Category Archives: Labour Party Marxists

Red Pages: Sunday, September 22 2019

SUNDAY 2019 PDFClick to download today’s issue in PDF version here.

How to get rid of Tom Watson
With his much-publicised motion to abolish the position of deputy leader, Momentum’s owner Jon Lansman was trying to pose left – but don’t be fooled

Abolish all private schools?
This demand is not as radical as it sounds – what about, say, those run by cooperatives? Those that are based on a working class, socialist vision of society?

Debate over Clause four: Fight for real socialism!
Despite the fact that the rule change fell far short of what is required, we urged for a vote for it, against the Blairisation of the Labour Party. Sadly, Labour’s NEC kicked the issue into the long grass.

Fast-track expulsions will make the anti-Semitism witchhunt worse
Although a majority of CLP representatives yesterday voted AGAINST a further tightening of Labour’s disciplinary system, the rule change from the NEC was accepted because the affiliates overwhelmingly voted in favour. This will make the witch-hunt much, much worse.

Sign up! Appeal to build a democratic Labour Left Alliance!

Important new development – please get involved!

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn put his name forward to stand as leader of the Labour Party there has been a massive campaign to undermine and remove him by the Tories, elements of the establishment and the right in our own party, with backing from the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media. Of the numerous unfounded smears thrown at Corbyn – being too scruffy, not bowing deep enough, being a Czech spy etc – those around antisemitism have been one of the most consistent avenues of attack.

They have not had everything their own way – Moshé Machover was readmitted to the party after a major campaign and their attempts to move against Lisa Forbes, now the MP for Peterborough, before and after her election have not succeeded. Momentum nationally is no longer on the side of the left in these battles and this has become increasingly clear – as has its own lack of democracy.

There is an urgent need to take steps to unite the genuine, democratic Labour left. We are committed to making this process open, democratic and transparent. We want to involve as many principled local, regional and national Labour left organisations and union bodies as we can.

We are not saying anyone should resign from or disaffiliate from Momentum to participate. But one of our concerns is that if we don’t act now people who joined to support Corbyn will leave in disillusion. The need to move at pace must be balanced with the need to build in a democratic and sustainable way. Two national organisations (the Labour Representation Committee and Labour Against the Witchhunt) and a number of local groups have already signed up to this initiative and we are having positive discussions with many more.

We encourage all comrades not already members of local Labour Left groups to get involved in one or help set one up. We will gladly help you to find a speaker, advertise your meeting or assist in any other way we can.

Labour belongs to us – let’s unite and fight for our party!

Click here to read and sign up to the appeal!

Attitude towards the current Labour leadership

  1. Our position on the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party was worked out in advance – that is, well before his actual election – and with far greater foresight and precision than any other campaign, committee, group or party on the left. We are committed to the complete transformation of the Labour Party, forging it into a permanent united front of the working class and equipping it with solid Marxist principles and a tried and tested Marxist leadership.
  2. Whatever the idiot rightwing press, Tory ERGers and Tom Watson’s Future Britain say, Corbyn is no Marxist. He is, in fact, a sincere, but weak, badly advised, dithering left reformist. True, Corbyn and his closest allies have a record of opposing imperialist wars and adventures, standing in solidarity with striking workers and voting against Tory attacks on migrants, democratic rights and public services.
  3. However, since his election it has become abundantly clear what the class character of a Corbyn government would be. The Corbyn leadership is committed to reversing austerity, increasing the economic role of the state, repealing some anti-trade union laws and introducing a few minor constitutional reforms. At best that amounts to an illusory attempt to run British capitalism in the interests of the working class. Meanwhile, in the name of For the many, not the few, wage-slavery continues, Britain remains a monarchy, subject to judge-made law, one of the Five Eyes, a core imperialist power, a member of Nato and armed with US-controlled nuclear weapons. To call such a programme “socialist” is to violate the commonly accepted language of the left.
  4. At present, even such a modest change of course is totally unacceptable to the capitalist class. The biggest fear is that a Corbyn-led government would trigger a crisis of expectations and unleash a wave of class struggles. The Labour right would therefore act to prevent the formation of such a government. Associated with that probability there lies the possibility of the monarch calling another candidate for prime minister for an audience at Buckingham Palace. That could result in the formation of a national government.
  5. Nonetheless, a Corbyn-led government cannot be categorically ruled out. But, if it happened, we should expect constitutional and anti-constitutional moves by the privy council, the army, the deep state, etc. Those on the left who downplay such threats, whatever their subjective intentions, constitute themselves as agents of a criminal complacency.
  6. Conceivably, the ruling class could reconcile itself to a Corbyn-led government. But only if: (a) it further denounces its own past and further waters down its own programme; and/or (b) in the event of a dangerous upsurge in popular protests, a major downturn in the world economy or a crash caused by a no-deal Brexit, which temporarily necessitated a left Labour government to serve as the best means of mass deception.
  7. The collapse before the ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt in the Labour Party is a telling warning sign. The appeasement of the Labour right, the failure to challenge blatant lies, the willingness to see good socialists investigated, suspended, sacked, expelled and publicly traduced cannot be excused. And, where Jeremy Corbyn has been silent, John McDonnell has actually given succour to the witch-hunt. Then there is the truly appalling role played by Jon Lansman and his Momentum organisation – praised by the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement. Note: to their everlasting shame Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott supported Lansman’s anti-democratic coup in Momentum.
  8. If the Labour leadership is unable to show elementary solidarity with those targeted by a totally cynical witch-hunt, if the Labour leadership calculates that the bigger cause is served by taking such a course, it has betrayed not only its past: it has betrayed its future. Giving them a platform in the left press, treating them as prestigious sponsors, calling such people ‘comrades’ is no longer in any way acceptable.
  9. We should defend the Corbyn leadership against Tom Watson and Future Britain, the liberal and rightwing media, the Tories, the deep state, etc. By that we mean, first and foremost, defending the conditions in the Labour Party which allow for the rooting of socialist consciousness and the further spread of Marxist ideas.
  10. Our task is to fully empower the Labour Party’s mass membership, open eyes as to the real nature of the Corbyn leadership and bring about the circumstances whereby the Labour Party is thoroughly purged of the pro-capitalist right and the leadership is won by real, not supposed, Marxists.

