Left Unity Founding Conference documents (part two)

November 24, 2013

CONFERENCE BOOKLET SECTION 4

Aims:

4. Section 2 of constitution moved from Internal Democracy Commission.

The aims of Left Unity are:

a)     to unite the diverse strands of radical and socialist politics in the UK including worker’s organisations and trade unions; ordinary people, grass root organisations and co-operatives rooted in our neighbourhoods and communities; individuals and communities facing poverty, discrimination and social oppression because of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, unemployment or under-employment; environmental and green campaigners; campaigners for freedom and democracy; all those who seek to authentically voice and represent the interests of ordinary working people

b)    to win a mandate to govern and introduce radical and fundamental changes in British society based on our belief in the benefits of cooperation and community ownership instead of the chaotic competition of capitalism; universal human rights, internationalism and peace; social, political and economic equality for all in the fullest sense, without which true democracy and mutual respect cannot flourish; a democratically planned economy that is environmentally sustainable, within which all enterprises, whether privately owned, cooperatives or under public ownership operate in ways that promote the needs of the people and wider society; an inclusive welfare state which operates on the principle that each will contribute to society according to their ability to do so, and society will in return meet their needs.

c)     to above all promote grass roots democracy in the understanding that fundamental and radical change can only come with the support and active involvement of the majority of people and that the way we organise today is a pointer to the kind of society we want to see in the future

Lambeth

The platforms should be taken as platforms of the organisation but not as the aims of the organisation.

Camden

Resolution:

That a vote or votes on the submissions for the ‘Aims’ section of the constitution should not be put at this conference.

Huddersfield

  1. 1.     Amendment to Republican Socialist platform:

“This conference believes the statement from the Republican Socialist Platform will not serve to build an inclusive party of the radical left.  Delete all and move to next business.”

Republican socialist platform

1.  The global financial and economic crisis since 2008 has been transformed by governments imposing austerity policies into a massive redistribution of income and wealth from working people to the rich and powerful.

2. This has led to a ‘crisis of democracy’ as people have protested against the lack of democracy in their governments. Democratic uprisings and protests have impacted on authoritarian and liberal regimes alike. Since Iceland in 2009, democratic movements spread from Tunisia and Egypt right across the Middle East, and onto Russia and more recently Syria and Turkey. There have also been the Occupy protests in Spain and America and elsewhere. Meanwhile, in Greece the banks have imposed austerity policies on the people rendering Greek ‘democracy’ more or less irrelevant.

3.  The UK is not a democracy. The country is governed by an oligarchy which rules in the name of the Crown through the constitutional laws of the ‘Crown-in-Parliament’. This involves the hegemony of the Crown over Parliament and the people of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The so-called Glorious Revolution was the beginning of an historic compromise of Crown and Parliament forged between 1688 and 1707. This was never intended as a popular democracy. Despite subsequent democratic reforms, a largely unaccountable bureaucracy, with more and more centralised control, has ensured that political power remains concentrated in the institutions of the Crown, governing “from above”.

4.  The contradiction between this lack of popular democracy and the official ideology of liberal parliamentarianism has been regularly highlighted by corrupt practices and exposed by protests and popular struggles, most notably over the poll tax and the Iraq war. During the economic and financial crisis, support was freely given by Labour to City institutions while austerity was imposed by the Crown. The subsequent Coalition package of cuts and privatisation was never endorsed by the electorate but cobbled together after the 2010 general election.

5.  Today, the public is increasingly disillusioned with ‘politics’ and alienated by corruption, a lack of democracy and a lack of public accountability. However, people do not necessarily draw radical conclusions from this. The Tory right and UKIP point to Europe as the source of Britain’s failing democracy.

6. A progressive resolution of the ‘democratic deficit’ requires the building of a mass movement for radical democratic reform. The anti-poll tax movement and the mass opposition to the Iraq war contained the seeds of such a movement. In Scotland, opposition to the poll tax fed into demands for a Scottish parliament. But in England, both movements failed to generalise beyond these particular issues into a ‘permanent’ democratic movement. In 2011, the Occupy movement re-awakened the democratic impulse from which emerged demands for a new constitution or ‘Agreement of the People’.

