Standing Orders Committee Report No. 1

Contents

PART 1 – ACCEPTED MOTIONS. 3

The EU and Brexit. 3

  1. Left Unity after Brexit. 3
  2. Europe and the UK. 4
  3. Europe and the UK. 6
  4. Defend and Extend Freedom of Movement. 8
  5. Northern Ireland. 8

Employment, Trade Unions & Housing. 9

  1. Housing and Immigration. 9
  2. “Better Than Zero”. 9
  3. Land Value Tax. 10
  4. For a Class Struggle Programme for Trade Unions. 10

Democracy. 11

  1. Treatment of motion H6 at Conference, 29 October 2016. 11
  2. House of Lords Replacement. 12

International 12

  1. Left Unity International Commission conference motion. 12
  2. The War in Yemen. 14

Social Justice and Equality. 15

  1. Disablement and Left Unity. 15
  2. Trans Rights. 16
  3. MSM Lives matter. 18
  4. Blood Transfusions – Discrimination Against Gay Men. 19
  5. For a prostitution policy based upon the Nordic ‘Sex Purchase Act’ 20

Miscellaneous. 21

  1. Future of Left Unity. 21
  2. Party name. 23

PART 2 – REPORTS. 24

  1. REPORT OF CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE. 24
  2. REPORT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL ON ELECTORAL STRATEGY. 24

PART 3 – MOTIONS RULED OUT OF ORDER BY STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE. 24

  1. Draft Platform “An alliance between RISE and Left Unity”. 24
  2. Proposed amendment to the reorganised SL-Wigan “Future of Left Unity” motion. 25

PART 4 – MOTIONS REFERRED TO THIS CONFERENCE BY THE 29OCTOBER 2016 CONFERENCE BUT WITHDRAWN AT PROPOSERS’ REQUEST. 27

G2 Rebuilding LU.. 27

H3 Sex Workers. 28

 

 

 

PART 1 – ACCEPTED MOTIONS

The EU and Brexit

1. Left Unity after Brexit

Haringey branch

In its short history Left Unity has much to be proud of. We have created a small but significant political organisation with good democratic practice and serious political policies. We have helped launch some important campaigning organisations such as Another Europe is Possible, the Alliance for Free Movement and the Stop Trump campaign, and we have worked as part of the wider anti-austerity and anti-war movements. We have been particularly active in the NHS campaigns, against attacks on disabled people, in anti-fracking and housing campaigns and against racism and xenophobia. Our campaigning materials have been highly visible and well-received across the country.

We have been accepted into observer membership of the European Left Party and we are now working as an integral part of the ELP.

Left Unity has sought to support the positive developments in the Labour Party around Jeremy Corbyn and Left Unity comrades were part of helping set up the People’s Campaign for Corbyn whilst recognising the necessity of maintaining an independent political voice. Those developments resulted in the loss of many members to the Labour Party, although we have maintained a positive relationship with many former members and have continued joint campaigning work with them. Some have continued as ‘Friends of Left Unity’. In the light of our strong work around Brexit and Trump we are aware that new people are interested in Left Unity and the political work that we do. In some cases this is resulting in new members and in others an increased level of political dialogue and cooperation.

Politics in the year ahead will be dominated by the Brexit negotiations. We will fight over every stage of the legislation as the government seeks to destroy not only the rights won through EU membership but those won by the struggles of the British working class over generations.  We will oppose the descent into little Englanderism and the racism and xenophobia which accompany it. We recognise that none of the problems that we face can be resolved on a national basis. There is no socialist or People’s Brexit. We must fight for a new, united, socialist Europe.

Our membership of the European Left Party and our ongoing work across Europe means that we are well-placed to advance a vision of the type of Europe that we want to build: a democratic, united and socialist Europe, of free movement, equality and extended rights for all. This must be central to our campaigning and we welcome the decision to produce a manifesto for Europe to explain what such a Europe would look like. We must take this politics outwards across society.

It is crucial now that we reach out to others who share our analysis of recent political events.

We propose:

  1. To produce an Appeal to all those who oppose Brexit on a socialist basis to work together in closer cooperation to coordinate campaigning and political initiatives.
  2. That recognising our membership of the European Left Party, we change the name of our party from Left Unity to the Left Party.
  3. That the party works with others in Britain towards a Conference for Europe in the Spring of 2018 that helps develop the fightback against Brexit, inviting participants from across Europe.

That we support and build for the European Forum that will take place in Marseilles in November of this year, initiated by the European Left Party, drawing together left movements, parties and campaigns from throughout Europe to address the crisis we face.

2.Europe and the UK

Steve Freeman, Matthew Hurry

After the EU referendum LU recognises the need to develop an action plan to guide our intervention and seek to play a leading role in shaping the new working class politics needed for the next period to guide our campaigning in the labour and trade union movement. It will take account of the following:

  1. Critical of the European Union

The EU is a bureaucratic semi-unification of the capitalist states of Europe ‘from above’. The aim of the European ruling classes led by Germany and France is to create a single European capitalist economy able to contest the world market with the USA and China.

The European Union is not a democratic state. Power is concentrated in the hands of the European Commission and Council of Ministers. The ‘citizens’ of the EU are not sovereign. They do not control the European parliament or the EU Commission and its neo-liberal corporate policies.

  1. Uniting Europe  

Since the 19th century the international social democratic movement has supported the unification of Europe with the slogan of a United States of Europe as a federal, social and secular European republic including the right of all nations to self-determination.

A by-product of EU capitalist integration has been the creation of a more integrated European working class. This is the only class that replace the EU with a United States of Europe by a democratic revolution ‘from below’, bringing political and economic power into the hands of the sovereign people of Europe.

