National Conference Resolutions 2024

The following resolutions were passed as amended at Left Unity’s national conference on Sunday 3rd March

Motion 1:The development of a left, ecosocialist feminist party in the UK

Left Unity will continue to work towards the development of a left, ecosocialist feminist party in the UK, a party with roots in the many struggles in the working class communities, the workplaces and local and national electoral politics and in international struggles.

Liverpool Left Unity

Motion 2: A developing movement in the context of Gaza

For the last several years, Left Unity has understood the strategic necessity of a realignment of the left, and the necessity of linking those thousands of former Corbyn supporters who have left the Labour Party together with others within a new left party. We have worked with several organisations and launched a political call for a new party with some of them.

However, when Transform was launched in November 2023, the step was premature as it didn’t take into account some key discussions and political developments, in particular the war on Gaza. Since the war began in October, we have seen further developments with nearly 100 Labour councillors leaving the party. We are working with many of them and with others planning to stand as independent candidates in the forthcoming general election. There are serious discussions taking place about the political way forward.

Conference resolves that we in Left Unity will do the utmost to bring these discussions and this joint work together to forge a common political ecosocialist organisation.

Conference also resolves to support the No Ceasefire No Vote movement that has emerged from the Gaza movement.

Andrew Burgin

Motion 3: Fighting the Far Right

We have witnessed a surge in far-right ideologies and movements around the globe. Modi and Trump show the problem extends far beyond Europe, but within Europe the far right has significant presence in the polls in Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, France and Germany. In the UK there is support for these ideas on the right of the Conservatives. Left Unity welcomes the big demonstration against the far right in Germany but the situation there is perilous with the ADF polling strongly in elections and their leadership recorded as planning mass deportations of migrants.

These movements are based upon protecting and developing gangster capitalism and present as divisive rhetoric, xenophobia, and discriminatory policies that threaten the principles of inclusivity, tolerance, workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, migrants’ rights, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Rights, anti-racist policies, religious rights, attempts to fight climate damage, even the rule of law and democracy itself. All that was gained after World War 2, politically, socially, and economically, is at risk. The impact of the ever-worsening Climate and Ecological Crises adds to the crisis.

The economic, social, political and war landscape within Europe has played a crucial role in the growth of far-right parties. There is growing poverty and lack of hope for many communities. Daily life is getting ever harder. Without a major movement and resurgence of working class organisation, there is little chance of significant improvement in the economic or climate situation, in in defence of migrants, women, trade unions and ethnic or religious minorities. There is widespread disillusionment with the traditional parties that have dominated their respective political systems. The massive growth in inequalities, has seen millions driven into poverty with an inadequate welfare state that fails to meet the basic needs of housing and health. Years of cuts and failure to invest in public services have created a sense of neglect and abandonment. Political scandals and incompetence have enraged voters.

This has created a fertile ground for the far right populist and nationalist parties. The far right are keen to position themselves as being on the side of the people who are dissatisfied with the status quo and seek a radical alternative to the establishment party system. Their ideologies seek to poison political debate. The era when socialism was organised deep within and by our working class communities and workplaces has gone. There are few parties that come from this tradition, or still relate to it. Few parties publicly place the blame on capitalism. A few trade unions are overtly socialist, yet the ideas of ecosocialism are still popular with young people in Europe, the UK, and US. This gives us a potential well of support.

The anti-immigrant narrative is used to ignite fears of worsening housing, health and employment crises, blaming migrants for the underinvestment and greed of multinational companies pocketing billions from taxpayers. The sense of national identity being under threat from migration, and Traveller and Roma communities, has extended into main political parties and mainstream media chasing far-right voters in a desperate bid to cling onto power. The decline of traditional socialist and labour parties has been a complex process. The alignment of these parties with neoliberal policies meant abandoning public services and investment in the welfare state. Free market reforms in health, housing, and education saw traditional socialist values eroded. The erosion of public services has led to massive inequalities in society, and job insecurity.

The main socialist parties offer little alternative to the status quo and fail to connect with and enthuse voters. A divided left with competing parties has further embedded division and the far right seek to present themselves as united. For all there has not been any upsurge in left wing political activity, the class has moved into conflict through industrial action, strikes and protests across Europe.

For a number of years, Left Unity has organised No Pasaran! events in the UK and with partners in Europe. Left Unity will continue such work with all such allies as we can find. Left Unity will continue to advocate for policies and action which come from and amplify the issues experienced by working class communities, in workplaces and in the communities, firmly placing the blame with capitalism, advocating for ecosocialism and aiming to demonstrate that working class resistance builds strength against the depredations of capitalism and fascism.

Nick Jones

Motion 4: Ecosocialism

Conference notes:

the failure of COP 28 to produce any genuinely meaningful progress towards phase out of fossil fuels and serious progress towards ‘net zero’.

The hottest year on record in 2023, another year of broken climate record after broken climate record, wildfires, hurricanes, floods and drought.

UNHCR reports of a current annual average 21.5 million people forcibly displaced by weather events, and a prediction of 1.2 billion people displaced by climate change by 2050.