7. Crucially, the Labour left and Trotskyist parties in the UK have failed to champion the cause of fundamental democratic change. They have occasionally paid lip serve to the ‘democratic deficit’ seemingly unaware of the direct economic and social damage this has inflicted on the lives of working people. In essence, Labourism does not fight for republican democracy aiming, instead, to secure reforms by accommodation with the Crown. By not fighting for republican democracy, the Trotskyists have been a mirror image of Labourism, posing against it a demand for total ‘socialist revolution’ in theory while in their practice not going beyond defending the welfare state.

8. We need a different kind of party to the traditional ‘parties’ of the left. Such a party would recognise the central importance of the struggle for democracy in mobilising all oppressed sections of society into a mass movement for radical change, a new democratic constitution, and a social republic. This party, drawing on the republican and socialist traditions going back to the Levellers and Diggers and inspired by the militant struggles of the Chartists and Suffragettes, would seek to build and provide leadership for a broad democratic movement, thus becoming a republican socialist party.

 

  1. 2.     Amendment to Communist platform:

“This conference believes the statement from the Communist Platform will not serve to build an inclusive party of the radical left.  Delete all and move to next business.”

Communist platform

1)  1. The [Left Unity] Party is a socialist party.  It seeks to bring about the end of capitalism and its replacement by the rule of the working class. Our ultimate aim is a society based on the principle of ‘from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs’. A moneyless, classless, stateless society within which each individual can develop their fullest individuality.

2)  2. Under capitalism, production is predominantly carried out in order to make a profit for the few, regardless of the needs of society or damage to the environment.  Neither capitalism nor its state apparatus can be made to work in the interests of the mass of the population. The rule of the working class requires a state to defend itself, but a state that is withering away, a semi state.

3)  3 Socialism means the fullest political, social and economic democracy. It means a society in which the wealth and the means of production are no longer in private hands but are owned in common. Everyone will have the right to participate in deciding how the wealth of society is used and how production is planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the natural world on which we depend. We reject the idea that the undemocratic regimes that existed in the former Soviet Union and other countries were socialist, or represented either the political rule of the working class, or some kind of step on the road to socialism.

4)  4. The [Left Unity] Party opposes all oppression and discrimination, whether on the basis of gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion or sexual orientation and aims to create a society in which such oppression and discrimination no longer exist.

5)   5. Socialism has to be international. The interests of the working class are basically the same everywhere The [Left Unity] Party opposes all imperialist wars and military interventions. The [Left Unity] Party rejects the idea that there is a national solution to the problems of capitalism. It stands for the maximum solidarity and cooperation between the working class in Britain and elsewhere. It will work with others across Europe for the overthrow of the constitution of the European Union and the creation of a united socialist Europe under democratic working class rule.

6)  6. The [Left Unity] Party aims to win support from the working class and all those who want to bring about the socialist transformation of society, which can only be accomplished by the working class itself acting democratically as the majority in society. This means that the organisations of the working class must be democratically, not bureaucratically organised.

7)  7. The [Left Unity] Party aims to win political power to end capitalism, not to manage it. It will not participate in governmental coalitions with capitalist parties at national or local level.

8)   8. As long as the working class is not able to win political power for itself the [Left Unity] Party will participate in and seek to lead  campaigns to defend and radically extend  all past gains  e.g.,  living standards and democratic rights.  But it recognises that all gains can only be partial and temporary so long as capitalism survives.

9)  9. The [Left Unity] Party will use both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary means to build support for its goals of sweeping away the capitalist state and the socialist transformation of society.

10    All elected representatives will be accountable to the party membership and will receive no payment above the average wage of a skilled worker (the exact level to be determined by the party conference) plus legitimate expenses.

  1. 3.     Amendment to Class Struggle platform:

“This conference believes the statement from the Class Struggle Platform will not serve to build an inclusive party of the radical left.  Delete all and move to next business.”

