Trotskyism, the Militant tendency and the Corbyn insurgency – Coventry public meeting

Trotskyism, the Militant tendency and the Corbyn insurgency – Coventry public meeting

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A leaflet we have been distributing for the meeting – text below

Thursday 25th August, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall. Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

The Socialist Party has had a lot of media coverage over the last few weeks, after Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson claimed that Trotskyists were joining the Labour Party and “twisting young arms” to support Jeremy Corbyn. He then submitted a “dossier” to back up his claims, which included reports from Socialist Party members about events they had spoken at. All these reports showed that, rather than secretly joining the party, we are openly attending events as the Socialist Party and putting forward our views – but this didn’t stop the media widely sharing Watson’s claims. These attacks on the Socialist Party, and our predecessor organisation Militant, show how scared the Labour Party right-wing are of genuine socialist ideas.

We have organised a public meeting in Coventry on Thursday 25th August, with former Militant Editorial Board member and Socialist Party General Secretary Peter Taaffe speaking – as seen on Channel 4 news! If you want to hear about the real ideas of the Socialist Party, rather than media distortions, come to the meeting and find out what we stand for.

The deputy leader of the Labour Party has laid the responsibility of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity at the feet of supposed Trotskyist infiltrators.

Why has the Labour Party right wing and the media suddenly become interested in the influence of Leon Trotsky; one of the leaders of the Russian revolution who dedicated his life fighting for socialism and against Stalinism?

The Socialist Party proudly stands in the tradition of Trotsky in fighting for the working class and fighting for democratic socialism.

It was the Socialist Party, then Militant, who led the mass non-payment of the poll tax which was scrapped and led to the defeat of Thatcher.

In recent years Socialist Party members have been at the forefront of fights against privatisation, the bedroom tax and attacks on workers and young people.

It is these ideas that the right are scared of and are trying to discredit.

A programme to improve the lives of majority and a strategy to win. We’re fighting for a different kind of society – a socialist society where the world’s resources are controlled and planned for the good of all not for the profits of a few.

Thursday 25th August, 7.30pm, Coventry Methodist Central Hall. Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

Communication Workers Union backs Jeremy Corbyn

Communication Workers Union backs Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn with CWU general secretary Dave Ward – pic from BBC

The below article by Coventry Socialist Party and CWU member Lenny Shail was carried in this weeks issue of The Socialist newspaper. The trade unions have a key role in building support for Jeremy. 

A special press conference organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) alongside Jeremy Corbyn himself, saw the union announce its official support for Corbyn in the Labour leadership election.

Before the press conference, a special political briefing by CWU general secretary Dave Ward on behalf of the union’s executive committee was given to branch representatives, explaining the unanimous decision of the executive committee to continue support for Corbyn.

Dave highlighted the significance of motion 47 from CWU conference that was passed, which “predicted the attacks” and the need for the union to do everything it could to organise to defend Corbyn against the right-wing Blairites. Motion 47 was moved and seconded by Socialist Party members at the conference in May.

A small number of CWU branch officers in attendance, who were often the main speakers in opposition to any motions calling for an end to the union’s blind support for New Labour before Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, were the only opposition to the decision.

Brian Kenny from Merseyside branch, before Dave Ward had even spoken, demanded to know why Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith hadn’t been invited. Another branch officer simply reminded the meeting and Brian that the CWU is independent of the Labour Party and can do what it wants in the interests of its members!

It will be of no surprise to many to hear that Brian Kenny also happens to be a Labour councillor in Wirral.

Mobilise for Jeremy Corbyn

Socialist Party members and others at the meeting raised that the immediate task is to mobilise in support of Corbyn’s re-election – pointing to the many #keepcorbyn rallies and meetings that have taken place across the country. But to also consolidate the mass support for Corbyn by organising and preparing to remake Labour as a socialist, working class party that really can be a voice for the 99%.

The scaremongering threats of a Labour split that were raised by the tiny number of Smith supporters were answered simply by one Socialist Party member: ”Let the Blairites go and if they don’t, mandatory re-selection is needed to kick them all out and the same with the cuts-making councillors”.

The need for an overhaul in the democratic structures of the Labour Party and opening up to the workers’ and socialist movement, and a return to a federal structure, was raised and received support.