This conference recognises the strategic choice for the European working class is between supporting a nationalist breakup of the EU or the transition to a full democratic unification through a European democratic revolution. The current democratic struggles in Scotland, Ireland and Catalonia are part of this European revolution.

  1. Tory referendum

The Tories have long been divided between ‘Europeans and ‘Atlanticists’. The 2016 EU referendum was set up to resolve that dispute. It was won by the reactionary right wing of the Tories in alliance with UKIP, a victory for the ‘Atlanticists’, boosted by the victory of Trump in the USA.

The victory of Tory Brexit strengthens the growing danger facing the European working class of a nationalist breakup of the EU led by right wing nationalist, racist and fascist parties. We place responsibility for this on the neo-liberal anti-working class policies of the UK and EU.

  1. Oppose Tory Brexit

LU will strongly oppose a hard anti-working class Tory Brexit. LU will continue to defend all working class rights recognised in EU law. LU will continue defend the free movement of workers throughout all states currently in the EU. LU will continue to demands full and immediate citizenship rights for all EU citizens currently resident in the UK.

  1. Support and promote a democratic Exit

In opposing Tory Brexit LU will continue to support and promote a democratic exit from the EU based on recognition that England and Wales voted to leave and Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU.

It is in the interests of the working class to support a ‘democratic exit’ which includes the right of Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain in the EU.

It is in the interests of the working class that England and Wales leave the EU and remain in the single market. This would be consistent with free movement, existing EU workers’ rights and maintaining security for all EU citizens resident throughout the UK and would not in itself require Scotland or Northern Ireland to leave the UK.

LU demands that the Tory’s negotiated agreement to leave the EU should be put to the people in a referendum. We reject the idea that the decision should be left to a corrupted undemocratic Westminster (i.e. Commons and Lords), especially when the Commons has a Tory majority and a Parliamentary Labour Party having a majority of right wing Labour MPs.

  1. Ending the UK

The UK, as the Brexit state, is now become one of the main dangers the democracy and the working class in the UK and one of the main supports for US imperialism. We have reached a time when all progressive, democratic and socialist forces must bring the UK to an end by means of democratic revolution.

LU stands for ending the Union with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, not on nationalist grounds but for reasons of democracy and internationalism. Ireland, Scotland and Wales must be free to establish self-government based on the sovereignty of the people (i.e. republicanism) and free to determine their future relations with England.

  1. Pan European party  

LU will work with others on the European left to create a European wide party organisation with the aim of a European democratic revolution to be fought for both in individual European states, for example Scotland in the UK or Catalonia in Spain and on a European wide (or pan-European) basis.

 

3.Europe and the UK

South London branch

After the EU referendum LU recognises the need to develop an action plan to guide our intervention and seek to play a leading role in shaping the new working class politics needed for the next period to guide our campaigning in the labour and trade union movement. It will take account of the following:

  1. Critical of the European Union

The EU is a bureaucratic semi-unification of the capitalist states of Europe ‘from above’. The aim of the European ruling classes led by Germany and France is to create a single European capitalist economy able to contest the world market with the USA and China.

The European Union is not a democratic state. Power is concentrated in the hands of the European Commission and Council of Ministers. The ‘citizens’ of the EU are not sovereign. They do not control the European parliament or the EU Commission and its neo-liberal corporate policies.

  1. Uniting Europe  

Since the 19th century the international social democratic movement has supported the unification of Europe with the slogan of a United States of Europe as a federal, social and secular European republic including the right of all nations to self-determination.

A by-product of EU capitalist integration has been the creation of a more integrated European working class. This is the only class that replace the EU with a United States of Europe by a democratic revolution ‘from below’, bringing political and economic power into the hands of the sovereign people of Europe.

This conference recognises the strategic choice for the European working class is between supporting a nationalist breakup of the EU or the transition to a full democratic unification through a European democratic revolution. The current democratic struggles in Scotland, Ireland and Catalonia are part of this European revolution.

  1. Tory referendum

The Tories have long been divided between ‘Europeans and ‘Atlanticists’. The 2016 EU referendum was set up to resolve that dispute. It was won by the reactionary right wing of the Tories in alliance with UKIP, a victory for the ‘Atlanticists’, boosted by the victory of Trump in the USA.

The victory of Tory Brexit strengthens the growing danger facing the European working class of a nationalist breakup of the EU led by right wing nationalist, racist and fascist parties. We place responsibility for this on the neo-liberal anti-working class policies of the UK and EU.

  1. Oppose Tory Brexit

LU will strongly oppose a hard anti-working class Tory Brexit. LU will continue to defend all working class rights recognised in EU law. LU will continue defend the free movement of workers throughout all states currently in the EU. LU will continue to demands full and immediate citizenship rights for all EU citizens currently resident in the UK.

  1. Ending the UK

The UK, as the Brexit state, is now become one of the main dangers the democracy and the working class in the UK and one of the main supports for US imperialism. We have reached a time when all progressive, democratic and socialist forces must bring the UK to an end by means of democratic revolution.

LU stands for ending the Union with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, not on nationalist grounds but for reasons of democracy and internationalism. Ireland, Scotland and Wales must be free to establish self-government based on the sovereignty of the people (i.e. republicanism) and free to determine their future relations with England.

  1. Pan European party  

LU will work with others on the European left to create a European wide party organisation with the aim of a European democratic revolution to be fought for both in individual European states, for example Scotland in the UK or Catalonia in Spain and on a European wide (or pan-European) basis.

 

4. Defend and Extend Freedom of Movement

Camden & Islington branch, Waltham Forest branch

Conference re-affirms its existing policies against immigration controls.  This resolution is an addition serving as an application of our policy to the current situation around Freedom of Movement.