Class struggle platform

1. Campaign for mass strike action to bring down the Coalition. The TUC moderates have done next to nothing to mobilise millions of union members against austerity. They spend more time witch hunting their own best activists than leading a fight back. By contrast the TUC lefts have tried to organise coordinated one-day legal strikes over pensions, but these fell apart as Unison accepted a deal and the lefts failed to appeal to Unison members over the heads of their right wing leaders. Last year the TUC launched a consultation on the practicalities of a general strike. Our reply whenever we have been asked has been yes but still they do nothing. It is plain that to make this happen we will have to fight from the grassroots up, for strikes and campaigns this autumn to link up, to defy the union laws and combine our strength in a joint indefinite national strike against austerity.

2. Campaign for a rank and file movement in the unions. We should launch a fight for a democratic, nationwide movement within the trade unions to break the control of the vastly overpaid general secretaries and the officials that can delay and call off our struggles without consulting us. We need to spread the militant defence of jobs and services, put all unions under rank and file control, pay all officials the average wage of the workers they represent, make all officials accountable and recallable. Our watchword should be: with the union leaders where possible, without them where necessary.

3. Campaign for democratic mass people’s assemblies in every town and city.?The tremendous response to the People’s Assembly and the large turnouts at regional assemblies show the mood is there to bring together all the anti-austerity campaigns into an active force that can practically unite action on a local, regional and national basis. We want to make them lasting bodies, able to make democratic decisions through majority voting and then carry them out. We will try to draw in delegates from as many campaigns, estates, workplaces, schools and colleges and we can.

4. Campaign to smash the EDL and defend Muslims from pogroms and fascist violence.?The EDL, BNP and other fascist groups try to divide the working class by stirring up hatred and carrying out violent attacks against Muslims, black and Asian people, LGBT people, and the left. We should back the formation of united campaigns in every area with the aim of denying the fascists any platform to spread their views or to incite hatred and violence. We will work with militant antifascist groups, trade unionists, Muslims and youth to form self-defence groups to defend our meetings, demonstrations mosques and communities, to stop EDL hate marches and resist police attacks on anti-fascist and anti-racist protests.

5. International solidarity against austerity, unemployment, racism and war.?Across Europe and around the world millions of people like us are fighting the effects of the crisis and the attempts of the capitalists to make ordinary people pay to save their system. New parties have been formed over the last decade to the left of the Labour and Socialist parties that will not break from neo-liberalism. In Greece, France, and many other countries, they are fighting back and debating what a programme for socialism means in the 21st century. We will work with them in immediate practical acts of solidarity, especially with those facing the most severe attacks like in Greece. And we will propose and try to build a new international?organisation of the working class. We will fight all wars and ‘interventions’ planned by our rulers, we will support the Arab revolutions and the Palestinians, we will try to get all the troops and bases out of the Middle East and Central Asia. We will take solidarity action with movements for democracy and social justice, against imperialist occupation and with national liberation movements.

6. Campaign to draw tens of thousands into a new mass party.?Our founding conference is scheduled for November 2013. The huge groundswell of support for Ken Loach’s first appeal for this new party – which drew nearly 10,000 backers in just a few weeks – is a clear sign that large numbers are ready to rally to an alternative. But it will not be possible for our new initiative to rally scores of thousands, or to draw up a detailed party programme, on such a short timescale.

That means we should deepen and extend the process of policy commissions that we launched in June, continue it beyond November, and above all try to bring many thousands of activists and campaigners beyond our current ranks into the process of drawing up proposals for policy and action and then debating them out. So we address our call to campaigners against the Bedroom Tax; trade unionists; disabled people campaigning against ATOS and benefit cuts; socialists; women resisting domestic violence, the culture of rape and abuse, pay discrimination and poverty; anti-racist activists confronting the EDL; Muslims resisting racist attacks; movements against war and in solidarity with revolutions in Europe and the Middle East; students fighting fees, course closures and sell-offs; unemployed activists.

