Matt Willgress reports on an upcoming major Labour left festival of ideas which will look at how we can better campaign for a better world for the many.
Thousands of people will protest today and over this week against Theresa May rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump.
Even though over 1.8 million people signed a petition against Trump being given a state visit to Britain only last year, the increasingly isolated Prime Minister has put on a visit for Trump which is a state visit in all but name, with a meeting with the Queen included in the itinerary.
Once Trump has left, we can be sure that the Tories will carry on outsourcing our foreign policy and security to the erratic White House administration, joining in with military actions such as the recent bombing of Syria. Indeed, even before Trump arrived on these shores, the government was announcing the sending of more British troops to back up the US in Afghanistan in a war which has been going on since 2001 with seemingly no end in sight.
No doubt they will also continue supporting Trump’s agenda of backing up the aggressions of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and “regime change” interventions into Latin America.
Just as the Tories aren’t getting a free pass in implementing their ideologically driven cuts, it’s absolutely vital that they aren’t given a free pass in their policy of blindly following Trump on the international stage.
One reason that the Tories won’t be given a free pass in this area is that in Jeremy Corbyn Labour has a leader with a history of speaking up and campaigning for peace and international justice.
Under Jeremy’s leadership for example, despite the pro-bombing stance of a minority of Labour MPs, Labour’s official stance against the recent bombing of Syria was clear, principled and chimed with public opinion.
Additionally, Labour figures, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scottish leader Richard Leonard, have also been those speaking up against the Trump visit and a range of Labour MPs such as Richard Burgon are speaking at the anti-Trump protests this week.
Yet while Labour’s position has been transformed in a range of areas, party members have a real desire to discuss and deepen the understanding of Jeremy Corbyn’s principled positions over the decades on a range of international issues.
For this reason, a number of groups, publications, campaigns and prominent figures on Labour’s left have come together to organise an international solidarity hub entitled A World For the Many Not the Few at Arise — a Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas event on July 27-28.
Discussions in this part of the event will take place on opposing a number of key parts of Trump’s reactionary, militarist agenda and how we can argue for a genuinely ethical foreign policy, and what this entails.
Topics discussed will include After Gaza and Jerusalem: why we must speak up for Palestine, Trump and the nuclear danger, Trump and the new era of coups and interventions in Latin America, and why we need an anti-war government led by Corbyn.
Campaigns participating in these sessions will include Stand up to Trump, the Stop the War Coalition, Labour CND, the Palestine solidarity campaign, Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America, Justice Mexico Now and more.
In addition to these internationalist sessions, there will also be a literary section with authors presenting books from Labour’s left, a strand on how we fight for liberation and equality, workshops on Corbynomics and creating an economy for the many not the few, and much more beside.
There is a great thirst for political education in our movement at the moment and as Chris Williamson MP has said: “With solidarity we can and we will deliver a Corbyn-led Labour government for the many not the few. Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas offers an opportunity to contribute towards making that dream a reality.”
With the Tories in turmoil and May increasingly on the back foot for her following of Trump on the international stage, I hope you will join us there at what will an inspiring weekend of people-powered politics, internationalism and solidarity.
The opening rally for Arise takes place from 6.30pm at Student Central, WC1E on Friday July 27 and then various events take place there and at Unite House on Saturday July 28 from 10am – 5pm.
Participants include John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbott MP, Richard Burgon MP, Shami Chakrabarti, Chris Williamson MP, Steve Turner of Unite the Union and more. The event is supported by the Morning Star. You can book advance, discounted ticket for Arise on July 27 / 28 at arise-festival.com. You can follow Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas on Twitter via @arise_festival and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LabourLeftFestival.