The motions for our conference are now published
The deadline for amendments is 26th May.
Standing Orders Committee (SOC) Report No 1 – 2018 National Conference
The SOC has received 20 motions submitted for National Conference. 19 of them (Nos 2-20) were received in time and are considered to be in order. We recommend these are admitted to the agenda for conference.
A motion from the International Commission (No 1) was received by the SOC one day after the deadline. An explanation was given that there was confusion about who from the Commission would be submitting the motion to the SOC. The motion is otherwise in order. The SOC has considered the explanation from the International Commission and recommends that this motion also be admitted to the agenda.
The motions are reproduced below. They are numbered for ease of referring to them when submitting amendments. The SOC has attempted to group motions with a similar theme. However, other than that, the numbering and order of the motions does not imply that they will be taken in this order on the agenda of conference. The timing of debates and order of business for conference will be considered in a later report once all the items of business for the conference are known.
A draft new constitution proposed by the National Council will also be for voting at conference. The Draft Constitution was previously published on the website at http://leftunity.org/left-unity-national-conference-2018/ and is reproduced at the end of this report for ease of reference.
Any amendments to these motions or the draft constitution should be submitted by 26 May 2018 direct to the SOC at email@example.com
Some amendments have already been received, but these will be circulated in a further SOC report after the deadline for amendments.
Motions for Left Unity Conference 2018
The motions received by the SOC are:
Left Unity International Commission motion to the 2018 Conference
Conference agrees these international priorities for the next 12 months:
We have been observer members of the EL since 2016.
Participation in the EL will remain our first priority, maximising support for the EL social forum being held in Bilbao In September 2018.
We will publicising the EL political strategy on our website and other media.
LU will continue to develop links with other radical socialist organisations around the world where they share the basic commitments in our manifesto.
Monitor and respond to the events emanating from the negotiations, emphasising the need for international solidarity in opposing neoliberalism and the shift to the right.
We defend of the right of free movement, oppose racism and xenophobia, defend workplace and human rights, democracy and environmental protections. We support a second referendum if these rights are not protected as now, or improved.
The election of Trump represents a shift to the extreme right which has global implications.
We will act against these dangers making a political connection with Brexit.
We will continue to act in solidarity with those who oppose Trump in the US and across the world aiming to do all possible to remove him from power.
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 and an end to the Trident programme.
Left Unity is part of the European Left Party. We seek to unite working people across Europe and beyond. A rising tide of nationalism and racism threatens the world once more and we oppose these forces understanding that there are no national solutions to the problems facing workers, only international ones.
Left Unity recognises that it is essential to link our organisations and campaigns internationally in order to challenge capital and move towards the solidaristic Europe necessary to resolve the economic and social problems that are feeding these reactionary movements.
Left Unity defends free movement across the continent and campaigns for its extension. We oppose ‘Fortress Europe’ and support the rights of migrants and refugees.
Our international work is at the heart of our organisation. We continue to offer support and solidarity to trades union struggles around the world including the important strikes in France against the Macron ‘reforms’, as we seek international support and solidarity for progressive struggles in Britain, including in the event of a Corbyn-led government.
Left Unity resolves to support and help develop the following campaigns:
1] Another Europe is Possible
2] The European Forum of 2018 in Bilbao
3] The Palestine Solidarity Campaign
4] The Stop Trump / Together Against Trump movement
5] Campaigns in defence of Windrush and Grenfell.
6] The Greece Solidarity Campaign.
The UN reports that a famine is imminent in Yemen and the war continues to block supplies of food reaching its starving people. Meanwhile Saudi planes continue to carry out hugely destructive raids on civilian targets, supported by the US and UK as part of the “coalition”. The UK remains one of the major suppliers of arms and the recent visit of the Saudi Prince cemented its position as an ally and supporter of the war in Yemen. The anti-war movement, needs to be seen to do more to oppose the war in Yemen.
We call upon Left Unity, in conjunction with the Yemeni community in the UK, and the broad anti-war movement, to organise a public meeting/conference on the war in Yemen, with the aim of increasing pressure on the UK government to stop supporting Saudi Arabia but to also act with the European Left Party to raise this issue at a European level and to support a European action to stop the war.
During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, Trump promised to put an end to pointless foreign wars and attacked spending on useless and massively expensive new military equipment. But in fact the Trump presidency has ushered in a new era of militarism and new policy documents indicate preparation for high-tech massively violent wars against Russia and China. Trump’s new defence strategy states that the US will compete for dominance against its long-term strategic competitors – Russia and China – now designated as ‘revisionist powers’ that wish to reshape the world consistent with their ‘authoritarian model’. ‘Rogue regimes’ are still a focus for concern but the ‘war on terror’ is downgraded – no longer the central military priority.