Socialist Party members speaking at the meeting finished by making the case for a fighting socialist programme of renationalisation of key industries including the whole of the communications industry, workers’ rights, better pay, more affordable housing and defence of the NHS, etc, to inspire and win over the mass of working class to the battle against the Blairites, Tories and austerity itself.

Jeremy Corbyn gave a passionate speech to end the meeting with a call to arms for CWU members to get involved in the fight for his re-election and change the course of the Labour Party.

We very much welcome and support Jeremy’s clear call for Royal Mail to be taken back into public ownership, however it was unfortunate that when asked by the press whether he would support the renationalisation of British Telecom he said that wasn’t being considered.

The Socialist Party supports the complete renationalisation of Royal Mail and BT but we would go further and call for all the main postal and telecommunications industries to be brought under genuine democratic workers’ control and public ownership – to be run in the interests of society as a whole and not the profits of major private communications companies.

Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

Coventry Labour MP Fletcher joins anti-Corbyn coup

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Colleen Fletcher MP

Colleen Fletcher, Labour MP for Coventry North East, resigned from her secretarial position today as part of the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn. Fletcher, who was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Kerry McCarthy MP, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, has also called for Jeremy to resign as Labour leader.

Fletcher’s resignation will have come as a shock to many, not because she was seen as a Corbyn supporter but because they did not realise she had a PPS position to resign from. Despite this, she has resigned in an attempt by the right-wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party to force Jeremy to resign as Labour leader. Like many MPs she is completely out of touch with the daily struggles of the ordinary working people she claims to represent. When heroic junior doctors went on strike in Coventry, with a picket line at Walsgrave Hospital in the heart of her constituency, Fletcher was nowhere to be seen – but when there’s a chance to attack the elected leader of the Labour Party she grabs it with both hands!

Jeremy is rightly resisting these attacks, and his supporters inside and outside the party are building a movement to defend him, including a petition which now has over 200,000 signatures and a demonstration outside Parliament. The Blairite coup has been on the cards since Jeremy became leader, and is now in full voice – we need to come out fighting to defend him.

Nicky Downes, who stood as a Socialist candidate against Fletcher in the 2015 elections, said “There is clear support for Jeremy from the public, with 10,000 people on the streets tonight at a protest in favour of his leadership. Colleen Fletcher has shown her true colours by resigning from the shadow cabinet along with the Blairites. It’s time to deselect her. Coventry needs an MP that will share Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to austerity and fight for this city.”

A crucial weapon for those who want to defend the leadership of Corbyn and John McDonnell is to demand the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of MPs, meaning that local Labour Party members can hold them to account for their actions. Jeremy could even go further and remove the Labour whip from the plotters who are attempting to remove him!

Labour members and Corbyn supporters in Coventry North East who are angered by Fletcher’s actions should mobilise and pass a motion in their constituency party condemning her actions and demanding she faces reselection before a general election is held.

Jeremy is absolute right to stand up to the plotters and should continue to do so, and fight to defend his leadership in a fresh contest if necessary. We will continue to support his leadership as part of the fight for an anti-austerity party that will represent ordinary people.

Public Meeting – What next after Corbyn’s Victory?

Jeremy Corbyn victory!

* POPULARITY OF ANTI-AUSTERITY IDEAS CONFIRMED

* NOW THE BATTLE TO CREATE AN ANTI-AUSTERITY PARTY BEGINS


 Coventry Socialist Party Public Meeting – all welcome!

After the Labour Party leadership Election…Can Jeremy Corbyn change Labour?..What next after the result?

Thursday 24th September 7.30pm @ Coventry Methodist Central Hall

Warwick Lane, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA

Speaker: Dave Nellist

A former ‘Militant’ Labour MP, Coventry Socialist Party Councillor & now National Chair of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition. Dave was expelled from the Labour Party along with thousands of other Militant supporters for their Socialist ideas & views in the early 90’s.

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Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn marching

Dave Nellist and Jeremy Corbyn marching


This is a historic moment. Nothing will be the same again. For decades Westminster politics has meant nothing but right-wing, pro-big business politics.

