The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has re-issued its Open Letter to the Green Party calling on them to declare that they will not stand a candidate in the Islington North parliamentary constituency if Jeremy Corbyn decides to contest the seat independently of the Labour Party at the next general election.
The letter was originally sent to the Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay in April, following the decision of the Labour Party’s national executive committee on March 28th that the party leader at the last general election would not be able to stand again as a Labour candidate.
But with no response from the Green Party so far, and no indication that they would withdraw if Jeremy does decide to stand independently, the TUSC all-Britain steering committee has relaunched the Open Letter as an online petition to Carla and Adrian, which can be signed at https://chng.it/tKrLg8JN
New Labour retreat on 2019 green pledges
Explaining the decision the TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist, a former Labour backbench colleague of Jeremy Corbyn from 1983-1992, said:
“It becomes clearer with every passing day that the move instigated by Sir Keir Starmer to debar Jeremy from standing again as a Labour candidate is not just about rejecting him as an individual but his radical policies too”.
“The latest example is the announcement by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves delaying her own plans from 2021 to borrow £28bn a year for a ‘green prosperity fund’; a policy which itself was a retreat from the Green Industrial Revolution promised in the 2019 Labour manifesto”.
“Labour’s policy then, under Jeremy, as well as a £250 billion green transformation fund, included a commitment to a publicly-owned national grid and for ‘the supply arms of the Big Six energy companies’ to also ‘be brought into public ownership’. That’s all gone now, too”.
“As the Open Letter from TUSC to the Green Party co-leaders argues, in a situation where the Labour Party under Keir Starmer is not an alternative to the Tories but an alternative Tory Party, how other parties respond to a prospective independent candidacy by Jeremy Corbyn will say volumes about them too”.
“Jeremy has not unambiguously stated his intentions yet regarding the next election but I hope he does decide to stand. He would win wide support in his constituency and nationally too if he did so. And if, as I hope, along with even just a couple of unions he was to initiate a new democratically-organised party in preparation for his stand, I would wager it would be the third largest in the country, with 100,000 members, within a week!”
What role could the Greens play?
The TUSC national election agent Clive Heemskerk, added: “With the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government in 2017 and 2019 TUSC did not stand candidates in either of the elections held then. In contrast the Green Party stood in both elections including in Islington North, polling 4,300 votes there in 2019”.
“But to stand against Jeremy again in the next election, rather than support him if he fights the seat against an imposed ‘Labour’ candidate, would be, as our Open Letter says, ‘an unambiguous political choice in favour of the establishment and their parties’.”
“The different components of the TUSC coalition have had an open attitude to what part the Green Party and Green Party members individually could play in creating a new, mass alternative vehicle for the political representation of the working class”.
“The RMT transport workers’ union, even under Bob Crow and when it was officially represented on the TUSC steering committee, still backed individual Green Party candidates on occasions. But the union formally joining the Greens was never on the agenda. The Green Party does not share the RMT’s commitment enshrined in its constitution ‘to work for the supersession of the capitalist system by a socialistic order of society’ – it is not a socialist party. And it is not structured to allow workers’ interests, expressed through their organisations such as the unions, to set its policy”.
“The Socialist Party, another founding constituent component of TUSC, argued under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, that both itself and the Green Party should be allowed to affiliate to Labour (like the Co-Operative Party does), to contribute to what could have been Labour’s transformation into a mass democratic socialist working class party, with vibrant debate amongst different strands of opinion about how society could be transformed”.
“That road is obviously closed off now, with Starmer’s triumphant revival of Blairism and his ruthless suppression of any sign of left-wing opposition to it, and a new road is necessary”.
“The attitude to Jeremy’s potential candidacy will be a very concrete test of where the Green Party is heading and what role it wants to play in building the alternative to the capitalist establishment parties that we need”. ■
The Open Letter to the Green Party:
Don’t stand against Jeremy Corbyn in Islington North
To: Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, co-leaders of the Green Party
We are writing to urge the Green Party to declare, at the earliest possible moment in accord with its democratic procedures, that it will not stand a candidate against Jeremy Corbyn if he decides to contest the Islington North seat independently of the Labour Party at the next general election.
We believe that the decision of Labour’s national executive committee to debar Jeremy from standing again as a Labour candidate is not just about renouncing him as an individual but his radical policies too. Sir Keir Starmer, who instigated the NEC decision, had previously made it clear that the 2019 manifesto has been ‘put to one side. The slate is wiped clean’.
This includes not only the pledges to end private-sector involvement in the NHS and renationalise Royal Mail, the water companies and public transport, or the promise to abolish university tuition fees. It also includes the significant commitments made to a Green Industrial Revolution, which were rated by the Friends of the Earth as being the most impactful policies on the climate and ecological crisis of all the parties contesting the 2019 general election.
In this situation, where Starmer’s Labour is increasingly seen not as an alternative to the Tories but as an alternative Tory party serving the interests of the capitalist establishment, how other parties respond to a prospective independent candidacy by Jeremy Corbyn will be an important measure of where they too stand politically. Put simply, which side are you on?
We are aware that the Green Party has consistently stood a candidate in Islington North, not in 1983 when Jeremy Corbyn was first elected but in every contest since, including 2017 and 2019. But to stand against Jeremy again in the next election, rather than support him if he fights the seat against an imposed ‘Labour’ candidate, would be an unambiguous political choice in favour of the establishment and their parties.
Add your signature at https://chng.it/tKrLg8JN