That those most impacted by this crisis are those least responsible for it, the workers and poor farmers of the global south, women, the old, the very young, the disabled.

Conference re-affirms:

That we are a campaigning ecosocialist party.

The need for mass organisations and campaigns to win immediate interim concessions such as an end to subsidies on fossil fuels.

Conference therefore resolves:

To renew our campaigning activity on the climate and environmental crises generally, and in particular in the trade unions, including on interim issues such as an equitable phasing out of polluting and carbon intensive industries, a million green jobs in construction and retrofitting of housing stock and a green steel policy for the UK.

To use the influence of our members within the trade unions and local and national environmental campaigns to further the understanding of the necessity for system change to achieve meaningful action on climate change.

Liverpool Left Unity

Motion 5: The NHS

Left Unity will continue:

to support and participate in the campaigns to Restore and Repair the NHS.

to expose the whole privatisation project in health and social care.

to support NHS, social care and privatised health workers in their just demands on pay and workload and safe working conditions.

To condemn Labour’s current policies and to condemn their acceptance of funding from private health advocates.

To condemn the silence from Labour Councillors on the NHS and social care crisis.

We reaffirm our commitment to a national, comprehensive, publicly owned and delivered, state funded Health Service that is free at the point of need. We agree to work with KONP and other campaign organisations committed to the same policies. We utterly condemn the cuts (CIPs) on hospitals cruelly imposed in this winter crisis, the ever-increasing involvement of the private and voluntary sectors in the delivery and planning of services, the privatisation of GP practices and the lack of democracy within GP provision, the catastrophic state of NHS dentistry.

We will continue to campaign for women’s health, the right for women to control their own fertility and abortion rights. We will continue to campaign for the maternity services, services which are very severely damaged, damages which inflict suffering on babies and mothers. We will continue to campaign for the renationalisation of mental health and learning disability services and their reintegration into the national health service.

We support these principles for the campaigns:

The reinstatement of a fully functioning national publicly provided service.

The right to high quality healthcare from the very beginnings of life to life’s end.

A publicly and nationally provided NHS: End the whole privatisation project. Expose the damage that has been done and is being done by privatisation of parts and of the whole network.

Demand a return to the Bevan model of healthcare. Uphold the founding principles of the NHS: national universal, comprehensive care publicly provided.

Provide free NHS care and treatment for everyone in the UK free at the time of need. Abolish NHS charges for migrants living in the UK.

Commit to all NHS clinical and support services being publicly funded and managed, and bring back outsourced services into the NHS.

End the diversion of NHS funding into private hospitals. Take control of private hospitals where required.

End the ICB system and return to a national model of health care with democratic local involvement.

Publicise the deliberate use of shortages at patient and staff levels to damage public support for the NHS, whilst channelling ever more of state funding into private companies Defunding the NHS is ideological and unnecessary – investment in a publicly delivered, not privatised national health system is practical, costeffective and delivers results to the patients and to the economy. ? Assert that publicly provided care is cost efficient and equitable.

Demand that annual NHS funding up to the average per-person funding of comparable economies (e.g. France, Germany, Netherlands) and paid for through a revised tax system including tax on wealth and unearned income!

Demand Investment of new capital funding to restore infrastructure and meet standards required for comprehensive, responsive, and efficient healthcare.

End PFI

Restore NHS buildings and bed numbers, ensure scanners and other equipment are provided. End the scandal of excessive waiting times.

HEALTH WORKERS

Left Unity will support action and demands to win good pay on national scales with national conditions of service.

Restore safe patient care, job safety and satisfaction for all health and care staff by providing safe staffing levels, decent pay and career progression.

End the deskilling and down grading of patient facing staff. No to Midwife and Physician associates

Win back the healthcare workers who have left in disgust at working conditions, patient safety, bullying and workload. Provide Funded long-term NHS workforce plan based on assessment of needs and revise this annually to meet the current and future health and care needs of the population and staff, matching training numbers to safe staffing levels.

Fully fund training for staff at all levels to meet the workforce plan and end de-professionalisation and deregulation of the health workforce e.g. associate Midwives, Physicians, Anaesthetists and similar schemes

End the two-tier working conditions of NHS staff outsourced to private companies.

RE-INVEST IN PUBLIC HEALTH & TACKLE HEALTH INEQUALITIES

We support demands to:

Provide every child with access to good food as the foundation of good health. End child poverty, end the two-child benefit cap.

Rebuild a coherent and comprehensive public health service able to analyse, understand and respond to ongoing community need and recognise that public health cannot be reduced to leaving it to individuals to make healthy choices.

Ensure effective planning for emergencies and pandemic.

Ensure equality of access to quality health care for working class communities and disadvantaged groups.

SOCIAL CARE

Bring social care and independent living services back into public ownership, with democratic co-production with service users, end the privatisation model, make pay equivalent to NHS levels, and improve staff training and qualifications. Combat Racism and Anti Migrant practices throughout the health and social care sectors for patients and staff. Oppose unlawful discrimination based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Liverpool Left Unity

Motion 6: Human Rights YES! Immigration controls NO!

