Left Unity National Conference: motions passed

Here are the results of voting at our recent conference. The motions referred to can be found beneath the results box.

11:00   Registration Result
11:30   Welcome & Reports  
    Standing Orders Committee (SOC) Report  
    National Secretary’s report  
    Other Officer reports: Treasurer, International  
    National Council (NC) Statement on Disputes (for voting – final page of motions booklet) Voted in favour
12:00   Motions  
  1

1a

International Commission motion

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed as amended by 1a
  2 International coordination and solidarity – North London Passed
  3 Yemen – South London Passed
  4

4a

US Global Military Policy – North London

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed unamended
12:45   LUNCH  
13:30   Motions (continued)  
    Emergency Motion: The rise of the far right Passed
  5

5a

Democratic opposition to British Exit – South London

Amendment – Birmingham

Referred back (amendment 5a accepted)
  6 Referendum on Brexit Deal – South London Passed
  8 Migration & Free movement – South London Passed
  12

12a

Housing Crisis – Liverpool

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed as amended by 12a
  13 Homelessness – Liverpool Passed
  14 Young Homeless LGBT People – South London Passed
  18 Left Unity Disabled Members’ Caucus – Birmingham, Disabled Members’ Caucus Passed
  17

17a

Women’s Rights – Liverpool

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed as amended by 17a
15:00   BREAK  
15:15   Constitution& amendments  
  C Left Unity Constitution – National Council Passed as amended:
  C1 Executive Committee Passed
  C2 Executive Committee Passed
  C3 South London Defeated
  C4 South London Passed
  C5 South London Defeated
  C6 South London Defeated
  C7 South London Defeated
  C8 South London Defeated
  C9 South London Taken in 3 parts: part 1 (delete Nominating Officer) ruled Out of Order; part 2 (insert 2 Presidents/ principal speakers) referred back; part 3 (insert International Officer) passed
  C10 South London Defeated
  C11 South London Passed
  C12 South London Referred back
  C13 South London Referred back
  C14 South London Passed
  C15 Liverpool Passed
16:45   BREAK  
17:00   Motions (continued)  
  10 Economic & Social System – Liverpool Passed
  15

15a

15b

Environment – Liverpool

Amendment – Birmingham

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed as amended by 15a & 15b
  16 Environment – Plastic – South London Passed
  20 Left Unity as a Republican Socialist Party – South London Defeated
  19

19a

19b

19c

Anti-Semitism – Landau, McLaren

Amendment – Birmingham

Amendment – Birmingham

Amendment – Birmingham

Passed as amended by 19a &19c
  11 The NHS is Essential to the Health of All of Our Communities – Renwick, Mahmood, Dowling Passed
  7 The fight for Democracy in England & Europe – Freeman, Lucio, Hurry Not heard – referred back
  9 Gypsies, Roma &Travellers – Landau, Hardy Passed
18:00   Close of Conference  

 

 

1.    Left Unity International Commission motion to the 2018 Conference

Conference agrees these international priorities for the next 12 months:

  1. Membership of the European Left

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.

  1. Brexit

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.

  1. Stop Trump

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.

  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 and an end to the Trident programme.

Amendment 1a

Birmingham

Part 2 – Brexit

  1. i) Replace “second” with “ratification” on the last line.
  2. ii) Replace the full stop with a comma after “improved” and add “conditional on a full debate and decision in Parliament”.

2.    International coordination and solidarity

North London

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.

3.    Yemen

South London

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.

4.    US global military policy

North London

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:

  1. Support the No to NATO actions in Brussels on 7th/8th July, including the counter-summit and demonstration
  2. Continue to oppose the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system
  3. Continue to oppose UK military interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere
  4. Continue to make the anti-NATO, anti-nuclear case in the labour movement
  5. Continue to affiliate to CND and Stop the War.

Amendment 4a

Birmingham

In the last line delete “and Stop the War”.