Model motion: for an entirely new clause four

This branch/CLP notes that the old 1918 clause four was drafted by the Fabian leader, Sidney Webb, in order to divert the considerable rank-and-file sympathy that existed for the Russian Revolution into safe, peaceful and exclusively constitutional channels. Clause four was managerial, statist and predicated on the continuation of wage-slavery. It had nothing to do with putting an end to capitalism and bringing about the socialist transformation of society.

This branch/CLP notes that, by sacrificing the old clause four in the full glare of publicity, Tony Blair and his New Labour clique sought to appease the establishment, the City, the Murdoch empire, the global plutocracy. Capitalism would be absolutely safe in their hands. A New Labour government could be relied upon not even to pay lip service to a British version of state capitalism.

The Labour Party has been transformed by the influx of tens of thousands of new members and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. This branch/CLP therefore believes that the time is ripe to commit the party to the following, genuinely socialist, version of clause four:

  1. Labour is the federal party of the working class. We strive to bring all trade unions, cooperatives, socialist societies and leftwing groups and parties under our banner. We believe that unity brings strength.
  2. Labour is committed to replacing the rule of capital with the rule of the working class. Socialism introduces a democratically planned economy, ends the ecologically ruinous cycle of production for the sake of production and moves towards a stateless, classless, moneyless society that embodies the principle, “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”. Alone such benign conditions create the possibility of every individual fully realising their innate potentialities.
  3. Towards that end Labour commits itself to achieving a democratic republic. The standing army, the monarchy, the House of Lords and the state sponsorship of the Church of England must go. We support a single-chamber parliament, proportional representation and annual elections.
  4. Labour seeks to win the active backing of the majority of people and forming a government on this basis.
  5. We shall work with others, in particular in the European Union, in pursuit of the aim of replacing capitalism with working class rule and socialism.

This branch/CLP calls for this version of clause four to be included as part of Labour’s constitution at the earliest opportunity.

[For trade unions:] This branch/conference calls upon the union to campaign within the Labour Party at all levels for this version of clause four to be included as part of Labour’s constitution at the earliest opportunity.

Red Pages, September 26 2018

WEDNESDAY fullWednesday September 26 2018: Download the PDF here or read the full issue online here.

There is no ethical capitalism
John McDonnell’s 10% share scheme sounds radical, but it is an old trick

Bomb hoax at Jackie Walker film

Right wing damp squib
The Jewish Labour Movement and other right wingers kept their heads down – some thugs did their dirty work

Emily Thornberry and Rhea Wolfson: pro-Zionist sisters in arms (this has been updated and is now slightly different to the PDF version)

No Momentum
Conference proved that it is time for Jon Lansman to step aside

Red Pages, September 25 2018


Tuesday September 25 2018: Download the PDF version here or read the full issue online here

Request to affiliate
Ex-Militant wants to rejoin

Supplement – Constitutional amendments: Voting recommendations – PDF here, full online version here.

Brexit: Reject the 
fudge composite motion

Instead, the labour movement should fight for 
working class independence and unity in Europe

No to a People’s Vote!
Paradoxical as it might sound, Marxists have always argued that referendums are inherently undemocratic

Constitutional amendments at LP conference 2018: Our voting guide

Full issue of today’s issue of Red Pages, September 24, is available here

We really wish we could use this article to recommend a vote for the rule change moved by International Labour in favour of open selection. Unfortunately, due to the betrayal and manoeuvring by Unite leader Len McCluskey and Momentum owner Jon Lansman on Sunday, delegates will not be able to vote for the mandatory reselection of all Labour’s parliamentary candidates.

