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Equalities, Reports

Equalities Report for Walton CLP Meeting – March 2018

We held our first Equalities Forum on 7th February 2018 at The Bridge Community Centre and it was really well attended. We agreed Terms of Reference for Equality Forums and then discussed agenda items including plans for future forums and how to make CLP activities more inclusive. We set up an Equalities Committee so members from across the CLP can become more involved, if anyone would like to volunteer for this, please get in touch. The minutes from the meeting are available on the website.

We have also requested members who are prepared to act as buddies for those who would like to become more involved and feel they would benefit from support from another member when canvassing, leafleting and attending other CLP events. We have also requested that members who could provide transport to other members contact us so we can offer support and transport for those who may need it.

Upcoming Events

APRIL 2018

We are co-hosting an event with the Political Education Officer, Lena Šimić, and the Women’s officer, Karen Bellion, on Intersectionality.
The event will take place on 10th April 2018, 7-9pm at The Irish Centre. There will be a panel of 3 guest speakers with a Q&A session and then a discussion around issues raised.

The event have been advertised on facebook .
Here are the details:

Intersectionality – Celebrating Identities and Differences
10th April 2018
7pm-9pm Liverpool Irish Centre, Boundary Street, L6 5JG

Walton CLP Equality and Women’s Fora, in collaboration with Political Education programme, have organized a panel event discussing our identities and differences. This is about intersectionality, how class, race, gender, sexuality, age, disability, religion, ethnicity, social and economic status, influence the way who we are and how we perceive the world. This is about interconnections and about celebrating ourselves as complex socio-political human beings who are aware and respectful of one another as we strive towards social and ecological justice.

Our three guest speakers are Natalie Denny (Merseyside People’s Assembly against Austerity, The Homeless Period), Ruth Gould (Artistic Director of DaDaFest) and a speaker from Navajo (tbc).
The three talks will be followed up by a discussion, chaired by Sarah Morton, Walton CLP Equality Officer.

The event is free and refreshments will be provided. This is a link to Ruth’s bio
https://www.dadafest.co.uk/about-us/staff/ruth-gould-biography/

MAY / JUNE 2018

Tales from the City – Stories, objects and memories from Liverpool’s LGBQT+ community @ Museum of Liverpool
This powerful exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. The exhibition reflects how the lives and experiences of Liverpool’s LBGT+ community have changed from 1967 to 2017 and explores the impact of national events such as Section 28, civil partnerships, marriage, age of consent equality and equal adoption rights.

We are looking to take a group of around 25 people and a guide can be provided. We are not limited to 25 and can look at 2 separate trips to fit in with availability of those interested. The date will be confirmed next month.

Equalities Committee

At the Equalities Forum in May it was decided that we would set up a committee and anyone from the CLP can get involved. Members can self represent in different areas if they wish to and anyone with an interest in equalities can get involved and commit to a level that suits them. The Committee will work together to plan events and keep in regular contact to update each other on what’s happening in the wider party and with other activist groups. We welcome any members who wish to join, if you have any questions please contact one of the committee members. The members so far are: Sarah Morton, Paul McGowan, Lyndsay Melia, Frazer Lake, Clair Corkill Horrocks, Mary Doolin and Tim Jeeves.

We are planning a number of events for the Equalities Forum at the moment, including a film night, board games event and a micro discussion group event. We are also looking to host an event to inform and raise awareness of Neurodevelopmental conditions and the difficulties parents/carers can face when trying to secure support/funding and navigating the various agencies they deal with including schools, employers and NHS.
If you have any suggestions for future events, please let us know.

Political Education, Reports

Biannual Political Education Report for Walton CLP (2017/2018) – March 2018

Theatre Trip in October 2017: Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir

Our first Political Education event was a trip to the theatre to see Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir and their new show The Trump Depression Hotline. The performance took place on 23 October 2017 at Creative Campus, Liverpool Hope University. This amazing group of activists based in New York have been working both inside the theatre auditorium and outside on the streets across the world since the early 2000s. True to their performance making strategy, they got involved in our local campaigning issues. They visited Unite the Union where Dave Kelly informed them about the ISS sick pay policy for the service staff at Liverpool Royal Hospital. Walton CLP together with Liverpool Hope students took to the streets at the Clayton Square in the morning and paid a visit to the Royal after the show in the evening, singing and dancing ‘We will not be privatised’.