The new approach shifts the focus away from the Middle East, and extends Obama’s focus on China to encompass the entire Eurasian landmass. With the emphasis now away from asymmetrical warfare with non-state actors to war with major powers, the risk of nuclear confrontation and war is increased. The recently published new US nuclear posture review develops this framework and makes nuclear war more likely. It takes the lid off the restraints on both new-build and nuclear weapons use. The most significant element of the review is commitment to a whole new generation of nuclear weapons, with the emphasis on low-yield, often described as ‘usable’.
These are very dangerous developments that must be understood and opposed, nationally and internationally, alongside our opposition to NATO and to our own government’s military adventurism and nuclear weapons programme.
Conference agrees to:
In the struggle for democracy throughout Europe Left Unity will fight for a democratic opposition to British Exit which:
This Conference believes that the fall out from the vote to leave, like Left Unity predicted, has only played into the hands to the Right. Far from defeating neo-liberalism it has emboldened a form of neo-liberalism that see ‘deregulation’ and the further undermining workers’ rights as the path to economic success. Far form leading to a more liberal immigration or asylum policy it has bolstered a racist ‘hostile environment’.
Left Unity remains committed to the freedom of movement and toppling neo-liberalism. Left unity recognises that these struggles are global and needs to coordinated international. That is why Left Unity is a party of the European Left and why we thought the Britain should have remained in the EU.
This conference reaffirms the National Councils decision to support the call for a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal.
This conference welcomes and supports the Another Europe is Possible speakers tour
This conference believes that is important to have Left Unity speakers at these events, and encourages branches and members to assist in the organisation and promotion of these events.
This conference recognises that the impact austerity on working people is creating a ‘crisis of democracy’ indicated by disillusion with parliamentary democracy. This is expressed in the growth of right wing populism in Poland and Hungary and national democratic movements in Ireland, Scotland and Catalonia.
The European left must lead the fight for republican democracy and self determination in Europe. This includes opposing Unionist states and constitutions, such as the UK and Spain, which are based on the denial of the right of nations to self determination.
In response to the British Exit from the EU, the European left must lead the fight for the democratic unification of Europe through democratic revolution ‘from below’. This includes the demand for a European federal republic (or a republican United States of Europe) which includes the right of nations to self determination.
In response to the British Exit from the EU, Left Unity recognises the dangers posed by the democratic deficit in England. Left Unity recognises the need to fill the democratic vacuum with a democratic programme. This should include demands for a secular social republic and annual parliaments for England elected by proportional representation.
The Windrush Scandal has laid bare for all to see the extent of racism in the Home Office and in UK immigration policy in general. Not only Caribbeans but many other Commonwealth citizens and others have been caught in its mesh. The levels of suffering and hardship caused by this policy has only recently come to light and has shocked the country. The same Home Office will soon be dealing with the registration of EU citizens due to begin in autumn this year.
Left Unity pledges its continuing support for Freedom of Movement and will campaign with groups representing EU citizens such as The 3 Million and the Migrants Rights Network against the persecution and harassment of migrants leading to many living their lives on the margins and to deportation of others. Left Unity calls for an immediate amnesty for all illegal immigrants and a new British migration policy based on Freedom of Movement.
Romani people suffer the worst discrimination across Europe of all ethnic groups of European Citizens. Governments in Eastern Europe, France and Italy have openly driven people out. In Britain Romani people from Eastern Europe suffer discrimination, persecution and hate crime and Gypsies and Irish Travellers are refused planning permission and face evictions with no place where they can legally move to.
Conference notes that the British Government is launching a consultation on new legislation to make it a criminal offence for Gypsies and Travellers to move on to land without permission which can lead to the imprisonment of Gypsies and Travellers.
That the Government has introduced a new definition of Gypsy & Travellers which reduces their rights to pitches and sites.
That Roma people are not represented on the governing bodies of Holocaust Memorial organisations nor have a voice at the central event on Holocaust Memorial Day
That Gypsies, Roma and Travellers face discrimination in education, employment, housing, health and in all walks of life.
Left Unity therefore:
Left Unity supports the demands made by the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum in its manifesto for the 2016 Mayoral Elections, adjusted to go beyond London and take in Roma where appropriate:
Left Unity believes that the current economic and social system operates for the benefit of the tiny handful of people who own the bulk of the world’s wealth
In the words of Oxfam, the Richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of wealth created last year (2017) the poorest half of humanity got nothing
The political system is designed to protect the interests of this tiny minority who control the mass media and the education system.