A handful of left Labour MPs like Jeremy Corbyn voted against austerity, war and the undermining of democracy but their isolated voices were largely drowned out.

Now the pro-austerity consensus has been smashed with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party with 59.5% of the vote.

The hopes have been raised of millions who want to see a society for the 99% not the 1%.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn, however, is only the beginning. Throughout the election the right wing that dominates the Labour Party and the capitalist media have done everything in their power to try and stop Corbyn winning.

Tens of thousands of people have been ruled out of voting in the leadership election, overwhelmingly Corbyn supporters.

But nothing has worked, on the contrary the attacks on Corbyn from Blair, Brown, Mandelson and the rest have only increased his support.

Deeply disillusioned with the establishment politicians, hundreds of thousands of people have seized the opportunity created by Jeremy Corbyn’s presence on the Labour leadership ballot to begin to create a political voice for their anti-austerity views.

Even ultra-Blairite Liz Kendall was forced to admit that Corbyn had “mobilised and enthused vast numbers of people in a way we haven’t seen for decades.” In the face of that enthusiasm the Labour right has been forced back.

It is ruled out that the Labour right will accept defeat and simply allow the Labour Party to be shifted left by Corbyn and his supporters.

Legal challenges or immediate attempts to launch a coup against Corbyn still cannot be totally ruled out but are not likely given the scale of his victory.
It is clear, however, that the Labour right will attempt to imprison and undermine Corbyn with the aim of removing him as soon as possible.

In doing so they will have the full support of the capitalist establishment. Thatcher considered Blair and New Labour were her greatest success.

Labour had been transformed into a party that could be relied on to act in the interests of the 1%. There will now be a huge campaign, putting what has happened during the election into the shade, to try and once again make sure that the voice of the majority – the working class – is once again extinguished within the Labour Party.

How can onslaught from right be defeated?

Jeremy Corbyn will not be able to defeat the onslaught he will face if he remains isolated within the constraints of the right-wing dominated Labour Party machine.

There are only nine members of the socialist group of MPs of which he is a member. To win he needs to build on the popular movement against austerity that found a voice in his election campaign.

Much of his support has come from the ‘outside’ – new members and registered supporters who were attracted by the hope of something different.

This is a new party in the process of formation. Many of those are a new generation of young people, alongside some returning former members.

As a starting point we would urgently encourage Jeremy Corbyn to organise a huge conference of all those who support him, including the many trade unions – including non-affiliated unions like the RMT, PCS and FBU – which support a fighting anti-austerity programme.

The Socialist Party would participate in such a conference and would encourage all other anti-austerity campaigners to do the same.
Part of the transformation of Labour into a pro-capitalist party has been the complete destruction of the democracy which previously existed.

Labour ‘moderates’ are already bleating that the left would ‘seize the party’s levers of power’ under Corbyn’s leadership.

What they mean by this is “giving more control over policy to the annual conference and the National Executive Committee and less influence to the Parliamentary Labour Party” (The Independent 11.09.15).

In other words restoring some of the party democracy that existed in the past! They are also hysterically attacking any attempt to re-select MPs.

Yet the right to re-select MPs just means the democratic right of a party’s members to replace an MP that has voted against the party’s policies.

That should be uncontroversial. However, it is not a surprise it upsets Labour MPs who have voted for welfare cuts, austerity and war.

Jeremy Corbyn should fight to implement every one of the democratic measures which so terrifies Labour’s right wing, including restoring the collective voice of the organised working class, via the trade unions, within the party.

At the same time the party should be opened up. All those who have been forced out or expelled in the past for fighting against cuts and for socialist ideas should be invited back.

The Corbyn campaign has raised the idea of using social media and virtual democracy to hold policy consultations.

Such methods can play a useful supplementary role but defeating the pro-big business elements that dominate the Labour machine will require mass, active participation.

Socialist ideas popular

The capitalist media has united in insisting that a Corbyn-led Labour Party is unelectable. They will do their best to make it so, but it isn’t true! On the contrary, the latest polling from Lord Ashcroft gives 52% of people agreeing that a ‘radical socialist alternative would be a good thing’.

The population is far to the left of the establishment politicians. For example, 68%, 67% and 66% support renationalisation of the energy companies, the Royal Mail and the railway companies respectively.

