Still doing politics

Marc Wadsworth

Notice to those doing whatever it is they are doing in Westminster: politics has left the building – mind you don’t get left behind.

Thank you, LabourBAME Hastings and Hastings and Rye Labour Women’s Forum for an excellent gathering and an excellent supper in Hastings last night. Thank you, speaker Marc Wadsworth for reminding us that you don’t wait until you know you can win – you keep pushing, and you advertise your attempts. That’s what brings more people to your banner. And above all, thank you to the guy who not only produced supper but gave what I considered to be the best speech of the evening – about how everyone joined the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn called them, and about doing politics before, and after, being in the Labour Party.

Marc Wadsworth is an award-winning Black rights campaigner, writer, broadcaster and BBC filmmaker, a founder of the Labour Party Black Sections, and not one for giving up.

Message to all the people who’ve lost faith in their political parties/groups: there are still PEOPLE out there, people who gathered for Corbyn, and learned to be activists. Don’t wait for ‘a new party’ – Marc Wadsworth reckons there’ll be a new party if and when the unions decide to get behind one, otherwise it’ll lack working class strength. Lost faith in the unions to stand for working people? Well, don’t sit there thinking your TU won’t do it, start local and start pushing them.

Message to Labour’s Socialist Campaign Group, and all lefty organisations: a lost motion is not a defeat – a lost motion is a campaign starting point. Tell them what everyone wants, then tell everyone what they said ‘no’ to!

Yes, Labour Party Conference was a depressing experience for those still trying to do socialism or democracy in the Labour party but Wadsworth reminded us of the example set by the new General Secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham. She didn’t go to Labour conference. She didn’t have time – because she was out there agitating for workers’ rights.

The politics of the 99% is about people. It’s about health, housing, environment, and work, because they are what people need. It’s about sex, race and class, because they are the weapons of the enemy. If our politicians aren’t working on the problems real people face in this country, they aren’t doing politics. We are.

The real politics is happening out on the streets and (in this case) in restaurants.

The best political meetings do not have to be party-political.

For my taste, the best political meetings involve radical books.

And it helps if they include a damn good supper and a rousing international socialist flavoured speech by the guy who made your supper.

If you’re after good food and good company, check out the Jali restaurant in Hastings.

If you’re after an inspiring read about perseverance in radical politics, check out Marc Wadsworth’s book.

If you’re after the hope that seemed lost a while back, check out LabourBAMEHastings – or whoever has the heart to still be doing politics where you are.

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