Conference believes that our campaigning should continue to present an alternative to this system. Our alternative would be based on the common ownership of the means of production distribution and exchange. We believe that such a system could unleash huge potential for economic wellbeing, for peace, liberty, and to defend the ecology of the planet
Working class communities in the workplace and in communities have the potential to challenge successfully the owners of the world’s wealth, and the warmongers. The idea of changing the system has not yet taken hold amongst our people. Nor has consciousness developed of their potential power to make such a change. Our role must be to propose it effectively and consistently, whilst conducting defensive campaigns
Developing our campaign will involve audacity in all our defensive struggles, and in continuing to pose this radical alternative as an effective solution to the huge problems of poverty, war and despoliation of the environment
For 70 years the NHS has been built up, invested in and developed to be the best health care system in the world.
Under this government the NHS is being deprived of funds, bled dry by outsourcing and multi-faceted privatisation, treatments are being rationed and crisis after crisis engulfs it. Mental health provision for adults and children is scandalously damaged. The winter crisis will recur and spread through the year until funding is sorted
The wealthy, and the major corporations, though, are able to make great profit from the NHS, whilst damaging the core structure. The NHS represents one of the largest privatisation projects in the world.
A great national grass roots campaign has been developing to protect and reinstate the NHS. This must be developed and extended especially to show NHS staff the extent of public support and encourage the belief that things can be changed.Meanwhile, the NHS is held together only by the huge, under-paid and under-valued efforts of NHS staff whose workload is unsustainable
Conference believes that the NHS must be reinstated to provide
ACOs and integrated care are in effect the disintegration of the great benefits of a national service.
Moving NHS staff into separate employment only companies (subcos) represents a huge threat to terms and conditions.
Conference welcomes Labour’s Conference resolution on the NHS but notes that many councils still cooperate with Conservative plans
Left Unity will continue to work in the campaigns to defend the NHS including support for major demonstrations and strikes against “subcos” and other methods of cutting working conditions and job security.
Conference notes the extent of the housing crisis and resolves to continue to prioritise work on this issue
We mourn the dead of Grenfell. We are appalled that families have had the trauma of the fire made worse by being denied good quality housing in the aftermath
We call for a housing first approach to homelessness, and universal rights to housing benefits
Conference calls for a housing emergency to be declared and all speculative housing to be commandeered with compensation to owners based on need.
Conference also commends those who are organising in defence of housing rights, especially grass roots tenants’ organisations
Conference re states earlier housing policy and highlights these issues
All state housing contracts to be completed by trade union recognised building firms who have good apprenticeship training.
Tenants must have recognised rights over their homes and their estates. Tenants committees must be funded Elected tenants committees must be consulted and have veto rights over developments that affect their homes and quality of life.
Developers must be made legally responsible for the quality and safety of their work
All high-rise blocks must be made safe as a matter of urgency including sprinklers fires escapes and the removal and safe replacement of cladding or insulation
On the 23rd of November 2017, it was promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that 28 million pounds would be allocated to the Housing First scheme in three different cities including Liverpool. Housing first is an accommodation scheme that targets some of the most vulnerable in society, some of those who have been excluded or failed to thrive within the hostel or rehabilitation system; and adheres to the core principles established by the FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless) housing first guide (established in Europe).
The budgeting for this scheme however, has yet to be released to local authorities; and the homelessness crisis is worsening with a 40 per cent cut in frontline services in Merseyside alone since 2017 and criminalisation of the vulnerable bridging those gaps.
We in Merseyside have made some progress with a campaign to oppose a Public Space Protection Order (presented by local authority to ‘tackle aggressive begging’) and by securing extra front-line services in the form of a night shelter, but this is not enough.
We feel that we need to work as a party and amalgamate with grassroots groups in order to lobby local authorities for these necessary housing provisions.
We also think that the integration of a harm reduction model would be beneficial- the death toll under opiate use, a prominent issue within the street homeless and hostel community, has seen a 6 percent rise since 2015
The ‘war on drugs’ cost central government an estimated 1.6 billion a year from 2015; as this coincides with the spike in deaths it illustrates that these policies are neither safe nor economical. We propose that we lobby local authorities to integrate extra rehabilitative and palliative support around complex needs homelessness and the issues that accompany it.