  1. Left Unity will campaign for the rights of existing EU citizens resident in Britain to stay and suffer no withdrawal of services or benefits as a result of the Brexit negotiations.
  2. Left Unity defends the right of ALL EU citizens to live and work in Britain, not only those who are currently resident.
  3. Left Unity will campaign to reverse the pre-Brexit controls against some EU citizens, especially Roma, for “not exercising their Treaty rights”.
  4. Left Unity will campaign to open the borders of Britain and the EU to the thousands of refugees and migrants displaced by war, persecution, environmental exploitation and famine stuck in inhuman conditions at the borders of Europe or being forced out of Europe.
  5. Left Unity opposes internal denial of Freedom of Movement and the right to stay and establish their homes by Gypsies, Travellers, and Roma and develop a more comprehensive police on Gypsies, Travellers, and Roma in the future.

 

5. Northern Ireland

South London branch

The recent Assembly elections in Northern Ireland has led to some profound changes in the political situation there including a non-Unionist majority for the first time in the Northern Irish legislature since partition in 1921. The vote of Northern Ireland against Brexit has also changed the political and economic contours there making the prospect of Irish reunification much closer than at any time in the last 96 years.

We call for Left Unity to work closely with Sinn Fein as a critigueal friend and other progressive forces in Northern Ireland working towards Irish reunification and to arrange for representatives to attend each other’s conferences.

 

Employment, Trade Unions& Housing

6.Housing and Immigration

Haringey branch

Left Unity opposes:

  1. Restrictions on access to rented housing, both private and public, based on immigration status; and,
  2. The forced deportation of homeless rough sleepers (including EU and EEA nationals).

 

7. “Better Than Zero”

Left Unity Wales

It is vital that Left Unity is publicly committed to trying to take a lead in helping to challenge the massive growth of precarious work, which disproportionately affects young people and those who can be marginalised and is likely to accelerate following the Brexit vote.

Extremes of exploitation and the growth of the ‘gig’ economy can only be challenged though trade union organisation leading to recognition and collective contracts. Successful court cases and press exposure have been a great help giving voice to people facing precarious employment but are no substitute for collective organisation.

Left Unity Wales consequently instructs the Trade Union Commission, National Council and the National Executive to help initiate a trade union and community action against precarious work using the “Better Than Zero” campaign in Scotland as a model. Steps need to be taken so that action has been started at least in those areas of the UK where we have active branches by the autumn of 2017.

The key aim of the campaign would be to help bring together joint union and community action to help recruitment and any required industrial or other direct action. This could involve using established trade union bodies such as trades’ councils but also be prepared to organise locally as a specific campaign.

 

8. Land Value Tax

South London branch

The current council tax system is simply a watered down version of the much despised poll tax. Furthermore it is a grossly inequitable system of local taxation which is becoming more and more significant as central government reduces the government grant to local authorities forcing them to rely on business rates and council tax income alone.

We call for the replacement of council tax with a Land Value Tax. The value of every parcel of land in Britain would be assessed regularly and the land value tax levied as a percentage of those assessed values.

“Land” means the site alone, not counting any improvements. The value of buildings, crops, drainage or any other works which people have erected or carried out on each plot of land would be ignored, but it would be assumed that all neighbouring properties were developed as at the time of the valuation; other things being equal, a vacant site in a row of houses would be assessed at the same value as the adjacent sites occupied by houses.

The valuation would be based on market evidence, in accordance with the optimum use of the land within the planning regulations.  We believe that this would result in the end of speculative land holdings, would be an easier local tax to collect and could contribute significantly to local government finance.

 

9. For a Class Struggle Programme for Trade Unions

Liverpool branch (referred from 2016 National Conference)

Conference reaffirms the resolution of the 29 March 2014 Party Conference, viz:

“Left Unity needs to clarify its relationship to organised labour, work within the grassroots of the trade union movement, and develop policies that link the crisis of working class representation to the development of a rank and file trade unionism”.

In order to stimulate and develop the discussion within the Party, on policy and programme, Conference instructs the National Council to circulate to branches, and to all members via the email distribution list, and to place on the discussion forum page of the Party website, the draft ‘Class struggle programme for trade unions’ which has been produced by a minority of the Party’s Trade Union Commission: http://tinyurl.com/jemfpb3.

This action is to be taken with the intention that the document, subject to review arising from the discussion, shall be submitted to Party Conference 2017, together with any alternative document that may be produced by other members of the Trade Union Commission.

In light of Brexit, we need to deepen our direct links and solidarity actions with the European Workers Struggle as highlighted in the class struggle programme.

 

 

Democracy

10.Treatment of motion H6 at Conference, 29 October 2016

Ashley Walker, James Fisher

Conference notes:

  • That at the end of conference October 2016 many different motions were voted on without discussion on them being held.
  • One of these was motion H6 on Left Unity calling for the abolishment of the act of union.
  • That deciding on such a course of action that could if it came into being split the United Kingdom into 4 seperate nations, should not have been voted on without a discussion at the conference it was voted on.

Conference resolves:

  • That this issue be discussed at this conference and voted upon at this conference to decide if this is the course Left Unity truly wishes to take.
  • That if sufficient time(at the very least 30 minutes) cannot be found at this conference then this motion and a decision on whether to oppose the act of union should be deferred till our annual conference in 2017, since spring conference is a special conference.

S.O.C. note :Should the above motion be passed, the text of resolution H6 of the 29 October 2016 Conference is as follows:

H6 The British Union {Passed at 29/10/2016 Conference}

South London

  1. We note the LU Manifesto called for the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords but took no view on the Union which binds England with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  2. This conference calls for the abolition of the 1707 Act of Union and the end of all jurisdictions by the British Crown over the sovereign nations of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  3. By ending the Union, the people of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will be able to freely choose their future relations with the people of England, whether as independent nations, or in some form of voluntary federal relationship or within the European Union or in whatever form they decide.

