Vox Political: The Cooperative Party Fighting Back against New Labour Infiltration?

Mike today has posted up an interesting little piece about the Cooperative Party’s plans to develop some distinctive policies of its own. The party has been allied to Labour since 1927, and has 25 MPs elected on a joint ticket. Gareth Thomas, the MP for Harrow West, who chairs the party, has said that the party will be developing its own distinctive policies ahead of centenary next year in 2017. Among the policies suggested is the representation of carers on the boards of companies providing social care services, and that the care workers for those companies should be able to take over those companies if they’re going to close or change hands. Mike comments that these are excellent policies.

The party has also stated that it is staying neutral in the leadership contest, and has rejected the idea that it is going to be infiltrated by right-wing Labour MPs, who want to split away and turn it into a vehicle for their own campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. Mike comments that the policies look like they’re deliberately formulated as part of a backlash against attempts by the Blairites to take over the party. He is, however, sceptical about how neutral it really is in the leadership contest. He asks how many of its MPs signed the letter supporting Owen Smith.

Mike’s piece is at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/09/09/is-co-operative-partys-new-stance-a-backlash-against-new-labour-takeover-bid/

G.D.H. Cole in the 1940s wrote a massive history of the cooperative movement, A Century of Cooperation. It’s astonishing now, after the co-op has largely turned itself into a mainstream supermarket, how revolutionary co-operatives were, and how deeply ingrained they were as part of working class life. In their time, they were seen as a genuinely revolutionary movement that would superseded capitalism. The vast majority of co-operatives were retail, but producers’ cooperatives, in which the workers also had a share in management, also existed. I think all workers should have the opportunity to take over and run failing companies, just as a few were given such power way back in the 1970s by Labour party. A few years ago I reblogged a video on the way the Argentinian economy was partly saved by its workers taking over failing economies, with comments by the veteran American radical, Naomi Wolf. Since then, most have returned to being normal capitalist enterprises. Nevertheless, the success of these companies does show that workers also can be good managers.

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One Response to “Vox Political: The Cooperative Party Fighting Back against New Labour Infiltration?”

  1. Blissex Says:

    Uhmmm, that chairman also made very pointy statements about the Co-operative Party being enthusiastically pro-Remain and pro-business.

    But I noticed an amusing detail: in the nomination for the Greater Manchester majoral race the Co-Operative Party endorse someone else than Andy Burnham, even if he apparently is a Co-operative party member, but later the full Labour membership chose him:

    http://www.thenews.coop/106204/news/co-operatives/co-operative-party-backing-tony-lloyd-manchester-mayor-bid/
    «On 3 June the three Labour candidates to be the Mayor of Greater Manchester attended a meeting with local Co-op Party members. After listening to the candidates, members voted to back Tony Lloyd, [ … ] Also seeking to obtain the Labour Party’s nomination are Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South and Andy Burnham, shadow home secretary and MP for Leigh. Mr Lewis served as a minister in the Blair and Brown governments. A member of the Co-op Party, Mr Burnham was involved in setting up Supporters Direct.»

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/09/andy-
    burnham-selected-labours-candidate-manchester-mayor
    «Burnham won 51% of a vote from party members in the region, beating the area’s police and crime commissioner and interim mayor, Tony Lloyd (29%), and the MP for Bury South, Ivan Lewis, who was a government minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (19.8%).»

    Maybe A Burnham was a bit too lefty for them… 🙂

    However I notice that 25% of MPs for the Co-operative party are in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet:

    https://party.coop/lists/members-of-parliament/

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