Reading Forum in December 2017 and January 2018: Pies & Politics

Pies & Politics, our second Political Education event, took place on 7 December 2017 at Homebaked. This reading forum asked members to introduce themselves through sharing their favourite excerpts from what they’ve read in the past. We talked about what books made us into the political beings we are today. The event also engaged in collective devising for the Political Education curriculum for the CLP in 2018.

Our list of books:

  • Selected Poems by Tony Harrison
  • Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
  • Hillsborough – The Truth by Phil Scraton
  • Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin
  • Rape of the Fair Country by Alexander Cordell
  • The Making of the English Working Class by E. P. Thompson
  • The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power by Alex Nunns
  • DIY Survival by C6
  • Striking a Light: The Bryant and May Matchwomen and their Place in History by Louise Raw
  • Out of the Ghetto: My Youth in the East End, Communism and Fascism, 1913-39 by Joe Jacobs
  • Capital: A Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx
  • The Iron Heel by Jack London
  • Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida by John D. Caputo
  • Revolutionary Women pamphlet by Anarchist Federation
  • Dare to be Different: Women in Trade Unions, Past and Present by Bernadette Hyland and Michel Herbert
  • The Rise of the Labour Party 1893-1931 pamphlet by Gordon Phillips
  • How to Start a Revolution by Lucy-Anne Holmes

On 29 January 2018 Riverside CLP held their own Pies & Politics event at the Onion Deli at 124 Aigburth Road.

This is the list of books from that meeting:

  • Mrs Brown is a Man and a Brother: Women in Merseyside’s Political Organisations 1890-1920 by Krista Cowman
  • The Plot Against the NHS by Stewart Player and Colin Leys
  • A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment by John Preston
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  • The Cleft by Doris Lessing
  • The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  • Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed
  • Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  • The Personal is Political by Carol Hanisch
  • Creating Freedom: Power, Control and the Fight for Our Future by Raoul Martinez
  • The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones
  • Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  • Rules for Radicals by Saul D Alinsky
  • The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class by Selina Todd
  • The Unofficial Jeremy Corbyn Annual 2018
  • DIY Survival by C6
  • No Master High or Low: Libertarian Education and Schooling in Britain, 1890-1990 by John Shotton
  • Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin
  • J is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception by Michael Hudson

For an up to date reading list of books recommended by Walton CLP members (and to make any suggestions yourself), please see the blog post here.

Gallery Visit in February 2018: Can art change the world?

walker labour 1Photo: Andrea Ku

On Saturday 10 February we visited Walker Art Gallery for a tour of two exhibitions and a discussion. We explored two exhibitions: the Singh Twins and Lubaina Himid, 2017 Turner Prize winner. Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins explores the history of Indian textiles, Empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism, and the contemporary relevance of these issues in the world today. Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money features works selected by Lubaina from the Arts Council Collection, along with 20 figures from her major installation, Naming the Money.

Our MP Dan Carden joined us for this gallery visit. Following the tour, and with the help of our internationally renowned local artist Jayne Lawless, we considered connections between art and politics. We engaged in a discussion about the works, but also the role of art in the transformation of our society. Can art change the world? What kind of art has the power of social transformation?

Photo: Patricia Levey-Bennett               Photo: Alan Gibbons

Demystifying Local Government training session in March 2018

On 5 March 2018 at Unite the Union building, as a part of the political education training session, we delved into the mysteries of local government and Labour Party structures. Our guest speakers Alison Spencer-Scragg, Chair of Labour North West & Regional Political Officer for Unite the Union, and Matthew Garlick, LCF Panel Co-ordinator, helped us understand how local government and Labour structures work. Mike Finn, Political Analyst and Lena Šimić, Walton CLP Political Education Officer, facilitated a workshop, ‘You in the Labour Party Structures’, and a follow-up discussion/suggestions on future training. The full report on this well-attended session can be accessed here.

Future training sessions will include:
1. Session on Labour Party Structure (with visual aids)
2. How to become a councillor/role of councillors, including the CLP/Council relationship
3. How to write motions
4. Grassroots politics and alternative models of running a council
5. Labour Party socials

Upcoming events for your diary:

3 April 2018 – Discussion on Labour Party policies with Dan Carden, MP
10 April 2018 – Intersectionality Panel: Celebrating Identities and Differences, with Equalities and Women’s Forums
18 April 2018 – Grassroots politics and alternatives
Summer event – Walton CLP: The Unknown, deadline for expressions of interest 15 May 2018
If you would like to suggest a topic or an idea for Political Education event please email
Lena Šimić, Walton CLP Political Education Officer on lenasimic[at]hotmail.com