Young LGBT people comprise up to 24 per cent of the youth homeless population in Britain, with many saying the problem is directly related to their sexuality. Yet services are being cut and because of the housing crisis, more and more young LGBT people are being left to sleep in the streets with the resulting danger of homophobic abuse and HIV. A recent report in a London paper demonstrated stories of young gay men being offered accommodation by unscrupulous landlords in return for sex. Some ended up becoming sex slaves and developing HIV.
We call on Left Unity and the LGBT Caucus to work with LGBT youth organisations such as the Albert Kennedy Trust for homeless young LGBT people to highlight this issue but also to campaign through the trade unions and other organisations around this issue and to make it one of its campaigning priorities in the year ahead.
Conference recognises that environmental degradation through pollution of the atmosphere, oceans and freshwaters, and land is not incidental to the running of a globalised capitalist economy. The disruption and destruction of ecosystems, and threats to biodiversity and species persistence posed by the current ongoing mass extinction event has not arisen due to indifference, greed or malice on the part of capital. Capitalism threatens the functioning of global ecosystems due to nature and functioning of the system itself.
Capitalism threatens the global ecosystem through harms of addition (e.g. industrial pollution, consumption related waste, carbon and other ‘greenhouse’ emissions from transport, energy generation and consumption) and extraction (e.g. extractive industries such as mining, logging, hydrocarbon extraction both ‘conventional’ and ‘extreme’). The system is driven to continue and increase these burdens on the environment by the necessity for economic growth, wasteful ‘competition’, and the drive for new markets to soak up the system’s inherent over production.
Conference recognises that there can be no ‘greener’, ‘environmentally benign’ capitalism, as there can be no ‘kinder, softer’ socially and economically benign capitalism. Ecocide and environmental degradation is an inherent feature of global capitalism.
Conference recognises that only a socialist society, based on planned production and distribution for the fulfilment of the needs of the human and the non-human inhabitants of the planet can hold any hope of a sustainable future.
Therefore, conference understands that environmental policy cannot be an adjunct, or ‘bolt on’ to the program of a socialist party, but must be integral to it in whole and it part.
Conference resolve that:
LU produce a series of publications on the environment and LU policy, including and not restricted to:
And tasks the Environment Commission with developing these in conjunction with interested members and the NC.
This conference believes that the Governments is jumping on the plastic bandwagon in the wake of the BBC Blue Planet documentary. There actions are too little too late. The Tories have an appalling record on the environment including cuts in environmental standards as a part of its austerity programme. The target for eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 is utterly unambitious and has no legal force behind it.
Whilst we welcome the idea of recycling all plastic bottles through a deposit return scheme. There is a danger of shifting the focus onto consumer behaviour, rather than the companies making products in packaging designed to be thrown away. A more concerted effort needs to be taken. This includes:
Conference welcomes the Women’s Marches in Spain, in Poland, in the USA, and in India. In addition, Conference welcomes unionisation and activism on this issue across the globe. Conference recognises the willingness of women to take action to defend their rights, and resolves to continue to play a role in these campaigns
In England and Wales, women bear 75% Austerity policies. We condemn cuts to Women’s refuges and Women’s Aid services. Universal Credit is especially dangerous for women. Right wing policies across the UK, Europe and USA have stripped away gains made by women over many decades. Conference recognises the extent of sexual violence against women and girls in this country and internationally. We recognise the close link between privatisation of community wealth and violence against women
The #me too hashtag demonstrates the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment
Conference notes the double bind placed on women who have caring responsibilities. Caring responsibilities are not recognised as work by the state and so women can be sanctioned for not seeking work, and that once in work the worst pay goes to mothers and those with caring responsibilities.
The poverty of women causes poverty of children. About 30% of Britain’s children are poor, of whom two-thirds are from working families
Left Unity believes we have to build a fundamentally different society where women and girls do not live with the threat of violence, with gender stereotyping, unequal pay, cuts and targeted poverty. Conference commits LU to campaign against Universal Credit, against austerity cuts , for fully funded women’s refuges and women’s aid centres, for equal pay and shorter hours and good quality childcare and good quality care for adults in need
This Left Unity Conference reaffirms its belief that the Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus exists to support and help educate disabled members whilst working with the wider organisation to understand that the dominant definition of disability is an oppressive social construct.
Conference reaffirms its belief that the Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus exists to support and help educate disabled members whilst working with the wider organisation to understand that the dominant definition of disability is an oppressive social construct.
To assist the work of the Caucus disabled members will invite other disabled people who are non-members, but nevertheless sympathetic to the broad aims of Left Unity, to work with us on developing our policies and campaign strategies.
Conference encourages disabled members to support and participate in the Caucus and its work and to engage at all levels within Left Unity to make these policies known.
