Youth and Students for Corbyn: Relaunching the Young Labour Left
Sunday, 20 September 2015 from 13:00 to 16:00 (BST)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
The Corbyn campaign has unleashed a new momentum in the Labour Left which we must not squander. The existing groups - Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Red Labour, Labour Representative Committee, Campaign for Socialism, Labour Campaign for Free Education - are good but not enough. We do not currently have the infrastructure to support and channel the momentum and huge numbers that the Corbyn campaign has created.
The young Labour left must be relaunched, bringing together the different groups, activists and strengths that already exist to create something bigger. All the relevant groups should come together to launch a new Left. Exactly how this is done, or what it looks like, is up for debate.
However we can start with two broad principles:
It must be democratic. This does not just mean policy conferences, elections and rules – although these are important. It means a culture of inclusiveness and accessibility where everyone shares responsibility and no one individual or group is in charge, where disagreements are had out in the open, and where everyone is prepared, on occasion, to lose the argument.
It must be outward facing and campaigning. We do not need just another left-wing Labour Party faction. It is necessary but not enough to get left-wingers elected onto Party committees, or even into Parliament. We need a mobilised membership which campaigns on the issues that matter: education, the environment, housing, pay and working conditions, trade union rights, migration, discrimination and oppression. This will help us to build the Party and the left within it. But more importantly, if we want to implement the policies for which we have spent the past months arguing, then we will need to go up against powerful vested interests. We can only take on these interests with an active and mobilised population behind us.
Throughout history, youth and students have often played a transformative role in times of social upheaval. Today we must play this role in transforming the Labour Party and the Labour left. We must lead by example, in a spirit of co-operation and comradeship, and relaunch the left in Young Labour and Labour Students. In Scotland this is already happening with the launch of Scottish Labour Young Socialists. Hopefully we can do the same for the youth and students across the UK and contribute to a reinvigoration of the left in the Party in general.
This meeting has been called by the Labour Campaign for Free Education, but LCFE does not pretend to represent everyone. Other groups like Red Labour Youth, LRC Youth, Scottish Labour Young Socialists and the Labour Young Trade Unionist Network should co-sponsor and throw their organisational strength behind it.
There is great potential ahead of us. Let’s not squander it.