Open Letter To The Socialist Campaign Group

Dear Socialist Campaign Group,


A few days ago I made the gut wrenching decision to resign my membership of the Labour Party after 11 years. I had wrestled with this decision for 13 months. Even longer actually, because I came very close to resigning in the summer of 2019, after the party had adopted a more full throated Remain policy, a policy I was both morally and politically opposed to. It was only my strong support of Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of our policy platform that kept me from leaving. However I don’t have Jeremy Corbyn to keep me inside the tent anymore. Nor do we have the policy agenda or glimmer of one, to drive me to stomach staying.


I’m not saying here that I have done the right thing politically. I fully understand why you are asking members to stay and fight for the policies we all believe in, and I’m sorry if I’m disappointing you, however I am just another human being who cannot bring herself to hand over money to a party that despises me and everything I stand for. You get paid over 70k a year plus expenses to compensate for the treatment you receive from the current leadership. Some people have local government roles they can get their teeth into or even political ambition to drive them to stay. Some people are more tolerant and can attend meetings with fellow members who they know deep down were willing the Corbyn project to fail. Some love the socialising and the friendships the party has brought them. But for some of us, it’s just about the politics and the hope and paying money to have neither is a very bitter pill indeed. 


You often talk with great empathy about voters who might choose to abstain at a General Election by not voting Labour because Labour is not giving them a strong enough reason to vote. Yet you don’t vocalise that same empathy for members who feel like they can’t give Labour their hard earned money when they actually despise almost all the MPs who represent the party in Parliament. If you told voters, ‘you must vote Labour, or you’ll let the Tories in,’ you’d be told to do one. Hopefully you won’t do that because it is patronising and would only serve to alienate the voters you want to persuade. Well hello, that’s what’s happening with members. You are talking to distressed people who have in some cases, fought tirelessly for the party for years, even decades, and you glibly say, stay in the party, you can’t kick them from the outside’, expecting members who are overwrought, filled with despair and rage to say, ah, of course I should stay. Thanks for steering me in the right direction. Other members are not old sweats. They joined only because of the groundswell of hope that sprung from Corbyn’s leadership, and are now angry, lost and hopeless. 


What we are dealing with here is reality. Labour is haemorrhaging members because they have been driven out. Maybe they should all stay, in the same way maybe all voters should just compliantly vote Labour because Labour is arguably always slightly better than the Tories. But they won’t. They are leaving because they don’t have hope. In fact in many cases, their only hope is the Socialist Campaign group, and they don’t feel encouraged enough by your group to stay. Only the other night, on Novara media, Clive Lewis openly admitted your group has not got its act together. He spoke of divisions that still exist over Brexit for instance. He said it was too much to expect you to have resolved your issues after only 13 months. But during that 13 months members have been insulted, purged, ignored and blamed for the GE defeat of 2019, as well as seeing the Labour MP they most respect and admire kicked unceremoniously out the Labour Party simply for speaking the truth, all to the backdrop of a global Pandemic where they’ve been depressed, anxious, ill, or had family who’ve been ill or even died, who’ve lost their jobs, been isolated, forced to home educate their kids and struggled to get by. And they’ve felt unsupported by you during that time. So naturally thousands have left. Many speak about their hope that you will leave the party, a party filled with MPs and staffers that did so must to deliver a Tory govt in 2019, and stand as independents to threaten the status quo in the Labour Party. And I’m sure you get irritated when ex members ask you to do that as if its the most simple request in the world. Just like members get irritated when you ask them to stay without validating those who might want to leave. 


What I’m getting at here is members are human beings just like voters. If voters abandon the party, its the party’s fault. If members quit the party, it is also the party’s fault. 
At the end of the day, you are coping with this situation as best you can. So are the members and ex members. Don’t drive a wedge between us by dividing us into fighters and quitters. One day we might all join forces again. The battle for socialism can be fought on many fields. And sometimes people just need to stop fighting for a while to preserve their mental and emotional health. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be honest and say you’d prefer members to stay, but please don’t invalidate those who can’t or won’t. Suggest they join an affiliated union or maybe get involved in local campaigns against cuts. Go on marches. Have discussions with work colleagues and friends. But don’t imply they are not able to contribute to the battle for socialist values simply because they don’t want to pay to be shat on from a very great height.


