Amendments on the Labour Party

Submitted by Janine on 24 October, 2003 - 7:34

Amendments on the Labour Party to various conference documents, from Bruce R.
'CLASS, UNION AND PARTY'

Add new 3(a):

"There has been a considerable erosion in traditional working class support for Labour, particularly amongst young people. Symptoms include the increase in electoral abstention, particularly in inner-city areas, and the growth of the BNP."

RESPECT COALITION

Rewrite para. 18 to read:

"In the GLA and euro-elections, we can neither support Respect against New Labour nor New Labour against Respect. If Respect is standing on a watered-down non-socialist platform, the New Labour candidates, approved by the Party leadership and mainly hand-picked Blairites, are standing on the record of the government. We are not with Galloway. But we are not with the Blairites against Galloway, either.

New Labour's remaining ties to the trade unions would not normally be sufficient to mandate voting Labour where there was an independent socialist or working-class alternative. There is no such alternative in these elections as a result of the setting up of Respect. However we should not, however, let recoil from the SWP's stupidities push us into thinking that New Labour is an alternative, or "vote Labour and demand working-class measures" has again become a policy with real grip.

We should certainly not appear as champions of New Labour against left coalition-making. We say we want a left coalition, but one based on an independent working-class stance.

We should not present New Labour as the "working-class" alternative to the "popular front" Respect coalition. To do so would be to intoxicate ourselves with formulas.

To urge a Labour vote would therefore not relate to the real state of the left and the labour movement. It would only serve to isolate from those attracted to Respect out of disgust with New Labour, from radicalised youth and from trade unionists beginning to seek alternatives to Blair.

There is therefore no alternative to abstention in these elections. We should use the opportunity to explain that this is forced on us by the inadequacies of the alternatives on offer and to encourage 'active' forms of abstention (as in the Euro referendum).

This amendment was subsequently withdrawn.

LABOUR REPRESENTATION COMMITTEE

Add at end of para. 22:

"No Sweat provides a means to demonstrate to young people the importance of trade unionism and the practical meaning of solidarity and to begin to involve them in the labour movement (e.g. through unionisation campaigns). We recognise that the union organisations may be unappealing to young people and argue for them to adopt methods and structures that enable young people to participate."