 

11.House of Lords Replacement

Ashley Walker, Robert Brenchley

Conference notes:

  • That having an un-elected body such as the House of Lords in any positionof power is a complete and utter betrayal of the very ideals of democracy.
  • That if the House of Lords is just abolished the fate of over 70 millionpeople would lie in the hands of just 650 or in fact since the governmentonly needs a simple majority to pass laws 326 MPs.

Conference resolves:

  • That from this point onwards Left Unity will campaign for the House ofLords replacement by an elected body.
  • Any and all policy on abolishing of the House of Lords will be removed orreplaced/reworded to reflect Left Unity’s new aim of a second electedhouse.

 

International

12. Left Unity International Commission conference motion

International priorities for the next few months

  1. Membership of the European Left

The Party of the European accepted Left Unity as an observer member at its December 2016 Berlin Congress. We have been fully participating in all the main meetings for a year leading to the Congress and had a constructive input into the political strategy that was agreed at the Congress.

Our involvement to date has been a positive experience and has helped us to establish our political presence in the UK. We should seek to increase our involvement in relevant EL working groups and explore bilateral political relationships. Links with other non-European Left Parties should be developed where possible. The EL structures can assist with this.

Participation in the EL will remain our first priority. This will mean maximising UK support for the European forum being organised for the autumn of 2017. We should also prioritise publicising the EL political strategy perhaps with a shorter ‘manifesto type’ publication, which will include reference to a wide range of international issues. Our work with migrant communities here could strengthen the ELP project and should be developed in this light.

  1. Brexit consequences

Related to being part of the EL we will continue to monitor and respond to the events emanating from the referendum result and negotiations emphasising our internationalism and the need for international solidarity in opposing neo liberalism and the politucal shift to the right.

Key to the arguments will be the defence of the right of free movement, opposition to all racism and xenophobia, defence of workplace and human rights, democracy and environmental protections.

  1. Stopping Trump

Not only is the US still the most powerful capitalist nation it also has an historical influence with the UK. What happens in the US is important for the world and we are closely tied in. The election of Trump represents a powerful shift to the right which consequently has global implications.

LU has been right to prioritise these dangers and relate these to similar trends involved with Brexit.

It will be a priority for us to continue to act in solidarity with those who oppose Trump in the US and across the world. The aim has to be to do all that is possible to remove him from power.

  1. Peace, nuclear disarmament and threats of war.

The election of Trump, heightened tensions between imperialist powers, right wing moves against democracy and the continued totally destructive wars being pursued under the guise of being against terrorism but often for oil and other commercial gain, directly involves the UK.

Our priority will be to oppose UK government action that increases these tensions and contributes to military action. We need to oppose the role that UK arms manufacture plays in these conflicts and in our society. In particular we need to continue to support unilateral nuclear disarmament, opposing the Trident replacement programme, as well as supporting global disarmament initiatives.

  1. Develop LU internationalism

LU will continue to develop links with other radical socialist organisations around the world where they share the basic commitments in our manifesto.

  1. International capitalism

The IC will work with the LU Economic Commission to develop economic theory and resistance policy in relation to the global economy, growth of inequality, exploitation and concentration of power.

 

13.The War in Yemen

South London branch

The war in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, continues to kill and maim thousands of people including children and is now leading to a declaration of famine in Yemen by the UN.  The Saudi led coalition which has been armed to the teeth by the UK is carrying out indiscriminate air attacks and atrocities, many of which are war crimes.  Meanwhile the war continues to lead to further support for Al-Qaeda in Yemen and alienate thousands of Yemenis against ‘the West’.

We call upon Left Unity to mobilise along with other anti-war organisations to campaign against the war and the UK’s support for it and to organise a national demonstration against it.

 

Social Justice and Equality

14. Disablement and Left Unity

Birmingham branch
Bob Williams-Findlay and Susan Pashkoff (Members of LUDMC)

  1. Conference reaffirms its position regarding the importance of caucuses. Caucuses are self-organised groups of party members organising against oppressions. Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party the majority of the caucuses have ceased to function and this has had a negative impact upon our educating and campaigning.
  2. To assist us to invigorate caucuses the membership needs to be canvassed with regards to: their interests, knowledge, experience, and their access needs.
  3. Knowledge about and experience of disablement is uneven within our membership, therefore, there remains a steep learning curve within our ranks. Establishing a caucus of disabled members and respecting the right to self-determination indicated a commitment to equality and social justice, however, the issue of disablement needs to be addressed by the entire organisation.
  4. In order to facilitate this process, key policy areas identified by the disabled members’ caucus should be open to discussion and debate within the organisation as a whole prior to a policy conference. All policies adopted by Left Unity at a national or local level should be subject to scrutiny to avoid discriminatory practice.
  5. The national organisation should offer support to the caucus of disabled members to ensure it functions effectively and democratically in its work by:
  1. Recommitting itself to challenging the social oppression faced by disabled people, both internally and externally, through the development and implementation of all its policies, the organisation’s practice and within the campaigns and bodies Left Unity is involved in.
  2. Acknowledging the social approach towards disability focuses on the disabling social restrictions within the systems, structures and cultures that maintain capitalism. It recognises that political struggle can lead to certain types of disabling restrictions at both macro and micro levels of society being removed or reduced, however, the nature of capitalist social relations will always oppress disabled people and therefore an ‘inclusive’ society is only possible with a complete transformation of capitalist society. Disability is imposed to top of impairment reality through the ways in which disabled people are both seen and treated, including those with invisible impairments.
  3. Assist the caucus of disabled members to update the national website –  http://leftunity.org/left-unity-disabled-people/
  4. Consider as part of its practice, ways in which it can best attract and support disabled people and their organisations who want to be involved with the party’s campaigns.
  1. Given the fact Left Unity has yet to develop policy around disablement, it is proposed that the six priority areas identified by the disabled members’ caucus at its Leicester meeting 2015 form the basis of future discussions within both a re-established caucus and eventually Left as a whole. The key priority areas were:
  • Towards A Fully Inclusive Education System
  • Independent Living and Self-Determination:
  • Welfare Support and Housing:
  • Access, Inclusion and Full Participation for Disabled People:
  • Employment and Socially Meaningful Activities:
  • The Development of a Comprehensive Benefit System – including discussion on a Disabled Person Citizen’s Income

