The recent decision of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to suspend ALL Labour Party branches throughout the UK has extremely serious implications for democracy and the Labour Party.
Many activists within the Labour Party see an expansion of local democracy as a vital ingredient. We want to see an expansion of democracy within the workplace, within local communities. We want to see MEP’s being given more democratic powers. We want to see the decentralisation of planning, decision making, etc. We want to see power decentralised.
The history of the Labour Party is such that it was built upon the backs of people who had fought for freedom of association and established trade unions in order to fight for the rights of the working class. Now, in 2016, we have a NEC of the Labour Party that has suspended freedom of association (this could be in breach of Article 11 of the ECHR) and are undermining democracy within the Labour Party. The big question now is, if we cannot trust the NEC with regards to democracy within the Labour Party – Can we trust the Labour Party to enhance and expand democracy within our UK communities? Will, as a result of the anti-democratic actions of the NEC, the electorate easily trust the Labour Party with democracy again?
Obviously, if there are problems within individual branches, then suspension of a branch can be justified. However, to suspend over half a million Labour Party members – and ALL LP branches – because of the actions of a few idiots is absolutely stupid. The actions of the NEC spell out a message that the Labour Party cannot be trusted when it comes to freedom of association and democracy. Personally, I have been a Labour Party member for over 36 years and this is the first time that I have felt ashamed of the actions of the NEC.
The NEC should restore democracy within the Labour Party as a matter of utmost urgency. What is more, those NEC members who voted for the suspension of democracy within the Labour Party should hang their heads in shame and resign.