Conference supports and encourages discussion on disability policy issues via the Left Unity Disabled Members Group Facebook page and the LU National website.
Conference is alarmed at the prominence of the issue of anti-Semitism in relation to the attack on the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party. This situation presents Left Unity and the rest of the left, inside and outside the Labour Party, with two essential tasks:
In furtherance of these tasks conference notes:
Practical steps that Left Unity can make include:
Left Unity Draft Constitution: proposed to conference by the party’s National Council.
Left Unity is a party of the radical left, linked to the European Left Party, working in solidarity with like-minded anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist parties internationally. We are socialist, feminist, environmentalist and opposed to all forms of discrimination.
Left Unity’s policies are decided by annual membership conference and these comprise our detailed positions. The annual membership conference is the sovereign body of the party. Additional policy between conferences is decided by National Council.
Left Unity is a democratic membership-led organisation, based on a one member, one vote system. Postal votes may be requested. Members are required to pay subscriptions, the rates of which are decided by the party’s National Council. Members will support party policies and abide by the decisions of conference and National Council.
Left Unity is committed to making the party and its events accessible to all members and venues for party events and meetings must be accessible. Left Unity National Council, committees and any other bodies should comprised at least 50% women. Where this proves impossible after a repeat ballot, the man with the next highest number of ballots will be deemed elected.
Left Unity members may organise in geographical or workplace branches. A branch will be recognised as such by National Council where a miminum of three members organise and request to be so recognised. Branches are required to conduct their political work in line with party policy, as agreed by annual conference and National Council. Recognsied branches may send one rep, agreed by the branch, to National Council.
Left Unity members may organise as a Section where there are common interests e.g. Youth and Student, public sector workers etc. They will conduct their work in line with party policy and act in an advisory and informative role to the party and its leadership .
Left Unity members may organise as a Caucus on the basis of a shared oppression e.g women, disabled members, LGBT, black and ethnic minority members. They will conduct their work in line with party policy and act in an advisory and informative role to the party and its leadership.
Left Unity members may organise in platforms of like-minded members within the party, to articulate a particular position, but they must work publicly within the policy framework agreed by Left Unity conference and National Council.
National Council is the elected political leadership of the party, carries out conference decisions, ensures the effective activity of the party between conferences and makes all decisions necessary to advance party policy. It meets every three months.
Its membership comprises the national officers elected by online ballot of the membership, 15 directly elected members elected by online ballot of the membership, a rep from each caucus or section and a rep from each recognised branch.
These are national secretary, treasurer, campaigns officer, media officer, membership officer, trade union officer and nominating officer.
Between meetings of the National Council, the Executive Committee will ensure the smooth functioning of the party. It will meet once a month, in person or online. It comprises the officer team and five other members of the National Council as agreed by that body.
Annual Membership Conference:
The annual membership conference is the sovereign body of the party. There will be one per year but the month may vary. All members may participate on a voting basis, and it is also open to observers. The National Council will make all arrangements for the Conference via a Conference Arrangements Committee which will be agreed as a sub-group of the National Council. It may be supplemented by local members. The Conference Arrangements Committee will be responsible for the practical arrangements and functioning of conference. The National Council will agree a subgroup of its members which will act as a Standing Orders Committee, ensuring that submitted motions etc are properly scheduled on an agenda and made available to members in advance. It may be supplemented by other party members as agreed by the National Council.
National Council may decide to have other policy or decision-making conferences during a year, but the annual membership conference is the minimum requirement for party democracy.
Disputes and Discipline:
If party members wish to make a complaint about another member, or party body, they should contact the party’s Disputes Committee.
Where a member is considered to have acted against the interests of the party or engaged in conduct prejudicial to the party, a member or party body will refer their case to the Disputes Committee.
Where either side is unhappy with the decision of the Disputes Committee they make take this to the Appeals Committee. The annual membership conference is the sovereign body for all matters relating to the interests and good name of the party.
Disputes and Appeals Committees:
Each Committee comprises five members and is elected by online ballot of members. Postal ballots are available.
All party committees may devise their own standing orders.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.
Thursday 31st May
Transform #4 launch event: full details here
Saturday 9 June
the Empire Strikes Back in Latin America
VSC Day School; more details here
Saturday 16 June, 11.00 -18.00
Left Unity 2018 National Conference
Left Unity’s annual national conference.
Friday 13th July
Together against Trump national demo
2pm in central London
More details here
Sunday 19 August, 14.00-15.00
Peterloo Massacre 2018 Commemorative Rally & Picnic
In Manchester, hosted by Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils. More info on Facebook
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