Brixton Hill local by-election

May 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement Brixton Hill local by-election

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  • #91162
    PJShannon
    Keymaster

    Comrades, this thread is supposed to be about the Brixton Hill election. Any other topics can be discussed by starting a new topic.

    #91163
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here's the Report of the debate on this issue at the 1989 Conference:

    Quote:
    V17 "That this Conference instructs the EC to ensure that in future no photograph of the candidate appear on the election manifestos"(Glasgow).V16 Amendment to V17:"Delete the last word and replace with 'material'" (W London).V18 "That this Conference instructs the EC to ensure that in future the election manifestos be addressed to 'Fellow Workers' and not to 'Dear Electors'" (Glasgow).V.Vanni (Glasgow), opening on his branch's two resolutions,said Glasgow considered neither saying 'Dear Electors' instead of 'Fellow Workers' nor putting the candidate's photo on the manifesto as being innovative or imaginative.H.Edwards (W London), on his branch's amendment, said the intention was to make the Glasgow resolution on photos more precise. On the other issue of laying down "Fellow Workers" as the only permissable form of address, the branch disagreed with Glasgow.R.Cook (Birmingham) complained about the phrase "instructs the EC to ensure". Why this urge to always have control from the top?S. Coleman (Islington): whether or not the photo should appear was a matter of principle, though not of primary principle. So if the Party voted for it, he would accept it, but the Party had not voted for it and Swansea should have waited for Conference to decide before experimenting on this matter. Why should we always have to say "Fellow Workers"? What was important about what we had to say was the content not the form of words employed. It would be ridiculous to have to use this particular form on all occasions and under all circumstances.B.Johnson (Swansea): the Party can exclude photos from its manifesto but it can't stop the media insisting on a photo to accompany any statement they might want to publish from us. Once again, this was an over-reaction to an experiment and before it had been completed. The Party must be prepared to experiment, allowing flexibility in the light of local conditions.G.Hewlett (Camden): a photo couldn't help put over our case and was in fact quite irrelevant to it.H.Young (non-delegate): the change from "Fellow Workers" to "Dear Electors" was a concession to ignorance and prejudice and was reformist —S.Coleman (Islington): Point of Order! Under Clause 15 of Conference Standing Orders Comrade Young was not entitled to refer to other members as "reformist".S.Easton (EC Member): we didn't have to first approach everybody as "workers" if only because most people wouldn't know what we meant by working class. Nor did photos mean a personalised campaign.E.Goodman (EC Member): the objection was not just to the photo, but also to the personalism represented by the use of 'I'. On the other issue,Glasgow were being too strict in trying to stop innovation. After all, our message was also addressed to capitalists.K.Knight (non-delegate): capitalists could indeed join the socialist party, even in their own interests, as to avoid perishing in a nuclear war. But there was a distinction: we didn't need their support whereas we did need that of the working class, so we must address our appeal to the latter.D.Donnelly (Glasgow),winding up, said the resolutions were not an appeal for things to be controlled from the top, but an instruction to the committee which manages our affairs between Conferences not to use photos. We must control our own literature even if we can't control what the media do.The amendment(V16) to the first Glasgow resolution(V17) was carried 99-39 and the resolution, as amended, was then carried 98-49.The second Glasgowresolution(V18) was lost 69-73

    This means that there is an absolute ban on us putting the candidate's photo on the election manifesto or on any other material we produce for an election. But it leaves to the discretion of branches whether or not to supply a photo to the press if requested.So, what we are arguing about here is not whether or not a Conference Resolution has been infringed but about whether or not it is opportune to supply the media with a photo if requested. Scottish branches seem to take a harder line on this than London ones.

