This branch/CLP notes that the old 1918 clause four was drafted by the Fabian leader, Sidney Webb, in order to divert the considerable rank-and-file sympathy that existed for the Russian Revolution into safe, peaceful and exclusively constitutional channels. Clause four was managerial, statist and predicated on the continuation of wage-slavery. It had nothing to do with putting an end to capitalism and bringing about the socialist transformation of society.
This branch/CLP notes that, by sacrificing the old clause four in the full glare of publicity, Tony Blair and his New Labour clique sought to appease the establishment, the City, the Murdoch empire, the global plutocracy. Capitalism would be absolutely safe in their hands. A New Labour government could be relied upon not even to pay lip service to a British version of state capitalism.
The Labour Party has been transformed by the influx of tens of thousands of new members and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. This branch/CLP therefore believes that the time is ripe to commit the party to the following, genuinely socialist, version of clause four:
- Labour is the federal party of the working class. We strive to bring all trade unions, cooperatives, socialist societies and leftwing groups and parties under our banner. We believe that unity brings strength.
- Labour is committed to replacing the rule of capital with the rule of the working class. Socialism introduces a democratically planned economy, ends the ecologically ruinous cycle of production for the sake of production and moves towards a stateless, classless, moneyless society that embodies the principle, “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”. Alone such benign conditions create the possibility of every individual fully realising their innate potentialities.
- Towards that end Labour commits itself to achieving a democratic republic. The standing army, the monarchy, the House of Lords and the state sponsorship of the Church of England must go. We support a single-chamber parliament, proportional representation and annual elections.
- Labour seeks to win the active backing of the majority of people and forming a government on this basis.
- We shall work with others, in particular in the European Union, in pursuit of the aim of replacing capitalism with working class rule and socialism.
This branch/CLP calls for this version of clause four to be included as part of Labour’s constitution at the earliest opportunity.
[For trade unions:] This branch/conference calls upon the union to campaign within the Labour Party at all levels for this version of clause four to be included as part of Labour’s constitution at the earliest opportunity.