By Lee Booker, Cannock Chase CLP & Momentum Cannock member
Since the grass roots campaign for Jeremy Corbyn began and Momentum groups started popping up all over the country, we have seen an organised left engaging with The Labour Party and their communities.
Often this is in the cities and continued efforts are being waged all over the country to primarily secure a Labour victory as well as work for motions to democratise the Labour Party’s internal structure so it is more representative of the membership.
Outside of the cities, Labour & Momentum have members all over the country but from my experiences in the more rural constituency areas in the West Midlands, very few of these are engaged in activism in their communities and their CLPs. Often in branches and CLPs in areas like South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase District, Shropshire and parts of Staffordshire turnout is low with CLPs only maintaining long term local party regulars.
I believe this needs to change because these areas are largely forgotten by their regional office and HQ, written off as safe Conservative seats or as places Labour can never win back. I call on activists to engage with these communities and network with each other to get involved with their CLPs and campaign in their areas. Usually you will find CLPs are baffled at a huge party membership none of which appears at their doorstep.
Whilst a necessary part, I think CLPs should be more than just a place for brief discussions on local council matters, this cannot happen without a healthy and varied turn out. They should be political training hubs, as well as places that encourage discussion and friendly debate over national politics. Momentum groups in the area should be encouraging the organising of reading groups on political books, agitation planning, campaign planning and community activities, creating a lively social hub for all activists to get involved in and put the Labour case and socialist ideas out in areas that have largely been lost to conservatism and reactionary politics.
I was inspired to create a Facebook group called “West Midlands Rural Left Labour” after attending a “West Midlands Campaign for Labour Party Democracy” meeting in Birmingham city centre and I hope this can act as an online meeting network for members to get involved in helping each other all across the West Midland’s areas outside of the big cities for rural organising.
I hope other members in other parts of the country can act to do the same and rebuild a left wing movement in rural constituencies and small towns.
West Midlands Rural Left Labour
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Same story in the U.S.
Same story in Wales