Reports, Women

Women’s Forum Meeting Report – 6th September 2017

Date & Time Wednesday 6th September 2017
Venue L6 Community Association Queens Road L6 2NF
Training Have Your Say

 

Equality Diversity and Inclusion noted Labour Women’s Forum Notes Liverpool Walton CLP
Venue Survey completed Accessible Attendance
Present

am meeting

7

Karen Bellion (Everton) Present Karen Bellion (Everton)
Claire Collister (Warbreck) pm meeting Suzanne Volante (County)
Pauline Gibbons (Warbreck) 9 Lena Simic (Everton
Glen Perry (County) Mary Doolan ( Fazakerley )
Ginika Fidel Oboko (Anfield) Susan Dykes (Clubmoor)
Marie McGiveron (Everton) Lindsay Melia (Warbreck)
Jennifer Spenser Walsh (Clubmoor) Sarah Morton (Warbreck)
Aileen Dunn
Suzanne Volante (County)
Apologies Margaret Whearty (Clubmoor)
Maureen Royce (Everton)
 

Summary

KB Women’s Officer (Everton) facilitated session The training session was set up to support the women to have an input into the National Conference

All present agreed the session was most useful.

Actions Members were asked to attend an information sharing session. Submit to statement on Policy in line with guidelines Nominate to members to NAWC

To be submitted nomination via CLP by 15th September

 

Topic Choice

  • Justice and Home Affairs
  • Housing Local Government and Transport
  • Public Health
  1. Health & Social Care
  2. Early Years Education and Skills

 

  • Economy, Business and International Trade
  • Environment Energy and Culture
  • Work Pensions and Equality

 

 

Summary

Members discussed the policies briefly

We agreed that this was a valuable forum for us to come together to share knowledge experience and skills and build connectivity within the Consultancy

 

Meeting dates to be confirmed after CLP AGM

Actions I.         KB to identify dates and venues and circulate

II.         Members agreed to set Action Plan for forum

III.         Group to define standing orders for group in line with National Policy and Rule Book

IV.         Group to define roles and priorities

V.         KB to email presentation notes

Oct 2017

Oct 2017

Oct 2017

Oct 2017

Set 2017

  Next Meeting

Date and time   TBC

Venue

TBC

 

Please contact Karen Bellion secretaryevertonlabour[@]gmail.com

if you require any accessibility help with this document or if you have accessibility requirements for attendance to the meetings

 

 

September Key Dates
Date BLP CLP
14th September Walton CLP AGM
23rd -24th September Women’s Conference National Labour Conference Brighton

 

Women’s Forum Dates
Date Time Venue
Oct TBC
Dec TBC
Feb TBC
April TBC

 

Equalities, Reports, Women

NW Labour Women’s Conference – Member Reports

North West Labour Women’s Conference, Radisson Blu, Liverpool
3 March 2018

Reports from Karen Bellion, Pauline Gibbons and Lena Šimić, Walton CLP members

 

Karen Bellion, Walton CLP Women’s Officer

I attended the conference held in Liverpool. Louise Ellman MP welcomed us to the event and the opening keynote was given by Debbie Abrahams, MP Shadow Minister for Works and Pensions who highlighted the Inequalities and the Social Security System.

This was followed by workshops:

  • ‘Brexit Will It Change our Lives for the Better or Worse?’ by Theresa Griffin MEP & Alison McGovern MP
  • ‘Women and Mental Health’ by Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care
  • ‘Getting Your Voice Heard’ by Cllr Jeannie Bell
  • ‘Setting up a Local Women’s Forum’ by Eileen Walsh, Liverpool Women’s Forum

During lunch fringe events were held on:

  • ‘History of Women in the Labour Party’ by Nan Sloane, Labour Women’s Network
  • ‘Violence Against Women & Girls’ by Emily Spurrell, Deputy PCC
  • ‘Women in Trade Unions’ by Lyne Morris (Chair North West TULO)
  • ‘Digital Campaigning’ by Debbie Caine

This was followed by the ‘Sexism is Politics’ with Lyne Collins (TUC), Nan Sloane (LWN) and Councillors Nina Killen and Carla Thomas.

The afternoon finished with ‘Women in Politics’ panel discussion with Arooj Shah (BAME Labour Women), Brenda Warrington (Leader of Tameside Council), Diana Holland (Assistant General Secretary of Unite) and Margaret Greenwood MP (Shadow Employment Minister).

Closing keynote was delivered by Anne O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor Liverpool City Region.

