By Carolanne Lello and Jack Downes, both of Stourbridge CLP.
Dudley Young Labour launched on 6 March at the Dudley Council House. Young activists came together from across the borough to discuss the integral role of Young Labour in taking back control of Dudley Council, and the UK as a whole. The main theme of the event was how forming active Young Labour groups can affect real change.
The event was prefaced by a talk from local councillor Judy Foster. Judy invited everyone to come along to events surrounding International Women’s Day. She was followed by a rousing speech from local Labour group leader Pete Lowe, who spoke about his time in the Labour Party Young Socialists in the 1980s, and the fights they faced as a combative, left-wing youth section. Pete urged Dudley Young Labour activists to “be radical!”
Stourbridge Young Labour activists Jack Downes, Eliot Brookes and Ellen Cobb then led a discussion about how their group has been leading the way with local activism, encouraging members present from the other three CLPs to get organising. They touched on how to set up a YL group, best practise when recruiting, holding campaign days, having interactive events and producing an effective campaign calendar to meet constituency campaign goals.
Stourbridge YL activist Carolanne Lello spoke about issues facing young parents under the Tories and how they are often under-represented in politics as a whole. She thanked Stourbridge Young Labour for its inclusivity since she joined, making it possible for her children to come along to events such as the recent Action Saturday with Jeremy Corbyn – giving her young son the opportunity to hug his hero!
Daniel Round talked extensively about the occupations in support of the UCU strike and the current state of Young Labour nationally before introducing Clarion contributor and NUS VPHE candidate Ana Oppenheim. Ana spoke about how we can use our platform to campaign for important issues such as freedom of movement and workers’ rights. She touched upon how CLP and branch meetings can often be off-putting and even intimidating for some young members, and how Young Labour can combat this by holding age-appropriate events and more social, casual meetings.
Community organiser Arun Devasia gave the keynote speech. Arun shared his personal experience growing up in Australia under PM John Howard, the struggles of the indigenous people of Australia at the time, and going on large demos with his family in Sydney. Arun went on to speak about innovative new campaigning methods such as Tinderbot, which was used in the General Election to check that people had registered to vote and then, on the day of the election, to see if people had voted.
Seats in the Dudley borough need to be won to deliver a Labour majority at the next General Election. Crucial work such as building contact rates and campaigning to turn these seats red will be strengthened by the presence of active, well-organised Young Labour groups. Our greatest asset is our membership, and our strength lies in our numbers and our enthusiasm. Events such as the launch of Dudley Young Labour epitomise the hope and innovation coming from Young Labour activists throughout the country, demonstrating that YL now has vast amounts of potential.
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