Alena Ivanova says let’s make our movement home for the 20th October marchers
This year’s Labour Conference saw a record number of CLP motions submitted on a single topic: over half of all motions submitted were on Brexit, and of those 80% were in favour of a public vote on the final deal under some form or other. Those of us in the main hall during Keir Starmer’s speech cannot deny the palpable sense of collective relief that took over the room when he proclaimed Remain is not off the table in a referendum scenario.
What was achieved during this year’s largest member gathering was therefore to reassure the predominantly Remain membership that it is OK for us to still think Brexit is a mistake and to want to fight the disaster that Brexit would spell for the poorest in our society.
However, the challenge remains for us to prove that this isn’t a shift too little too late. We can’t go back to our constituencies reassured that the Labour team will chart the most prudent political course for all of us. Our job as activists is to convince the country Brexit is worth organising against and to use this moment of chaos in politics to win hearts and minds over to the ideas of socialism and internationalism. We, in other words, need to step up!
On behalf of Another Europe is Possible, I make a call to action. In the first instance, we need to keep up the pressure on our Labour MPs to follow agreed party policy and not submit to Theresa May’s blackmailing attempts to lure them into propping up her government by supporting her deal. The ‘statemanly’ tendency within sections of our party needs to be suppressed via concentrated efforts of local members and constituents.
Secondly, we need to learn the lessons of the 20th October demo: there is a mass of people gathering around the idea of stopping Brexit. While they may not all be organised or politicised, we need to make the Labour movement the obvious political home for these hundreds of thousands. These are the people that could not only help us win a potential public vote, but are the people we need to also win a general election.
Lastly, we need to put more efforts into organising migrants whose vote was taken away from them, and migrants who never had the benefits of the EU-backed freedom of movement. We need to make migrant voices central to our political campaign to counter not just the threat of Brexit, but the existential threat of the rising far right.