Labour Transformed’s inaugural meeting took place on the 14th December at the University of Westminster. Despite being a lengthy meeting just two days after the election, the room was packed throughout the day, with 150+ activists, many of whom had travelled from across the country in order to participate. The room contained a representative spread of the ‘Corbynite’ left, including activists who’ve variously been involved in Labour’s Community Organising Unit, The World Transformed, Momentum,policy development, trade unionism, social movement campaigns, left media, as well as other projects
The day opened with an address explaining the context and purpose of the meeting, followed by a message from John McDonnell, expressing his solidarity and his apologies for being unable to attend.
Although this inaugural meeting was called primarily to answer pre-existing concerns not contingent on the outcome of the election itself – i.e. “how should socialists organise and coordinate their activity within the Labour Party and across the wider movement?” – the first part of the meeting was spent in reflection upon the election result, how it happened, and what it meant for the wider project. There was a wide sense of disappointment, that many of the exciting ideas we’ve all talked about for years – turning Labour into a social movement, building solidarity networks and mutual aid, reinvigorating the trade union movement, rebuilding the left’s social presence across the country – seem to have made vanishingly little progress, with narrow electoral concerns prioritised instead. Despite this, and despite the scale of Labour’s electoral defeat, there was a clear atmosphere of determination and a recognition of the urgent need to regroup and continue the fight inside and outside the party.
Finding a way to harness the energy and commitment of the hundreds of thousands of party activists outside of electoral mobilisations was identified as a key priority for the years ahead. As such, the absence of any organised vehicle for radical socialists to collectively develop their ideas, to build a coherent strategy, and then to coordinate its implementation, was recognised as one of the major blockages hindering the movement’s advance. The afternoon was devoted to more organisational questions, with a presentation outlining part of the vision for the organisation and its conception of democracy. Several provisional working groups were established in order to begin to think through the areas of work Labour Transformed will need to focus on, as well as the strategic approaches these might require.
The next meeting will take place on January 25 at the University of Westminster, where the main focus of the day will be establishing the organisation’s initial internal structures and democratic procedures, as well as clarifying the political basis laid out in our foundational principles. As this is an attempt to build a new organisation, this next meeting will not be open to members of pre-existing democratic-centralist revolutionary organisations.
We are planning to hold future meetings across the country, and are working on a strategy for national growth. If you are based outside of London and are interested in being involved or coordinating with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve had some technical delays in setting up our digital forum, so we’ll be setting up WhatsApp groups in which to continue the conversations started at our inaugural meeting. It’s worth emphasising that until we are able to set up our formal structures in January, these working groups should be seen only as spaces for informal discussion and coordination since we’re not yet in a position to be formally working out policy for the organisation