Friday, July 15, 2016

Keep Calm and Support Corbyn

The retrospective imposition of a six month membership requirement (disenfranchising all those members who joined in response to the "chicken coup"), the eightfold increase in the cost of registering as a registered supporter (transparently designed to deplete that section of the electorate which last time voted most convincingly for the incumbent) and - parochially for a moment - the unjustifiable administrative suspension of Brighton and Hove District Labour Party (denying to the largest unit of membership in the Party the right to make a supporting nomination) - all of these are outrages against Labour Party democracy.

The last thing anyone on the Left must do in response to these outrages is to be outraged however. There will be more to come.

More members will be suspended. Applicants for registered supporter status will be excluded - even in some cases if they have been accepted as Labour Party members (after the January cut off date). Other local parties will face unjustified administrative sanctions.

All of this has a dual purpose. First - and vitally - to diminish Corbyn's support in the election. Secondly - and this is not unimportant - in the hope of provoking an angry response which can feed the narrative that the left are vile bullies.

Our best response is to redouble our efforts to win support for Jeremy Corbyn from existing members, to encourage supporters who will otherwise be unable to vote to register as supporters next week if they can afford it - and to register as affiliated supporters as many trade unionists as we can.

Political levy paying trade unionists who were trade union members as at 12 January will be able to register as affiliated supporters at no cost (because they already pay affiliation fees via their political fund contributions).

The single most important contribution which trade union officials and activists can make right now in order to fight attacks on democracy in a democratic way is to identify all eligible members and encourage them to register as affiliated supporters. 

Many thousands of members of my own union, UNISON, registered as affiliated supporters in order to vote in the last election - but the great majority of eligible members did not. 

I am livid at the conduct of those who are attacking and undermining Party democracy because they are obsessed with ousting our leader - I will express that anger in encouraging maximum democratic participation in the Party.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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