And now it’s the turn of Rachel Megan Barker to set out her vision for what Young Labour can be. Rachel has been the youth representative on the London Regional Board and a member of the London Young Labour committee for the past three years. She was previously chair of Leeds Labour Club and youth officer for her CLP, and is a member of Unite the Union and the Young Fabians, as well as an active campaigner with the Labour Campaign for Mental Health. She works in digital marketing, and as a freelance copywriter and personal tutor.
Being a young person in the UK right now isn’t exactly fun. You’re lucky to find a job, you can barely afford rent, you’re burdened with debt; and that’s before we even start on the Tories cuts to welfare services which so many young people rely on. If you’re still in school, the Tories are piling more and more pressure on you to pass exams, taking away your retakes and hollowing out your curriculum.
I am standing for chair to build a Young Labour which is a strong, grassroots movement that will take the fight to the Tories.
In order to be this movement, we need to build Young Labour groups on the ground. I’ve already helped build YL groups across the country and as chair I’ll work with our regional reps to develop strategies for creating and strengthening groups from Cornwall to Inverness.
I’ll mobilise our movement to get out on the doorstep for Labour, providing training and support for YL members and committees to organise campaign sessions, run phonebanks and coordinate volunteers. I’ll run national campaign weekends for YL members across the country, with food and accommodation provided; too often we expect young members to cover the costs of campaigning themselves.
And while I’m a huge believer in the importance of knocking on doors, I also want to see young members campaigning nationally and locally on the issues that matter to them. As chair I’ll provide resources and training for YL groups to run local campaigns, working with trade unions and progressive organisations.
But it’s important to remember the vital points that Charlotte raised in her post on this blog about activism and mental health. If we are to truly take on the Tories, we need to be the kind of movement that they are not; an inclusive, kind movement which reflects the sort of society that as socialists we want to build. That means not looking down on people for “not campaigning enough”; not seeing one type of campaigning as superior and, honestly, just being nicer to each other.
And we need to make campaigning more accessible. As a disabled woman, I am all too aware that often it’s those who most need a Labour government that we exclude from our movement by not making what we do inclusive. I’ll work to make our doorknocking sessions more accessible; for example, by having sessions that we know are wheelchair accessible, and having a fund to cover costs for those with childcare responsibilities. And I’ll make sure that in Young Labour we recognise the many ways that people can contribute; from banner-making to social media to designing leaflets to writing articles.
I’m standing to deliver a movement which is accessible and inclusive; which can unite and take the fight to the Tories.
You can find out more about me and why I’m standing in my manifesto: https://www.joomag.com/magazine/rachel-for-chair-of-young-labour/0952132001455209464
And over on my facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelforYLchair/
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Scarborough!