progress is not the elimination of struggle, but rather a change in its terms’ - Aneurin Bevan

Why won't the losers accept they lost?

Those who gained 4.5% in the Labour leadership election have been quick to defend their “colleagues” dropped from Shadow Cabinet under Jeremy Corbyn’s New Year reshuffle.

That a number of them resigned before they too were reshuffled out merely speeds up the inevitable. They lost, were offered a chance to be part of the leadership team, but could not accept the platform on which the leader won.

Those complaining of a “North London Labour Party” have no grounds for doing so – they also have seats in parts of the country long considered Labour strongholds. I don't recall Kevan Jones ever speaking at Durham Miners’ Gala, though... Striking in solidarity must be a new experience for the “hard right”.

Their wisdom doomed Labour in Scotland and would doom other Labour strongholds. If they had their way, Labour would be liquidated completely, both at the ballot box and in terms of its link to the broader workers’ movement.

Labour's conservatives, organised in the Progress faction, and in the witch-hunting “Labour First” group, do not accept majority party policy as established in the leadership contest – and by a majority of Labour MPs and a majority in the Shadow Cabinet who voted against another war in the Middle East.

Progress is a faction in Labour which is funded by capital. It has its origins in the SDP split and is committed to the absurd notion of “progressive capitalism”, rather than Labour as a democratic socialist party.

Progress and Labour First are opposed to an independent foreign policy for the labour movement, instead wanting our party to follow the lead of ruling class institutions not directly accountable through democratic elections.

They have nothing to say about democratising the economy and nothing to say about opposing the austerity programme imposed on the majority in society across Europe to boost the wealth of the billionaire class.

The way that the workers’ movement ultimately decides the policy of its party is through selection processes. The leadership selection was changed in 2013 to advantage the pro-capitalist Progress faction after they tried to smear Britain’s biggest union for daring to be involved in the Labour Party. The “opt-in” rule was designed to smooth the transition to a party cut off from the rest of the workers’ movement.

The victor in the leadership selection contest stood on a platform of yes, democratising the policy-making process. But his leadership platform was based on opposition to austerity through an alternative economic strategy based on stronger support for workers’ rights and common ownership.

And the leader made clear that he would be leading the party solidly against the permanent wars of the ruling class, their weapons of mass destruction, and the racism used to justify these wars and to weaken and divide our class.

Labour’s majority faction – in coming together to build Momentum for Labour victories in the future – should listen to and learn from dissenting voices in the party, but ultimately the winners of an election must be allowed to govern. Sadly, the Tories won the election last may. Those who led Labour to that defeat were able to accept it and move on – they should now accept their other election defeat.

Those MPs who want to oppose the historic choice made by Labour and trade union movement should do so from the backbenches and be open about their desire to re-run the leadership contest.

The only way we can be certain to develop a coherent platform against the Tories is if democracy is practiced in the Labour Party. Sadly the minority faction appear to be set on coup-plotting and attempts to purge supporters of the leader - an effort they carried out during the leadership contest to deter people from trying to participate in the workers' party.

This must be challenged from below with a solid defence of the anti-austerity and anti-war platform chosen by the majority in our movement.Labour MPs should not be siding with the Tories against Labour's leadership, or against striking workers. Solidarity is needed. The old ideas of deference to the powerful and silence in the face of injustice must be replaced.

(More about opposing the the witchhunt of Corbyn supporters here.)

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