There were two Labour Party conferences. One was the official conference, organised as a publicity event for the leadership of the Labour Party.
Labour Representation Committee
Solidarity and Workers' Liberty believe that what's needed now is rank and file Labour Representation Committees of trade unionists and socialists in every city across the country. We have been campaigning for seven years now for the unions to form a Labour Representation Committee.
By Martin Thomas
The lion gave voice. It was more like a squeak or a groan than a roar, but it was the lion rising to its feet and holding forth for the first time in decades.
In a fringe meeting at Labour Party conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday 1 October, five big trade unions, CWU (post and telecom), GMB and TGWU (both general unions), Amicus (engineering, electrical, scientific-technical, financial), and Unison (public services) organised a joint meeting to announce a campaign to 'put Labour back into the party'.
Support Iraqi workers; end the occupation
Rebuild the health service; no two-tier NHS
Scrap anti-union laws
Things are changing for the better in the labour movement. The election of new trade union leaders is beginning to impact on the Blair Labour Party, to which most of those unions with new leaders are affiliated, though the left-led civil service union PCS is a notable exception.
By a TUC conference delegate
Highlight of the fringe at TUC conference was the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs meeting as part of their recent 'Save Our Party' tour.
Speaking to a packed room, several union general secretaries spoke about their commitment to change inside the Labour Party, not on the basis of behind-the-scenes deals with Blair - a strategy which, in any case, is clearly not working - but on the basis of genuine rank-and-file involvement in building real democratic structures inside the party.
Labour Representation Committee Founding Conference.
Saturday 3rd July 2004, 9am - 4pm, TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1.
The Labour Party was formed by trade unionists and socialists at the turn of the last century to give working people, their families and communities, political representation for the first time. Based on the principles of eradicating the evils of poverty and inequality in our society, the Labour Party was founded on a belief in the redistribution of wealth, power and opportunity into the hands of the many.
New transport union leader Tony Woodley has pledged to coordinate a trade-union drive "to get Labour back representing working-class people".
After winning election as the new General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, Woodley declared on 1 June that:
Text for use in drafting motions to CWU conference.
This Conference has no confidence in Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party. Therefore we resolve to maintain the current level of affiliation to the Labour Party but:
From Solidarity 3/14, 11 October 2002
Before the Labour Party conference last week in Blackpool, the Labour leadership was assiduously briefing the media to tell them that "Labour Party conference no longer decides party policy".
A Labour-dominated Parliamentary committee of MPs has declared:
"Never in peacetime has a prime minister gathered around himself such an assemblage of apparatchiks unaccountable to parliament..."
Tony Blair, and other New Labour ministers like Stephen Byers, have constructed a little political machine autonomous from the traditional civil service. That machine is also autonomous - even more autonomous - from the labour movement.