I am indebted to Mike Phipps and Labourhub for publishing my memories of involvement with Labour Briefing, alongside those of other comrades more centrally involved in the project over 40 years.
The occasion for our trip down memory lane was the news that the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) will no longer regularly be producing the magazine of which it took control 10 years ago. This would seem to be but one manifestation of a journey to the political margins which I only hope that LRC members will be able to reverse.
I won't repeat here what you can read elsewhere. However, in remembering the past of Labour Briefing I had cause to review past issues of the journal. Whilst the Labour Left is now (still) in a stronger position than at any time (before 2015) since the early 1980s (in spite of the best efforts of the witch hunters), looking back at Briefing in the late 80s and early 90s (at a time of equally vigorous witch hunting) it is obvious that we are not more advanced politically.
Our anti-imperialism was more clear-cut than it is now. Our support for equality was for collective struggles around liberation politics, not bogged down in a zero-sum game of identity politics. Our orientation to the Labour Party was principled and was also maintained by comrades who might themselves have been excluded or expelled, but who never thought that the struggle was primarily about themselves as individuals.
Somehow we managed to practice these politics retaining a sense of humour and being able to disagree whilst respecting each other's positions. No doubt the degeneration of the politics of the left reflects retreats and defeats in the material class struggle, from which the unexpected election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership in 2015 could provide no more than a brief respite.
However, if socialists in the Labour Party are to make ourselves useful to future struggles we will need to recapture something of the spirit of Labour Briefing in the 1980s and 1990s and apply it afresh to meet the challenges of the 2020s and 2030s.