EIGHTEEN MONTHS ON, the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove is fully back up and running. At full tilt, in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the socialist policies he epitomises.
As regular readers know, since July 2016 grassroots members in our city have witnessed a litany of undemocratic interventions by the Labour Party machine: annulment of elections that overwhelmingly voted for a pro-Corbyn leadership; suspension of an all-member citywide party; enforced dissolution of the biggest party unit in the country; its replacement by three delegate-based Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs).
Despite it all, democracy has triumphed, repeatedly: all three CLPs are led by pro-Corbyn executive committees and almost all the 18 branches are led by pro-Corbyn officers.
Finally, after a tortuous and timeconsuming bureaucratic process, delegates to a new Local Campaign Forum (LCF) - which will oversee the selection process of Labour Party candidates for Brighton and Hove City Council elections next year - were given a chance to elect a ninemember leadership team. And, I am delighted to report, all nine members of the new executive committee are loyal supporters of the Labour leadership.
Work can now begin on identifying, supporting, and selecting the best possible candidates - for all 54 seats - to win Labour's first socialist majority on the city council. Councillor Warren Morgan, a prominent member of Progress, currently leads a minority ‘Labour’ administration that is seeking to impose more than £12 million of cuts, including the loss of up to 90 jobs.
The goal is to give Labour Party branches the choice of at least three short-listed candidates nominated for every seat in May next year; the challenge is also to have one in five nominees to be black and minority ethnic members. Only then can we be confident that any sitting Labour councillors who wish to stand again are the best representatives of our politics and our values.
First, though, thousands of members across Brighton and Hove are already back on the campaign trail - to elect Nancy Platts, who used to work in Jeremy Corbyn's office, as a Labour councillor in East Brighton, to replace Lloyd Russell- Moyle, who stood down following his magnificent victory as Brighton Kemptown's Labour MP last June. The by-election is on 8th February.
There is time to reflect on three important issues for socialists in Brighton and Hove - and the rest of the country: » A vocal minority of anti-democratic, anti-Corbyn activists - including elected Labour representatives, as they prepare to seek re-selection - have fallen largely silent (apart from anonymous briefings to gullible journalists). Even if we can forgive, we must never forget their treachery and guard against a repeat of it.
At all levels, elected Labour Party officers must do everything they can to involve as many people as possible to democratise the Party and entrench its socialist policies;
We must demand, loudly and proudly, that socialist members suspended and/or expelled from our party for political reasons - including fabricated smears about “antisemitism”- should be reinstated immediately.
- Greg Hadfield (@greghadfield) has been suspended by the Labour Party – without charge, without knowing the name of the complainant, and without a hearing – since 26th October 2016. He blogs at: www.medium.com/@greghadfield