4.1. Against socialist participation in Starmer’s shadow cabinet
Submitted by Labour Party Marxists
LLA condemns the June 25 sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from Labour’s shadow cabinet, but rejects calls for her reinstatement.
The LLA steering committee’s June 28 call for RLB’s reinstatement was a mistake. RLB calls herself a socialist – she is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs. We oppose the participation of socialist MPs in capitalist governments, and likewise oppose socialist MPs being members of shadow cabinets which do not aspire to challenge the rule of capitalism.
The place for socialist MPs is on the backbenches as the extreme opposition, directing their fire against Labour’s pro-capitalist front bench, acting as tribunes of the people, championing extra- parliamentary struggles and campaigning for the replacement of the rule of the capitalist class by the rule of the working class – socialism.
As Keir Hardie famously said in 1910, we need Labour MPs, “not to keep governments in office or to turn them out, but to organise the working class into a great, independent political power to fight for the coming of socialism”.
Submitted by Notts and Erewash LLA
The Covid19 emergency and the BlackLivesMatter movements have both contributed to the consensus that it cannot be business as usual.
LLA recognizes a need to unify the Labour Movement on the central demand that going forward that there is no return to a neoliberal consensus. In particular LLA will campaign under the slogan #NoGoingBack for –
- End to zero hours contracts
- Re-nationalisation of the NHS
- Better sick pay
- Protection of employment and trade union rights
- Genuine policing by consent and an end to institutionalised racism
- A foreign policy based on genuine internationalism
- A green re-generation of the economy
4.3. Health and Social Care after the COVID-19 pandemic
Submitted by Cheltenham Labour Left Alliance
1. This Conference notes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS is coming through for the people of our country. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and other frontline and backroom staff are working all hours to care for us. Nightingale Hospitals were built in a matter of days. It is amazing that the Tory Government, when faced with a crisis, could suddenly produce unprecedented funding and resources and cancel NHS debt. However, the NHS continues to be exploited by the private sector in the field of testing, supply and agency staff. It is clear how vital our NHS is to the people of this country and that we will do anything to defend it.
2. In the last ten years of Tory or Tory/Liberal Democrat government, we have seen the NHS subject to austerity, which has led to restricted pay awards, intentional underfunding, part privatisation, fragmentation and demoralisation. When with almost continuous top-down re-organisations, to support, for example, the separation of commissioning from provision and privatisation, this has meant the NHS has been grossly overstretched, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. The social care sector was even less well prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, because of neglect and being almost totally privatised. The sector has been continually subjected, in the name of profit, to low pay, poor working conditions, together with elements of inadequate training, staffing levels, leadership and management skills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, social care staff in nursing and care homes, particularly those in adult social care, worked tirelessly for their residents, often in dangerous situations with little or no personal protection. Today they are being lorded as “heroes”, tomorrow they will be forgotten again, if we do not prevent it.
4. Another Tory policy is that is that from October 2020, migrants will have to pay £624 per year to use the NHS. The Prime Minister had to be put under extreme pressure to scrap the surcharge for health and social care workers. This exemption excludes many who are linked to healthcare, such as taxi and delivery drivers, contract staff in hospitals and others who have contributed to the welfare of this country during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, thousands of frontline healthcare workers who have come from overseas, there is the added worry, that when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, they could be asked to leave or deported. The Home Secretary says she is incredibly grateful, but warm words are not enough, not when our NHS and social care workers have no idea if they will be allowed to stay in the UK. They deserve a guarantee.
5. All of this has got to end and we must secure the provision of whatever financial, bio-medical, technological, and human resources the NHS needs to ensure it is a public service fit for the twenty first century.
6. This Conference demands the following, in order to return the NHS to those principles and values that were established when it was founded by the post-war Labour Government. It also requires a restructuring of long-term health and social care policy centered around social determinants that impact on health, such as improved social housing, access to good education, healthy food and a healthy environment with excellent sport and exercise facilities.
(a) The establishment of an independent public enquiry into the government’s lack of preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it must include: (a) the appalling neglect of the social care sector; (b) inadequacies in the provision of PPE and testing; (c) the state of preparedness of the NHS and the Social Care sector for a pandemic prior to COVID-19; (d) the government’s response to the recommendations from Exercise Cygnus (2016), presented to the government in July 2017; (e) the government’s response to the recommendations relating to the risk of a pandemic contained in the 2019 National Security Risk Assessment; and (f) the responses of the Department of Health and Social Care, SAGE, COBRA and the four separate national NHS and public health organisations to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the time the epidemic was first known.
(b) The cancellation by the government of all remaining NHS debt, especially that accrued from private finance initiatives (PFI).
(c) The future provision of adequate revenue and capital expenditure to ensure that the NHS is equipped to cope with any future public health crisis, as well as to be a first-class healthcare provider, free from the constraints of austerity.
(d) A pay award for all NHS and social care workers that reflects their contribution to the welfare of the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and a commitment to fair and timely pay awards in the future.
(e) Legal protection for the NHS in all post-Brexit trade deals, particularly if it could force the NHS to pay more for vital pharmaceuticals and force other burdens upon it.
(f) Repeal of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (and subsequent supportive legislation), to restore the NHS as a publicly delivered and funded, but a more publicly accountable and transparent healthcare system. The introduction of a new NHS Bill in order to implement policies that will re-instate the NHS as the sole provider of its own healthcare, ending privatisation of any NHS services, including supply and the process of disintegration that it creates; and the return to a single integrated NHS, ending the commissioner/provider split.
(g) The establishment of a National Care Service, bringing social care wholly into public ownership and fully integrated within the NHS, with its values and leadership skills.
(h) The institution of the principle that everyone working in the UK shall have free and open access to the NHS, not just those who the government decide randomly are deserving. Healthcare is a fundamental right and access to it must be free and universal.
(i) The giving to all those NHS and social care staff from overseas, the right to remain permanently once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
7. Without fighting for policies such as these, the government will go ahead with its programme of privatisation, particularly in the field of Information technology, now that some of the NHS’s work will be undertaken by using modes of communication that do not require face to face contact. If we are not careful, the “heroes of the NHS” will soon be forgotten by the government and we will return to austerity and the undermining of the service, with profit and big business interests, not those of the patient, to the fore.
8. We call upon LLA to help launch and lead the largest ever public campaign to support and defend the NHS, based on these demands.
4.4. Britain out of Nato, Nato out of Britain, Down with Trident!
Submitted by London regional LLA pre-conference event
no further text to motion
4.5. Federation/coalition/grouping/type of United Front
Submitted by Brighton Labour Left Alliance
THE POLITICAL CONTEXT
Today we face a renewed and intensified purge and witchhunt by Sir Keir Starmer, who has accepted all the demands (‘pledges’) of the Board of Deputies. The Labour Left Alliance consists of people who are inside and outside the Labour Party. We welcome and will work with all socialists who believe we should continue to fight for socialism and stand up to the agents of capital in the Labour Party. We will work with any left group that is willing to stand up to the capitalist system and oppose all forms of racism and racial oppression.
The Black Lives Matter movement is gaining momentum across the world, young people are demanding action on climate change, and people everywhere are waking up to the realities of the capitalist system. At a time when racial and class inequalities have been starkly and brutally highlighted by the Covid pandemic, the need for a radical, antiracist socialist agenda has never been greater. In the absence of moral and political leadership from the Labour party, it is up to us, the grassroots activists on the left, to challenge the narrative and push for change.
PROPOSAL: TO TAKE PART IN/ INITIATE A FEDERATION/ COALITION/ GROUPING/ TYPE OF UNITED FRONT
This is not at all a suggestion to set up a new internationalist Marxist Revolutionary party. At this stage it is to work with and organise with revolutionary Marxists both those outside and those inside the Labour Party, and with left Reformists/ left social democrats/ Corbynistas inside the Labour Party. This is not an attempt, at this stage, to `move on’ from Labour, with its mass appeal and its links to the trade unions. LLA needs to retain a strategic engagement with the LP – while considering tactics that include increasing our activities outside the LP and with forces outside the LP.
We consider that, where local LLA groups, in the light of their local circumstances, deem it advantageous, local LLA groups, and LLA nationally, should consider the following:
1. targeting and inviting local Socialist and Marxist comrades inside and outside the Labour Party to join LLA as members. That is, firstly, local comrades from the Left of the Labour Party and those who have left/ been suspended/ expelled under spurious anti-Semitism allegations, together with, secondly, comrades from other political groups / forces/ parties (such as, only for example, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Appeal, RS21, Socialist Resistance, Chris Williamson’s Festival of Resistance, Mutiny).
2. LLA nationally discussing the possibility of joining with other organisations in some sort of United Front or Federation or Alliance or Grouping of the Left, partly to offer a pole of attraction, a home for those leaving the Labour Party, within which each party or group or organisation would retain its own identity, organisation leadership etc, as well as there being individual membership for those who are not part of any existing grouping.
3. Within such a federated/ coalition/ alliance organisation membership would need to be on an individual basis and steps taken to ensure that no one group or party could seek to or actually dominate or take over the federated/ coalition/ alliance organisation. This was the problem with the Socialist Alliance and TUSC in England and Wales, with Syriza in Greece, and with the United Left Alliance in Ireland. In Britain it might mean, at this particular stage, not yet inviting the SP or the SWP as organisations, while accepting and welcoming individual members from those parties. One model of organisation could well be that of Antarsya in Greece, which has individual non-affiliated membership of Antarsya, as well as membership via the six or so constituent parties and groups. As well as each of the coalition parties and groups (such as OKDE-Spartakos, SEK, ARIS, EKKE, maintaining their own party organisation, programme, leadership, traditions, meetings, there are also , local Antarsya branches, national conference, identity.
4. In taking such local and national initiatives, LLA should draw up a short list of policy demands based on a Transitional programme rather than a Maximum (full socialism immediately!) or Minimum (reforms that do not threaten capitalism) programme.
To repeat the current political context: there are currently thousands, and likely, with the rightward reformist lurch of the Labour Party, to be hundreds of thousands of Socialists and Marxists, in the coming period, without a political home or pole of attraction other than myriad small groups. It is our intention that LLA, in conjunction with other groups and individuals, could provide a socialist/ Marxist pole of attraction, in addition to those smaller regroupments (such as SR and Mutiny for example) currently being organised.
Background Paper from Dave Hill
4.6. Online elements of CLP meetings
Submitted by North East LLA regional pre-conference event
CLP meetings should include a virtual element going forward. This would be a reasonable adjustment to allow ill and disabled members to attend meetings when they are unable to attend physically. With even Parliament being conducted both physically and virtually, this pandemic has revealed the possibilities of inclusion. All members deserve a voice in our Party and it is wrong to return to excluding some simply because they are physically unable to get to a meeting.
4.7. Electoral reform
Submitted by Bristol, Avon, & Somerset Left Alliance
Conference notes that
1) the UK is one of only three major developed countries to use a First Past the Post voting system for general elections. Most developed countries, including the world’s most equal and progressive societies, use a form of Proportional Representation in which all votes count equally and seats match votes.
2) First Past the Post has a strong right-wing bias wherever it is used, leading to parliaments that are on average much more right-wing than the voters. This corresponds exactly with the UK’s experience. Most votes went to parties to the left of the Conservatives in 19 of the last 20 general elections, yet the Tories have been in power for 63 per cent of this time.
3) Successive Conservative governments that could not have held office under a proportional system have attacked trade union rights and workers’ rights, public services and the welfare state. Instead of building a society “for the many”, this has created one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, with some of the most restrictive trade union laws.
4) Labour has promised a constitutional convention once in government, but this has not prevented us from pre-empting it by committing to other constitutional reforms such as an elected upper chamber and votes at sixteen. Labour has not yet even promised that the convention will consider electoral reform.
5) The world’s most equal and progressive societies all use forms of Proportional Representation which prevent rule by a right-wing minority and lock in the hard-won victories of their Labour movements.
6) First Past the Post means a small minority of voters decide the outcomes of elections, forcing political parties to focus their efforts on marginal constituencies to the neglect of the millions who live in safe seats. It is unacceptable that there are constituencies that have not changed hands in one hundred years; in which people have been born, voted their whole lives, and died, without ever influencing the result of a general election.
7) There are tried-and-tested forms of Proportional Representation which maintain a close constituency link between MPs and their voters, allow voters to vote for named candidates rather than just for parties, and do so while ensuring that Parliament reflects the people.
Conference therefore resolves:
8) To call for the Labour Party to commit to including the voting system for general elections in the remit of its planned constitutional convention.
9) To adopt a policy of opposing First Past the Post and instead supporting moves to explore, select and introduce a new voting system for Westminster elections.
10) To campaign for this policy within the wider trade union and labour movement.
11) To affiliate to the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform (£10 and then £5 per year).
4.8. Party of the European Left
Submitted by Workers International Network
Conference notes the rising tide of workers’ protest worldwide, and recognises the paramount need to establish ties of international solidarity with workers’ parties around the world. As a first step, Conference calls on the LLA organising committee to seek affiliation with observer status to the Party of the European Left and to participate in its future meetings.
4.9. Creation of a Veterans & Families Network within the Labour movement
Submitted by Merseyside LLA
- We recognise that members of the Armed Forces, its veterans and dependants, due to the uniqueness of their socio-economic standing, psychological conditioning and experience, combined with a lack of political or trade union representation, are a vulnerable and underrepresented section of society often with complex needs.
- We support the creation of a Labour Party Veterans & Families Network within the membership, with a dedicated Veterans & Families Officer (ex-forces or next-of-kin) within each CLP for them to represent the needs of their members and to report to the group on issues and actions both locally and nationally.
- We support full trade union rights and the freedom for members of the Armed Forces to organize as workers.
- We will campaign to Improve the welfare of the Armed Forces Community especially its veterans and their dependants through political activity within the Labour Party itself and the wider Trade Union Movement, to ensure that the Armed Forces Community is recognised within all authority directives (this was written in to the Armed Forces Covenant but many authorities are not delivering their commitment) like housing, adult social care, health, family etc and for the lead officers within each Authority Executive to meet with nominated Party representatives to look at actions and solutions.
- We will put pressure on Government and the Labour Party to ensure that our Armed Forces Communities, their recognised support networks, organisations both national and local are funded and supported to the correct level ensuring that they have sustainability and quality assurance written into their plans.
- We support the Commonwealth Forces and Families campaign in opposition to deportations and discrimination against ex-service personnel.