 

15.Trans Rights

South London branch

This conference notes that trans people still face a myriad of institutional discrimination and prejudice, including:

  1. Some anti-discrimination legislation does not cover those awaiting reassignment or those to seek to live intersex, gender queer lives
  2. Schools are woefully unprepared for trans students and so work done around this issue is usually reactive and rushed
  3. Cut in the NHS disproportionately hit trans people with some Trans patients could waiting up to 12 years and some are denied treatment due to prejudices of GPs.
  4. Employment rates for trans people low due to transphobia, trans people are especially at risk of homelessness.
  5. Currently prisoners are placed according to their gender “as recognised by UK law” often leading trans women being placed in male prisons resulting in assaults and suicides.
  6. Going to the loo in public places being a problematic with most public toilets only having a binary choice.
  7. Young intersex children being genitally operated on to be assigned as male or female without their agreement.
  8. Even some people on the left are Trans-exclusionary.

 

This conference believes

  1. That gender is a social construct, and the transsexuality is not a mental disorder.
  2. We have the right to your own bodies: the right to freely decide whether if we want or not to modify our bodies without no bureaucratic, political or economic impediments, nor any other type of medical coercion.
  3. That our elected gender identity should be respect and should not be grounds for prejudice or discrimination
  4. That trans exclusive behaviour is contrary to aim and interests to the party and will not be tolerated

This conference resolves:

  1. To oppose the operations on the genital of intersex children without their agreement
  2. To support the right for transgendered people to have gender reassignment on the NHS without a diagnosis of “gender dysphoria”, and adequate funding of the NHS
  3. That the prison service to be managed more flexibly ensuring that trans prisoners are sent to appropriate establishments
  4. That loopholes in anti-discriminatory legislation are tackled to ensure that intersex, and gender queer people are covered.
  5. To support initiatives among the education unions to call for greater training for schools around trans issues and for trans equality to be included in schools’ inspection criteria.

This conference calls on:

  1. The National Committee to ensure that trans issues are more covered in our literature, including general campaigns such as defence of the NHS.
  2. That the LGBT+ Caucus together with the Women’s Caucus should, along with external Trans groups, come up with a public toilet policy that meet the needs Trans, intersex, non-binary and gender queer people, together with the security concerns of women.  This will be considered at the next party conference.
  3. Local branches to discuss and raise awareness of Trans issues among members.

 

16.MSM Lives matter

South London branch

This conference notes:

  1. In 2014, 6,151 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK, of that number 3,360 were men who have sex with men (MSM), the highest level of new diagnoses yet. MSM represent almost 55% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2014.
  2. That 35% of people living with HIV had accessed support services in the past 12 months. Despite a clear need for these services, disinvestment in HIV support services is a proven trend in England and, to a lesser extent, Wales where expenditure exclusively on HIV support services was cut from £153,352 in 2015/16 to £0 in 2016/17.
  3. That the transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments has resulted in many HIV+ people being denied benefits, many of whom are forty and over and have been outside the Labour market for years.
  4. In 2016, the 56 Dean Street clinic in Soho, the UK’s largest sexual health clinic and accounts for 1 in 9 HIV diagnoses in the UK, announced a 40% drop in HIV diagnoses in 2016. Doctors at the clinic attribute decrease in HIV diagnoses down to a combination of PrEP and early treatment initiation.
  5. Evidences suggest that daily PrEP reduced the number of HIV infections by 86%. Studies in other countries have shown upwards of 99.99% protection.
  6. PrEP is not yet available on the NHS, and until successfully challenged by the National Aids Trust, NHS England planned to drop a national roll-out of PrEP.

This conference believes:

  1. That these scandals endanger the lives and livelihoods or many gay, bisexual men and men who have sex with men.
  2. That HIV+ is a fluctuating condition and HIV+ people should maintain their benefit entitlements
  3. That social policy around sexual health is still largely driven by social and sex prejudices rather science or even economic evidence.  For example, it has been argued that while PrEP may stop HIV in its tracks, it may encourage promiscuity!  Even though the use of condoms is great in the gay/bi/MSM communities that among heterosexuals.
  4. That PrEP undermines the argument of Ann Widecombe and other Conservatives that new medical technologies lead to unbearable burden on the NHS.  PrEP by confining the spread of HIV will save billions on the cost of combination therapy.
  5. Moreover, that that the effective confinement requires a socialised health system.

This conference resolves:

  1. To send a letter to the National Aids Trust about the great work they have dome
  2. To produce literature around these scandals and why they raise the central need for a socialised health system.
  3. For the National Committee to organise some sort event or activity around the 1st December 2017 – World Aids Day
  4. To encourage local branches to discuss the issue and if possible involve themselves in activities around World Aids Day (1/12/2017)

 

17. Blood Transfusions – Discrimination AgainstGay Men

Ashley Walker, Anna Bluston, Richard Farnos

Conference notes:

  • Currently in our country men who have sex with men e.g. gay and bisexual men, are required to abstain from sexual intercourse for a period of one year before they are permitted to donate blood.
  • This rule does not exist for heterosexual men or women or bisexual women and lesbians, this is nothing short of archaic prejudice towards men who have sex with men.

