"For a change in orientation": defeated motion on the Labour Party (document 5.1/5.2)

Submitted by martin on 20 May, 2007 - 6:32

1.This resolution calls for a change in orientation by our organisation.
2.The organisation must address the working class and the working class movement as it actually exists and struggles.
3.Labour remains the mass party of the British working class.
4.It is now what it has always been: a bourgeois labour party i.e. a bourgeois political machine sitting on top of the working class movement.
5.The fundamental strategic task of Marxists is to break the hold of the Labour Party parliamentarians and the trade union bureaucracy over the working class. This struggle to renovate and revolutionise the existing labour movement cannot be done by abandoning political struggle inside the Labour Party. Turning our backs on Labour Party work simply gives de facto aid to the trade union and Labour leaders and allows them an easier ride within the mass organisations.
6.In practice the tactic of standing candidates against Labour is counterposed to the strategy of transforming the existing labour and trade union movement.
7.The perspective of large sections of the left during the last decade of coalescing into various electoral challenges to the Labour Party has been a failure.
8.The AWL should not support sectarian groups such as the SP when giving support to their candidates would harm the possibility of doing work in local Labour Parties.
9.Circumstances might arise when it would be appropriate to support broadly based independent working class electoral challenges to Labour. The experience of the last 10 years proves that such candidatures are very unlikely to emerge in the near future.

Therefore the organisation resolves to:

10.Suspend the tactic of standing candidates against the Labour Party in England and Wales.
11.Stop advocating this tactic as an immediate priority for the broader movement especially the trade unions.
12.Ensure that all comrades not expelled should be members of the LP and active within the structures. Expelled comrades should campaign for re-admission
13.Activity in the LP does not mean simply putting up motions for debate with existing activists, but using the structures as a means of reaching out to workers and finding contacts. We should particularly look to using positions as youth officers/trade union liaison officers as a means to organise campaigns on basic issues of workers rights/support for workers in dispute etc. This work will provide the basis for serious opposition work in the medium term.
14.Add affiliation of the AWL to the LP to 'where we stand'.
15.Campaign for the re-affiliation of the FBU and RMT to the LP. Advocate that the non affiliated trade unions i.e. NUT, PCS. UCU etc affiliate to the LP
16. Oppose all attempts to break, weaken or dilute the union/Labour Party link from whatever quarter they come from.
17.Review all other group initiatives and activities to make sure they fit in with this basic orientation.

* At the next election the Tories will be standing on a platform of attacking trade union and working class rights. A Cameron government would certainly scrap key pro trade union reforms introduced under Blair such as the statutory recognition and dismissal procedures. Under the guise of a war on "red tape" the Tories will try to reverse a whole raft of progressive improvements in individual workers' rights. The Tories will also target the means by which these protections have been gained. Cameron will launch a new state attack on the Labour Party - trade union link and on trade union political funds and activity.
* We are no more neutral in the electoral contest between the Tories and Labour than we are neutral in any other manifestation of the class struggle. the reasons for voting Labour are immediate, practical, day to day class struggle concerns. we wish to see the return of a Labour government not because we support Blair or Brown but because we want to defend the gains won by our movement under that governemnt - on issues from trade union rights to lgbt equality - and press forward by organising a fight around trade union rights and other socialist policies.
*We are class struggle socialists who are partisans of the workers' movement, not academic commentators trying to calculate the likelihood of a revival of the labour left. Working through the Labour Representation Committee we will seek to organise a socialist campaign for a Labour victory. Our immediate slogans should be:
"Defend our unions - Vote Labour
"Join the Labour Party - Fight for socialist policies"
"For trade union rights and a Workers Government"