    #91164
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "what we are arguing about here is not whether or not a Conference Resolution has been infringed but about whether or not it is opportune to supply the media with a photo if requested. Scottish branches seem to take a harder line on this than London ones."Perhaps it is because our candidates have not been as photogenic as Danny.But, surely we should seize every opportunity to highlight one of the differences we have from mainstream political parties and make an attempt to explain a basic part of our case on leadership. Sometimes we will get the opportunity and other times we won't, as i indicated in my earlier post on Livingston's experience, but we should always try. By posting a photo we will *never* be able to avail ourselves of that possibility. A picture alone says nothing about socialism or the party. It is not the same as a personal appearance or media interview where the socialist case can be made.I cannot understand how "local conditions" can effect the situation, whether they be South London, Swansea or Scottish voters. There is no need for flexibility or experimentation.There is absolute no need for a voter to know what our candidate looks like and if the candidate's first name happens to be unisex, nor know the candidate gender either (or any other personal details except for the legal election law obligatory ones.)As i also suggested, every election leaflet and statement should include an explanatory paragraph. Part of the purpose of standing candidates is educational, not simply only publicity.But as Coleman said and as i also said in earlier post, its not matter of principle or a resigning issue. I can live with the consequencies of seeing Jimmy Moir's face on a leaflet… but Matt Culbert's…i'm not so sure  !!As for the interpretation of the resolution, "manifesto" was substituted by the more general "material"…providing an independent party with a photo is "election material", surely. "That this Conference instructs the EC to ensure that in future no photograph of the candidate appear on the election material"…am i nit-picking? Perhaps they just wished to avoid giant bill-boards of Danny's face appearing.


    BTW , How much for billboard anyway to publicise our case, just one or two in the Brixton Hill ward couldn't bankrupt us and be money well spent.     

    #91165
    ALB
    Keymaster

    A photo in a local paper may not tell anyone about what we stand for, but it will help tell people that we are standing and so is/can be publicity for this. Many people just scan a paper and look at the pictures and their captions. So if there are photos of candidates but not ours, even if text of the article explains why not, people would get the impression we're not standing. Of course a blank space instead of a photo would convey the same message, but it is unlikely that the editor would be prepared to go that far to accommodate us.

    #91172
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    “Five of us went leafletting yesterday, 3 in the north and 2 in the south of the ward. Pending the arrival of the manifesto on Wednesday, we were distributing a general leaflet about Socialism and the Socialist Party. As a couple of thousand of these had already been distributed we must have distributed another thousand or so. So that’s the ward leafletted twice. As yesterday was rubbish collection day, we were able to recover leaflets issued by the other parties: Labour, Tories, Greens and TUSC (yes, we know, some of our leaflets are going to end up like this too). Ok, this is a local election but the leaflets were pathetic. Labour’s was about a “Back Our Bobbies campaign to keep police on the streets”. The Tory’s about the Council’s licencing policy encouraging “booze-fuelled idiots”. The Green man concentrated on stopping Tesco converting a closed pub into a supermarket. Only the TUSC leaflet raised wider issues. The Tory leaflet criticised “the Loony-Left Council” (only a loony could describe New Labour as this) for taking out “a poster campaign claiming that the government was ‘forcing’ them to make cuts”. As it happens, this is the case. But, according to the TUSC leaflet:But Councillors have a choice! They don’t have to make these cuts. In the 1980s, Lambeth and Liverpool Councils made a stand against Tory Thatcher’s demands for cuts.But neither Derek Hatton nor Ted Knight stopped the cuts, did they? Councillors could in theory do what TUSC asks them to do, but they would have to pay for it — literally, by being surcharged. And the cuts would go through anyway. As our manifesto points out, while the government has forced councils to make cuts it’s because they have themselves been forced by the workings of capitalism to do this. That’s the way capitalism works and a good reason to get rid of it. TUSC, however, think there is a solution within capitalism:People before Profit. Make the bosses pay for their crisis. Tax the rich.So, they envisage the continued existence of profit, bosses and the rich ! And think that this system can be reformed to work in the interest of the majority class of wage and salary workers and their dependants. This, despite the weight of evidence and experience which disproves this. Meanwhile the Brixtonblog has started publishing the statements of the candidates. So far they’ve only done the Labour and Greens ones. Our turn should come towards the end of the week.”http://spgb.blogspot.co.uk/

    #91173
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Brixtonblog is here: http://www.brixtonblog.com/Labour here.Green here.

    #91174
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Our candidate delegate is now up on brixtonblog too:http://www.brixtonblog.com/brixton-hill-by-election-danny-lambert-socialist-party-of-great-britain/9198I'm sure comrades will like the photo(s).The Tory and the Trotskyist are up there as well.