 5.    Democratic opposition to British Exit

South London

In the struggle for democracy throughout Europe Left Unity will fight for a democratic opposition to British Exit which:

  1. Recognises that England and Wales voted to leave the EU not the single market or customs union.
  2. Recognises that Northern Ireland (and the Irish republic) and Scotland voted to remain in the EU. We support the right of Ireland and Scotland to self-determination and their right to remain in the EU including their right to leave to UK if a majority support this.
  3. Support the right of all people in the UK to vote in a ratification referendum on the terms of the Tory Brexit deal

Amendment 5a

Birmingham

In part 2, add “and Gibraltar” after “Irish Republic”

6.    Referendum on Brexit Deal

South London

This Conference believes that the fallout 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 from 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 need to be coordinated internationally.  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.

 

7.    The fight for democracy in England and Europe

Steve Freeman, Miguel Matinez Lucio, Matthew Hurry

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.

8.    Migration and Free Movement

South London

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.

9.    Gypsies, Roma andTravellers

David Landau, Gareth Hardy

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:

  • Supports campaigns to stop more draconian legislation to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from making unauthorised stops on land.
  • Oppose the Government’s redefinition of Gypsies and Travellers and provisionally support the definition promoted by the Mayor’s Office for London.
  • That the obligation for local authorities to provide sites is restored
  • That Transit sites are established which can act as temporary stopping places for Gypsies and Travellers as has been pioneered in Leeds.
  • Demand that Roma are represented on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Holocaust Education Trust
  • That Roma from Eastern Europe are not targeted for deportation for ‘failing to exercise their treaty rights’ and that this treaty rights rule is abolished.
  • Reverse the decline of services to assist Gypsy, Traveller and Roma children and parents and challenge discrimination in schools.

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:

  1. Adopt an inclusive definition of Gypsies and Travellers agreed by the Gypsy and Traveller community
  2. Implement the recommendations from the London Assembly Housing Committee investigation on Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs
  3. Identify suitable land for Gypsy and Traveller sites and make the Traveller Pitch fund more accessible
  4. Enable the temporary use of land for negotiated stopping places
  5. Support alternative and community-led routes to site provision
  6. Recognise and address the discrimination Roma, Gypsies and Travellers face from many employers and apprenticeships providers.
  7. Diversify apprenticeship opportunities to better suit the needs and skills of the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller targeted support to enable access to apprenticeships.
  8. Develop representation of grassroots organisations on the London Enterprise Panel and establish a working group on equality.
  9. Better data collection on Roma, Gypsy and Traveller health at GLA (and other regional DL) level to inform evidence documents.
  10. Require local authorities to include Gypsy and Traveller needs in their Joint Strategic needs Assessments and reflect findings in planning.
  11. Mayor’s Health Inequality Strategy and Delivery Plan to address specifically the needs of diverse groups, including Roma, Gypsies and Travellers.
  12. Focus on funding schools and education programmes in the most disadvantaged areas and address the needs of underachieving groups, rather than on schools with the highest standards.
  13. Better collection of data and evidence on Roma Gypsies and Travellers attendance, attainment, specific needs in education.
  14. Use the Pupil Premium to fund support programmes for Roma, Gypsy and Traveller children such as literacy, numeracy and vocational skill training

 10.  Economic and Social System

Liverpool

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

  

11.  The NHS is essential to the health of all of our communities

Marc Renwick, Lesley Mahmood, Felicity Dowling

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

  • Treatment free at the point of need
  • The best available treatment
  • Universal health care
  • A national service
  • Publicly provided
  • And funded from general taxation

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

 

12.  Housing Crisis

Liverpool

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

  • A million passive heated council houses to be built
  • Tenants’ rights in private renting to include safe conditions, enforceable rights to repairs and refurbishment and ten and 20 year tenancies
  • An immediate rent freeze and a rent commission on which tenants are represented to decide fair and affordable rents
  • The renovation of a million older properties
  • The reintroduction of direct works departments and council control of council housing

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

 Amendment 12a

Birmingham

Add after “properties” in the 4th bullet point “and an increase in the stock of accessible housing”.

 13.  Homelessness

Liverpool

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.

 

14.  Young Homeless LGBT people

South London

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.

 

15.  Environment

Liverpool

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:

  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity loss
  • A socialist energy policy and fracking
  • Environmental degradation and crime
  • Pollution
  • Agriculture, food production and non-human animals
  • Local food autonomy and local food production
  • Population,

And tasks the Environment Commission with developing these in conjunction with interested members and the NC.

Amendment 15a

Birmingham

In the 3rd paragraph replace ‘greener’ with ‘green’.

