Socialist expelled from Labour to speak in Coventry

Socialist expelled from Labour to speak in Coventry

hannah_mv

Hannah Sell

Hannah Sell, the Socialist Party deputy general secretary, who served alongside Tony Benn on the Labour Party’s ruling national executive committee (1988/89) will be speaking at the Party’s public meeting at 7.30pm Thursday 12th May at the Methodist Hall, Hertford St/New Union Street, Coventry City Centre. The meeting will look at the outcome of the local elections, the battle between Jeremy Corbyn and the Blairites, the splits in the Tories over the EU refendum, the global fight for socialism and much more.

Originally from the West Midlands, Ms Sell helped lead school student strikes in 1985  against Thatcher’s YTS Slave labour scheme, later becoming a leader of the Labour party Young Socialists. A former elected member of the labour Party National Executive Committee (1988-89), Hannah was expelled from the Labour Party along with thousands of other Militant supporters for their Socialist ideas & views in the late 80’s & early 90’s.

The Facebook event for the meeting is here

 

 

Dave Nellist letter of reply to Owen Jones in Guardian

The letter below from Coventry Socialist Party member and TUSC national chair Dave Nellist was published in todays Guardian (Monday 17th March) in reply to a recent article in the paper by Owen Jones.

bob and dave

Dave Nellist with Bob Crow on a lobby of the TUC

It’s a shame that in an article of over 1,600 words Owen Jones couldn’t bring himself to seriously discuss the political projects that Bob Crow was actually involved in (‘Don’t mourn. Organise’, 15 March). But perhaps that fits a narrative Owen wishes to promote, that there is no future for any electoral politics outside Labour. Bob, however, saw the creation of a new political voice for working people, rooted in the organisations and communities of the working class, as an essential aspect of the struggle against austerity.

For the past four years we had worked together building the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), in a project officially backed by the RMT itself. TUSC will stand hundreds of anti-austerity candidates in this May’s local elections in the biggest left-of-Labour challenge since the second world war.

Despite a number of approaches, Tony Benn didn’t agree with an electoral challenge to Labour (though he did appear in the 2009 electoral broadcast for No2EU).

I think he should have left the Labour party, which had so clearly left him, but unfortunately he disagreed. In his latter years Tony was more a prisoner in New Labour, reduced to smuggling out notes through the bars. The socialist policies he stood for were killed off by successive Labour leaders from Neil Kinnock onwards, but they still exist in new projects, like TUSC and No2EU, co-founded by Bob Crow.
Dave Nellist
National chair, TUSC

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/16/crow-benn-defend-working-people

Dave Nellist -Thoughts on passing of Tony Benn

It is enormously saddening to mark the passing today of Tony Benn, a friend of 40 years. He was a towering socialist.

I first worked with Tony on the 1975 Common Market referendum; hundreds filled the Police Assembly Hall in Coventry to hear him speak, with hundreds more outside.  He spoke for me at a 1987 General Election rally, and hundreds came again to hear him in Coventry’s Methodist Central Hall; as they did 5 years ago when he came back to do one of his “fireside chats”.

Tony Benn at the Meriden motor cycle workers' co-operative in 1975 (Photo from Coventry Telegraph)

Tony Benn at the Meriden motor cycle workers’ co-operative in 1975 (Photo from Coventry Telegraph)

In between we worked closely in the 1980s, especially supporting the miners’ strike and challenging the attacks of the Thatcher government on working people. 11 years ago we worked together on the Stop the War Coalition national committee, preparing the massive February 2003 anti-war demonstration.

There will be dozens of quotes by him remembered today. One of my favourites is a definition of his often aimed in speeches at Rupert Murdoch:

“What power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you?”

The Tony of the 1970s and 1980s, arguing for public ownership and supporting workers in struggle, could still be held in genuine affection and support 30 years later, more perhaps than any other figure on the Left.

But everything Tony said and stood for during that period should have led him to the conclusion that Labour from the 1990s onwards had fundamentally changed. It was now a prison, and he’d been reduced to smuggling out notes through the bars.  He should have left the Labour Party which had so clearly left him.

If he’d broken with right wing New Labour and joined those of us, like Bob Crow, seeking to start anew, politics in Britain would be so different today. A call by Tony to found a new independent political voice for working people would have gained an echo from tens perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people.

The consensus politics of today, the overlapping agenda promoting austerity, needs an organised political alternative.  Tony often said ‘politics should be about policies not personalities’. The socialist policies he stood for were killed off by successive Labour leaders from Neil Kinnock onwards; but they still exist today in new projects like TUSC.”

RIP Tony Benn 1925-2014

Tony Benn 1925-2014

Tony Benn 1925-2014

Many will be waking up to the news that at the age of 88 Tony Benn has sadly passed away.

The Socialist Party salutes his contribution to the struggles of working class people and the fight for socialism.

We will be posting a full obituary shortly.