Vote me, I support Corbyn – A hollow battlecry

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Telling someone you’re a Corbyn supporter so they should get your vote is not enough, taking a vote for granted because you say you’re a socialist is not enough. There needs to be more, much more in order to galvanise the kind of support we need at grassroots level.

That means setting out a local vision, working within local communities and building an (at first) informal bottom up structure within our local constituency. The internal struggle within the CLP over Corbyn is one huge distraction, it’s a movement – it isn’t about Corbyn, it isn’t even about the Labour Party *gasp*. It is about that hungry person you passed on your way to work, or that homeless person you see outside your local shop, it is about a single mother facing eviction, or an elderly person that dies because of winter. It is about those suffering at the bottom, and the more we get bedded to internal struggles, the more we let them down, the more we look internally, the less we are doing externally.

So don’t expect people to support you just because you support Corbyn, or just because you’re a socialist. You need to prove to the people that you are worthy of their support, you need to show them, with your actions not just your words that you are on their side, and that they can rely on you to fight with and for them.

The vote me because I support Corbyn message is unsustainable (Corbyn won’t be here forever), while it will galvanise us to a degree, it can’t go much further than that. I want to vote for a local candidate whether that is in an internal election, a local election or a general election because I like what they’re having to say, I like where they want to take my community and I can see through their track record that they’re trustworthy – they mean what they’re saying.

If we want to transform our communities we can’t rely on Corbyn, we can’t wait until the next GE. The power to transform our communities is with all of us, the power of the movement is not with one man at the top, but all those engaged in the struggle. Less vote me because I support Corbyn, and more tapping in to that message of hope and unity that he brought to the mainstream.

Now is our chance, so let us harness the energy Corbyn has unleashed and utilise the message, but let us take ownership of it and make it our own. Make it local, make it relevant, take it and make it part of the DNA of our communities.

I could see the necessity when Labour were in a full blown civil war, but we have won that war, it is now time to win the peace.

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Practical solidarity: Labour must adapt the way it campaigns so it helps those most in need

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One day campaigns and calls for Theresa May to sling it are great at galvanizing support, but if the next election isn’t within the next six months, we run the risk of running out of steam.

Words have power that is clear, but words and actions working in unison will lay the foundation for the kind of change we need to see in our society. Which is why it is unsustainable in the long run to keep up momentum indefinitely.

Why? Because if there are no results, people will grow bored, people drop out, and slowly but surely the momentum slows to a crawl before going in to reverse. We have momentum on our side, at the moment, and no doubt the Tories will be trying to delay until the winds change in their favour.

So what can we do to help sustain activity, to keep our momentum up?

We need to adopt a more community minded, grassroots approach to our campaigning – non traditional forms of campaigning which seek to build up networks within communities, and effect real change within them.

It’s great marching to end homelessness, or against the harsh reality of the cuts, those kind of public displays of peoples anger, and dissatisfaction with the system are integral but you hardly ever see immediate results.

Contrast a march against homelessness with a Labour led drive to support the homeless within their communities, to alleviate the harsh realities of the cuts. When you see that a homeless man is going to get a roof over his head, or isn’t going to go hungry that night, you see a direct return on your political capital.

When you are bringing your politics to life through your work in your community and help stop a family getting evicted, or put food on a single mothers table, so neither her or her child go hungry that night – you see results. Politics in action effecting change on a community level, which feeds back into a national narrative.

Not only this but it is through these networks of resistance that we can sustain momentum, we see small successes, thus keeping people engaged politically. While at the same time engaging with the people that a) need our help the most and b) we need to have a political voice c) providing the apparatus/network for future political work

We need to be radical, we need to be innovative. Combine the social, community and the political, and provide cross community solutions – you have a presence, you are fighting back at the system, and you’re carrying out practical politics.

History is littered with examples of it being successful, and it is a political necessity in this country already. People on the bread line can’t wait to the next election, a disabled person house bound due to cuts, cannot wait to the next election. The people who are suffering most cannot afford to wait, and we shouldn’t leave them behind.

While momentum is on our side, while we have the Tories on the run, it is the perfect opportunity to expand our political activity and get out into our communities supporting those in need, with our actions and deeds.