 

Amendment 15b

Birmingham

Add another bullet point, saying “Transport” after “Pollution”

 

16.  Environment – Plastic

South London

This conference believes that the Government is jumping on the plastic bandwagon in the wake of the BBC Blue Planet documentary. Their 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:

  • Disposable plastic products (such as plastic cups, plates, and cutlery) that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material should be banned immediately
  • Expand the current ban on production of products containing microbeads in ‘rinse-off’ products to all products including deodorants and sunscreen and non-cosmetic products immediately
  • To ban immediately the sale of all products that contain microbeads, and organise their collection and the safe disposal.
  • Eliminate all none recyclable plastic packaging of all by the end of 2023
  • Upgrade waste water treatment plants with sand filters that capture synthetic fibres that are washed out of cloths.
  • Enforce existing maritime waste bans to stop plastic waste being thrown overboard from ships.

17.  Women’s Rights

Liverpool

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.

Amendment 17a

Birmingham

In the last paragraph, insert “especially as it affects women,” after “Universal Credit”

18.  Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus

Birmingham Left Unity and Left Unity Disabled Members Caucus

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.

  

19.  Anti-Semitism

David Landau, Pete McLaren

 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:

  • To defend Jeremy Corbyn and others in the leadership of the Labour Party against an orchestrated campaign to discredit him.
  • To robustly fight against anti-Semitism whether on the right or on the left and in the Labour Movement. This should be part of a wider struggle against racism.

In furtherance of these tasks conference notes:

  1. All socialists and socialist organisations OUGHT to be implacably opposed to all specific oppressions and prejudices; racism – including anti-Semitism -, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-disability &c. But it does not at all follow that these prejudices and specific oppressions are not present on the left.  They will infect the left unless we CONSCIOIUSLY understand and fight against them.
  2. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and its Guidance notes in particular, adopted by the British Government, conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. They are not the same thing.  Anti-Semitism is prejudice, discrimination and oppression of Jews as Jews.  Zionism has the objective of establishing a Jewish Homeland – in the modern context Zionism seeks to sustain and defend Israel as a Jewish state.  Thus anti-Zionism seeks to challenge that state’s oppression of Palestinians – the displacement of the Palestinians, the Occupation, military suppression, demolitions and discrimination.  It can challenge its legitimacy as a Jewish State in which Palestinians can inevitably only be second class citizens.  None of this is anti-Semitism.
  3. Zionism gains its traction because of centuries of anti-Semitism in different parts of the world and especially the Holocaust. Thus Zionism was created and is driven by anti-Semitism.
  4. Anti-Semites try to use movements in solidarity with the Palestinians as a flag of convenience. Additionally the conflation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism leads to confusion and can lead to anti-Semitic currents in solidarity movements. Socialists, anti-racists and anti-imperialists must ensure that anti-Semites do not get a foothold in these movements.

Practical steps that Left Unity can make include:

  1. Campaign against the IHRA guidance and definition of anti-Semitism, explaining the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and in favour of the adoption of the Jewish Socialists’ Group’s definition as prejudice, hostility and discrimination against Jews, as Jews, and the use of negative stereotypes of Jews.
  2. Produce appropriate literature which develop the points above
  3. Have public meetings about the struggle to defend Corbyn from false accusations, to oppose anti-Semitism including an understanding that anti-Semitism can impact on the left and campaigning for Palestinian rights
  4. Organise internal educational(s) on anti-Semitism
  5. Work in co-operation with Jewish organisations such as Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewish Socialists’ Group and with Palestinian and solidarity organisations to fight against anti-Semitism and for Palestinian rights.

Amendment 19a

Birmingham

Replace point 1 with

All socialists and socialist organisations OUGHT to be implacably opposed to all specific forms of oppression and prejudices; racism – including anti-Semitism -, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, disabilism/ableism, etc. This opposition needs to acknowledge that it does not at all follow that these prejudices and specific oppressions are not present on the left. To address any oppressive ideas or practice within our own ranks, the left must CONSCIOUSLY seek to understand and fight against them”.

 Amendment 19b

Birmingham

In point 3 delete “Thus Zionism was created and is driven by anti-Semitism”

 Amendment 19c

Birmingham

In point 3 of “Practical steps that Left Unity can make include”, delete “struggle to defend Corbyn from”.