The last general election has already shown the popularity of anti-austerity ideas. While ‘austerity-lite’ Labour was almost annihilated in Scotland the SNP, despite implementing austerity policies in Scotland, was able to sweep the board by promising to oppose austerity in Westminster.
Meanwhile, despite hatred for the Con-Dem government, Labour in England and Wales was only able to regain the support of a million of the over four million votes it has lost since 1997.

Disillusioned Labour voters did not, in the overwhelming majority of cases, vote Tory but voted for parties that they saw as protesting against the establishment – or stayed at home and did not vote at all.

Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for nationalisation of rail and the energy companies, a £10 an hour minimum wage, free education, council house building, and repeal of the anti-union laws have already enthused millions.

Nonetheless, the programme Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has presented in his written programme is actually quite limited.

He has raised the popular idea of a ‘people’s QE’ but has not drawn all the conclusions about what would be necessary to implement such a policy.

He merely calls for ‘meaningful regulation of the banking sector’ rather than for nationalisation of the banks under democratic control, for example.

Part of building a successful movement against austerity would be a democratic discussion on how to permanently defeat it.

Within such a discussion the Socialist Party would argue that would require the need for the nationalisation – under democratic working class control – of the major companies and banks that dominate the economy.

Only in this way would it be possible to begin to build a democratic socialist society planned to meet the needs of the majority instead of having, as at present, a society driven by maximising the profits of the 1%.

For councillors who fight the cuts

Local councils will be a central battleground in the struggle to create an anti-austerity party. Jeremy Corbyn has rightly made the call for councils to stand together and refuse to implement government cuts.

Over 450 councillors have signed up to support Jeremy Corbyn. This is significant, but it is barely 6% of the total number of Labour councillors.

Unfortunately, the majority of Labour candidates in the next year’s council elections will still be pro-austerity.

Council services have already been cut by 39%. We cannot accept Labour councillors continuing to slash more.

The experience of Syriza in Greece, where the leadership of an anti-austerity party capitulated to the pressure of big business and is now implementing austerity, shows that defeating austerity requires a determined struggle.

To accept pro-austerity Labour councillors continuing to slash jobs and services would be to prepare the ground for the defeat of the movement that has begun with Jeremy Corbyn’s election.

The Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) which was co-founded by Bob Crow the late general secretary of the RMT transport workers’ union in order to stand anti-austerity candidates in elections.

TUSC will assist in next year’s council elections, by supporting Labour candidates who clearly pledge to vote against cuts and at the same time standing against those who say they will continue to axe local services.

For a mass party of the working class

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory has lifted the confidence of all those who oppose austerity and has already dealt a blow to the establishment.

However if the right succeed in containing and undermining him the danger is that those drawn around Corbyn’s campaign will become disillusioned and leave.

If he is removed at any stage it is vital that all the conclusions are drawn about the viability of Labour as a vehicle to continue the struggle against austerity.

We urgently need a mass party for the working class that can spearhead a struggle against austerity. The route to this is not straightforward.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s victory and, above all, the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of anti-austerity young people and workers that have ensured that victory are an important step forward.

Blue Coat School Strike – report & pictures from the picket line

Blue Coat School Strike – report & pictures from the picket line

By Kris O’Sullivan

On the Thursday 3rd September members of the NUT went on strike at Blue Coat academy in Coventry in direct response to the attack on the working conditions of teaching / school staff imposed by management.

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This has been an ongoing process for an significant amount of time as union reps have been trying to negotiate with management for nearly a year now to restore original contracts.

However this strike is due to changes in performance measuring standards alongside additional significant changes being made with no consultation, with teachers only finding out via the school’s website!

This is all being done in the background of a sweep of redundancies both mandatory and voluntary, TA employment decimated, admin/cleaning staff laid off etc.

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There was a very good turnout from NUT members and great show of support from local parents, pupils, members of other trade unions and the local community, as many can empathize with the detrimental treatment of workers of Blue coat and ultimately the effect on the pupils themselves.

Further strike action is planned next week on Thursday September 10th.

Socialist Party members visited the Picket line and sent messages of support to the striking teachers.

Socialist Party members visited the Picket line and sent messages of support to the striking teachers.