We appeal to all to come together in big local gatherings to help form this new party and shape its policy, in an atmosphere of democracy, solidarity and taking action together. In this way we will draw thousands into the creation of our fuller programme:?economic policies, our relation to the trade unions, our approach to elections, policies on benefits and welfare, Scotland, Ireland, the EU, environmental destruction, deepening democracy and resisting repression, our attitude to new left parties in Europe, women’s, LGBT, black and youth liberation. Above all we will be able to discuss with thousands how we can develop a strategy for taking real power into the hands of the people, forming a working class government, defeating capitalism and creating a world free of poverty, exploitation, oppression and war.

4.2 Platform 9 ¾

1) That we proceed to have a debate about the aims and values of the new party/organisation but that it is premature to vote at the founding conference for one of the existing platforms.

2) That we should conduct debate in a civilised manner and in good humour.

3) That the party/organisation should be a nice party that people enjoy being in.

4) That we thank Ken Loach and give him a cake on his birthday for the rest of his life.

 

4.3 HACKNEY/THLU STATEMENT

Introduction: The Ken Loach appeal launched in association with his film The Spirit of 45 and calling for a new left party has resulted in over 8000 responses nationally.  The film informs us that in 1945 the Labour Party pledged to put an end to the social evils of disease, idleness (mass unemployment), ignorance, squalor (slum housing) and want (poverty) and, despite the legacy of wartime debts, achieved significant reforms. Britain today, along with the rest of Europe and North America, is far wealthier in human and technological resources than it was in 1945. Yet as a result of over 30 years of so-called free-market policies, culminating in a chronic economic and financial crisis since 2007, all those evils have returned.

Our most urgent task is to defend and reclaim the gains won by the labour movement during more than a century of struggles. We believe that there is no prospect of the Labour Party today doing that effectively. Elsewhere in Europe left parties such as Syriza in Greece are winning mass support for resistance to austerity. In Britain we also need to create a new Left Party founded on the following political principles and policy commitments:

  1. 1.     On the Immediate Economic Crisis.
  • We are against austerity programmes which make the mass of working people, the old, the young and the sick, pay for a systemic crisis of capitalism.
  • We are for policies to restore full employment through measures  such as  reduced working hours for all;  spending on public housing,  infrastructure and services; and the public ownership of, and democratic collective control over, basic utilities, transport systems and the financial sector.
  1. 2.     On Public Services
  • We are against the creeping privatisation of the NHS and Education, the sell-off of the Royal Mail and the marketization of the public sector as a whole.
  • We are for free provision of education (from nurseries to adult and higher education), the arts and all forms of healthcare.
  1. 3.        On The Environment
  • We are against an economic system which prioritises short-term profit over the future of the planet, and which is responsible for accelerated climate change and ecological crisis.
  • We are for sustainable development, an end to energy and transport policies which contribute to global warming and for an agricultural system which is committed to animal welfare and environmental protection.
  1. 4.         On Employment
  • We are against the casualization of employment conditions and laws which restrict the right of workers to organise effectively and take industrial action.
  • We are for the ‘living wage’ as a minimum for all, an extension of employment rights for all workers and support for workers’ cooperatives.
  1. 5.     On Tax and Welfare
  • We are against cuts in benefits and measures such as the bedroom tax, changes to disability allowance and cuts in legal aid, hurting the poorest.
  • We are for a tax and welfare system based on the principles of social justice, universal benefits and steeply progressive and effective taxation.
  1. 6.     On Equalities
  • We are against all forms of discrimination and oppression whether on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexuality, (dis)ability or national identity.
  •  We are for an inclusive society with equal citizenship rights for all, including asylum-seekers and refugees, and support for all those in need.
  1. 7.     On Internationalism
  • We are against fascism, war, imperialism and an international economic system dominated by the wealthy and militarily powerful nations.
  • We are for the right of national self-determination for oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds and Palestinians and solidarity with all those resisting austerity and oppression. We are for ‘fair trade’ and recognise the necessity for global solutions to global problems such as climate change.
  1. 8.      On Anti-Capitalism
  • We are against a system whose benefits go disproportionately to 1% of the population and which is responsible for devastating economic and ecological crises across the planet.
  •  We are ultimately for a radical social transformation based on the principle of ‘people not profit’ and drawing on the best of the cooperative, radical democratic, feminist, green, and socialist traditions (although we may disagree on how such a transformation can eventually be achieved).
  1. 9.     On a New Party
  • We are against the bureaucratic centralism, corruption and sexism to be found in existing political parties of the right and left.
  • We are for a mass, democratic and inclusive party which unites campaigners and trade union activists, supports collective direct action and self-organisation, and has close links with similar parties or movements resisting austerity and ‘freemarket’ policies across Europe and elsewhere.

