The recent campaign to try to get John McDonnell a chance to contest for the leadership of the Labour party brought up the question of whether it was possible for the left to reclaim the Labour Party.
Since the 1997 election Labour has lost thousands of members, as of the last council elections the party had been wiped out from 90 or so councils across the country. Furthermore it has sent troops into several countries including most obviously Iraq and Afghanistan, carried through cuts and privatisations as well as passing draconian anti-terror laws as well as pissing off most young people through the introduction of ASBOs.
Of course, CWI members left the labour party earlier than this, with many leading members of the tendency expelled, the labour party moving increasingly to the right and most importantly the labour party failing to lead struggles at that time, most prominently the poll tax. The removal of clause four effectively sealed this degeneration.
Those still in the labour party tell us that the masses will come flooding back to their traditional party. What masses?
It's obviously not young people, if young people were to go en masse anywhere at the moment it would probably be the greens! even the tories can seem to be more appealing than labour. as mentioned before two wars, asbos, a lack of decent jobs has put paid to any want of you people to join that party.
It's not community campaigners either who see there effort ignored or hijacked by labour party members and end up either campaigning or standing against them.
It's not trade unionists, who see their leaders giving millions of pounds to labour and get nothing, and see action taken to protect their jobs and conditions interfered with because it'll make Labour look bad.
It's a disappointment that John McDonnell didn't get on the ballot as this would have really exposed the trade union leaders of UNISON, UNITE, TGWU and others and might have started a debate within society about the ideas he was standing for, instead we are shown what weakness the Labour left has been reduced to, very little influence at all.
All in all I very much doubt there is anything worth reclaiming, and even so the left in the labour party are far too weak to do that.
The End of Progress?
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