Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

The Socialist Party (Militant) admits it has entered Labour in Northern Ireland.

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“A number of individual members have joined Labour under Corbyn’s leadership. “

Labour figures in Northern Ireland quit, claiming secret group within the party.

Most of the key figures in the Labour Party in Northern Ireland tonight resigned from their leadership positions after alleging a secret internal attempt to subvert the party.

Six people – including the chair and vice chair – who have been campaigning vigorously for Labour’s ban on fielding candidates in Northern Ireland to be lifted have now walked away from their roles, claiming that a “small minority” of hard-left members had made their work impossible.

The split comes after several years of strong Labour growth in Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies where in a few years its membership has swollen from around 300 to more than 2,000, partly due to members who have joined in order to vote in the party’s leadership contests.

The report is followed by this,

Entryist suggestion

Although they did not use the word in their resignation statement, the members appear to be alleging an entryist attempt to take over the party in Northern Ireland.

Labour and other left-wing sources claim that recent or current members of the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party and People Before Profit have recently joined Labour in Northern Ireland.

Those who have resigned are chair Anna McAleavy, vice-chair Damien Harris, vice chair membership Peter Dynes, secretary Kathryn Johnston, disability officer Keith Gray and women’s officer Mary Sheen.

In a statement, the six said that they would remain active members of the party.

They said: ‘We do not resign lightly. Instead, it is a heavy decision which has weighed on us for several months. It became evident from a very early stage that there are diverse and inimical political parties secretly organising within the LPNI contrary to Chapter 2 of Labour Party Rulebook 2017.

“Although these are a small minority among our committed and hardworking activists, members and supporters, they are a vocal and troublesome element. ‘This has presented us with irreconcilable difficulties.”

The Socialist Party has now admitted its members have entered Labour in Northern Ireland.

Labour Party Executive resignations – Socialist Party statement

A group of members of the Labour Party’s Northern Ireland Executive have suddenly resigned their positions, allegedly in response to left-wing groups organising within the party, with some of the former officers and some media outlets specifically referring to the Socialist Party in this context.

The Socialist Party supports Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies and the building of a broad, cross-community left in Northern Ireland. A number of individual members have joined Labour under Corbyn’s leadership. Some did so solely to help defend Corbyn against the Blairite coup and have never attended a meeting. Others have got active locally in an open and honest way, aimed at helping Labour to develop as a vehicle for workers and young people to challenge austerity and sectarianism. However, Socialist Party members have not sought any senior positions within Labour. Some of those who have resigned from the Executive were not only aware of this but, for positive reasons, actively encouraged Socialist Party members to become involved in Labour at various points.


Some of those who have resigned from the Executive are also members of two parties – the Co-operative Party and Labour. This is perfectly permissible, as the Co-operative Party has affiliated status. We believe that socialist groups and anti-austerity campaigns should be afforded the same right to affiliate and work with others to rebuild Labour as a campaigning, left force. For those who are supporters of Corbyn’s policies, the focus should be on challenging the pro-capitalist right, including the Blairite-Tory entryists who continue to dominate the Parliamentary Labour Party and the apparatus and remain determined to undermine Corbyn’s leadership, no matter what the cost to the party.

The Socialist Party worked fraternally with Labour members – including some of those who have resigned from the Executive – in the successful Hands Off Our Libraries campaign last year, as well as in developing the five-point Re-Think agenda which was endorsed by the Labour Party locally and adopted by six labour movement candidates in this year’s Assembly election. We believe that the impact of Corbyn’s policies on political debate has created an important opportunity for the anti-sectarian left in Northern Ireland. We will continue with our constructive and positive approach in working with others in the struggle to build a working class alternative to the Green and Orange Tories on the hill.

Previous ‘fraternal’  links between the Socialist Party  and Labour Party include:

2017. Socialist Party Stunt : ‘Ana Key’ – ’11 Votes’ Ellen Kenyon Peers – is expelled from Labour Party.

In 2015 an attempt was made to launch this: (The Socialist, 25th of November. 2015) Trade Union Momentum launched to organise to defend Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn’s new best friends have not been idle since.

It was widely suggested that the SP may have been involved in the Northern Ireland equivalent of Momentum.

It is hard to imagine what kind of “fraternal” work was possible with a group that is fanatically pro-Brexit was possible in Northern Ireland during the EU Referendum.

This is the kind of stuff they are coming out with now: Venezuela shows battle that would be faced by Corbyn government. Decisive break with capitalism needed (The Socialist. August 2017)

History shows – including in the drama now being played out in Venezuela – that piecemeal reforms irritate the capitalists but at the same time do not satisfy the demands of the working class for real change. The British and other ruling classes throughout the world are attempting to use Venezuela as a scarecrow to frighten the working class away from socialism.

They can only be defeated through the adoption of clear, fighting, socialist policies in Venezuela and in Britain.

We can assist the masses of Venezuela, and ourselves, by explaining similar ideas in Britain and exerting pressure on the labour movement for the Corbyn revolution to be completed, both in the internal battle to defeat the Blairite right and programmatically with measures which can really lead to a democratic and socialist Britain.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Surely Labour Party members living in Ireland should be in the party’s International Branch.

