Streatham CLP is in the process of a shift to the left since the departure of Chuka Umunna, with an organised left pushing a motion to redraft a Socialist Clause IV and a selection contest that could lead to a pro-Corbyn parliamentary candidate.
Streatham CLP – previously home to Chuka Umunna MP, who left the Labour party to join The Independent Group and then the Lib Dems – has long been a bastion of the right wing, with Blairites firmly in the driving seat. However, since the departure of Umunna there is the opportunity for a significant shift to the left with an organised Labour left in Streatham pushing a motion calling for a member-led redrafting of Clause IV and the opportunity for a pro-Corbyn parliamentary candidate, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, to be chosen in the selection contest. We publish here two reports by Socialist Appeal supporters on the Clause IV motion and the selection contest.
Nick Oung, Streatham CLP
Around 25 Corbyn-supporters and leading activists recently gathered in Streatham to discuss the way forward for socialists in the CLP.
The CLP has recently seen the departure of our arch-Blairite / Lib-Dem-turncoat MP, Chuka Umunna. Alongside this has been the election of socialists on most leading CLP positions, the passing of a radical Green New Deal motion for Labour Party conference, and the affiliation of the CLP to the Stop the War Coalition.
All these events have galvanised the energy of a local party, which is now overwhelmingly left-wing. It is now time to go on the offensive and keep this radical energy flowing.
One of the major issues discussed was therefore Clause IV: the part of Labour’s constitution that defines its aims and values.
62% of CLP delegates to Labour Party conference voted for the restoration of the 1918 version of the clause. And the NEC has pledged a redraft and a shift away from Blair’s 1995 version, which committed the party to supporting the market and competition. Scrapping this current clause would signify a nail in the coffin of Blairism.
Streatham’s activists want to help draw that bleak part of Labour’s history to a close. As a result, this recent meeting of the Streatham Labour Left passed a motion that calls for a member-led, democratic redrafting of Clause IV.
We in the CLP want to put a commitment to the socialist transformation of society at the heart of any new clause. This, the motion states, must include a pledge to fight for the “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, under democratic workers’ control”.
As one activist put forward during the meeting: “The time when we were made ashamed to call ourselves socialists is now dead and buried.”
The entire discussion was energetic and optimistic, with talk of the prospects for a Corbyn government, Marxism, and the fight against capitalism.
With an overwhelming majority in favour, and only two abstentions, the meeting resolved to bring this motion to all branches of the CLP so that these questions can be widely discussed, before being brought to the CLP-wide meeting itself.
We have an opportunity here to make a lasting change in our CLP, which only a year ago was a bastion of the right wing.
We call on our readers in Streatham to mobilise for the meetings where this will be discussed, and to push forward such motions (see model motion) in their own branches and CLPs across the country.
Labour members want to see a radical change in society. It is time to commit the party to socialism!
Joe Russell, Streatham CLP
The transformation of the Labour Party has entered into a new important stage, with parliamentary candidates being contested in various constituencies.
Sam Tarry, a prominent pro-Corbyn campaigner, has just won a selection contest in Ilford South. He replaces the incumbent, Mike Gapes, who quit the Labour Party but maintained his seat as a member of the failed centre-ground party, Change UK – The Independent Group.
As a result of similar circumstances, the contest in Streatham CLP is currently underway too. And about time!
To the frustration of the membership – who have been stalled time and again – the CLP has been without a parliamentary candidate for eight months, ever since right-winger Chuka Umunna defected from the Labour Party.
Umunna initially helped to form Change UK, before switching party again, making Streatham officially a Liberal Democrat constituency.
With a general election around the corner, it is essential that the local Labour Party have an agreed candidate to campaign for, so that we can win back the constituency from these traitors.
Grassroots members want a new candidate who will fight for a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn – and not one who will undermine him at every opportunity like so many of the Blairites and careerists who remain in the PLP.
The selection shortlist has now been announced, reduced down to three candidates. The vote is scheduled for 2nd November.
The candidate selected by the organised left-wing – and endorsed by Momentum, Unite and various other affiliated unions – is Bell Ribeiro-Addy.
A lifelong Streatham resident, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and a local activist and community builder, Bell stands in marked contrast to the other two candidates, who have held positions as Lambeth councillors, and who have done nothing to fight the austerity nor the undemocratic manoeuvrings used to keep the local party under the control of a Blairite clique.
These selections could be a turning point in Streatham and the PLP as a whole. The most exciting Labour Party conference in years has just taken place, producing radical, progressive policies.
We must organise to rid the party of its careerist MPs, and replace them with candidates who will actually fight for the policies and respect the democratic decisions of the membership.
We say: Clear out the right wing! Bell for Streatham! And Corbyn for PM!