Conference resolves:

  • To reject the government’s weak and unjust argument that the law is based on scientific evidence, especially since it is within living memory for some when being a gay man was scientifically considered a mental illness.
  • To make it official Left Unity policy our rejection and opposition of this law, and to add too any relevant party documentation e.g. any future manifestos and/or flyers, banners and placards relating to this issue our opposition to this law.

 

18. For a prostitution policy based upon the Nordic ‘Sex Purchase Act’

Stockport branch (referred from 2016 National Conference)

Left Unity notes that :

  • Prostitution is incompatible with the human rights and dignity of the individual because it commodifies sexuality which is a core aspect of the human personality. The practice of prostitution creates a market place where sexual services are bought by mainly male end-users and supplied by mainly female providers whose bodies are thereby rendered a commodity. The sex-trade also comprises many third party exploiters such as pimps or brothels. The sex trade is founded on the inequality of the sexes, on the premise of male entitlement of, and female submission to, sexual gratification on demand. The vast majority of people in prostitution entered it as children or very young adults, or due to financial distress, homelessness, low skills, a history of childhood abuse, or were coerced by traffickers.
  • Once in prostitution, many obstacles prevent people exiting the sex trade.
  • The prostitution market is competitive and like any market generates a need for Unique Selling Points; this encourages third party exploiters to supply children to satisfy demands for young bodies. Evidence suggests that countries adopting a policy of liberalisation of the sex trade experience an increase in trafficking, pimping and unsafe or violent practices of end-users; also in market innovations such as brothel multiplexes, sex drive-ins or brothel camps. Countries that have adopted a policy of curbing demand have seen a decrease in pimping, trafficking and violence against prostituted people.

Left Unity therefore resolves to campaign for and adopt as a manifesto commitment a ‘Nordic Model’ approach to prostitution, including:

  • The removal of all criminal and civil sanctions against individuals selling sexual services, provided in person by themselves.
  • The introduction of a new criminal offence of buying or procuring sexual services.
  • Provision of quality services for prostituted people wishing to exit the sex trade, i.e. housing, legal or benefit advice, counselling training or childcare.
  • Funding of training in this new approach for police, the criminal justice systems, and attendant services.
  • Funding of a comprehensive public information campaign to raise awareness of the new law.
  • Cancellation of all previous convictions and orders of prostituted people for offences related to past activities in the sex trade.
  • Prioritisation of the policing and prosecution of pimping, trafficking, sex buying and the sexual exploitation of children.
  • Banning of any advertising of sex trade related jobs such as lap dancing, or sex phone lines on government funded web sites and job boards or promotion of these to job seekers.
  • Prioritisation of all Left Unity policies that address factors known to “push” people into prostitution, such as student tuition fees, benefit cuts or immigration rules that leave migrants without the right to work or benefits.
  • Revoking the identification of trafficking victims as illegal immigrants.
  • Registering Left Unity as a supporter of the End Demand campaign (http://enddemand.uk/)

 

Miscellaneous

19. Future of Left Unity

South London branch

  1. Left Unity was set up to build a broad democratic party of the anti-austerity and anti-capitalist Left as an alternative to the Labour Party.
  2. This perspective had germinated over a longer period as a response to the sustained neo liberal offensive against the ‘welfare state’ and the politics of New Labour.
  3. This perspective has been overtaken by events – in particular the Corbyn victory in the Labour Party in 2015 and again in 2016, and the massive increase in Labour Party membership since his election.
  4. The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the rapid growth of the Labour Party has reinvigorated the Left in the Labour Party and has undermined Left Unity and TUSC as independent projects outside of the Labour Party.
  5. In parallel with the post 2008 economic crisis there has been a growing “crisis of democracy” because millions have come to recognise that the Westminster parliamentary system is failing to represent the people. The failure of Westminster ‘democracy’ has shown itself in a variety of ways – non- voting in elections, the division between Westminster MPs and Labour members, the rise of small parties such as the SNP, Plaid Sinn Fein, the Green Party and UKIP, the Scottish and EU referenda
  6. The future of LU is called in question by the rise of Corbyn. LU has no sustainable long term future without a change of direction, strategy and programme; without distinguishing itself clearly from the politics of Corbyn, at the same time as supporting him against attacks from the party’s right, the Tories and the media, etc., and in assisting in the immediate period ahead; with the building of a mass movement to secure Labour’s election at the next general election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader. LU must begin to rebuild itself as an independent working class republican and socialist party which supports common ownership and popular democratic control of the banks and commanding heights of the economy, and a European and domestic ‘democratic revolution’.
  7. Over the next year Left Unity will therefore:
  1. Re-brand itself accordingly.
  2. Review LU’s democratic programme, including its support for Proportional Representation, a constitutional convention and new written constitution/agreement of the people, abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, etc.
  • Build support in England for Scotland’s right to self determination, including the right to remain in the EU should they wish to.

To promote and hold discussions will all interested parties in the development of the above objectives.

 

20. Party name

South London

This conference notes that the current party name  ‘Left Unity’ could be seen as a hostage to fortune and not very exciting.  However this conference recognises that changing the party name would be costly in outdating leaflets etc and in rebranding.

This conference resolves that the party name should be reviewed within six months. This conference instructs:

  1. the Constitutional Commission to undertake research of branches, party members and friends of the party about our name and proposing alternatives names.
  2. The Constitutional Commission to submit a report in three months to a National Council with a list of potential names
  3. That the National Council will have the authority to veto names and suggest others
  4. That the NC should organise a binding e-vote of all party members by exhaustive ballot.  Keeping ‘Left Unity’ as a name must be an option.

 

 

 

 

PART 2 – REPORTS

 

1.   REPORT OF CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE

The entire report of the Constitution Committee was referred by the 29 October 2016 Conference to this one. The report has been supplemented by further recommendations developed by the Constitution Committee since the October 2016 Conference.

The report is circulated in a separate document.

