After the referendum: Stand up for migrants, defend Corbyn, push back the right (proposal to 27 June Momentum steering committee)

I am proposing the following document to the Momentum steering committee on Monday 27 June.

Please feel free to email me with comments and queries: jillmountford@rocketmail.com

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After the referendum vote, the labour movement urgently needs to step up the fight against nationalism, racism and anti-migrant ideas – and build itself up as a political force.

We must begin by defending our elected leader Jeremy Corbyn, and resisting pressure to accommodate to the right – including on immigration. Momentum will stand firm and fight to defend and extend migrants’ rights and freedom of movement. Stagnant and falling real wages, the housing crisis, public services stretched to breaking point are caused by the bosses and their government, not migrants. Our answer is working-class unity to win more and better jobs, homes, services and rights for all.

The labour movement should seek to limit the damage of Brexit by campaigning to defend migrants’ and workers’ rights, getting serious about resisting “austerity”, and developing stronger links with workers in Europe and beyond, across borders.

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In our fight against nationalist ideas we will stress class politics: the labour movement and Labour Party should organise, represent and fight for working people against capital, in the first instance workers in all their diversity – British and migrant, different ethnicities, blue and white collar, secure and precarious, different levels of formal education, employed and unemployed, all religions and none – building unity around common interests in workplaces, communities and wider society, interests which can cut across divisions of all sorts.

The Labour right’s decades-long drive to undermine class consciousness, class politics and struggles to defend the working class bears a large part of the responsibility for the problems our movement now faces.

To begin to challenge the long-term, severe, growing social distress on which nationalism has fed, we will urgently, consistently and vocally agitate for the Labour Party to campaign for an Emergency Plan of clear pro-working class policies on the following lines:

End poverty pay and insecurity, strengthen workers’ rights. Ban zero hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour without exemptions, introduce strong workers’ / union rights, build union membership
Decent jobs, benefits and services for all. Create two million secure, well paid and useful jobs in the public sector. Fight hard to stop and reverse cuts, privatisation and outsourcing. Increase education funding, fund expansion of community school places. Restore and increase benefits. Cut down inequality
Decent homes for all. Build hundreds of thousands of council homes a year, refurbish existing stock and stop sell offs. Introduce rent controls and strong tenants’ rights
Rescue the NHS. End privatisation and cuts in the NHS and reinstate a fully public health service funded to meet patients’ needs.

How can these things be paid for? The rich, whose wealth comes from workers’ labour, have got even richer at our expense! We call for a clear Labour policy of taxing the rich and nationalising the banks.

Labour and the unions need to get on a war footing, and get out in communities and workplaces arguing for these kind of demands. Our campaigns, eg on the NHS, should be in the same spirit.

Momentum will i) publish this resolution tomorrow on the website and social media and ii) by Thursday issue a statement and press release calling for Labour to stand firm in defence of migrants’ rights and fight for an Emergency Plan of pro-working class policies (exact details can be amended, but the general thrust and radicalism should not be). This will be drafted by James Schneider together with the proposer and seconder of this motion. We will circulate the statement and call for other labour movement and left organisations and individuals to add their names.

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We encourage Momentum groups to organise meetings along these lines, linking the battle to defend migrants and reassert working-class politics with the immediate fight to defend our elected leadership, where possible working with other Labour and labour movement organisations.

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