Observations:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers on holding the event in Liverpool. I looked forward to meeting several members across the region; this was a valuable opportunity to do so while celebrating International Women’s Day. I was extremely happy that several women from my CLP were able to attend this event.

Having attended and presented at several conferences in my work life and represented my CLP at National Conference, I would have hoped that this Liverpool Conference would have been at least north-centric if not Merseyside centric and included more input from local Labour CLPs and BLPs.

I felt that the logistics of this programme had excluded those who may be attending for the first time and that it would have been beneficial to have more engagement with new members given that this was a celebration for International Women’s Day. The programme seemed to be aimed at the academics or more installed labour party members who understand the process and the political environment.

I attended the event ‘Getting your Voice Heard’, presuming this would support local engagement but found this to be aimed at supporting your careers within the Labour Party.

I felt that the target audience was not inclusive. For example, I noticed that there were several young people at this event and I felt that terminology and support through the workshops and seminars was lacking. There was a lot of terminology that could exclude many without clarification being used.

Ticket pricing could have excluded some. I did mention this as a labour party supporting other women we should at least offer a few places as a bursary as many of our communities are struggling and the small prices for tickets may have still been out of some women’s reach. In my day job working within communities I know that many women suffer not only from financial but digital exclusion and the event was only advertised on line and could only be booked on line.

Logistically I didn’t get a chance to attend the fringes as I was busy getting something to eat. There was also a lack of seating area at lunch time and a place for the women to come together during lunch to network.

The timing allowed for Q & A was also very short weighted to the speakers. Possibly having the opportunity to submit questions prior to the event to assist people to reflect on what they feel they need to ask but this would mean having the sessions and workshops confirmed in time.

Given that this was my first local Labour conference I would hope that Liverpool could support a more inclusive event; moving forward it’d be great to also link in with our own Political Education and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officers.

Pauline Gibbons, Walton CLP Vice-Chair (membership)

I attended the Women’s conference for North West on 3rd March. Many of the speakers were very inspirational and every one of them encouraged the women in the audience to stand for positions in the Labour Party. Many of the speakers gave often amusing accounts of their own experience of standing for councillor and MP positions and told how they overcame some of the barriers they encountered.

Nina Killen gave a very funny account of her ‘accidentally’ becoming a councillor when she stood in an impossible to win seat. Margaret Greenwood recounted how she beat Esther McVey in Wirral West after selection from an AWS (All Women Shortlist). Debbie Abrahams gave us lots of information about the devastating effect of austerity and benefit cuts on women in particular.

I went to a workshop on ‘violence against women and girls’ run by Emily Spurrall.

There was the opportunity to share experiences about sexual harassment, FGM and domestic violence, as well as other issues, in smaller groups which were then fed back to the facilitator. It was really informative and I learnt a lot from other women talking about their experience of stalking and harassment.

My overall impression of the day though was that women gaining equal number of positions of power within the organisation was the ultimate goal and Labour women members need to strive for this goal and support each other to get there. Many said that Labour’s record of having over 40% of women MPs was good but we need to get it to 50%.

I found it frustrating that issues like ‘keeping guards on our trains’ was ignored by the facilitator even when fed back after the discussion. Practical steps like opposing DOO (Driver Only Operated trains), which I consider vital for women’s safety, were ignored and treated as secondary to women climbing up the career ladder.

It made me wonder why women want to be in a position of power if they don’t use it to support practical policies that actually help keep women safe from sexual harassment. I think some career women are doing other women a disservice if they don’t support the railway guards in dispute with their employers over this important safety issue.

As a working class woman, success for me will be when more than 50% of our councillors oppose DOO and when more than 50% of our MPs refuse to abstain on Tory benefit cuts. To me, what matters more than the gender of a councillor or MP, is their commitment to making things better for working class women.

Lena Šimić, Walton CLP Political Education Officer

I enjoyed Councillor Ann O’Byrne’s impassioned closing speech. She told us that the Eastern Europeans have now been made scapegoats by the Tory government for lots of the ills in this society similar to how the single mums were back in the 1980s. She quoted Madeleine Korbel Albright, a Czech-born American politician, who said there was a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. As a feminist pedagogue, scholar and colleague, I couldn’t agree more. However, in Labour Party politics, in the short time I’ve been a member, I quickly learnt: it is not only about women supporting women, it is also about making sure you follow your mind and heart in relation to the Labour Manifesto and its policies. You also better stay in alignment with certain kind of internal shifts within the party; often times that means a simplified declaration of where you stand.