 

2.   REPORT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL ON ELECTORAL STRATEGY

The Resolution B3 of the 29 October 2016 Conference instructed the National Council “to propose a new electoral strategy for the spring conference”. The S.O.C. has not received the National Council’s report on this subject. We have decided therefore that the report be tabled as null and that branches and members are entitled to move amendments to add content to it.

 

PART 3 – MOTIONS RULED OUT OF ORDER BY STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

 

1. Draft Platform “An alliance between RISE and Left Unity”

Julie Morrow, Steve Freeman

The S.O.C. has ruled this motion out of order because a Left Unity Conference cannot determine policy for another organisation.

  1.   The United Kingdom is a capitalist state whose government and constitution is based on the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Parliament and the Union of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. RISE and Left Unity oppose this constitution and support democratic principles and practices such as the sovereignty of the people, the right to recall all elected representatives and the right of nations to self-determination.
  2.   As socialists and internationalists, RISE and Left Unity seek the closest possible unity between the working classes of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and agree to co-operate in support of all struggles which advance and improve the social and economic conditions of working people not only in these islands but across Europe and the world.
  3.   As socialists and democrats, RISE and Left Unity support radical democratic change which enables working people to have greater influence and control over political decisions which affect their lives at work, at home, in their communities and the wider world. RISE and Left Unity agree to co-operate in winning working class support for democratic revolution in government, in the workplace and wider society.
  4.   The results of the EU referendum have put the Scottish people in the front line of the struggle for popular sovereignty and self-government. RISE and Left Unity agree to campaign for a democratic change beginning with the abolition of the 1707 Act of Union and the establishment of a Scottish republic. RISE and Left Unity will campaign for a referendum on Scottish independence. We will seek to mobilise all progressive democratic and republican forces in England, Wales and Ireland to support Scottish self-determination and advance our own case for democratic revolution.

 

2. Proposed amendment to the reorganised SL-Wigan “Future of Left Unity” motion

Steve Freeman

The S.O.C. has ruled this item out of order because it is not a motion but a proposal to amend a motion which appears in this preliminary agenda. As such it has been submitted prematurely. The opportunity to submit amendments occurs after the preliminary agenda has been circulated to branches and members.

  1. Left Unity was set up to build a broad democratic party of the anti-austerity and anti-capitalist Left as an alternative to the Labour Party. This perspective had germinated over a longer period as a response to the sustained neo liberal offensive against the ‘welfare state’ and the politics of New Labour.
  2. This perspective has been overtaken by events – in particular the Corbyn victory in the Labour Party in 2015 and again in 2016, and the massive increase in Labour Party membership since his election. The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the rapid growth of the Labour Party has reinvigorated the Left in the Labour Party and has undermined Left Unity and TUSC as independent projects outside of the Labour Party.
  3. The future of LU is called in question by the rise of Corbyn. LU has no sustainable long term future without a change of direction, strategy and programme; without distinguishing itself clearly from the politics of Corbyn, at the same time as supporting him against attacks from the party’s right, the Tories and the media, etc, and in assisting in the immediate period ahead; with the building of a mass movement tosecure Labour’s election at the next general election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

[Propose delete “secure Labour’s election at the next general election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader” and Add “oppose Tory Brexit and defeat the Tory government and force a general election”]

LU must begin to rebuild itself as an independent working class republican and socialist party which supports common ownership and popular democratic control of the banks and commanding heights of the economy, and a European and domestic ‘democratic revolution’.

  1. In parallel with the post 2008 economic crisis there has been a growing “crisis of democracy” because millions have come to recognise that the Westminster parliamentary system is failing to represent the people. The failure of Westminster ‘democracy’ has shown itself in a variety of ways – non- voting in elections, the division between Westminster MPs and Labour members, the rise of small parties such as the SNP, Plaid Sinn Fein, the Green Party and UKIP, the Scottish and EU referenda.
  2. Over the next year Left Unity will therefore:
    1. Re-brand itself accordingly.
    2. Review LU’s democratic programme, including its support for Proportional Representation, a constitutional convention and new written constitution/agreement of the people, abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, etc.
    3. Build support in England for Scotland’s right to self determination, including the right to remain in the EU should they wish to.
    4. To promote and hold discussions will all interested parties in the development of the above objectives.

[Propose delete all from “5 I Rebrand itself accordingly………..development of the above objectives” and replace with:]

  • Promote the idea that the UK needs a popular democratic revolution.
  • Promote the idea that the working class must lead this democratic revolution by setting its own aims which include:
    1. The abolition of the present ‘unwritten’ constitution based on the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Parliament.
    2. The abolition of all undemocratic institutions and laws – such as the monarchy, House of Lords, the Privy Council, the union of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the first past the post system of elections and all restrictions on the democratic rights and liberties of working people.
    3. The establishment of a “Commonwealth of England”, a social republic with an assembly or parliament based on the sovereignty of the people, the right to elect and recall all representativeness and the right of Ireland, Scotland and Wales to self-determination.
  • Promote the demand for a new written constitution, or “Agreement of the People”. Left Unity will popularise the idea of a citizen’s constitutional convention and work with interested parties and organisations to build support for such a convention.

 

PART 4 – MOTIONS REFERRED TO THIS CONFERENCE BY THE 29OCTOBER 2016 CONFERENCE BUT WITHDRAWN AT PROPOSERS’ REQUEST

These motions appeared on the final agenda of the 29 October 2016 Conference and were referred by that Conference to this one. However, the proposing branch has indicated its wish to withdraw the motions. The Standing Orders Committee has consented to the withdrawal, in accordance with Conference Standing Order no. 10.

