1. The Republican Socialist Platform was set up to promote the need for a republican socialist party. This must be built on the basis of the unity of the social democratic and communist left in England, working in cooperation with republican socialists in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
2. The last point of the platform says “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”
3. The supplementary “Case for the Republican Socialist Platform” recognises the new political realities of the national question. It says “The republican left in England has no interest and should have no intention of imposing a social republic on Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. National self determination and the spirit of ‘internationalism from below’ must stand for an ever closer voluntary union of the people of these countries”.
4. The Republican Socialist Platform submitted an amendment to Clause 2 of the aims of Left Unity to include the demand for a social republic amongst the immediate aims of the party. This amendment was ruled out of order. Although we did not agree this decision of the Standing Orders Committee was valid, the Platform agreed not to challenge it in the special circumstances of this founding conference.
5. At the beginning of conference the Platform had registered fifteen supporters. It was decided it would not be possible to win a majority for our platform from this starting point in a new organisation with a majority unlikely to be aware of our views. Too many barriers had to be overcome – the absence of a republican culture in England, the unfamiliarity of a new platform compared to the traditional politics of the left, the impossibility of convincing four hundred people of a new political approach in three minutes, the level of support secured before the conference, the ignoring of the platform by the left press, and the ruling out of order of our amendment.
6. The Platform recognised the main task of the conference was to resolve the dispute between the Left Party Platform and the Socialist Platform. Therefore we decided to explain our ideas to conference. In summing up we would explain why the platform would be even more relevant in 2014 and then withdraw and promise to continue our campaign next year.
7. It was agreed we would abstain in the voting. Although the remaining platforms contained many points that all socialists could agree with, none offered the necessary strategic direction. We intended to call on all those dissatisfied with the choices on offer – the Left Party Platform, Socialist Platform, Class Struggle Platform and Communist Platform – to abstain in the vote.
8. The Platform planned to explain our reasons for withdrawing and our call for abstention on voting for the other platforms during the two minutes “Right of Reply” to the debate. However the right of reply was abandoned on the recommendation of the Standing Orders Committee. We appealed to the Chair to be allowed 30 seconds to explain our decision but this was denied. We asked the chair to read out a brief written explanation. This was denied.
9. Our supporters abstained. There were about 20 abstentions on the platform voting.
10. We would like to end by thanking conference for listening to our views and look forward to advancing our case in 2014 as part of the struggle for Left Unity.
The platform can be contacted atRSPlatform@hotmail.co.uk
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