We believe that this was not just incredibly undemocratic, as the vast majority of CLP conference delegates clearly expressed their desire to have an open and fair discussion on the different options (most of them were no doubt in favour of mandatory reselection). It was also incredibly inept from a tactical point of view. If Labour wins the next general election, members of the rightwing PLP  have demonstrated that they will not subordinate themselves to Jeremy Corbyn. They will make his life hell at every opportunity. They are very likely to launch another no-confidence vote against him – he will, in effect, be unable to govern. The only way to avoid that, of course, is through such measures as mandatory reselection to get rid of the plotters and saboteurs.

While most NEC rule changes coming out of the gutted Party Democracy Review were voted through with a majority of well over 90%, the two disputed – sections 6 (leadership elections) and 8 (selection of parliamentary candidates) – received much lower votes: 63.94% and 65.94% respectively. Taking into account the massive size of the trade union bloc vote – which makes up 50% of the total – this means that the vast majority of CLP delegates rejected the NEC’s proposals on these two issues. This clearly represents a massive democratic deficit. And, owing to the undemocratic three-year-rule, this now also means that both issues cannot be revisited until 2021.

18 of the 33 submitted CLP constitutional amendments have been taken off today’s agenda because of the NEC’s rule changes – without any proper debate on most of them. To make matters worse, some of the NEC’s changes do not actually deal with the substance of the original CLP proposals and in our view the conference arrangements committee (CAC) was wrong to declare that they were ‘consequentials’ and would thereby automatically fall. For example:

–   Sefton Central CLP proposed that the members of the powerful National Constitutional Committee should be elected directly by all Labour Party members. The NCC is incredibly important in the ongoing civil war. This is where the NEC sends all disciplinary cases it does not want to deal with itself. Ideally, it should be abolished. But, seeing as this was not an option, we agreed with this rule change, which would have taken away the right of the affiliates to choose who should judge over party members. The NEC’s amendment, which increased the size of the committee from 11 to 25, does not specify at all how the members should be elected. This will guarantee that the right will continue to dominate disciplinary matters in the party.

–   The current period following an expulsion or auto-exclusion of a member is currently set at a fixed “minimum of five years”. The amendment by Bracknell CLP would have given the NEC the right to choose a shorter period. There would still have been unfair and unjust expulsions, but it would have been slightly better than the status quo. Again, the NEC’s rule changes do not deal with this point at all – but delegates will still not be able to discuss the proposed change, as it has been deemed ‘superseded’.

After removing these excluded ‘consequentials’, we believe that the following rule changes remain on the agenda to be discussed today.

Mid Worcestershire et al demand an important change to  the rule book’s “conditions of membership”. They propose to delete this half-sentence: “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or”

Vote For

Our reason: This rule had not been used for decades – until the election of a certain Jeremy Corbyn to leader of the Labour Party, that is. Since 2015 though, it has been liberally applied to “auto-exclude” dozens of supporters and alleged supporters of Socialist Appeal, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and Labour Party Marxists – many of whom had been active Labour members for many, many years. It was, for example, used to expel professor Moshé Machover after an article of his was published by Labour Party Marxists, which was handed out at last year’s Labour Party conference (he has since been reinstated after an international outcry). It has also been used to auto-exclude people who have merely shared articles online published by the three organisations.

Members of Progress or Labour First – clearly very highly organised factions in the Labour Party – remain untouched. To be applied consistent, the party would also have to expel supporters of the Stop the War Coalition or the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. But, of course, it has exclusively been used against the organised left in the party. It is a McCarthyite, anti-democratic rule that must go.

Broxtowe CLP proposes (in the same section) that only a party member who “joins and/or supports a political organisationthat is in conflict with the aims and principles of the Labour Party” should be ineligible for party membership (amendment in italics).

Vote Against

Our reason: This proposal begs the question as to how on earth you prove that the aims of an organisation are not“in conflict” with those of the Labour Party. This formulation has been used, for example, to expel supporters of Socialist Appeal, because they self-define as Marxist. The CND clearly wants to abolish all nuclear weapons; while Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to rearm Trident – incompatible, surely?

Copeland CLP proposes stricter rules on delegate selection.

Vote Against

Our reason: The rule book already states that, “at least every second delegate from a CLP shall be a woman”. While we encourage the participation of women at all levels of the party, this rule effectively punishes the CLP if it cannot find enough female volunteers. It seems to us that this is a pseudo-democratic, unnecessary addition that makes the rule book even more unwieldy than it already is.

