The not-so-great and good of the onetime Labour left were out in force last night, as members of Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) held a Zoom meeting to determine whether they should create a new party. A motion put forward by Tony Greenstein – who last month declared himself bankrupt after losing his "notorious antisemite" legal battle – called for 'a socialist movement' to 'keep activists in the Corbyn Project together, with a view to forming a distinct socialist party in the near future.'
Much to Starmer's chagrin no doubt, attendees voted narrowly against such a proposal by 31 votes to 40, despite the motion claiming that within Labour 'there is no longer any possibility that someone facing expulsion can challenge their accusers.' Documents prepared for the meeting did however claim some success from Labour's shift in stance on this issue, writing that: 'the recent growth in LAW’s membership following the NEC’s re-introduction of bans and proscriptions in July shows the potential that exists for our campaign against the witch-hunt.' Hmmm.
— Anonymous Mole (@Anonymous_Mole_) August 29, 2021
Some far-left factions narrowly voted against aiming to form a new party last night. The motion fell by 31 votes to 40, but the debate continues.If they ever did do so, they could potentially attract hundreds of thousands of new members. That would split the left vote in a GE.
Instead the steering committee has endorsed a strategy which depends on 'winning the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, Momentum, CLPD, etc, to adopt a militant, a principled, an unambiguous stance against the witch-hunt.' Other items on the agenda were plans to disrupt Labour's conference next month in Brighton. The group is seeking to recruit delegates and attendees to 'help plan our various interventions, inside and outside of conference' with co-ordination done via email and WhatsApp.
Their documents record that recently expelled Ken Loach has been invited to address a 'Defend the left' public meeting on the Monday of conference while another event is planned on the Wednesday on the threatened auto-expulsion of Bakers' Union president Ian Hodson. A document prepared for the meeting refers to Hodson as a 'sponsor' of LATW, writing that:
“The Bakers Union is discussing its future relationship with the party –including if it wants to disaffiliate. This event will take place during Keir Starmer’s speech, so we are currently discussing how to engage. Watch this space!
Steerpike will indeed be watching to see how such scenes play out on the Brighton seafront in four weeks time.