‘I feel like I’m in a period of time that will one day be a question on an exam paper’. This summed up the mood we are in changing times, on Saturday’s #KeepCorbyn demo, the second in Leeds within a week.
Tanis Belsham-Wray & Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Following on from Tuesday night’s rainy demonstration, a further demo was called in the heart of Hilary Benn’s constituency. 800 people turned out despite awful weather once again, in a determind stand to defend Corbyn and his policies.
Disappointingly, Momentum once again refused to allow Socialist Party members to speak, including one of our members speaking on behalf of Leeds TUC who had recently passed a motion in support of Corbyn.
Given this crisis is shaping into a fight to the finish between Corbyn massive support base, and those wishing for Labour to go back to establishment politics as usual, then all forces who back Corbyn – whether in Labour or not – need mobilising.
While public demonstrations are welcome, this and the immediate campaign to defend Corbyn is only the start of a process, which also needs to see deselection of those MPs who wish to sabotage genuine anti-austerity polices but also pushes outwards to campaign for a general election fought on the basis of some of Corbyn’s popular policies such as a £10 an hour minimum wage, renationalisation of railways and utilities and a mass council house building programme.
It is urgent that all those wishing to fight for this are brought together in a conference of the whole labour movement to discuss the way forward.
Immediately after the Corbyn rally was a second demonstration in support of migrants which was even larger than the demo before. People from both leave and remain gathered to say refugees are welcome in Leeds and that racism and violence is not welcome, as well as condemining the scapegoating that both many politicians are guilty of.
Many local activists came to support the demo but also raised that we need to stop austerity. The tensions have arisen from the media and government blaming immigration for lack of resources and not the assault of the poorest, most vulnerable through the bedroom tax, benefit cuts and the only way to eliminate racism is to take the wealth from rich and redistribute among society.