The Socialist 14 December 2016 |
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Birmingham Labour: Corbyn supporters need not apply
Campaigning in support of Jeremy Corbyn in Birmingham photo Birmingham Socialist Party, photo Birmingham Socialist Party (Click to enlarge)
Dave Griffiths, West Midlands Socialist Party secretary
The Midlands Metro mayoral elections take place in 2017 and in 2018 every Birmingham council seat is up for election. So 2017 will see Labour go through the process of selecting candidates.
BBC's Sunday Politics has referred to "a tight knit group of MPs in the Midlands" (the right-wing 'party within a party') who previously sought to expel Militant supporters, and now want to defeat 'the left' in Labour.
So much so that the Birmingham board of the Labour Party is reported to have voted to exclude all members who joined on or after July 2015 from selecting Labour candidates for the 2018 local elections. In a further attack on accountability, council elections have moved from every year to every four years as well.
'After July 2015' joiners, of course, would be people who joined overwhelmingly to support Jeremy Corbyn in his first leadership challenge.
Given the next elections will be in 2022, this means that around 70% of Labour Party members will be excluded for six to seven years! The qualifying date for participating in selection meetings is normally six months.
Being diplomatic, Birmingham Momentum says it "smacks of cynical gerrymandering". They correctly say "it is also self-defeating. How do we expect to have a motivated membership knocking doors, delivering leaflets and taking the case for Labour candidates into our communities if we won't even let that membership select those candidates?"
A Momentum member told us: "I just read a Momentum report that Birmingham Labour has excluded all members who joined after July 2015 from voting in the selection of council candidate elections. This, and the shenanigans going on in Momentum over a democratic and open Momentum conference, makes you fear for the battle for democracy in Labour."
Momentum South Birmingham has called on the board to overturn the decision and instead have the usual six month freeze date. This needs to be part of a campaign to overturn the decision and to seek the selection of anti-cuts candidates for the 2018 elections.
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Conference to debate TUSC's role and the 2017 elections
Saturday 28 January from 11am to 4-30pm at Student Central, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY