Welcome! If you want to put consistent time and energy into fighting for solidarity and workers' liberty, and are willing to put effort into studying and discussing socialist ideas, then it is easy to join. Contact us with your name, address, email address, and phone numbers, and we will arrange for an AWL organiser to meet you to discuss the details.
What does it involve?
We ask new members to discuss a membership agreement with an AWL organiser, fill it in, and sign it. The basic points in the membership agreement are as follows:
"I want to become a member of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty. I agree:
- To attend regular meetings of my local AWL branch (usually weekly)
- To be politically active in a regular, consistent way. Immediately my main planned regular activities will be:
- Specifically AWL activities (paper sales, visiting contacts, educationals) ..........
- Broader activities in which I will promote AWL ideas and literature. (Members are expected to join and be active in the trade union - or student union, etc. - relevant to their job, and may also be active in other campaigns or movements): ..........
- To sell AWL literature (Solidarity, fortnightly, plus pamphlets, books, etc).
- To respond to big political struggles, events and mobilisations (strikes, demonstrations, etc)".
If you want to help the AWL, but don't yet feel ready to become a fully-committed activist member, then consider becoming a sympathiser. Sympathisers pay a regular financial contribution to the AWL, take the AWL publications - and beyond that do as much or as little as they wish, so that some do as much as activist members, and others do little more than contribute financially.
Click here to download the membership agreement form as pdf.
How to join
The practical steps to sign up as an activist member are:
- Read the AWL membership agreement form. Discuss it with a local AWL organiser, fill it in, and send a copy to the AWL office. It is a short form which summarises the basic activities you will do as a member.
- Arrange to attend a meeting of your local AWL branch to be formally proposed as a member. If you are unsure which is your nearest AWL branch, or you live a long way from any branch, contact the AWL office.
- Download the contributions assessment form, fill it in, and send to the AWL office. This means working out how much you will pay in AWL membership dues and regular literature sales money. Preferably pay by downloading a standing order form, filling it in, and sending it in; if not, make an arrangement with an AWL organiser to pay by cash regularly.
- Download a copy of the AWL's "short basic" education programme and plan with a local AWL organiser how to work through it, in a study group or in individual discussions.
- Make an arrangement to receive copies of our paper Solidarity and other publications regularly and promptly. Maybe your local AWL sales organiser can deliver them to you by hand. If you live a bit further out, maybe it's best for us to send them directly from the office, so please contact the office.
- Check out the rest of the AWL website at http://www.workersliberty.org and register as a user of the site. Send your username to the office so that we can tag your username with "AWL member" status for access to members-only areas of the website. The site will help keep you in touch with AWL ideas and activity - and let you keep other AWL people in touch with your ideas and activity, by posting contributions on the site. The resources page is a useful reference point for basic AWL materials.
- Check out the AWL members' information webpage www.workersliberty.org/internal. Join AWL e-lists: that webpage tells you how.
Why you should join
Click here to download this as pdf.
In Britain today, one child in three grows up in poverty, in a household with less than half the average income. In 1968, the figure was only one in 10.
Thousands are homeless on the streets, while 600,000 dwellings stand empty. Millions are jobless, while those with jobs have to work longer and longer hours.
Health care, state education, and public services are ruined by cuts and privatisation, while the wealth of the rich snowballs.
Workplace stress escalates, under new technologies which, rationally used, should ease it.
Profit before people; "wealth-creation" before human need - that's capitalism.
It polarises the population, more and more, into capitalists and the working class, into wealth-owners and the sellers of labour-power whom the owners exploit.
Discontent and anger are growing. Over 70% of people think there is a "class struggle", while in the 1960s fewer than half did. Probably fewer working-class people than ever before are satisfied with the future that the powers-that-be offer them. Strike figures are low, for now, butresistance is brewing.
What is socialism?
Solidarity is the opposite of capitalism: working-class people standing together to help each other, rather than each one elbowing others aside in a war of all against all for individual advantage. Without solidarity, the individual worker, or small group of workers, is powerless against the accumulated and concentrated power of the wealthy. With solidarity, we are strong against our enemies.
Socialism will be solidarity raised from a principle of resistance to the guiding principle of society. Every major industry will be reorganised on the lines of the Health Service at its best - social provision for need. It will be democratically controlled by workers and the community. The privileges of managers and officials will be abolished. The government will be democratic self-rule that will be far more flexible, responsive and accountable than any government of today.
Each electorate will control its representatives and be able to use a right of recall at any time. The whole industrial structure can thus be planned, in broad outline, to meet human need.
There will be no rich and no poor, no profits and no wage-slavery, no palaces and no homeless, no jobless and no overworked. The huge waste resulting from unemployment, advertising to sell trash, and competition between identical products, will be eliminated, and the working week cut to a level which enables everyone to have ample free time to develop as an individual - by study, sport, art, handicrafts, friendship, travel, or whatever they wish. Socialism means liberty as well as economic planning.
A world gone wrong
The gross inequality within Britain is repeated on a far bigger scale on the world stage. Thirty million people each year die for lack of food while the advanced world is glutted with agricultural surplus. One child in every five, across the world, eats enough not to starve to death, but not enough of the right balance of foods to keep healthy.
One person in four has no regular access to clean drinking water. Yet a tax of four per cent on the personal fortunes of the richest 225 people in the world - just 225 of them - would pay for setting up access to food, drinking water, education and health care for everyone in the world. To maintain regular nutrition, clean water supplies, and sewage for everyone in the world would cost $13 billion a year. That could be paid for just by reversing the tax cuts given to the rich in Britain alone since the1980s.
Worse. Capitalism is not just destroying lives today, but also destroying the conditions for life in the future. It is generating a possiblyirreversible ecological disaster. Since its criterion is short-term private profit, capitalism is by its very nature reckless of long-term public good. Global warming, erosion of the ozone layer, destruction of bio-diversity, proliferation of untested and maybe dangerous technologies - all these costs, in the long term possibly fatal, rank much lower for capital than the lure of high profits this year or next. Under capitalism, the amazing new technologies of the 21st century tend to spread blight, not blessing.
But working-class resistance, too, is reproduced much larger on a world scale. In South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries, assertive new workers' movements have emerged at the end of the20th century. Modern communications allow them to exchange information and ideas much more quickly and cheaply than ever before. If capital is going global, so too is solidarity.
Renovate the labour movement
Today there are 165 million trade unionists worldwide. When Karl Marx published Capital in 1867, there were barely 250,000 in Britain, and very few anywhere else.
To make solidarity a steady, effective force, and to win even sizeable reforms - let alone to remake society - the working class needs organisation. And the modern working class is organised, on a scale never done by the peasants, serfs or slaves in older systems of exploitation.
The chief weakness of working class organisation is the bureaucracy that encrusts the labour movements. We see a particularly miserable crop of such trade union leaders in Britain today. They feel closer to the bosses they negotiate with than to the workers they represent. Normally they are closer, in their standard and manner of life. They'll cut any deal with the boss that keeps them safe in their offices, their quiet routines and their expense accounts.
The strength of the bureaucrats is that they are in place. They have their hands on the levers of communication in the labour movement. The bureaucrats' weakness is that they are few in number, and have no clear independent purpose or role in society. Strong and effective solidarity among the rank-and-file members in the trade unions can sweep away the bureaucrats and replace them by honest, accountable leaders taking no more than a worker's wage.
The job of organised socialists is to promote and help build working-class solidarity so that it transforms the labour movement into a force dynamic enough to draw in the many workers as yet unorganised, and strong enough to remake society. As Karl Marx put it long ago, we represent the future of the movement by our activity within the movement of the present. Reform can never be more than limited and vulnerable, so long as the small millionaire minority who are today the ruling class - running the state by a thousand threads and connections whatever the government, Tory, New Labour, or Lib-Dem - retain power. But to counterpose revolution to reform is to counterpose an idea for the future to the actual struggle in the present.
The way to the overthrow of the ruling class, that is, socialist revolution, is to assist, promote, and champion the battle for reforms in such a way as to maximise the development of solidarity.
Past Labour governments - or at least the 1945-51 one - pushed a little against the power of the ruling class. They introduced reforms, like the Health Service, under pressure transmitted through the channels -delegates, committees, conferences - which then linked even the topmost ranks of the Labour Party to the working-class base.
This New Labour government is different. Blair openly declares himself "pro-business" and pro-profit. He is shutting down the channels giving the organised working class (in the trade unions) any leverage over Labour. He has already shut down many of them. He has surrounded himself with a veritable "party within a party" - a political machine with hundreds of spin-doctors and advisers, largely funded by big business and the state, and mostly staffed by people who have no links at all to the labour movement (and quite a few of them turncoat Stalinists).
Politics is central. The right to vote, limited though its power is by the entrenched interests that control the permanent, unelected state machine and the media, is a working-class asset hard won by over a century of struggle. Blair is effectively taking away that right to vote by telling workers: you can vote for us, pink Tories, or them, blue Tories. There is no choice on key issues like the health service, anti-union laws, or jobs.
To quietly accept that, by saying "we'll vote for Blair, but then fight him by trade-union and community action, issue by issue", or "we won't bother to vote at all", is like having a military plan which starts by allowing the enemy to fortify the commanding heights of the battlefield at leisure and without a fight, and then starts a guerrilla resistance.
We propose to every working-class activist who wants to do something about politics, rather than leaving it to Blair, that they join with us in afight for a workers' government. We should form a common front to fight in the trade unions, in the Labour Party, on the streets and at the ballot boxes for working-class political representation. We aim for a government of a Labour Party reclaimed by its working-class activists and purged of the Blair machine, or of a new workers' party based on the trade unions, which would push through such measures as:
Full trade union rights by law, including the right to picket effectively and to take solidarity action;
The restoration of the National Health Service; state-of-the-art healthcare for all, free at the point of need;
Reversing privatisation and rebuilding public services, under democratic workers' and community control;
A decent minimum wage for all;
Equality in education opportunities and free education for all to university level;
Taxation of the rich, and expropriation of the big banks and financial institutions which dominate economic life through the "casino economy" of high finance, to acquire the resources to establish jobs and welfare for all.
For consistent democracy!
Socialism means solidarity, but solidarity in diversity - a more collectivist society, but also, at the same time, a more individualist one, one that gives individuals a better chance to develop in their own ways. The labour movement, too, has to organise solidarity in diversity. It has to bind together young and old, women and men, black and white, immigrant and native, gay and straight, skilled and unskilled, blue-collar and white-collar, workers of one nation and workers of another.
How can this paradox be solved? How can we avoid diversity becoming division? The answer is consistent democracy.
Democracy is essential to socialism. The working class can only reshape society, and regulate economic life, collectively, and therefore democratically. Anything less means, sooner or later, an elite separating out from the working class and in time becoming a different class, or an appendage of a different class. Capitalism allows some political democracy, in theory at least, while keeping the economic core of society firmly under the dictatorship of the boss. Socialism means full democracy, both political and economic.
Democracy - meaning equal rights for all, and the greatest freedom for every minority compatible with the rights of the majority - is also the necessary basis for solidarity-with-diversity. Women; black people; and lesbians, gays and bisexuals, cannot be united with men, white people, and straights by telling them to forget about their particular identity or the particular forms of discrimination and oppression they face. Solidarity must enlist all the energies of rebellion from the whole range of the working class, rather than stifling some and promoting only those battles favoured by a preordained leading group. Mutual respect and solidarity-in-diversity now must prefigure respect and solidarity in the society we fight for.