I joined the Labour Party in 2015, in order to support Jeremy Corbyn for leader. I was so excited at the prospect that this was truly possible: a socialist leader for a mainstream UK party. I celebrated that summer, and the summer of 2016 too. I watched in disbelief as the Parliamentary Labour Party rebelled against him, despite a massive surge in members. In the 2017 General Election, I took to the doorsteps of Wirral West, but also campaigned with the #Artists4Corbyn banner in marginal seats around the North West.

Following an exhilarating election result, I found myself embroiled in local Labour politics. I started attending Walton CLP meetings and socials. I met some brilliant local activists and members, people who were excited to be a part of the social movement that we were now becoming, a movement that will deliver a more just and compassionate society. I ran for the Political Education Officer position (CLP level) and got it. I ran on the instinct that Walton, and particularly Everton where I live, could benefit not only from my pedagogical skills and experience but also because of my immigrant perspective – I am both Croatian and British.

In my ‘real life’ I am a full time academic and artist. I am a feminist scholar and publish around motherhood and arts practice. Oddly enough, Labour Party politics never attracted me from a feminist/women’s perspective. I knew the old argument that mainstream politics usually attracts a certain kind of women who seek power. No wonder we had Thatcher and now suffer from May. I read Mary Beard’s book Women and Power (2017). She writes: ‘You can’t easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure. That means thinking about power differently. It means decoupling it from public prestige.’ I always defined myself primarily as an engaged, political, feminist artist, always a part of social movements, an activist attending rallies, marches, and demonstrations. I have always enjoyed women’s energy in these contexts.

I’d like to offer a few personal thoughts on the attendance and participation in NW Labour Women’s Conference. The closing plenary ‘Women in Politics’ finished with some advice. Margaret Greenwood MP (whom I met when campaigning in Wirral West) said: ‘Be yourself!’ That rang true. Another two pieces of advice were about ensuring we share our experiences with other women and offer solidarity, and finally not to be afraid to disagree. I will try to follow that advice.

I am a European. I am an immigrant. I live in the Walton constituency, which voted to Leave the EU by 53.8%. Overall, Liverpool voted to Remain by 58.2%. These were voters’ views, not necessarily those of Walton CLP, nor Steve Rotheram, the MP at the time of the Brexit vote. I attended a workshop session called ‘Brexit: Will it Change our Lives for the Better or Worse?’ ran by Theresa Griffin MEP and Alison McGovern MP. They were both very much pro-Europe and even mentioned the possibility of reversing Article 50. They encouraged us to have Brexit as a topic in our branch and CLP meetings, to pass motions expressing support for the UK to remain in Europe. I was surprised about this. I understood that Labour’s policy has now changed to stay in the Customs Union, but didn’t know that the Labour Policy is also to keep EU membership on the table. Am I to press my Walton MP Dan Carden on this?

The majority of Waltoners want to leave, or rather, to be more precise, voted to leave on the basis of the 2016 Leave campaign. As someone who ran a couple of ‘Women of Europe’ events in my home where I gathered a group of foreign/European women living in Liverpool, I knew that we had all ‘resigned’ ourselves to the will of the British people to leave the EU.

Now, following that workshop, what do I think? Can I fight against Brexit even when within the Labour Party itself this is seen as a kind of centrist/Progress position? Would I want to be aligned with Alison McGovern MP, chair of Progress, who’s been critical of Jeremy Corbyn? Can I gauge enough energy to think about Brexit amidst enforced austerity and such palpable inequalities in the community where I live? Surely this is also why Waltoners voted for Brexit – nobody wanted the status quo. Following the Women’s Conference, I did write in my Labour notebook that I should suggest bringing in a speaker on Brexit to our next CLP meeting. I am still unsure about this, but certainly it would be important to check the temperature within the room. How pro-Europe is Walton CLP?

Local Government, Political Education

Demystifying Local Government

Click here to download a summary of the relationship between Walton Constituency Labour Party (Walton CLP) and the Liverpool Local Campaign Forum (the LCF – which is responsible for the selection of Labour candidates for local council).
This was produced by Political Education Officer Lena Šimić, after the Demystifying Local Government meeting.

To see the LCF’s standing orders, click here.

Further Resources
A Guide to How the Labour Party Works from Unite the Union
Becoming a Labour Councillor
British Socialism: The Grand Tour – Radio 4 programme
Labour Membersnet
Momentum Activist Handbook
Labour Training Emails