    Nick Wright

    August 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

  2. There is controversy on its status and actions as you are well aware Nick.

    Perhaps the Socialist Party could elect itself another Labour MP and sort it out.

    Few believe that “A number of individual members have joined Labour under Corbyn’s leadership.” only applies to the 6 counties.

    Andrew Coates

    August 9, 2017 at 3:43 pm

  3. Well, in the earlier “Ana Key MP” article, the Socialist Party referred to her as a member of their organisation while acknowledging she’d been expelled from Labour. At least there’s no pretence that their members are “readers of The Socialist” or “friends of the Socialist Party”.

    It’s like a game of “entryist chess” where the (relatively unknown) pawns are being moved into Labour bit by bit while the heavyweights are stuck on the back row as there’s no way they’d be allowed in at the moment.

    John Rogan

    August 9, 2017 at 4:46 pm

  4. No doubt they are on a roll after this,

    “The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI – the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated) recently convened its international summer school in Barcelona with Izquierda Revolucionaria (IR) and members from its sections in Spain, Mexico and Venezuela.
    A special congress of delegates during the school confirmed the unification between the two international socialist organisations. Below, the Socialist carries an extract of the document agreeing this historic merger.”

    “This historic unification has a clear material basis in the profound change in the class struggle internationally opened up by the world capitalist crisis which began in 2008 and which still rages today.”


    Andrew Coates

    August 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm

  5. There was an article in the Belfast Telegraph about the ruction in the Labour Party in NI by its ex-Secretary (Kathryn Johnson) which may be of interest.

    The main person she seems to be angry with is Boyd Black. As a curious historical footnote for Leftist Trainspotters everywhere, Mr Black was at one point a member of the pro-Stalin, pro-Mao, pro-Kymer Rouge British and Irish Communist Organisation (BICO) and stood as a “Unionist” candidate in the 1986 Fulham by-election.



    John Rogan

    August 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm

  6. I know a lot about BICO being one of the few people to have actually met them in this form, “Ernest Bevin Society, with its journal Labour & Trade Union Review, now Labour Affairs.”

    British and Irish Communist Organisation.

    “Their seminal publication on the question was The Economics of Partition which ran to many editions. Another important ICO publication was Connolly and Partition, described by the ICO magazine the Irish Communist as offering a “Stalinist analysis” of Connolly’s ideas.[9] Following the adoption of this pro-Unionist position, the ICO withdrew and destroyed their earlier pro-Republican pamphlets. A number of members were opposed to this new direction (including Jim Lane) and resigned to form the Cork Workers’ Club.[10][11]

    The B&ICO argued that it was the Southern government’s refusal to accept the Ulster Protestants right of self-determination that was the cause of the “Troubles”:

    “The cause of this strife is not Unionism nor the Unionists. Responsibility for it lies at the door of the Southern ruling class which on the basis of “One Historic Nation” has pursued a reactionary policy of national oppression for the last fifty years.” [12]
    The Two Nations theory led B&ICO to consider that the Ulster Workers Council Strike[13] was based on a reasonable demand – the rejection of a Council of Ireland until the Republic of Ireland dropped its constitutional claim to be the only legitimate government of the whole island. As is documented in the republished strike bulletin, there was no actual connection between them and the Ulster Workers Council. Their position naturally led to heavy criticism from the left[14] and the nickname “The Peking Branch of the Orange Order”.

    The B&ICO’s immediate line was to advocate a separate Trades Union Congress for Northern Ireland, and a front group, the “Workers’ Association for the Democratic Settlement of the National Conflict in Ireland”, (usually abbreviated to the Workers’ Association) was formed to campaign for this and other aims.”

    “The ICO/B&ICO was strongly anti-Trotskyist,[2] and it also opposed the Marxism of Rosa Luxemburg and Che Guevara.[25]

    All through the 1970s, the B&ICO was advocating Workers’ Control as the next step forward. They regarded the scheme set out in the Bullock Report as a good idea, whereas most of the left opposed it.[26] A small faction disagreed with the B&ICO leadership’s stance on Workers’ Control, (which it criticised as “Fabian” and “fundamentally anti-Marxist”) and split to form the Communist Organisation in the British Isles.[27]

    One noted and controversial writer associated with the B&ICO was Bill Warren, who wrote a book and several articles challenging the traditional Leninist view of imperialism.[28] John Lloyd, later editor of the New Statesman, was also a B&ICO member: some observers have suggested Lloyd’s sympathetic view of the Ulster Unionists comes from being influenced by B&ICO’s ideas.[29] Labour party activist Nina Fishman was also a B&ICO member in the 1970s.[30]

    The B&ICO opposed Welsh Nationalism [31] and Scottish Independence [32] It also strongly supported the state of Israel, in contrast to the anti-Zionist positions of much the radical left of the time.[33]

    Unlike most of the left, the B&ICO supported the Khmer Rouge regime and opposed the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia.[34][35]

    The B&ICO publicly praised the ideas and political career of Joseph Stalin,[36] arguing Stalin had been unjustly depicted by historians.[36]

    Their actions at that time still cause some bitterness[37] and have caused some commentators to express cynicism about the group’s current pro-nationalist position”


    Andrew Coates

    August 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm

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