Statement Supported by the National Executive Committee of the LRC on Saturday 17th March
The LRC, Grassroots Black Left (GBL) and Red Labour have agreed that it is no longer possible to endorse the slate for Labour's NEC drawn up by Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) for the following reason:
1. The Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) is supposed to operate on basis of consensus but the slate has been drawn up without consultation with all its constituent bodies. The slate has to all intents and purposes been presented as a fait accompli.
2. The GBL has been unilaterally refused membership of the CLGA on the basis of opposition from one person representing Momentum.
3. Red Labour was invited to join the CLGA but has been informed that this will not be permitted until its 2018 slate is finalised.
We resolve to start an online consultation process, hosted by Red Labour, to determine whether grassroots candidates want to stand and whether it is the expressed wish of rank and file members that such candidates be supported.
In the interests of tackling the under-representation of oppressed and disadvantaged comrades, we would positively welcome applications from women, from Black African, Caribbean, Asian and other people of colour, people with disabilities, those who are LBGT, and people from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds.
The LRC NEC meeting overwhelmingly agreed on March 17th to endorse the draft statement drawn up by LRC/GBL/RL representatives previously circulated
The NEC agreed on the next steps:
1) To confer with the other organisations as to whether they endorse the proposal;
2) The statement to be made public and sent out to members, asking for people to submit their names (or those of others) together with a short `CV' saying why they should be considered as a candidate. The address to write to is email@example.com
3) The `working group' elected by the NEC together with the other groups involved in this process, to continue to provide feedback and consult with the LRC NEC;
4) The final decision on whether the LRC supports alternative candidates, and if so who, to be taken by an NEC MEETING ON SUNDAY 6th MAY.
The LRC has published a statement “that it is no longer possible to endorse the slate for Labour's NEC drawn up by Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD).”
The statement has attracted a great deal of comment. Comrades are welcome to support this statement or to criticise it. It appears however that it has been misunderstood by some in the labour movement. The LRC has NOT decided either to support the published slate or to reject it.
Our original statement made it clear that we were and are deeply unhappy about the way the slate was imposed unilaterally by Momentum. Any democratic would share that view.
For many years the left slate for the constituency section of the Labour Party NEC was drawn up by the Centre left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA). The selection procedure was never entirely satisfactory. It was supposed to be arrived at by ‘consensus’ among the different groups affiliated to the CLGA. The LRC objected in past years to the inclusion of Ann Black but was ignored.
Despite some good candidates appearing the LRC cannot at this stage endorse the slate proposed by Momentum and the CLPD because of the process by which it was arrived at.
All we have suggested for now is to try to consider alternative left candidates. Our search is likely to assess:
· Whether alternative candidates would be better representatives than those on the Momentum-imposed slate.
· Whether we can run a viable campaign behind those candidates in the limited time available.
Our critics fear that the statement may serve to split the left vote for the NEC. In the first place no alternative slate has yet been proposed. Until this has actually been proposed now is not the time to accuse us of being splitters.
Secondly our critics seem unaware of the transformation in the membership of the Labour Party that has taken place since the Corbynist surge. Not only was Jeremy elected as leader with massive majorities in 2015 and 2016, the elections for the additional CLP places on the NEC in 2018 confirmed the hegemony of the left among Labour Party members. It seems wrong to argue, in this situation, that the left cannot afford democracy in the selection of its candidates.
We believe that now is the best time and a necessary time to open up democratic channels within the left of the Labour Party. Comrades have suggested we negotiate with other left groups. That would be very desirable and we would like to do it, but the slate has been simply imposed without discussion.
As our statement declares, the NEC of the LRC will take a decision on this question at our May 6th meeting. We may decide to support the Momentum slate in whole or in part, or to propose a complete alternative slate. At present no such decision has been taken.