 

20.  Left Unity as a republican socialist party

South London

  1. This conference notes that the French Left Party(Parti de Gauche) is identifies itself with three central planks of “Ecologie, Socialisme and Republique” and promotes the concrete demand for a “Sixth Republic” in a democratic socialist tradition.
  2. Taking note of the French Left Party, Left Unity will in future identify itself as a republican socialist party which continues to fight for “equality and justice” and remain committed as “socialist, feminist, environmentalist, anti-racist and against all forms of discrimination”.

 

Constitution

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.

Policies:

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.

Membership:

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.

Branches:

Left Unity members may organise in geographical or workplace branches. A branch will be recognised as such by National Council where a minimum 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. Recognised branches may send one rep, agreed by the branch, to National Council.

Sections:

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 .

Caucuses:

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.

Platforms:

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:

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.

National Officers:

These are national secretary, treasurer, campaigns officer, media officer, membership officer, trade union officer and nominating officer.

Executive Committee:

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.

 

Amendment C1

Executive Committee

Add at the end of the Constitution:

 Finance:

  1. a)      All monies received by or on behalf of Left Unity shall be applied to further the aims of Left Unity and for no other purpose.
  2. b)      Any bank accounts opened for Left Unity shall be in the name of Left Unity.
  3. c)       Any cheque issued shall be signed by the Treasurer and at least one other member of the National Council.
  4. d)      Audited accounts will be presented at the Annual Membership Conference.

 

 Amendment C2

Executive Committee

Add after section on Annual Membership Conference:

 Disbandment:

 Left Unity can be disbanded by the decision of a Special Conference called for that purpose. Such a conference can be called by a resolution passed by an Annual Membership Conference or by a National Council (NC) resolution passed by 2/3 of NC members.

To be applicable, the disbandment motion must be passed by 2/3 of those members attending the conference.

 If the disbandment motion is passed, the NC will oversee the process. All remaining Left Unity monies will be donated to an organisation which shares the values and objectives of Left Unity, as determined by the NC.

  

Amendment C3

SouthLondon

Under the statement of Aims

After “environmentalist” insert “republican”

The section will now read:

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, republican and opposed to all forms of discrimination.

  

Amendment C4

South London

Under Membership

In the second paragraph after “repeat ballot,” insert “and where the party’s membership is below 2000,”

The section will now read:

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 be comprised of at least 50% women. Where this proves impossible after a repeat ballot, and where the party’s membership is below 2000, the men with the next highest number of ballots will be deemed elected. 

  

Amendment C5

South London

Under Branches

Delete: “Branches are required to conduct their political work in line with party policy, as agreed by annual conference and National Council.”

The section will now read:

Left Unity members may organise in geographical or workplace branches. A branch will be recognised as such by National Council where a minimum of three members organise and request to be so recognised. Recognised branches may send one rep, agreed by the branch, to National Council.

  

Amendment C6

South London

Under Section

Delete: “They will conduct their work in line with party policy and act in an advisory and informative role to the party and its leadership”

The section will now read:

Left Unity members may organise as a Section where there are common interests, e.g. Youth and Student, public sector workers etc.

  Amendment C7

South London

Under Caucus

Delete: “They will conduct their work in line with party policy and act in an advisory and informative role to the party and its leadership.”

The section will now read:

Left Unity members may organise as a Caucus on the basis of a shared oppression e.g women, disabled members, black and ethnic minority members.

  

Amendment C8

South London

Under Platforms

Delete: “but they must work publicly within the policy framework agreed by Left Unity conference and National Council.”

The section will now read:

Left Unity members may organise in platforms of like-minded members within the party, to articulate a particular position.

  

Amendment C9

South London

Under National Officers delete “Nomination Officer”

After “These are” insert “2 Presidents (who will act as principle speakers and nominating officer – at least one shall be a woman)”

After “trade union officer and” insert “International Officer”

The section will now read:

These are 2 Presidents (who will act as principle speakers and nominating officer – at least one shall be a woman), National Secretary, and Treasurer, campaigns officer, media officer, membership officer, trade union officer, and International Officer

  

Amendment C10

South London

Under Executive Committee

Delete all and insert:

Sub-Committees

Between meetings of the National Council, Sub- Committees will ensure the smooth functioning of the party. They will meet at least once a quarter, in person or online. Sub Committees shall comprise of Convener (usually an officer) and up to five other members of the National Council as agreed by that body.  Up to 3 party members can be coopted on to Sub Committees with full speak rights and rights to propose resolutions, they will not have a vote.

