, Peter argued that the Socialist Party would welcome affiliation to the Labour Party similar to that of the Co-operative Party, if the Labour Party was to open up its structures to a more democratic and federal structure and was to become a truly anti-austerity party as Corbyn and the Socialist Party both want.
Following Peter’s remarks there were many interesting contributions from the floor, from Labour voters arguing for deselection of right-wing MP’s and their disgust at Labour councillors passing on Tory cuts to working people. With another attendee stating that “if [he] hadn’t have joined [the SP] last week, [he] definitely would have tonight!”
The discussion brought forward many good contributions and questions for example the campaign for a £10/hr minimum wage and whether this was “idealistic”, to which Peter argued that in reality tax credits are used to subsidize big companies who, whilst making massive profits, say they can’t afford a proper wage for their workers.
The key question for socialists is the question of the system itself, capitalism. We are a very rich country (and world), the problem is the wealth is concentrated at the top. We support all reforms and campaigns that fight for greater equality and for a better life for working class people. At the same time, we point out that we need to get rid of the capitalist system and replace it with socialism.
As well as this there was resounding support for the demand that Coventry City Council should set a no cuts budget and stop the cuts being passed on to working people, and instead building a movement much like the Liverpool council and taking on the Tories instead of doing their job for them, with this tying in to how to further build the movement against austerity.
The meeting highlighted that the attacks on Trotskyism and the Militant have not deterred people, but have increased the interest in our ideas and organisation with the meeting filled with many young people and also people of all ages. They were not put off by the term ‘Trot’ or ‘entryist’ and instead wanted to learn more about it. One union rep from the railways commented afterwards “I have learnt so much today and am definitely looking forward to Socialism 2016 in November!”
The following letter has been sent to The Guardian following an article dated 10/08/16 (see link below).
In the penultimate paragraph it states “Of the Labour MPs who had been backed by Militant, Wall died in 1990, Fields was expelled from the party in 1991 and Nellist was deselected, eventually losing his seat in the 1992 election where he stood under the banner of Independent Labour.”
With increased interest in socialist ideas, we believe it is important that the events are reported correctly and factually.
An article on 10 August 2016 states that Dave Nellist former Coventry Labour MP was ‘deselected’
If you are to write a potted history of Militant, could you please get it right.
Dave Nellist was not deselected. He was expelled by Neil Kinnock and Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).
In fact, under the system of that time of re-selection of MP’s every parliamentary term, Dave was re-selected by his constituency Labour Party – Coventry South East – by a huge majority.
He was not removed by local Labour Party members, but by the national ‘machine’.
The NEC moved to expel Dave at the Labour conference of 1991, completed the job at a shoddy hearing in West Bromwich at the end of 1991, and sought to impose a candidate on us. We in Coventry South East Labour Party would not accept losing our popular MP who lived ‘on a workers wage’.
Such was Dave’s support that our Labour Party continued to support Dave even after he was expelled and as a consequence the constituency (that had built a record high membership) was undemocratically closed down by the Kinnock supporting NEC and was later to have over 125 members expelled for their resistance.
As a postscript, can I say that ourselves and Dave Nellist were very happy to accept the regular re-selection of MP’s. It was to ensure that they did not become a separate caste from the broader Party and more closely pursued the policies of the Labour Party, something few MP’s at the time did.
Given the outrageous behaviour of many Labour MP’s over recent months, that democratic accountability seems to me to be something that would have been, and will be, very helpful to Labour members.
Yours, David Griffiths, former member of Coventry South East Labour Party management committee
Tom Watson attacks the Trotskyists
Recent days have seen the deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, as part of the campaign to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn attack the Socialist Party, labeling us as Trotskyists. But who was Trotsky, and what is Trotskyism?
Leon Trotsky was a leader of the Russian Revolution, the first time that the working class successfully took power. When the Russian Revolution degenerated and a bureaucratic regime came in to being headed up by Joseph Stalin, it was Leon Trotsky who fought against Stalin to defend the original aims of the Russian Revolution – standing up for world revolution and for workers democracy. Trotsky, and innumerable supporters of the ideas of genuine socialism ultimately sacrificed their lives in the fight against Stalin. Indeed Trotsky was assassinated by a Stalinist agent.
The Socialist Party is proud to stand in the tradition of Leon Trotsky – Watson thinks it is a term of abuse. In our view it is a badge of honour.
Our party, and our forerunner organisation the Militant, has a proud record of fighting for ordinary people . For example helping to organise the historic fight against Thatcher’s poll tax which not only beat the hated tax but also got rid of the so called Iron Lady, campaigning against PFI and privatisation in our NHS and stopping evictions due to the hated Tory Bedroom tax. These are just a few examples. There are many more.
We fight against the cuts and austerity, but also against the capitalist system itself and put forward a socialist alternative not just in this country but across the world.
People like Tom Watson, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock hate Trotskyists and genuine socialists – because we believe that the Labour Party and the trade unions should be under the control of the members, not Blairites who have no interest in standing up for ordinary people. The effort that they went to in expelling Dave Nellist from the Labour Party shows the lengths they will go to.
We invite everyone to look at this article from the national website of the Socialist Party to find out more about the real ideas of Leon Trotsky.
Importantly, now more than ever we need the ideas and programme of Marxism, Trotskyism and genuine democratic socialism to defend Jeremy Corbyn and to build the fight against capitalism.
We urge you to fill in the form below to find out more and get involved!
A referendum day message from Dave Nellist
Please read and share the message below from Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Chair and Socialist Party member Dave Nellist about today’s EU referendum.
The European Union is Thatcherism being developed on a continental scale, a club for bosses designed to make it harder to fight capitalism.
Isn’t it odd that those who wouldn’t trust the UK Tories an inch somehow go all misty eyed about the undemocratic EU, where laws are made by the 28 heads of EU governments – 27 of which we didn’t elect – 2/3 of them Tories, and all of them in favour of implementing austerity!
The EU really should stand for Employers Union. It hasn’t given us equal pay, paid holiday or maternity rights, unions have had to fight for those things and unions will still have to fight to keep them.
If the EU was really on the side of workers there would be a minimum wage across the continent, something like €13 an hour, so people didn’t have to move thousands of miles to get a decent job. Instead the EU, together with the European Central Bank and the IMF, is implementing brutal austerity against the people of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and especially Greece.
So, if you hate austerity from Westminster or Brussels you get the chance to vote against both today!
Let’s vote Leave and remove an obstacle to nationalisation of rail, post, gas, electricity and steel. But don’t stop there – we need a new internationalism to combat the regional and global problems of poverty, forced migration, wars and global warming, one based on socialist planning and cooperation, not capitalist competition and markets.
And if we get Leave and David Cameron goes, let’s not worry about the debate on who should be the next leader of the Tory Party. Jeremy Corbyn and the unions should demand an immediate General Election so we can replace this Tory government with one on the side of working people!
Coventry Socialist Party will be holding an open meeting on June 29th discussing the aftermath of the referendum.