 

 

 

4.4 Left Party Platform

1. The ………. party stands for equality and justice. It is socialist, feminist, environmentalist and against all forms of discrimination. We stand against capitalism, imperialism, war, racism, Islamophobia and fascism. Our goal is to transform society: to achieve the full democratisation of state and political institutions, society and the economy, by and for the people.

2. Our immediate tasks are to oppose austerity policies designed to destroy the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades; to oppose the scapegoating which accompanies them; to defend the welfare state and those worst affected by the onslaught; to fight to take back into public ownership those industries and utilities privatised over the last three decades; to fight to restore workers’ rights; and to advance alternative social and economic policies, redistributing wealth to the working class.

3. We are socialist because our vision of society is one where the meeting of human needs is paramount, not one which is driven by the quest for private profit and the enrichment of a few. The natural wealth, productive resources and social means of existence will be owned in common and democratically run by and for the people as a whole, rather than being owned and controlled by a small minority to enrich themselves. The reversal of the gains made in this direction after 1945 has been catastrophic and underlines the urgency of halting and reversing the neo-liberal onslaught.

4. We are feminist because our vision of society is one without the gender oppression and exploitation which blights the lives of women and girls and makes full human emancipation impossible. We specify our feminism because historical experience shows that the full liberation of women does not automatically follow the nationalisation of productive forces or the reordering of the economy. We fight to advance this goal in the current political context, against the increasing divergence between men’s and women’s incomes, against the increasing poverty among women, against the ‘double burden’ of waged work and unshared domestic labour, and against the increasing violence against women in society and in personal relationships, which is exacerbated by the economic crisis.

5. We are environmentalist because our vision of society is one which recognises that if humankind is to survive, it has to establish a sustainable relationship with the rest of the natural world – of which it is part and on which it depends. We recognise that an economy based on achieving maximum profits at the lowest cost in the shortest possible time is destroying our planet. The current operation of industry and economy is totally incompatible with the maintenance of the ecosystem through the growing loss of bio and agro diversity, the depletion of resources and increasing climate change. The future of the planet can only be secured through a sustainable, low carbon industrial base designed to meet people’s needs on a global basis.

6. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether on the basis of class, gender, race, impairment, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, religion, age or politics. The current economic onslaught disproportionately affects already disadvantaged groups and we oppose their persecution and oppression. We support the free development, opportunity and expression of all, without impinging on the rights of others, and the introduction of legislation and social provision to make this intention a reality. No society is just and equal while some people remain without the support needed to achieve their full potential.

7. We work for and support strong, effective, democratic trade unions to fight for better wages and salaries, for improved living standards, for better working conditions and stronger, more favourable, contracts of employment. We believe that the strength of the union is the people in the workplace; that what each person does at work matters – to make the job better, to make the service provided more effective, to persuade workers to combine for greater strength.

8. Our political practice is democratic, diverse and inclusive, organising amongst working class communities with no interests apart from theirs, committed to open dialogue and new ways of working; to the mutual respect and tolerance of differences of analysis; to the rejection of the corruption of conventional political structures and their reproduction of the gender domination of capitalist society. We recognise that economic transformation does not automatically bring an end to discrimination and injustice and that these sites of struggle must be developed and won, openly and together.

