By a Tubeworker
The Labour Party has written to the rail union RMT warning the union that unless the Executive revokes its decision to allow Scottish RMT branches to affiliate to the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), we will be outside the rules of the Labour Party. That essentially means our union's expulsion.
This clash arises from our Annual General Meeting (AGM) decision in 2003 to allow branches to affiliate to organisations outside the Labour Party. A Special General Meeting (SGM) has been called for 6 February to decide what we do about it.
The conference is likely to back the AGM decision, resulting in the union's expulsion.
What will this mean? Our panel of Labour Party MPs has already stated that they will continue to support us and our aims, so our political voice is not weakened as such.
A major debate will open up in the TUC and Labour Party about the fact that one of the founding unions of the Labour Party has been expelled. Depending on how this is played, the result could be either the RMT taking the lead in the restoration of accountable working-class political representation, or the sidelining of the union on the political front, its reduction to a funding agency for Plaid Cymru and minor middle-class politicians.
Activists need to get out in the workplace and explain the issues.
A bold front - citing Blair as the enemy - could turn the tables. The RMT should campaign to rally other Labour-affiliated unions to oppose the expulsion and demand that Labour dumps not the railworkers, but the Blairite leadership which has part-privatised the Tube, refused to renationalise rail, and kept the Tory anti-union laws.
We also need to get Constituency Labour Parties to pass resolutions calling for RMT's reinstatement.
Motion to RMT Special General Meeting from Finsbury Park RMT branch
This SGM resolves to defend the decisions of last year's AGM against the threat by the Labour Party to expel the union. We also defend the right of the Scottish branches to affiliate to the Scottish Socialist Party within our new rules, and endorse the Council of Executives' decision to allow them to do so. This union will not give in to the threats from the Labour Party bureaucracy either by rescinding our decisions or by allowing Labour to disaffiliate us without a fight.
We reaffirm the principle that led this union's predecessors to initiate the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 - that the working class needs its own distinctive and socialist voice in politics, independent of all parties of the wealthy classes. We believe that the current Labour leadership has no right to put the RMT on trial, after it has privatised the Tube, refused to renationalise the railways, and betrayed and attacked the working class. Instead, the labour movement should put Tony Blair and his cronies on trial - it is they who should be removed from their place in the labour movement, not the RMT.
This SGM therefore instructs the Council of Executives to immediately launch a campaign within the labour movement to defend the RMT's affiliation to the Labour Party against the Party's threat to expel us. In particular:
- All our representatives on Labour Party bodies should raise this issue as a matter of urgency.
- We call on other Labour-affiliated unions to demand the Labour Party withdraw its threat.
- We call on other unions to take an RMT speaker at their conference this year.
- We call on other Labour-affiliated unions to ensure that this issue is debated at Labour Party conference this year, with an RMT speaker there.
- We call on Constituency and Regional Labour Parties to continue to recognise RMT delegates even if the expulsion goes ahead.
- An initial meeting to organise this campaign should be held within one month of this SGM.