Black Rose will be the voice of libertarian socialism in the Labour Party
Whether it’s on state surveillance, drug policy, or “law and order”; when it comes to state power the Labour Party has either conceded far too much ground to the authoritarianism of the right, or given up altogether to challenge them on these issues.
Polling shows that Labour voters have the most libertarian stances on these issues, and it isn’t a stretch to imagine that the Labour membership particularly would be even more sceptical of state power. Yet this isn’t fairly reflected in PLP voting records, in our rhetoric, or in our message.
As the voice of the working class our party is meant to stand up for the oppressed, and while many on the party left recognise that this means the party must more effectively stand against capitalism, not many think the same about the state. The state oppresses workers too, primarily through the facilitation of capitalism but also through institutions and structures such as the police, borders, the judicial system, the prison industrial complex, etc. All of which, for various reasons, particularly impact women, BAME people, LGBT+ people and disabled people the hardest.
This is why we are launching Black Rose: the libertarian socialist caucus of the Labour Party. Black Rose will be a radically democratic, decentralised organisation for members of the party who identify as intersectional libertarian socialists: people who, like all other socialists (and as stated by our party’s old Clause IV), believe in the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, but who also recognize that the fullest realisation of this core socialist principle can only occur in a system where the working class have direct power over their lives. We believe in the transfer of power from the state to the ordinary civilian, through principles of radical democracy, decentralisation, liberation and anti-capitalism.
We also recognise intersectionality: the recognition of the multitude of ways in which individuals and communities are affected by a multiplicity of oppressive structures and coercive power relations. These include not just class, but also racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, ableism, colonialism, just to name a few.
An intersectional approach requires the recognition of these oppressive structures and relations in order to understand people's and communities' social, political and economic positions in order to work towards solutions to emancipating them. For us, intersectionality, libertarianism, and socialism go hand-in-hand and guide us in all our political activities.
Within the party, we will advocate for changes to our current policy platform. We want the party to oppose the war on drugs that has left communities in ruin, and end it in government, decriminalising drugs alongside policies based on a public health approach to addiction. The party must also oppose state surveillance and excess police powers, such as stop-and-search.
To this end, we aim to bring motions to the next party Conference to ensure these stances are adopted and that Labour politicians offer a real alternative to the authoritarian status quo.
In terms of policy, we welcome the moves made by John McDonnell and his team towards a model of public ownership that puts workers and communities in charge of services, and not the state as nationalisation previously has done. The party must continue in this vein, studying all parts of our policy platform and revising policies where needed to put as much economic and political power into the hands of the civilian as possible. Black Rose will be lobbying for this.
We also aim to be much more than a cog in an electoral machine; we want to be an organisation that puts our principles into practice, engaging with and supporting the wider left outside the party. We must become organisers out in the real world, organising in our workplaces through trade unions and in our communities through renters’ unions. We also need to be supporting smaller, member-led unions doing great work on the ground such as IWW, IWGB, and UVW. These unions, as well as plenty of other worthwhile extra-Parliamentary struggles, often lack support from Labour members, mostly due to a lack of awareness of their work. This is something that has to change.
Our organisation will be built from the ground up with other libertarian socialist members, ensuring that our principles are embedded into our very organisational structures. Although we draw inspiration from our comrades in the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Democratic Socialists of America, our structures will only be the result of a multitude of voices of the Labour Party coming together to create a true model for radical democracy.
There is a lot more to say on many of the points above, but we want to keep our announcement short and straight to the point. Our call to those who agree with the ideas and principles expressed above is to sign up to our mailing list and get involved with this project. Together, we can make sure Black Rose becomes the strong voice of libertarian socialism this party desperately needs.