9. We will campaign, mobilise and support struggles on a day to day basis, recognising the need for self-organisation in working class communities. We recognise that support for our party and its electoral success will only advance to the extent that it is genuinely representative of working class communities, has no interests separate from theirs, and is an organic part of the campaigns and movements which they generate and support.  We will engage in the national and local electoral processes, offering voters a left alternative – where any elected representatives will take an average wage – while understanding that elections are not the only arena or even the most important arena in which political struggles are fought.

10. We are an internationalist party. There are no national solutions to the problems that humanity faces. Capitalism is an international system, highly organised and globalised and its defeat requires not only international solidarity but the linking up and coordination of struggles across Europe and the world. We will work with left organisations and movements in Europe and internationally such as the new European left parties currently organised in the European Left Party, including Syriza, Bloco de Esquerda, Izquierda Unida, Die Linke, Front de Gauche and others, to build coordination, strategic links and common actions to advance that struggle. We will also seek to learn from the experience of those parties in Latin America which have challenged and rejected neo-liberal economic policies and are establishing a social and economic alternative in the interests of the majority of their peoples. We stand against war and military intervention, against the exploitation of other countries for economic gain, and for a drastic reduction of military expenditure for the benefit of social spending, and for a foreign policy based on peace and equality.

Camden amendment

Paragraph 3:  First sentence; delete ‘vision of society is one’ and replace with ‘aim is to end capitalism. We will pursue a society’. Second sentence; Delete ‘productive resources and social means of existence’ and replace with ‘and the means of production, distribution and exchange’.

Paragraph 4:

Delete all after ‘reordering the economy.’

Paragraph 5: First sentence; delete ‘our vision of society is one which recognises’ and replace with ‘we recognise’. Second sentence; delete ‘We recognise that’.

Paragraph 6:

Third sentence; delete ‘the free development, opportunity and expression of all, without impinging on the rights of others, and’.

Paragraph 7: First sentence; insert ‘full employment’ after ‘democratic trade unions to fight for’.

Paragraph 8: Delete all after ‘new ways of working’ in the first sentence and add the amended sentence to the beginning of the existing paragraph 9 to create a new Paragraph 8. After ‘We will engage in’ delete ‘the national and local electoral processes’ and insert ‘elections’. After ‘any elected representatives will take an average wage’ insert ‘and be accountable to the party membership’.

Insert new Paragraph 9; ‘We aim to win political power, not to manage it.

We will not participate in governmental coalitions with capitalist parties at a local or national level.’

Paragraph 10: Third sentence; after ‘We will work with left organizations and movements in Europe and internationally’ delete ‘such as the new European left parties … to advance that struggle’ and replace with ‘that share our aims’. Fourth sentence; delete ‘peoples’ and replace with ‘people’. Fifth sentence; delete ‘war and military intervention’ and replace with ‘imperialist wars and military interventions’.

The resulting statement of aims would read thus:

1. The ………. party stands for equality and justice. It is socialist, feminist, environmentalist and against all forms of discrimination. We stand against capitalism, imperialism, war, racism, Islamophobia and fascism. Our goal is to transform society: to achieve the full democratisation of state and political institutions, society and the economy, by and for the people.

2. Our immediate tasks are to oppose austerity policies designed to destroy the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades; to oppose the scapegoating which accompanies them; to defend the welfare state and those worst affected by the onslaught; to fight to take back into public ownership those industries and utilities privatised over the last three decades; to fight to restore workers’ rights; and to advance alternative social and economic policies, redistributing wealth to the working class.

3. We are socialist because our aim is to end capitalism. We will pursue a society where the meeting of human needs is paramount, not one which is driven by the quest for private profit and the enrichment of a few. The natural wealth and the means of production, distribution and exchange will be owned in common and democratically run by and for the people as a whole, rather than being owned and controlled by a small minority to enrich themselves. The reversal of the gains made in this direction after 1945 has been catastrophic and underlines the urgency of halting and reversing the neo-liberal onslaught.

4. We are feminist because our vision of society is one without the gender oppression and exploitation which blights the lives of women and girls and makes full human emancipation impossible. We specify our feminism because historical experience shows that the full liberation of women does not automatically follow the nationalisation of productive forces or the reordering of the economy.