Consistent democracy can unite workers of different nationalities. Theright to self-determination of every nation; autonomy for every region which wants it because of special circumstances; full equal rights at the individual or collective level for languages and cultures - that is a programme which allows the working class of every nationality to appeal to the workers of others with the assurance that they will tolerate no imposition on themselves, but equally will seek no privilege over the other.
On that basis, for example, we advocate uniting workers in Ireland around a programme for a free federal united Ireland with regional autonomy for the Protestant (British-Irish) minority, and uniting workers in Israel and Palestine around a programme which supports the Palestinian Arabs in their fight for a proper independent state where they are the majority, but also recognises the right of the Israeli Jews to self-determination where they are the majority.
Socialism based on consistent democracy is the only possible sort of working-class socialism. Socialism is the opposite of Stalinism. Stalinist ideas crippled and corrupted revolutionary movements for many decades. A big overhang of Stalinist ideas remains. To fight for solidarity today we must clear that away and restore the genuine ideas of democratic socialism that were buried for decades under Stalinist mud, blood and lies.
Organise for solidarity
Even anti-Stalinists often think that a revolutionary organisation must have a single "party line" and not allow its members to dissent or debate in public, or in the organisation's newspapers and magazines, or anywhere except in carefully marked off discussion periods. In fact, that is a Stalinist idea.
Yes, an effective socialist organisation is necessary. Strikes, union organisation, campaigns, even revolutionary upheavals, will happen without it. But the politics of those movements will depend on what ideas the workers find already to hand. History shows us huge and militant workers' movements rallying to racist, religious, nationalist, or even (in Eastern Europe and Russia in 1989-91) free-market liberal ideas when there was no socialist alternative embodied in sufficiently effective and credible organisation.
Both workers newly involved, and long-time activists, can learn immense amounts very fast in big struggles. The struggle itself points us towards solidarity. But the political ideas needed to win socialism cannot all just be improvised on the hoof. And lessons will be un-learned unless we ensure otherwise. Socialist organisation is necessary as the memory of the working class - as a structure which allows activists to learn from history and from each others' experience. The class struggle has to be fought not just on the fronts of economics and politics, but also of ideas and theories.
There are many organisations proclaiming the goal of socialism. In our view many of them could best be united in a single organisation, with an open, democratic regime. But that cannot be done overnight or at our behest. What, then, should the new activist do, in the face of this often confusing variety?
The same as you would do faced with a choice of schools of healing when you have a stubborn sickness. Offered conventional treatment, acupuncture, osteopathy, herbal medicine, or faith healing, you would not say: "Why don't they all get together on the question of cures?" You would investigate, read, check them out. The same with politics: examine the programmes of the different organisations, check what they say against common sense and basic Marxist theory, see whether what they do in practice corresponds to what they say in words.
We are for the unity of the revolutionary working-class left in a single organisation, one that is tightly-knit enough to carry out agreed activities promptly and unitedly, but also one that insists on full freedom for minorities to organise and debate, including in the public press.
Right now, we organise ourselves in the Alliance for Workers' Liberty on those democratic lines. We have our own ideas to bring into all our activities, and we're out to recruit - we make no apology for that - but we intervene not as a sect trying to carry "the party line" by force of hectoring and bluster, but as thinking, critical-minded activists concerned to build the broad movement.
If you disagree, debate and discuss with us. If you agree, join us.
Constitution of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty
Click here to download this as pdf.
Aiming for the liberation of the working class from wage slavery and state oppression;
That the emancipation of the working class is also the emancipation of all human beings, regardless of sex or race;
That the emancipation of the working class must be the task of the working class itself;
That without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement;
That without revolutionary practice and organisation, socialist aspirations, like "academic Marxism", will be sterile;
The Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL) aims to create an organisation of activists which can convince, mobilise and lead the working class to fight for workers' liberty.
To be effective, our organisation must be democratic; geared to the maximum clarity of politics; and able to respond promptly to events and opportunities with all its strength, through disciplined implementation of the decisions of the elected and accountable committees which provide political leadership.
The members of the AWL, here called "activists", are those who:
Defend the basic aims of the AWL, in words and deeds;
Engage in regular political activity under the discipline of the organisation;
Are members of their appropriate trade union;
Sell the literature of the AWL regularly;
Pay regular money contributions to the AWL and regularly remit AWL literature sales money;
Are loyal to the AWL at all times, and keep their links with other political groups under the supervision of the appropriate AWL committees;
Educate themselves politically and attend structured education classes of the AWL.
All activists are obliged to support the majority decisions of the relevant AWL bodies in action. They also have the right to express dissenting opinions, to gain a fair hearing for those opinions, and to organise inside the AWL to change AWL policy.
Activists should not pretend to hold beliefs contrary to their real ones. Minority comrades have a right to state that they hold a minority position, and to give a brief explanation, but without making propaganda outside the AWL against the majority line. They have a duty to state to the best of their ability what the majority line is, and in any vote or practical action they must support the majority line unless a decision has been taken to have a free vote. This might, for example, apply where the AWL works in association with nonmembers who are yet for practical purposes very close to us.
Activists do not have the right to organise outside the AWL for minority views. Unless the organisation is to be allowed to dissolve under the stress of political differences, and thus be rendered incapable of acting as an entity, the properly established leading committees have to retain the right to determine at any given moment whether views other than those of the AWL, properly established, will be expressed in our press, and how. This, however, will be a reserve power. AWL "custom and practice" will be that usually minority views can be expressed, and majority opinion challenged, in our public press.
Activists have no right to take internal organisational disputes outside the AWL in any way.
Activists should first raise political questions on the highest body on which they sit - branch, National Committee, Executive Committee. The matter must go to the National Committee for discussion if it is not resolved at the level raised. If after full discussion at the National Committee no agreement is reached, activists have the right to inform the National Committee that they are taking the issue to the whole membership or are forming a faction in line with section 7 of this constitution.
In AWL internal debates, equal speaking time at meetings, conferences, etc., shall be allotted to all the different points of view represented. Representatives of minority points of view have the right to demand relief from part of their normal AWL workload and financial assistance if these are necessary to enable them to travel to meetings, prepare documents etc. In any dispute between a minority point of view and the National Committee or Executive Committee, both the minority and the leadership have equal rights to use the organisation's apparatus.
All AWL branches, fractions and committees have the right to admit members. Any dispute over whether a particular person should be admitted should be referred to the Executive Committee, and then if necessary to the National Committee, which can make an overriding decision. Members will normally be admitted as candidates, to go through six months of education, training and disciplined activity before being admitted as full activists. A branch or fraction may, at the end of six months, extend the candidate period if it judges that the above requirements have not been fulfilled adequately. In such a case the candidate has the right to appeal to the Executive Committee.
Candidates do not have the right to vote in the AWL.
The supreme policy making body of the AWL is the AWL conference, convened annually and attended by all members, or by the outgoing Executive Committee and delegates elected by the branches.
The National Committee is responsible for preparing the main political documents for the conference, and the Executive Committee is responsible for practical preparations. A Standing Orders Committee, elected at the previous conference, is responsible for running the conference itself. The conference elects a National Committee, and the National Committee an Executive Committee; the Executive Committee may elect various officers and organisational sub committees. All these officers and committees have the right to make binding decisions for AWL activity. They must be accountable to the bodies that elected them, and governed by the prior decisions of those broader bodies. Each committee decides its own rules of functioning, within the framework set by the body which elects it.
A special AWL conference may be called by the National Committee when it wishes. The National Committee must call a special conference within two months of receiving a written demand for one signed by at least 25 per cent of the activists of the AWL.
The Executive Committee convenes the National Committee; it must do so at least every two months, or within one week of receiving a written demand for a meeting signed by at least 25 per cent of the National Committee members.
National Committee members must fight for the implementation of National Committee decisions within the AWL, and Executive Committee members for Executive Committee decisions, except where they have deep and declared political differences; and in that case they must at least maintain discipline. They should not, however, pretend to hold views which are different to their own.
Every activist or group of activists can submit resolutions and amendments to the conference or to the National Committee, and have the right to speaking time and participation in the debate on them.
Democracy is impossible without full and timely information. The Executive Committee must make minutes of conferences and National Committee meetings available to all members of the AWL and minutes of the Executive Committee available to the National Committee members. Minutes must normally include the full text of all resolutions and amendments, together with an outline of the discussion and record of the vote. Skeleton minutes may, however, be circulated when security requires it.
The National Committee has the right to structure discussion within the AWL so that maximum political clarity may be attained. The National Committee may stop debate on an issue, but only after full discussion has led to a decision. Under no circumstance does this override the right of the membership to hold the National Committee to account at the conference. In all matters the National Committee may overrule the Executive Committee and the conference may overrule both the National Committee and the Executive Committee.
BRANCHES AND FRACTIONS
The AWL shall be organised in AWL branches in geographical areas or workplaces, and fractions in areas of work. The Executive Committee shall recognise, and where appropriate strive to initiate, branches and fractions in consultation with the members concerned. Every AWL activist should be a member of the appropriate branch and, if relevant, fraction.
The branches and fractions are responsible for recruiting new members and organising the activity of the AWL in their areas.
Each branch or fraction shall elect an organiser and other officers. The organiser is responsible to the AWL and is subject to the political and administrative supervision of its leading committees for the functioning of the branch or fraction and for ensuring that AWL policy is carried out.
Branches shall normally meet weekly and fractions at least quarterly to educate members and contacts and to organise AWL activity in their areas. The organiser is responsible for convening meetings.
Decisions on matters specific to their area shall be made democratically by branches and fractions. Branches and fractions can be overruled in such matters by the Executive Committee, National Committee, or conference, in which case representatives of all viewpoints have the right to put their case to the overruling body. Branch and fraction organisers must report regularly to the EC, and this must include communicating all the opinions within the branch or fraction different from the organiser's own opinion.
Branch or fraction organisers can give binding instructions to activists in their areas on all day today matters. In any AWL activity, the right to take decisions and give instructions on the spot belongs normally to the branch or fraction organiser responsible, or other comrade delegated to be responsible. In the event of a big political issue needing an immediate decision, the organiser can be overruled by the senior National Committee or Executive Committee member(s) present. The Executive Committee and the National Committee have the right in extreme cases, and after written notice and a fair hearing, to remove branch or fraction organisers from their posts and impose replacements.
The Executive Committee is responsible for producing an internal discussion bulletin, to be distributed to all AWL activists and candidates (and, unless the Executive Committee decides otherwise, to them only).
Any activist submitting a polemical document of fewer than 3,000 words has the right to insist it be circulated within two weeks.
The Executive Committee has no right to refuse for publication or delay unreasonably any article submitted for the internal bulletin, unless in line with any National Committee decision to close debate on an issue. They can, however, ask for a contribution and/or labour towards the production of articles over 6,000 words, and insist that any document over 12,000 words be produced at the expense of the author(s).
Conference will elect a Disputes Committee consisting of three people. They will not serve on the National Committee. The role of the Disputes Committee will be:
To investigate and adjudicate in disputes between members of the AWL where such a dispute has a bearing on their own or the organisationÕs political functioning, at the request of one of the parties to the dispute.
To act for the National Committee or Executive Committee as an investigatory body. When it acts in this capacity it will report to the activating body.
receive and investigate complaints against the leading committees or officers of the AWL on any matter of concern to any member of the AWL.
present a report on any such investigation to the National Committee and, if it chooses, to present proposals and recommendations for action to the National Committee. Any proposal or recommendation from the Disputes Committee to the National Committee will be deemed to have a very strong moral authority. Where the Disputes Committee comes into irresolvable conflict with the National Committee on some matter which it considers of fundamental importance it will have the right to call a special AWL conference.
censure, where it thinks fit, after proper investigation, any action of AWL committees, or any AWL officer, or any AWL member and present motions of censure to the National Committee.
To present a report of its activities over the previous year to each annual conference of the AWL.
Where activists have become inactive or failed to meet their commitments to the AWL without adequate cause such as illness, and there is no dispute about this fact, branches, fractions, or appropriate committees may lapse them from membership with no more formality than a week's written notice. Activists who allege invalid lapsing may appeal to the National Committee.
Branches, fractions, and appropriate elected committees may suspend activists or candidates from membership (for up to six weeks), and the National Committee may expel them, in the event of:
Action contrary to working class principles e.g. strike breaking, racism etc;
Proof that the person in question has disloyal links with another political group;
Serious breach of discipline in AWL's public activity, or disruption of the AWL's functioning.
No activist may be subject to disciplinary action solely on grounds of their political views, as long as they remain loyal to the AWL's basic aims. Members must not, however, use political differences as an excuse for inactivity or disloyalty. Any member who does so is liable to be expelled.
Branches, fractions, and appropriate elected committees may impose fines or reprimands for lesser breaches of discipline. Any activist has the right to defend himself or herself before a decision on disciplinary action is taken on him or her, except in the case of fines for absence or suspensions where the AWL's security or integrity are at risk.
For all disciplinary action other than minor fines, the following safeguards apply.
Any activist subject to discipline must have at least one week's written notice of the charges and of the time and venue of the hearing. If expulsion is proposed, he or she must have two weeks' written notice of the charges.
Any activist who is expelled may appeal to conference, and the Executive Committee must circulate the material relating to his or her appeal to all activists within 14 days.
Any AWL body taking disciplinary action must immediately send details, including a copy of the charges, to the Executive Committee, which must make those details available to the National Committee.
Previously expelled members may not be readmitted without the approval of the National Committee or conference.
FACTIONS AND TENDENCIES
The AWL rejects the ideal of a monolithic, single-faction party, and strives to build a culture where differences are resolved by rational and constructive discussion without hard and fast factional lineups. It recognises, however, that as a last resort any group of members has the right to form a faction or tendency to fight for a particular point of view within the AWL, offer itself to the membership at the AWL conference as an alternative leadership, or campaign for election in the organisation.
The AWL recognises a tendency as an ideological grouping organised for an ideological discussion within the organisation. The AWL recognises a faction as a group which sets out to fight either for a change of policy of the AWL on a particular issue or to replace the existing leadership by members of the faction.
Members wishing to form a faction must circulate to all AWL members a platform explaining their views, signed by all members of the faction. The faction must make an up to date list of its members available to any AWL member on demand. Membership in the faction must be open to all AWL activists who agree with its platform. Candidate activists can not be recruited to a faction.
Factions can produce their own publications for circulation within the AWL, can hold internal meetings to put over their views, and can put up members for election on a factional platform. Factions have a right to proportional representation on the National Committee and in any election to delegates to conference.
All faction meetings and documents must either be strictly internal to the faction, or open to all members of the AWL. This clause can not be used to restrict private conversation or correspondence between individual AWL activists. A faction must not carry its platform outside the AWL without the permission of the conference or the National Committee.
The same rules apply for tendencies as for factions.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
A member suffering from illness or other distress may be granted a total or partial leave of absence from activity for up to two months; but the leave of absence must be ratified in writing by the Executive Committee, and the activist must continue to pay financial contributions to the AWL.
The appointment, pay, terms of reference, and dismissal of AWL full time workers shall be decided by the Executive Committee, subject to ratification by or (if factional victimisation is alleged) appeal to the National Committee. In the event that an appeal is to be made to the National Committee, the Executive Committee's decision will not come into operation unless endorsed by the National Committee.
Branches, fractions, and appropriate committees must supply every new activist with a copy of this constitution. The Executive Committee must supply a copy to any activist on demand. The constitution can be changed only by an AWL conference.