    #91166
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    “While we were out leafletting yesterday the local online newspaper, the Brixtonblog, put up statements from the other candidates. They are all there now except the UKIP one, including the one from our delegate/candidate together with a photo of him speaking from the Party’s platform at Hyde Park and the video interview he did for the Big Smoke during the GLA elections in May. In her statement the LibDem candidate states:“Lambeth under Labour has cut funding for school crossing patrols, Brixton Library and home care services for vulnerable elderly people.”This is true but, as others have pointed out, this is because all councils have been forced to do this sort of thing by the central government which is a Tory-LibDem Coalition — which, we add, has itself been forced to do this because they are administering capitalism in one of its economic crises. A Labour government or a Lib-Lab coalition would have had to do the same. It’s the only policy a government can pursue when capitalism is in a crisis. That’s the way the system works and the only way it can work. Our election manifestos are due to arrive from the printers this morning. When they do we’ll start delivering them door-to-door, at the hustings meeting tomorrow and at a stall we will be having in Brixton on Saturday. TUSC is organising a meeting on Monday evening. We’ll be there too.”http://spgb.blogspot.co.uk/

    #91167
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    UKIP’s no brains”We started distributing the election manifestos yesterday and came across something from UKIP. Not published by their candidate but a back issue of UKIP London News from the time of the Olympics. It had an intriguing headline: THE DEPRESSION: ONLY UKIP CAN GET BRITAIN OUT IT. And what is their miracle solution?”We are in sore need of an injection of NEW money which does not involve borrowing (…) There is such an action which could be taken — tomorrow — which would have the effect of saving Britain around £100 bn a year — free money ! (…) This is an obvious ‘no-brainer’.”In other words, finance government spending not by borrowing (and having to pay £ 100 bn a year in interest payments) but simply by printing the money. A bit like in Zimbabwe. This would of course cause runaway inflation and make the depression worse. The trouble is that the UKIP candidate doesn’t have to do anything and can put forward any crazy policy (there are others) as UKIP is currently the media flavour of the month. But at least UKIP is to be commended on raising a more important issue than where the candidates live, as in another, Labour leaflet we found. In it, apart from emphasising that he lived “right here in Brixton Hill” while the Tory and LibDem candidates didn’t, the Labour candidate made the rather rash promise: “I’LL ALWAYS PUT PEOPLE FIRST”. Always? But as part of the Labour majority on the council he will, if elected, have to implement further cuts in council spending on services and amenities, as a result of the government’s policy of putting profits first to try to get out of the depression. If he does chose to “put people first” by not voting for the cuts he’ll be suspended and have to sit as an independent (the fate of one Lambeth Labour councillor who dared to do this). And of course, at national level when in office, Labour has always put Profit before People as any government of capitalism is forced to. That’s the only way capitalism can work. It can’t be reformed to “put people first”. How many times has that been tried, and failed?”http://spgb.blogspot.co.uk/

    #91168
    ALB
    Keymaster

    It looks as if we are up against the Anti-Duhring Battalion:http://www.facebook.com/groups/78046560390/Apart from the confirmation that Trotskyists only leaflet and canvass council estates because that's where they think all workers live, they've come up with a couple of good quotes:

    Quote:
    "IT'S BETTER TO VOTE FOR WHAT YOU WANT AND NOT GET IT THAN VOTE FOR WHAT YOU DON'T WANT AND GET IT." Eugene Debs.
    Quote:
    ADDRESS TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE BY FREDERICK ENGELS 1850:"Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention!"

    We have often used the Debs one, but the Engels one is good  too. They pinched our name, so we'll pinch their quote. It's more appropriate for us anyway since they are not putting the revolutionary position before the electorate, only the view that capitalism can be reformed by taxing the rich to provide jobs and pay for public services.

    #91169
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Perhaps you can remind them of Debs other quotes  “I am not a labor leader. I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.”    And elsewhere he says :-    “I never had much faith in leaders. I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader. I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week… I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”