5. We are environmentalist because we recognise that if humankind is to survive, it has to establish a sustainable relationship with the rest of the natural world – of which it is part and on which it depends.  An economy based on achieving maximum profits at the lowest cost in the shortest possible time is destroying our planet. The current operation of industry and economy is totally incompatible with the maintenance of the ecosystem through the growing loss of bio and agro diversity, the depletion of resources and increasing climate change. The future of the planet can only be secured through a sustainable, low carbon industrial base designed to meet people’s needs on a global basis.

6. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether on the basis of class, gender, race, impairment, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, religion, age or politics. The current economic onslaught disproportionately affects already disadvantaged groups and we oppose their persecution and oppression. We support the introduction of legislation and social provision to make this intention a reality. No society is just and equal while some people remain without the support needed to achieve their full potential.

7. We work for and support strong, effective, democratic trade unions to fight for full employment, better wages and salaries, for improved living standards, for better working conditions and stronger, more favourable, contracts of employment. We believe that the strength of the union is the people in the workplace; that what each person does at work matters – to make the job better, to make the service provided more effective, to persuade workers to combine for greater strength.

8. Our political practice is democratic, diverse and inclusive, organizing amongst working class communities with no interests apart from theirs, committed to open dialogue and new ways of working. We will campaign, mobilise and support struggles on a day to day basis, recognising the need for self-organisation in working class communities. We recognise that support for our party and its electoral success will only advance to the extent that it is genuinely representative of working class communities, has no interests separate from theirs, and is an organic part of the campaigns and movements which they generate and support.  We will engage in elections, offering voters a left alternative – where any elected representatives will take an average wage and be accountable to the party membership – while understanding that elections are not the only arena or even the most important arena in which political struggles are fought.

10. We are an internationalist party. There are no national solutions to the problems that humanity faces. Capitalism is an international system, highly organised and globalised and its defeat requires not only international solidarity but the linking up and coordination of struggles across Europe and the world. We will work with left organisations and movements in Europe and internationally that share our aims.  We will also seek to learn from the experience of those parties in Latin America which have challenged and rejected neo-liberal economic policies and are establishing a social and economic alternative in the interests of the majority of their peoples. We stand against imperialist wars and military interventions, against the exploitation of other countries for economic gain, and for a drastic reduction of military expenditure for the benefit of social spending, and for a foreign policy based on peace and equality.

 

Manchester amendment

AMENDMENT TO LEFT PARTY PLATFORM STATEMENT OF AIMS (paragraph on trade unions)*

Add to the end of paragraph 7: “Going on strike (including mass/general strikes), occupying workplaces and solidarity between workers (in different unions and/or workplaces) can be effective tactics in winning individual disputes and changing society.”

*AMENDMENT TO LEFT PARTY PLATFORM STATEMENT OF AIMS (new paragraph)*

Add new paragraph (11): “In line with the party being a broad socialist party, it should reflect a wide variety of views in our literature and on our website and forum. Our members will include:

a) reformists in favour of gradual change towards socialism and revolutionaries who believe some sort of (preferably peaceful) socialist revolution is necessary while supporting such reforms in the short term (and of course those who don’t know how socialism can/will be achieved).

b) those who believe in change through elections and/or extra-parliamentary activity. Those who want to join the party but only take part in one of those types of activity would be welcome.

 

