Florrie Centre, Liverpool
Report by John Owen
Rejuvenating the Labour movement after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory
Gathering in a fine old Victorian hall, built, or paid for by West Indian merchant Bernard Hall and dedicated to his lost daughter Florence, hence the Florrie. Approximately 120 people attended the debate.
Outside was a raging storm, inside the brewing of a political storm. The atmosphere was pleasant, amicable even, tense and disturbing, free flowing and rambunctious, aggressive and thorough, principled and fair.
Following on from the massive surge of the support for Corbyn in the leadership election, attempting to shift the Labour party to the left, the mood for a continuing battle with Cameron is still on.
Tory boys latest quest is to bomb Syria, how original, something already being done, a surefire method that has only led to further radicalisation and increased terrorist attacks since the1990 first Gulf War.
Workshops included: who needs cuts? Barry Kushner councillor no show however, what is momentum? Democratising the Labour party, Ed Mustill, Fighting for workers’ rights Roy Bentham and blacklist support group, finally organising students and young workers, Beth Redmond NCAFC, Chris Marks PCS.
An hour long lunch break meant time for local home baked scouse pies, courtesy of Anfield baking co-op.
In the afternoon sessions: local cuts Cllr Joe Walsh, Syria – what position should Labour take? Mike Homfrey – chair, Socialist Feminism -Sarah Weston Withington CLP, Greece lessons from Syriza: Thanna. Followed by feedback from all groups.
Questions like, who can be in Momentum? And what are its aims? Regarding the election of Corbyn in 2020 as priority, or is a building of main political movement to oust the Tories from office now not later.
The debate from the Momentum workshop in the afternoon on Syria was lively, if perhaps overawed by the din from the other workshop in the opposite end of the hall, no matter the group resolved in the end to tell Corbyn we support his opposition to bombing as a discussion on the draft letter for MPs had been stalled with amendments by the right.
Discussions over this issue, apparently has produced sparks in local CLPs.(local party branch meetings).
At the end of the conference people voted overwhelmingly in opposition to NATO airstrikes, a shot in the arm for the anti-war movement, a boost for Corbyn, in the prevailing military and jingoistic atmosphere.
The Labour right, now including Tom Watson MP, jumping ship to side with Cameron. Watch this space as the vote is on Wednesday, in parliament to endorse military action.
If you recall Ed Miliband, despite himself, managed to forestall bloodthirsty Cameron, by ten votes, last time it was put to a vote. Loss of confidence in his leadership would ensue, if he were defeated this time. Which is why a servile, mostly pro-Tory press, is going all out to corral the Labour right into line, to isolate Corbyn further from the ranks. An all-out protest on the scale of 2003 will be needed to halt the slide into a further war on Syria.