Solidarity 

10 comments

  1. Julia Anderson · May 14, 2021

    Thank you for this honest and deeply emotional letter. I could have wrote it myself. My husband and I left the Labour Party last year. We are saddened by the huge leap to the right, the lack of credible opposition to such a corrupt and inept Government and it angers and hurts to know that it was Labour MP’s and staffers that subjected us to this. Unlike the author I simply do not understand why you stay. Why are you content to complain on Social Media? Are you really just a contingent of whiners unwilling to put your careers on the line by opposing the direction of the party? Are you really proud to Labour MP’s whose party abstains on torture, supports nuclear weapons, opposes increased taxation for the most wealthy and universal basic income for the most impoverished? Are you really? Because your social media posts say something different. We believed in you, we supported you. We have been vilified, insulted and abandoned by the party yet you continue to ask us to support it? Why? As Labour veer further and further towards the right it is you that must make a decision and not us. The electorate do not want an alternative Tory Party. Do the right thing. My husband and I have voted Labour in every single Election for 41 years. This time we spoiled our ballot. We were not alone.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. jeanid123 · May 14, 2021

    Reblogged this on jeanid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tony Davey · May 14, 2021

    See my MP, Paula Barker smiling like a Cheshire cat, yet when i approached her on FB asking why she kept abstaining like Starmers crowd she had the temerity to delete our conversation off her page. Her excuses were rubbish and although i had already decided that the current Labour party were not for me it showed the type of backbone currently in it. She is/was a Corbyn supporter but like a few others no action. Bye.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A6er · May 14, 2021

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! and commented:
    Well said Chelley

    I resigned in Solidarity with Jeremy being expelled, I just could not justify even the few pounds a month in membership fees (I’m on Disability) going to keep Starmer as Leader of the party.
    I’m from the North East, borne from mining and steelworkers heritage, proper industrial working class, instilled with Socialism from an early age, still burning inside me passionately 55 years later.
    Starmer and those Centrist twats in the PLP do not represent me, never will either. They stabbed not only Jeremy Corbyn in the back during his 5 years as Leader but they stabbed 40e of UK voters in the 2017 GE when they actively undermined us winning it.
    2,600 votes short, every one down to those in the PLP who couldn’t stomach winning the Election with Corbyn as PM.
    Imagine how many people would be alive today if Jeremy was PM.
    I bet we wouldn’t be up to 157,000 Covid-19 deaths or be £100Billion in the red because of Tory Corruption with Contracts for Tory Mates.
    I hope more members leave this once great party, and hope the Unions pull their funding of it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David · May 15, 2021

    Absolutely agree with every word- solidarity

    Like

  6. Pingback: Open Letter To The Socialist Campaign Group – thephilosophicalmuse
  7. Chris O’Donovan · May 15, 2021

    I understand the frustration but I don’t see any other more viable alternative at the moment. There is still a lot to play for, particularly if there is a leadership election. The SCG needs 20% of PLP membership to launch a challenge. That requires about 40 members which the SCG has not got. However, were there to be a challenge then a Soft Left candidate would probably want their support and would have to make significant concessions in order to get it; lifting suspensions would be a significant demand. Starmer and the Right recognise this and will use every opportunity to suspend SCG members, so they are walking on egg shells, but can use JC to speak for the cause whilst his suspension remains in place.
    Ultimately, this strategy may fail and a large number of the SCG may breakaway. I think this would be a backward step that would take years or decades to recover from, so I will keep faith with the SCG for now, but I will limit my activism within the Party and fight on other fronts.
    I do expect to see more SCG members being suspended, or being deselected as candidates before the next GE. If that happens then they will be forced into acting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. davegree · May 15, 2021

    I have been following you for quite a while now Chelley and have the utmost respect for your writings. I would love to say, “You must stay,” but I am afraid my hope for the party dwindles more each time I read about a ridiculous suspension or the gagging of our voices by Evans. I too fear the machine is too big, at the moment, to turn around. i have not gone yet, but the hand is slipping and I think that soon I could be joining you. I was never a party member until Corbyn, although always voted Labour when I voted. I found it difficult in then Blaire years and often did not vote at all. My hope now is in the youngsters, who have been brought up with environmental awareness. They will have to change the system; my energy is almost spent!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Paul France · May 17, 2021

    I will stay! Only my enemies will cheer my leaving. I will use my vote for the left. I will continue my membership of, and support for CLPD & JVL.

    Like

  10. David Plowman · March 20

    I agree with all if the sentiments raised by this statement. I unfortunately have now decided to move on. I and many others have waited in vain for some leadership from the group. It is apparent the the group will continue to take their punishment and be abused by the current leadership in the very unlikely event that they can wrestle power from the present leadership. The evidence is clear that the Labour Party no longer supports Socialism as is only using you to enable it to gain votes from the left. It can pretend it is Radical and progressive because the likes of McDonnell and Abbott are still in the party. The Labour Party no longer holds ‘Labour’ values, it is run by the managerial class who want to manage the present set up, not change it. Why use up so much energy in the fruitless task of trying to win influence over party policy. Break way. When the next election produces a situation where no single party has a majority, then you will have real influence. A Socialist community based party can then negotiate with the Labour Party the terms on which it will give its support to enable it to govern . Two party politics has been dying in this country. Kill it off and give the people of this country a real choice at the next election based on the very popular 2017 election which would have transformed this country if implemented. Form the Community Party . Don’t waste your effort trying to convince Starmer and Akehurst to accept Socialism- convince the people instead.

    Like

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