Welsh Labour Grassroots
Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) is the organisation of the left and centre-left within the Labour party in Wales.
We campaign for socialist policies and for greater democracy within
the Labour party and wider society. We were formed in 2003 and since 2015 we have been the sister-organisation of Momentum in Wales; we also work with other left organisations like the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.
WLG was formed with the aim of organising opposition among Welsh Labour members to the rightward shift of the party under the then leadership of Tony Blair. The New Labour government in Westminster had spent several years privatising and marketising public services, had allowed inequality to grow and had embroiled Britain in two disastrous foreign wars. At the same time, democracy within the Labour party had been hollowed out, centralising power ever more tightly in the hands of the leadership. Party membership had halved as thousands of socialists walked away.
Here in Wales, however, the Labour administration led by Rhodri Morgan had begun to pursue a different course, more in keeping with the party’s best traditions: the private sector was kept out of public services, the NHS internal market abolished, prescription charges scrapped, the comprehensive model in education maintained and equality of outcome reaffirmed as a policy goal. WLG committed ourselves to promoting these policies and encouraging Welsh ministers to go further in a socialist direction, while at the same time battling for party democracy, which was in no healthier a state in Wales than in England.
After 2010, Welsh Labour’s achievements were threatened by the imposition of Tory austerity and by the rise of ministers who lacked the clear progressive focus of Rhodri’s tenure. The UK party under Ed Miliband started to move away from the Blair/Brown approach but struggled to establish Labour as a clear alternative to the Tories. Only with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign in 2015 did the opportunity arise to re establish Labour as a voice for all those seeking an end to austerity and a vehicle for radical change.
WLG was at the heart of Jeremy’s campaign in Wales, organising the biggest meetings seen here since the miner’s strike. When Momentum was launched to continue the energy and ideas of the Corbyn campaign, we agreed to become its ‘home in Wales’.
The continual attempts to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership on the part of powerful forces on the Labour right, cheered on by the media, highlighted the need for fundamental reform of the party, placing members at the heart of decision-making, as Jeremy pledged to do when he first stood as leader. WLG was once again central to the Corbyn campaign when Owen Smith contested his leadership in 2016 and we have continued to champion members’ rights, promoting the Democracy Review as a route to
In Wales, we led a successful year-long battle to adopt OMOV for leadership and deputy leadership elections and secured the establishment of a Welsh Democracy Review.
We were heavily involved in the deputy leadership campaign of Julie Morgan – who won the most votes but lost the election due to the operation of the electoral college – and the successful leadership campaign of Mark Drakeford.
More recently we successfully won 9/10 CLP seats on the Welsh Executive Committee with our ‘WEC For The Many’ slate; these representatives continue to speak up for members and democracy on Welsh Labour’s decision-making body.
In the post-Corbyn era, we urge socialists and democrats to continue the fight in the Labour Party in Wales for a truly member-led party, as well as fighting to retain the radical policies developed under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
If you would like to become a member of Welsh Labour Grassroots, please click here complete the online membership form and then submit payment via our PayPal account, or Credit/Debit card. Alternatively, you can download a membership application form, using the link below, and return it to the address provided with appropriate payment.