  

Amendment C11

South London

Under Annual Membership Conference

After “open to observers” insert a new paragraph: National Council may decide to have other policy or decision-making conferences during a year, or within 3 months of receiving as resolution from at least half the branches.

The section will now read:

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.

National Council may decide to have other policy or decision-making conferences during a year, or within 3 months of receiving as resolution from at least half the branches.

The National Council will make all arrangements for the Conference via a Conference Arrangements Committee 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.

  

Amendment C12

South London

Under the Disputes and Discipline Section

Delete paragraphs 4 and 5.

After the second paragraph that ends “the Disputes Committee”

Insert the following paragraphs:

Dispute Committee shall have the power to suspend a member from membership of the party for up to 3 months while dispute is being considered.  Extensions to this suspension can only be made if the Dispute Committee has good reason to believe that the member has failed to cooperate with the investigation.

The Disputes Committee comprises five members and is elected by online ballot of members. Postal ballots are available.

The Disputes Committee is empowered to undertake a number of sanctions, such a limiting involvement in branches, Sections, and Caucuses; roles and officerships in the party at a local or regional level; up to expulsion from the party.  The Dispute Committee shall NOT have the power to make financial sanctions.

  

Amendment C13

South London

Under the Disputes and Discipline Section

After the current third paragraph that begins “Where either side”

Delete “Appeals Committee. The”

And

Delete “annual membership conference is the sovereign body for all matters relating to the interests and good name of the party.”

Insert

National Council

This paragraph will now read;

Where either side is unhappy with the decision of the Disputes Committee they make take this to the National Committee.

  

Amendment C14

South London

Insert a new section called “Standing Orders”

Standing Orders

The National Council shall set its own Standing Orders.

All branches, Sections and caucuses and party committees may devise their own standing orders, subject for approval by the National Council.

 

Amendment C15

Liverpool

At the end ofthe opening paragraph, insert the following new line:

We are committed to the interests of working class communities, to defend services and the welfare state, and support the organisation of labour.

 

National Council Disputes Statement – for endorsement by conference

 

At Left Unity National Conference on 24/6/17, Conference endorsed the EC emergency motion, agreeing that an online by-election would be conducted for the Disputes Committee (DC) which, on election, would investigate any cases pending. In September, 3 comrades were elected to the DC, to join the existing one member.

Following an online by-election over the summer, at the NC on 30/9/17, it was reported that the DC was now elected and functioning. It was agreed to extend the suspensions on members in dispute to allow the DC to do its work.

At the EC on 17/11/17 it was reported that the DC was working but there had been a resignation from one member.

At the NC on 27/1/18 it was reported that a further DC member had resigned and that one of the two remaining members was related to one of the complainants so could not work on this complaint. It was agreed to seek advice about how to deal with disputes via an external organisation. It was recognised that it has proved impossible to elect viable committees owing to the party’s depleted membership.

At this meeting it was also agreed to lift the suspensions on national membership of members in dispute, but not on their right to post-holding.

At the NC on 17/3/18 it was noted that no eligible nominations were received for the DC in the annual internal election process, leaving us without a DC. The NC rejected a proposal to seek external mediation. In view of the absence of an elected DC, the NC agreed to directly approach those in Dispute, proposing a meeting with them of a sub-committee of 4 from the NC to discuss their dispute, this would not include any NC members involved in the dispute.

At the NC meeting on 18/4/18 it was reported that whilst one member in dispute had agreed to this process, two other members in dispute refused to meet with the NC sub-group.

It was agreed to report the process to national conference, for endorsement of the process so far, and to ask for agreement for further steps to be taken by the NC, as represented by a subgroup; following any decision of the subgroup and endorsement by the NC, members would have appeal rights to the subsequent conference if they were not satisfied with the outcome.

The NC seeks endorsement of the process it has undertaken so far, and seeks approval from the conference for the outlined process going forward.

 

 


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