 Islington North & South Derbyshire are proposing the introduction of proper standing orders for party conference.

Vote For

Our reason: This is sorely lacking at present. While each morning delegates and visitors wade through the huge pile of papers, composited motions and votes cast the previous day, the CAC plays hard and fast with conference standing orders (many of which are not written down anywhere). It has a huge amount of power. It can decide, for example, if there should be a show of hands or a card vote.

The unions and other affiliates have around 300 delegates at conference, while the CLPs have about 1,200. But in a card vote the affiliates count for 50% of the total vote; ditto the CLPs (whose vote then further divided according to how many members it has). Roughly, a union delegate’s vote counts for four times as much as that of a CLP delegate – and that can make all the difference in a dispute.

Blackley & Broughton et al insist that rule changes should be heard in the same year they are submitted.

Vote For

Our reason: The practice currently employed is actually not part of the rule book. It delays debate of constitutional amendments to the following year. An utterly unnecessary block on the democratic will of Labour Party members. Apparently, this was also discussed as part of the Democracy Review, but rejected by Katy Clark.

Wirral West wants a second (female) deputy leader.


Our reason:We have sympathy for this rule change, which is clearly designed to curb the power of Tom Watson. But we are in favour of doing away with the position of deputy leader altogether. Incidentally, we are also in favour of abolishing the position of leader, as there are serious issues of how members can effectively hold to account somebody in such a strong position.

Hornsey & Wood Green propose the same, in more words.

Vote Against 

Our reason: as above.

Kingswood proposes to abolish the category of registered supporters.

Vote For

Our reason: We are against the Americanisation of politics; only members should have a vote. Supporters actually made no difference to the outcome of the leadership elections.

Canterbury et al want the general secretary of the party elected directly by members.

Vote Against

Our reason: We also have a lot of sympathy for this rule change, which has no doubt been inspired by the disastrous reign of Iain McNicol. He had to be bribed out of his job after undermining Jeremy Corbyn for two long years, during which he was responsible for facilitating the witch-hunt against thousands of Corbyn supporters, creating the hostile and fearful atmosphere we can still feel today.

Currently, the GS is elected at conference “at the recommendation of the NEC” and usually stays in the job until s/he dies or retires. We therefore welcome the fact that this rule change seeks to give the NEC the clear power to sack the GS, because that is clearly missing from the current rules. However, this also creates a certain democratic deficit: all party members can vote for the GS, but s/he could then be sacked by the NEC.

In our view, it would make more sense for the GS to be truly accountable to the NEC by being elected by this body too: it is, after all, the NEC that the GS is supposed to serve.

We also disagree with limiting the term to three years. If the person is doing a great job, why get rid of him or her? On the other hand, if s/he is terrible, s/he can be sacked straightaway anyway. There is no point to this limit.

New Forest East as above, but instead of a maximum term of three years, it proposes five years.

Vote Against

Our reason: See above.

Swansea West proposes to elect the leader and deputy leader of Welsh Labour via an OMOV election.

Vote Against

Our reason: Again, we have a lot of sympathy with the motives behind this proposed rule change: a truly undemocratic, weighted electoral college, adopted only recently by the Welsh executive committee, has led to the election of Carolyn Harris MP, who is deeply unpopular among individual members (but was favoured by the unions and elected representatives). But if there has to be a position of ‘leader’ – a position we think should be abolished – we would prefer this person to be elected by the (democratically chosen) Welsh/Scottish executive directly. After all, s/he is supposed to be accountable to and recallable by that body.

Dartford wants to double the number of NEC reps elected by councillors, mayors and police commissioners.

Vote Against

Our reason: Instead of doubling the figure from two to four, these NEC positions should be abolished altogether.

Richmond Park proposes that CLPs should be able to decide themselves if they want to stand in a general election.

Vote For

Our reason: We presume that this rule change comes from the right and has been moved by people wanting to withdraw a Labour candidate in favour of Tory billionaire Zac Goldsmith, who was standing as an ‘independent’ in a by-election in 2016.

Nevertheless, it is entirely correct that local members should have the right to decide not just who they want as their candidate – but also if they even want to stand somebody. In the past, local Labour Parties stood down in order to support a candidate from the Communist Party, for example.

Cheltenham wants CLPs without a Labour MP to decide on a candidate within six months of the last election.  

Vote Against

Our reason: Is it really useful to have somebody in this position for over four and a half years? This rule change would not allow for the person to be replaced (unless they withdrew).

City of Durham wants to replace Local Campaign Forums with Local Government Committees, in which 75% of its members would be CLP delegates.

Vote For

Our reason: The current LCFs clearly need radical reforming: They are dominated by councillors and party officials and are little more than toothless debating chambers. They used to write the Labour group’s manifesto, but this has long been outsourced to the councillors themselves. We would prefer a much more thoroughgoing reform of this body.