G2 Rebuilding LU

South London

  1. Left Unity was set up to build a new socialist party in the “Spirit of 45” – a reference to the highpoint of British social democracy in the 1945-50 Labour government. LU set out to build a socialist-labour party on a British road to socialism.
  2. This perspective had germinated over a longer period as a response to the sustained neo liberal offensive against the ‘welfare state’ and the politics of New Labour.
  3. This perspective has been overtaken by events – in particular a) The Scottish referendum in 2014 and the launch of RISE b) The Corbyn victory in the Labour Party in 2015 c) The vote to leave the EU in England and Wales, known as Brexit, in 2016
  4. The election of Jeremy Corbyn and the rapid growth of the Labour Party has reinvigorated the “Spirit of 45” in the Labour Party and has undermined Left Unity and TUSC who had been defending socialist-labour politics outside the Labour Party.
  5. In parallel with the post 2008 economic crisis there has been a growing “crisis of democracy” because millions have come to recognise that the Westminster parliamentary system is failing to represent the people. The failure of Westminster ‘democracy’ has shown itself in a variety of ways – non-voting in elections, the division between Westminster MPs and Labour members, the rise of small parties such as the SNP, Plaid Sinn Fein, the Green Party and UKIP, the Scottish and EU referenda
  6. The future of LU is called in question by the rise of Corbyn. LU has no sustainable long term future as a socialist-labour party. There has to be a change of direction, strategy and programme. LU must begin to rebuild itself as a republican socialist party with the aim of a European and UK ‘democratic revolution’.
  7. Over the next year Left Unity will therefore:
  8. Rebrand itself as the party of democratic revolution in the UK and the EU
  9. Review LU’s democratic programme

III. Add opposition to the 1707 Act of Union to LU existing policies of abolishing the monarchy and House of Lords

  1. Build support in England for Scotland’s right to self determination, including the right to remain in the EU
  2. To seek official discussion with RISE in Scotland for an anti-Unionist alliance
  3. To hold discussions with Left Unity (Wales) over how this perspective can be developed in Wales.

 

H3 Sex Workers

South London branch

Conference notes:

  1. 80% sex workers are women and a disproportionate number are LGBT, migrant, disabled people, and single parents.
  2. Some are forced into sex work through ‘trafficking’ and ‘grooming’, the majority of enter the industry for economic reasons

Conference believes:

  1. We live in a deeply patriarchal society that structures the sex industry. Empowering sex workers is a blow against this.
  2. Provided that they don’t harm others, al adults have a right to do with their bodies as they please.
  3. sex workers should have access to the same protections afforded to any other worker.
  4. the current legal position in the UK on sex work is contradictory and fails to support interests of sex workers.
  5. That the ‘Nordic ‘model which criminalises the purchase of sex has been a failure
  6. That decriminalisation in New Zealand has substantial improved the rights of sex workers and is the only effective way to tackle organised crime that effect the sex industry

We campaign for:

  1. Tackling the economic reasons for people taking up sex work including by fighting for:
  2. a) a comprehensive student grant system.
  3. b) Gender reassignment available on the NHS without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
  4. c) Affordable public rented housing for all including LGBT people.
  5. d) Free childcare including for those who work shifts
  6. e) Disabled people should be financially supported for the extra cost incurred due to health and/or social restrictions
  7. f) Easy access to services that help tackle drug and alcohol addiction.
  8. g) Guaranteed income for those out of work.
  9. Decriminalisation of sex work akin to legislation developed in New Zealand, including:
  10. a) zoning regulated by civil not criminal law.
  11. b) Pardoning of all past sex work related offences (except those involving coercion or violence).
  12. c) Involvement in sex work of adults they live with no reason for children being taken into care.
  13. d) A two tier brothel system; with socially owed larger brothels and enabling sex workers to work independently in collectives
  14. e) Rights for sex workers in relations to clients, and managers
  15. Left Unity campaigns for the empowerment of sex workers, including:
  16. a) engaging sex worker to influence policy changes.
  17. b) Making discrimination of the provision of services and goods to people who are sex workers an offence
  18. c) Support the development of sex workers unions
  19. Left Unity is committed to tackling the coercion of people into sex work whether through trafficking or grooming, this includes:
  20. a) freedom of movement enabling trafficked sex workers to escape without fear of deportation
  21. b) Crimes against a sex worker to become a hate crime.
  22. c) Support street based initiatives that help identify dangerous clients
  23. d) A comprehensive network of safe-spaces for sex workers open 24/7.

Conference instructs the NC to:

  1. Develop a relationship with sex-worker led organisations,
  2. Campaign against the introduction of the ‘Nordic Model’.
  3. Work with others to develop a private members bill to decriminalise sex work akin to that in New Zealand.

 

 


Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.

About Left Unity   Read our manifesto

ACTIVIST CALENDAR

Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.

Sat 1st July
Not One Day More: National Demonstration

Not One Day More #ToriesOUT
Assemble 12 noon, Saturday 1 July 2017
BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
March to Parliament Square

INVITE YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSPORT / COACHES TO THE DEMO

Saturday 24 June
March for Homes

Join the movement preparing for this demo: private, council, housing association and co-op tenants, unions and housing campaigners

To get involved email info@axethehousingact.org.uk or call 07432 098440

Weds 12 July, 19:30
Who’s beating back ISIS in Syria?

Learn more with Rahila Gupta, freelance journalist, writer & activist, who visited Rojava in 2016.

David’s Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE. £3 entry.

www.davids-bookshops.co.uk  Organised by the North Herts Friends of Rojava. Contact nhfor@outlook.com

Weds 19 – Sun 23 July
European Left Summer University

This year, the European Left/Transform Summer University will be held in Budapest, Hungary, from 19-23 of July. For programme details click here. For registration click here.

Sun 23 – Sat 29 July
International Youth Camp, Otranto, Italy

The Fourth International’s annual youth camp – find out more about socialism, feminism and environmentalism.

For more information email contact@socialistresistance.org

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