Posts Tagged ‘Labour Representation Committee’

Kennite vs Corbynite split in the leader’s office reruns eternal hard left divisions

29/12/2015, 01:29:18 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Uncut hears that simmering differences in the leader’s team have become deep divisions as they grapple with the looming reshuffle.

At the heart of the split is a long-running tension between two factions of the hard left: Socialist Action and the Labour Representation Committee.

In the corner on the left is Socialist Action – a Trotskyist group most closely associated with Ken Livingstone with several of his advisers from his time as Mayor, either members or supporters. As Livingstone himself said,

“Almost all of my advisers had been involved in Socialist Action,”

“It was the only rational left-wing group you could engage with. They used to produce my socialist economic policies. It was not a secret group.”

Socialist Action’s modus operandi is to achieve a socialist nirvana by boiling the capitalist frog slowly. During their tenure at City Hall, the priority was not to promise wholesale revolutionary change but take incremental steps towards socialism where possible.

In practice this led to bizarre and seemingly random policies such as pursuing the American embassy over parking fines (fair enough) but going easy on the Russian embassy over the same issue (wtf) while happily doing deals with London property developers to underpin the expansion of the City.

Prominent Livingstone City Hall alumni, Simon Fletcher and Neale Coleman, now occupy central roles in Jeremy Corbyn’s office as chief of staff and head of policy and rebuttal while the former Mayor is co-chair of Labour’s defence review.

In the corner even further to the left is the Labour Representation Committee. (LRC) Founded in 2004 (lifting the name of Labour’s original founding committee from 1900) by John McDonnell, the LRC has a more doctrinaire and unbending view of the path to socialism.


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Labour history uncut: Labour fights its first election

22/11/2012, 03:30:22 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

The 129 delegates’ votes were counted at the Memorial Hall in Farringdon. Keir Hardie’s motion had been carried and a new movement was born.

The squabbling assortment of socialists and union representatives that had trooped into the hall that fateful morning on the 27th February 1900, had decided to come together to form “a distinct Labour group in parliament”.

There was little time to waste. The working class was in need and now they had a new, thrusting champion, ready to tackle the iniquities of the late Victorian world. It was time for action.

So they formed a committee.

The Labour representation committee (LRC) to be precise, comprising 2 members of the Independent Labour Party, 2 members of the Social Democratic Federation and 7 union members.

Well, you can’t just rush into things can you? A political meeting without a committee – that’s just anarchy.

In the beginning, membership was relatively limited and funds even more so.  Quite how tight the finances were is indicated by the party’s choice of Ramsay MacDonald for their first secretary.

Why did they choose MacDonald? His vision? His passion? His integrity?

No. It was his wealthy wife.

Thanks to the income of Margaret MacDonald, Ramsay was able to work for nothing more than a subsidised sandwich at lunchtime and a stack of Labour representation committee business cards.

Ramsay MacDonald was, in fact, the Labour party’s very first intern.


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The hard left is on the march and in no mood to stop

06/07/2012, 08:00:42 AM

by Atul Hatwal

The first skirmish is over. The unions have drawn blood. On Tuesday, Progress released its statement describing a series of changes to its internal operation. They were all reasonable changes, but this was never about reforming Progress.

If this row had truly been about the governance of pressure groups active within Labour, then a lot of other organisations would have been in the frame.

The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) for one. Founded in 2004 (though bearing the name of an illustrious forbear), the LRC is open to non-Labour party members, affiliated to such sage organisations as the New Communist Party and Permanent Revolution and has the primary purpose of taking control of Labour party constituency parties to help shift national policy so far to the left, the 1983 manifesto would look Blairite.

Nothing to see here guv. No scrutiny needed at all.

No, this was never about the “acceptable standards of democracy, governance and transparency” trumpeted by the ASLEF motion targeting Progress that is still in the process of being submitted to Labour conference.

It’s one of the hallmarks of how far the party has stepped through the hard left’s looking glass that so many Labour commentators have just accepted the assumption that Progress were a problem.

Following Tuesday’s statement,peace with  honour” was the description used by Mark Ferguson at Labour List. Why not go the whole hog, wave a bit of paper about and proclaim “peace in our time”.

In actual fact, there’s no need. “Peace with honour” were the words used by Chamberlain to describe his thoroughly successful jaunt to Munich, when talking to reporters on the doorstep of Number 10.

Strange how that phrase sprang to mind.

Because this was never about the alleged substance of the issue, Progress’ statement will not be the end of the conflict. Why should it? The unions and left have just won a significant victory. Why stop here? The limits of their power have clearly not been reached.


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