Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria

This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Nancy Taaffe appeared on the Daily Politics today on the need now to fight for a Labour Party against war and austerity. (The full show is here and Nancy appears at 31 minutes in.)

Nancy Taaffe, Walthamstow Socialist Party member and former parliamentary candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, says:

"This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one. There is, on the one hand, the Corbyn-supporting Labour Party, the hundreds of thousands who were enthused by the clear anti-austerity and anti-war message of his leadership campaign. The 75% of members who oppose bombing Syria. The people who delivered Jeremy his historically large mandate in September.

"On the other, there are the majority of pro-austerity right-wing Labour councillors, MPs and shadow cabinet members and especially the 66 who voted with the Tories. Peaceful co-existence is impossible."

"An almighty struggle is required in order to defeat the Labour right. This means mobilising the hundreds of thousands of working class and young people who back Corbyn, drawing on the strength of the organised workers’ movement in the trade unions and bringing in existing anti-austerity campaigns and parties.

"In the Socialist Party’s view it was a mistake for Jeremy Corbyn to state that he opposed the mandatory re-selection of MPs. In fact, it is absolutely crucial that Labour MPs or councillors who use their positions to vote for this war – not to mention the destruction of jobs and services through cuts – should be held democratically accountable via a reselection process.

"Without doubt personal abuse is wrong but framing all the members who have tried to influence their MPs as bullying is an attempt to move the debate away from these central questions. Extending and re-building the democratic structures of the party is also vital.

"MPs who refuse to carry out the wishes of the people they claim to represent and instead pass on, vote on and support Tory austerity and war can expect anger from constituents. We are calling for votes of no-confidence to be taken as well as lobbies of MP surgeries and constituency offices."

Model resolution – Fight for a Labour Party against war and austerity

This meeting notes that:

• The pro-austerity pro-war consensus that has dominated Westminster was smashed with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party with an overwhelming 59.5% of the vote. The widespread opposition to cuts has at last started to be heard. This needs to be built on.

• The Labour Party is today in reality two parties – with the Corbyn-supporting Labour Party, the hundreds of thousands who were enthused by the clear anti-austerity and anti-war message of his leadership campaign. On the other, there are the majority of pro-austerity right-wing Labour councillors, MPs and shadow cabinet members and especially the 66 who voted with the Tories.

• In this situation peaceful co-existence is impossible.

• While we oppose personal abuse, we defend the right of Labour members and constituents to campaign for their constituency MPs to represent their views

We call for:

• A vote of no confidence in [the MP in this constituency] who voted with the Tories in favour of the bombing of Syria

• Lobbies of [the MP] surgery and/or constituency office to continue to make our voices heard

• Mass local meetings of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war and anti-austerity stance inside and outside the Labour Party to discuss and debate how to build the anti-austerity movement

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