We Are Not Labour’s Battleground
We Are Not Labour’s Battleground
Beacon stands for #ACityTogether, against anti Semitism, against racism, against Tory profiteering from the pandemic. And against anybody seeking to use Liverpool as a proxy battlefield in some sort of war on socialism.

As the reality of a winter under a resurgent coronavirus, and the deepening crisis that brings to ordinary people, begins to become apparent, Labour’s suspension of Jeremy Corbyn and continued retreat into neo-liberal consensus seeking raises questions about the leadership of our community response to the virus and who is to address the economic and social issues incumbent in that response

As politicians consider additional regional and localised restrictions, and the voices in favour of another “lockdown” grow ever louder, who is speaking out for us? Who is organising us?

There is a massive community effort going into ensuring people are fed, organisations like Acorn are mobilising to prevent evictions, regional and city leaders are making an economic case of sorts. But what about our political voice, our input into what the so-called “new normal” looks like?

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly retail sales index fell to -23 in October, its lowest level since June.

Beacon has provided coverage of the rise of conspiracy theorists, and their far-right fellow travellers, emerging to attempt to fill the leadership void. We have also set out, in broadbrush terms, our programme for addressing this void.

We propose building the democratic community, economic and municipal institutions that can take our city region (and others) out of the clutches of the Old Etonians and build a society and economy based upon our needs and priorities, not those of the hedge funds and bankers.

In the here and now, socialists and community activists must set about the community response to the current and deepening crisis.

However, just as Chico Mendes famously commented “Ecology without class struggle is gardening”, in the prevailing conditions social action without politics is tea and biscuits.

Our community response, as well as delivering practical relief from the crisis on the ground, must be about placing the difficulties that people are facing into their political perspective.

Without an effective, community-based and public sector delivered, track and trace system it is not possible for any viable plan to be put in place to prevent the meltdown of our hospitality and tourism heavy economy.

As Beacon has reported from Ceredigion, with resources mobilised locally, this virus can be controlled.  Instead of providing the resources for such local action in England, our masters in London have decreed that the obscene sum of £12billion be handed over to Serco.

In return, this Tory linked company has provided the wholly inadequate sum total of an Excel spreadsheet and a zero-hours call centre. On top of this, Serco and Sitel have received further test and trace contracts for £108million and £84million respectively.

Social isolation is increasing loneliness right across the Liverpool City Region.

Our community action must be aligned to demands to remove the likes of Serco, Sitel and Deloitte from the coronavirus response. The resources and responsibility for our public health must be returned to local and regional Directors of Public Health, armed with the resources to carry out the job to hand.

Similarly, our actions to relieve poverty and ensure people eat during this crisis must be aligned to demands to remove the causes of this poverty, whether they be founded in the macroeconomic dogma of austerity and the financialisaton of everything, poverty wages, poor housing or the imbalance in our local economy.

Beacon exists as a vehicle for the articulation of these demands. Traditionally, in this region, Labour is the vehicle that people have looked to as our voice at the table in national politics.

However, just at the point where this voice will be needed most, Labour is embarking upon a purge of former leading figures, people who found huge popularity in Liverpool. This purge will likely end up enveloping local constituency Labour branches and consuming local activists.

It is absolutely for the Labour Party to define the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable behaviour for members of that party. Having said that, it is absolutely for the rest of us to decide what is and is not acceptable behaviour towards us from the Labour Party.

Whatever the ins and outs of Labour’s eternal internecine battles, and whatever the fallout from the party’s latest crisis, there is no justification in branding the left in this city as anti-semitic or racist.

As we go into the next phase of our public health crisis, facing twin economic and social crises, we will not stand by and allow our community to be smeared and divided by those who use Liverpool as a battlefield in their squabbles over who should control the Labour, or any other, party machine nationally.

It was the Liverpool community united, including the Left and those behind the launch of Beacon, that put a bona fide terrorist group in the left luggage at Lime Street Station, battered and marked “return to sender”.

Racist EDL protestors attempting to march in Liverpool

When the right returned, bolstered by a firm of Eastern European skinheads, they were humiliated and ran out of town to the Benny Hill theme tune.

It is ludicrous to contend that those who have traded blows with the hardest of the hard right will stand by, or worse, be complicit, while Liverpool is being made less safe for Jewish people.  

Beacon stands for #ACityTogether, against anti Semitism, against racism, against Tory profiteering from the pandemic. And against anybody seeking to use Liverpool as a proxy battlefield in some sort of war on socialism.

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Beacon is a non-party platform to further the cause of socialism in Liverpool and the wider City Region.