The Labour Representation Committee recently held a Special General Meeting to relaunch the organisation and determine their political direction. CfS was invited to send a delegate to the meeting, and the below is a report from Grant Aitken who attended on behalf of CfS.
The conference started off with a speech from Mick Brookes who largely spoke of the successes of the last year and praised the resilience of the left. Brookes went on to highlight both the positives and negatives of Momentum, highlighting they done an extraordinary job in mobilising activists and bringing people in to labour with use of new methods. He then went on speak the democracy deficit in momentum, claiming LRC are a democratic organisation and that they (LRC) are not a fan club for the Leadership. Thus seeing LRC’s role as one being where they keep John and Jeremy to left in the inevitability of the pressures that they will face from the establishment.
It’s worth noting that whilst democracy was highlighted as a strength of LRC, I hardly think a SGM where anyone that can afford to attend can get a vote is a great model. (Not a particularly shining example considering this was a delegated conference but everyone’s vote counted the same.)
Maria Exall on the role of trade unions
Exall made points that the Tus are often the vehicle in which best allows working-class representation in parliament (and in the Labour Party). Generally reiterated the need for the strong links with the TU’s.
Discussion that followed and also moving of resolutions
What was shining in this discussion was that the age of LRC members in the room was on average 40+ this was pointed out by many speakers.
Points were made of LRC’s stagnation and growing irrelevance.
Members on several occasions hinted that LRC should not count on the trade unions and expressed discontent at left bureaucrats.
There was also debate on whether print was effective as online media, some members were clinging onto the idea that Labour Briefing magazines were effective in reaching out to the masses. Others suggest that there LRC creates a Labour Briefing website.
- Grassroots left- motion to support Ian Allinson financially in campaign against Victimisation in Fujitsu
- Unite retired member’s branch- LRC to campaign in the TU movement behind the call of Mcdonnell to end the 7 year pay reduction. Also to campaign to end labour councils implementing cuts.
- Brent Trades Council- asking lrc to campaign behind; local gov, TU rights, economic policy, foreign policy (imperialist warand Israel/Palestine), party democracy and the party machine and freedom of movement (open border policy)
- New communist party- campaign for solution to Housing crisis
- Emergency motion from Grassroots Black Alliance- condemn momentums actions ignoring the clga and running a slate
- Emergency motion CND- standard nuclear disarmament
Mcdonnell briefly spoke (as it was a Q+A, also had other arrangements)said that he wanted LRC to operate like a think-tank, developing and analysing policy to aid in combatting regressive tory economic policy.
Further discussion in latter stages of the day
Grassroots Black Alliance were largely sceptical of momentum and pinned most of their criticism largely on Jon Lansman. Thus the reason they submitted their emergency motion (which didn’t fully explain the scenario of the CLGA)
Context- The CLGA had met, in which CLPD wanted Anne Black to remain on the slate despite objections from all other organisations. So momentum decided to go forth with the slate with all of the other members of the group.
The grassroots black alliance demanded Lansman included them otherwise they would split and run their own slate with others.
All other motions were generally agreed across the room.
A lot of discussion regarding witch hunts and getting people unsuspended from the labour party, where people were calling on members to include (people to get a fair hearing ect) it in submissions to the democracy review.
The democracy review was spoke of as something welcome but speakers reminded members to be critical of the end results.
Election results unopposed
President- John Mcdonnell
Chair- Matt Wreck
Vice-Chair- Suzanne Gannon
Treasurer- Alison Mcgarry
Memb secretary- Keith Henderson
Web manager- Norette Moore
Admin secretary- Pete Firmin
Nec equalities seat- BME – Jackie Walker
Nec equalities seat- LGBT- Patrick Hall
Nec ord membs women- Maria Exall, Janet Johnson, Manciya Uddin and Patricia Jackson
Labour briefing editorial board females- Jackie Walker and Norette Moore
All resolutions passed.