    #91170
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    The hustings”About 70 people (including the local MP, Chuka Umanna) attended the hustings organised by the Brixtonblog last night. All 7 candidates were present and were given more or less equal time. The questions were not confined to purely local issues but also included the cuts. A leaflet by Lambeth Save Our Services listed some of the cuts made by the local council (playgroups, library services, housing co-operatives, etc). The would-be Labour councillor justified these on the grounds that, given government policy, some cuts had to made and it was better that the local council choose where the cuts were to fall rather than (the only alternative) have the central government in the form of Tory Minister Eric Pickles come in and decide this. The Tory candidate said that the cuts were inevitable and that we had to grin and bear them. Our candidate said that, given that capitalism was in an economic crisis, cuts were inevitable but rather than grinning and bearing it we should work to get rid of capitalism. The Trotskyist candidate, who is standing on an anti-cuts platform, argued that they were not inevitable as the money was there in the City; this should be taxed and used to maintain services. The UKIP lady (the only way to describe her) argued that the money could be found by stopping the war in Afghanistan (I hadn’t realised till then that UKIP was against both the Iraq and the Afghan wars) as well of course as withdrawing from the EU. The Green candidate was against the cuts too but didn’t say where the money to stop them was to come from, though he did float the idea of raising council tax. The main local issue was the closure of a local pub, the George IV, which is now boarded up and whose site Tesco wants for one of its supermarkets. The first question was from the person who used to run the pub. He pointed out that it had been running at a loss and that it could be re-opened as a community pub if the same amount of money could be raised as Tesco were prepared to pay for the site. This was a gift for our candidate who was able to make the point that this was how capitalism worked: if a business did not make a profit it went under and that land for sale went to the highest bidder. The Tory candidate made the same point. The Green man said he had launched the campaign to keep the building as a pub and community centre and had even invited the Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, down the other day to support the campaign. In fact, in all his replies, the Green candidate presented himself as the defender of local businesses, thus confirming what we have said about the Green Party: that it is the party of petty (as opposed to big, corporate) capitalism. The Tory candidate revealed, when he spoke immediately after Danny, that when he was a student he had been a Marxist anti-capitalist (I meant to ask him afterwards which group he had been in but forgot). In his answers the TUSC candidate demonstrated his reformism by saying, in answer to the various questions, that money should be spent on affordable housing, apprenticeships, community pubs, etc, etc. as if capitalism could be reformed to put “people before profit”. He never once mentioned any alternative to capitalism (not even the state capitalism misnamed “socialism” his party is committed to on paper). UKIP got slapped down by everybody when they raised the question of immigration and “overpopulation” (apparently, under EU regulations, 30 million Rumanians and Bulgarians are coming to live in Britain next year). Before the meeting, the candidates were filmed for 30 seconds answering a question about what to do about unemployment in the ward. Their answers will be shown on the Brixtblog today. As will various questions posed by email, to which the candidates were invited to respond. Naturally we will. Watch that space.” http://spgb.blogspot.co.uk/

    #91171
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    "to keep the building as a pub and community centre"How times change. Many early socialists and Left wingers would have been appalled at the thought of supporting the demon drink as many were teetotallers.I suppose the definition of a community pub is one that has dominoes and darts teams and an old peoples christmas dinner paid for by the big jar of loose change on the bar. Maybe someone might enlighten me if they are something else. The few community pubs in the council estates i know were all about the local tea-leaves flogging stuff, local druggies doing deals, and sad alcoholics drowning their sorrows as the local heavies proved their machoism.Perhaps HO should start a solidarity with the Manor Arms campaign to show our commitment to community pubs. Who's buying the first round?   

    #91175
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    The few community pubs in the council estates i know were all about the local tea-leaves flogging stuff, local druggies doing deals, and sad alcoholics drowning their sorrows as the local heavies proved their machoism.

    That's what they say the George IV on Brixton Hill was like except that it was also a well-known music venue. Both the Tory and the Trotskyist said they used to frequent it when they were younger.Here's Danny (and the others) on unemployment:http://www.brixtonblog.com/hustings-video-what-would-you-do-about-unemployment-in-brixton-hill/9336Another comment on the hustings message #19  here:

    Quote:
    The SPGB candidate's answer to every question on every issue was the it is necesssary to smash capitalism.The TUSC candidate's answer to every question was to say that he will never vote for any cuts in anything.The UKIP candidate's answer to every question was to hold a referendum to see what local people think.The Lib Dem candidate was useless.The Green candidate was grumpy and stroppy.The Conserative candidate made a few good points but kept digging himself into a hole by saying that Brixton is "an aspiration-free zone" where people don't like to live, and that the schools were rubbish.
    #91176
    ALB
    Keymaster

    And here's what the Anti-Duhring Brigade thought of the husting. Pictures plus this comment:

    Quote:
    NALLY AT HIS BEST! Steve speaking with passion effortlessly wiped the floor with the Tory, Labour & Liberal candidates at the hustings tonight! The SPGB candidate summed up his party's position and program in one perfect sentence, "There's nothing we can do." Well done comrade. That's a great message to give out to the working class. Marx & Engels and all the working class martyrs would be proud of you (not)
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