4.5 Socialist platform

  1. The [Left Unity] Party is a socialist party. Its aim is to bring about the end   of capitalism and its replacement by socialism.
  2. Under capitalism, production is carried out solely to make a profit for the few, regardless of the needs of society or damage to the environment.  Capitalism does not and cannot be made to work in the interests of the majority. Its state and institutions will have to be replaced by ones that act in the interests of the majority.
  3. Socialism means complete political, social and economic democracy. It requires a fundamental breach with capitalism. It means a society in which the wealth and the means of production are no longer in private hands but are owned in common. Everyone will have the right to participate in deciding how the wealth of society is used and how production is planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the natural world on which we depend. We reject the idea that undemocratic regimes that existed in the former Soviet Union and other countries were socialist.
  4. The [Left Unity] Party opposes all oppression and discrimination, whether on the basis of gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion or sexual orientation and aims to create a society in which such oppression and discrimination no longer exist.
  5. Socialism has to be international. The interests of the working class are the same everywhere. The [Left Unity] Party opposes all imperialist wars and military interventions. It rejects the idea that there is a national solution to the problems of capitalism. It stands for the maximum solidarity and cooperation between the working class in Britain and elsewhere. It will work with others across Europe to replace the European Union with a voluntary European federation of socialist societies.
  6. The [Left Unity] Party aims to win support from the working class and all those who want to bring about the socialist transformation of society, which can only be accomplished by the working class itself acting democratically as the majority in society.
  7. The [Left Unity] Party aims to win political power to end capitalism, not to manage it. It will not participate in governmental coalitions with capitalist parties at national or local level.
  8. So long as the working class is not able to win political power for itself the [Left Unity] Party will participate in working-class campaigns to defend all past gains and to improve living standards and democratic rights. But it recognises that any reforms will only be partial and temporary so long as capitalism continues.
  9. The [Left Unity] Party will use both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary means to build support for its ultimate goal - the socialist transformation of society.
  10. All elected representatives will be accountable to the party membership and will receive no payment above the average wage of a skilled worker (the exact level to be determined by the party conference) plus legitimate expenses.

 Leicester amendment

We wish to amend the Aims Section (2) of the Draft Final Constitution with an additional 4th clause.  Should this be replaced by another version of Aims in the course of debate, we wish this clause to be taken as an amendment to the replacement.

 

(d) to organise and campaign in ways that recognise and promote alternative and new forms of popular political culture that are creative and educational, that can move and  empower people through hopes of a better and realisable future, and that delight, inspire and provoke thought.

 

CONFERENCE BOOKLET SECTION 5

Selection of Party Name

‘Left Party’ 2 mins

Left Party reflects the move forward from the discussion about a party to founding a party. It benefits from simplicity and states directly what we are and what we are building. Having ‘party’ in the name makes it clear that we are a political party and not a movement or a campaign.

Crouch End LU

 

‘Lefty Unity Party’ 2 mins

As it is difficult to register a Party name which   includes the word ‘socialist’ with the Electoral Commission, we looked elsewhere.  We felt ‘Left Unity’ had started to resonate, and accurately described what we were all about, but thought we would

appear more serious and permanent  with ‘Party’ added.

Rugby Left Unity

‘Democratic Voice’ 2 mins

10)  Taps into popular disgust with corrupt political system, an alternative voice to establishment austerity policies

11)  Outward looking: not just appealing to existing left

12)  Brands us as a movement, not just a party

13)  States our aim: to democratise economy, all aspects of society

14)  Electorally friendly, no negative baggage or trigger-words

 

Huddersfield LU

 

‘Left Unity’ 2 mins

LU has name recognition (over 10,000 signed the appeal), we want to unite most of the left (not be another of the “57 varieties” of left-wing organisation), the word “party” is unpopular particularly among young people, and with no obvious drawbacks, Left Unity should be kept as our name.

Manchester South and Central Left Unity

The members of this branch signed up to be part of the Left Unity movement, therefore resolves that the name of Left Unity should be kept.

Northampton Left Unity

To be conducted using the Supplementary Vote system. 

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click here to view our comments policy.

Get Left Unity's regular email newsletter to stay up to date with our progress and campaigns.



Upcoming Events

Nov
3
Mon
7:30 pm Camden and Islington LU discussi... @ Unity Church
Camden and Islington LU discussi... @ Unity Church
Nov 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Speaker: Jamie Allinson, Middle East specialist in Dept. of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster The decline of the Arab revolutions, the rise of ISIS, the military intervention of the United States in Iraq and Syria, and the revival of the Kurdish question, have all posed new and complex questions for those concerned with international solidarity and progressive social change in the region. This discussion forum will address how we can make sense of these events.

View Calendar

Promoted by and on behalf of Left Unity c/o Housmans, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX