On 11 May a packed meeting of Beeston North Labour Party branch (Broxtowe constituency, in Nottingham) voted to initiate a broad local labour movement conference to discuss the way forward for the movement after the Tories’ election victory.
The motion is going forward to Broxtowe CLP, but the branch agreed to move forward in contacting other labour movement organisations immediately.
Below is the text of the resolution they passed, after a long and vigorous discussion, with only one vote against (link to original here).
Pete Radcliff, branch secretary, said:
“The meeting showed that there is widespread opposition amongst our members to the proposals of Blairites to move the party to the right. The points were reiterated by members – that we failed in the election not because of the policies put forward for taxation on the rich and improving the conditions and wages of low paid workers. But these policies had not been clear enough, strong enough and had appeared too late. There was anger but not despair – and a willingness to engage in the wide offensive our movement has to conduct in self-defense.”
We need the broadest possible labour movement discussion about how we get organised and fight back, and the ideas underpinning that. Could you initiate a similar conference in your area?
The election of a Tory government is a terrible defeat for our movement. Even more it is a defeat for the majority of working class people across the country.
The scale of the yet undeclared austerity of the Tories can only have devastating consequences – particularly for the weakest, the oldest, the poorest and the most vulnerable in our communities.
There will be renegotiation of membership and a referendum on the EU. In the course of this we will face a carnival of reactionary nationalist agitation.
The seeming anti-austerity politics of the SNP will take second place to their renewed nationalist agitation against Scottish union with England and Wales.
All of these create massive problems for us. But we cannot sit down and do nothing. We cannot allow these policies to happen merely waiting for another election. The millions of conversations had with working class people on the doorstep, streets and workplaces has meant thousands could join the Labour Party. We need to show them it can be a party that will prioritise anti-austerity policies and fight for our class. We need to act now.
1. We need to support those fighting back against Tory austerity
The party leadership’s silence on, indeed even opposition to, the pension strikes of 2011/2 in which millions of workers were involved; the equivocation on such things as the Doncaster Care Workers’ dispute only a year ago: these did us much damage in our relations with trade unions and public sector workers.
We need to support all those fighting back.
2. We need to oppose the demonisation of migrants and the nationalism of an anti-EU campaign
The Tories will be a seriously divided party on Europe – the nationalist right will be encouraged by UKIP’s high vote and want to use it in the long term.
We need to promote working class unity across Europe and advocate a humane acceptance of those fleeing persecution and war elsewhere.
We need European pro-working class action against multinationals, racism and immigration controls.
3. We need the maximum unity between Scottish workers and those in the rest of Britain as well as within the Scottish workers movement
The brutal austerity of this Tory government should be met by united campaigns across Britain. Whilst further devolution is inevitable and should be recognised, a new campaign for separation of Scotland will undermine a fightback against the Tories. Agitation in Scotland for independence will only increase if a viciously pro-capitalist Tory government in London is unopposed.
Labour committed a truly terrible error in the pre-election period by allying with the hated Tories in Better Together. Unity with Scottish workers can only be promoted by forces that actively fight against the attacks of this government on working class people.
4. We need to overcome divisions on electoral strategies with socialists working against each other promoting competing candidates
We believe that the labour movement urgently needs to redefine itself politically: extending our political connection with trade unions; unifying our campaigns against nationalism, racism and austerity; articulating a common programme for radical change that includes ensuring that the energy and transport industries are not run for profit but for the needs of our communities and a sustainable environment.
5. We need a Labour leader who can unite our movement rather than divide it
If the Blairites use their disproportionate influence in the Parliamentary Party to foist one of their own into leadership, agreeing with the Tory attacks upon us, it can only divide the Party and movement. Any leadership election should only follow a full debate in the movement about the Party’s future.
Such things will not be ‘declared’, they will be developed – through debate, discussion and common work. We need organisational objectives not just rallies.
To start this off this branch proposes an emergency local conference in Nottingham to which all Labour Party members, trade unionists and others are invited and which plans to act on each of the 5 points above.
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