Pro-Corbyn activists offered propaganda masterclasses after local party purges

Written by John Johnston on 23 August 2019 in Diary

Labour members are being offered classes on how to run their local associations after a bitter power struggle for the party's soul left dozens of local associations under new Corbynite ownership.

The World Transformed, the pro-Corbyn political festival that runs alongside Labour's official conference, is putting on the exercise to help rookie officials run their associations "for the many" following the purge of Blairites and moderates from positions of power.

The class - "We've just taken over our CLP: What do we do now" - will see activists roleplay a meeting of the "Badford CLP" where they will plan out the first few days of the post-coup administration.

"Taking on the challenge of running a CLP can feel like a full time job," the programme says.

"You may have inherited a mess or you may be inheriting a role that has been without democracy.

"Welcome to the imaginary Badford CLP's first meeting under new left leadership, where together we'll be coming up with a strategy for moving our CLP to become a membership led, socialist democracy.

"Labour members who want to build a CLP for the many, this is your session."

But a lesson in municipal socialism is only the beginning, with a follow up session promising to deliver a masterclass in propaganda-making.

Organisers say the event will give members "inspiration for your pamphlets, posters and campaign materials" by digging into the archive of "past struggles".

"Join us for a propaganda-making workshop where we will creatively explore how archival material from past struggles can reinvigorate our political imagination in the present," they said.

"During this session we will be using archival material from the Situationalists all the way up to ecological direct action and techniques of collage and zine-making to create propaganda for an imagined General Strike that will bring down the government."

"We aren't laughing anymore"

First run in 2016, the grassroots festival was initially mocked by mainstream Labour figures for what they viewed as a navel gazing exercise about the history of the left.

But a booming attendance buoyed by the endorsement of major Labour heavyweights, including Jeremy Corbyn, has made The World Transformed a major fixture in the conference diary.

Meanwhile, Momentum's continued training of the Labour left has begun to worry some Tory activists.

"We used to joke about these events, but we aren't laughing anymore," one London-based campaigner told Total Politics.

"They sound ridiculous but at the end of the day, they are providing their activists with real campaign skills.

"In the last election we were blindsided. They had apps to help them carpool activists, they had individual groups producing posters, music, and websites about Corbyn."

They added: "The next election could be around the corner and we are going to have to be ready to compete."

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