Conference re-states our core position against immigration controls adopted at our Conference on 29 March 2014.

Left Unity believes that immigration controls are inherently unjust and racist. They are part of the global management of labour along racist lines which inevitably brutalise the poorest workers while in fact weakening the collective interests and bargaining power of workers. As such, we are opposed to immigration control, as we are opposed to any laws which make people illegal because of who they are, where they or their parents were born, the colour of their skin, or what language they speak. And we insist that it is in the interests of the working class as a whole, migrant and non-migrant, in Britain and internationally, to have equal rights to move across borders, to settle in other countries, and to bring their families with them if they choose to do so. Insofar as these rights exist, however imperfectly, in the EU states as a result of binding international agreements, we defend them trenchantly and without equivocation.”

Left Unity believes that there can be no “fair” or “non-racist” immigration controls. We are opposed to immigration controls. We are opposed to all laws which make people illegal because of who they are, where they or their parents were born, the colour of their skin, what language they speak, and so on.”

Relentless

Ever since the turn of the 19th/20th century in Britain there has been racist agitation followed by new immigration controls. The Alien Act of 1905, the first immigration laws in this country, was brought in on a wave of anti-Semitic agitation. This process has been going on for a century or more. Over the last two decades, every year or two the Government has introduced new immigration controls. Every time people have been shocked by the draconian nature of these and cannot believe they can get worse. But they do get worse. However over the last couple of years the pattern has accelerated dramatically and there has been a relentless succession of government initiatives:

The Rwanda Plan • the Nationality and Borders Act • the Illegal Immigration Act • accommodation on barges • legislation to erode human rights legislation and withdraw from the European Convention on human rights • ramping up the NHS charges on migrants • Cleverly’s 5 point plan – attacking ‘legal migrants’, which turns poorer ‘legals’ into ‘illegal migrants’ who can no longer meet the financial regulations or avoid their families being broken up. • And the latest treaty with Rwanda to try and get round the ruling of the Supreme Court.

Despite this the hard right of the Tory party, including senior ministers are rebelling because it does not go far enough. They are lining up with, or protecting themselves from Farage and his Reform Party. This reflects the rise of the far-right throughout Europe. Hostility to migrants is the heart beat of the Far Right and fascism.

Labour Party

Is Labour fighting for the rights of migrants and refugees? Not on your life (literally). Except through the period of the Corbyn leadership, Labour, mainly through Yvette Cooper, has criticised the Tories from the right, complaining that the Tories have failed to process asylum seekers, that they have not been working with the French security forces to crack down on small boats. Starmer has floated the idea of reviving something like the Dublin agreement to return asylum seekers to the first European country they enter. This will be mainly Greece and Italy and to some extent Spain and France. He seems not to have noticed that the ascendant far-right such as Meloni and Le Pen will not accept this for one moment. Sunak is on Meloni’s wavelength.

Threats and Opportunities

There are two specific new opportunities to make links across different groups:

1. In the recent clutch of initiatives against migrants, there are proposals to abandon human rights which stand in the way of the Rwanda plan. This is a severe threat to everyone. But it presents opportunities to make links with organisations and campaigns fighting to defend human rights and through this build solidarity and a platform for migrants.

2. The attack on ‘legal’ migrants who are working or seeking work in Britain must be complimented by driving people on benefits, people with disabilities, into work to fill the vacancies left open by the removal of migrant labour. So it is vital for migrants and organisations of the unemployed, disabled, trade unions etc to join together to fight the two sides of this coin.

Defiance Not Compliance

Left Unity and others have argued for years for unions to defend, encourage and support people who refuse to implement these draconian laws. Over the last couple of years we have seen trade union resistance. When Priti Patel tried to get PCS members to push back migrants at sea, the union refused pointing out that this would be unlawful under international maritime law. More recently PCS was a leading party to a legal case against the Rwanda Plan. We salute this and take every opportunity to generalise this across all the unions.

From the grassroots to the international

There is a toxic wave of racism, xenophobia and every kind of prejudice sweeping across the globe. We clearly need an international movement to address this. But just as important is to build this movement from the grassroots up. One of the effects of the current crisis is the collapse of community. People need the solidarity and support which comes from the community and the work place. If it is left to fester, reactionary populists and fascists will try and get people around the flags of nation, racism as a substitute to that community. Local building of friendship and solidarity with migrants is vital.

Resistance

We acknowledge that there are people and organisations, from within migrant communities and across all communities who are fighting back. Left Unity will support these organisations, solidarise with them and learn from them. Notable examples are Anti-Raids Network, Solidarity Knows No Borders, These Walls Must Fall, Patients Not Passports, Right to Remain, Labour Campaign for Free Movement (mainly in the Labour Party). We will support activities on international anti-racism day, 16th March, in particular the Stand Up to Racism marches. Left Unity will continue to argue for these principles in our publications and networks and work to build the alliances referred to above.

David Landau

 



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