Our 10-point-programme to transform the Labour Party

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For a longer version and more explanation, see this article by James Marshall.

  1. Fight for Labour Party rule changes. Crucially, all elected Labour representatives must be subject to mandatory reselection based on ‘one member, one vote’. MPs must be brought under democratic control – from above, by the NEC; from below, by the CLPs.
  2. We need a sovereign conference once again. The cumbersome, undemocratic and oppressive structures, especially those put in place under the Blair supremacy, must be rolled back. The joint policy committee, the national policy forums, etc, must go.
  3. Scrap the hated compliance unit “and get back to the situation where people are automatically accepted for membership, unless there is a significant issue that comes up” (John McDonnell).1)http://labourlist.org/2016/02/mcdonnell-and-woodcock-clash-over-plan-to-scrap-member-checks The compliance unit operates in the murky shadows, it violates natural justice, it routinely leaks to the capitalist media. We say, allow in those good socialists who have been barred, reinstate those good socialists who have expelled or suspended.
  4. Momentum proved to be an effective campaigning organisation. An alternative election machine for Corbyn and McDonnell to wield, given the sabotage, bias and limited imagination of Iain McNicol and the Victoria Street HQ. But politically the stultifying inertia imposed on Momentum has proved to be an own goal. Eg, Jon Lansman blocked all Momentum attempts to oppose the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ smears; nor did he allow Momentum to fight the 2016 purge of leftwing supporters of Corbyn. It is now impossible to transform Momentum into a democratic organisation – an organisation that can educate, activate and empower the rank-and-file membership. So there is an urgent need for the left to organise within Momentum branches where they still exist … but, also, go far beyond that by expanding the influence and organised strength of Labour Party Marxists.
  5. Winning new trade union affiliates ought to be a top priority. The FBU reaffiliated. Excellent. Matt Wrack at last came to his senses. He took the lead in reversing the disaffiliation policy. But what about RMT, NUT, PCS?
  6. Every constituency, ward and other such basic unit must be won and rebuilt by the left. Our individual membership grew from 200,000 in May 2015 to over 500,000 because of the historic opening provided by Corbyn. And with the general election campaign membership has again risen, this time to over 550,000. A million members is within our grasp. However, the left must convince the sea of new members to attend meetings … only then can we sweep out the right from the NEC, the HQ, the councils and the PLP. Elect officers who support genuine socialism. Elect officers who are committed to transforming our wards and constituencies into vibrant centres of socialist organisation, education and action.
  7. Our goal should be to transform the Labour Party, so that, in the words of Keir Hardie, it can “organise the working class into a great, independent political power to fight for the coming of socialism”.2)Independent Labour Party Report of the 18th annual conference London 1910, p59 Towards that end we need rule changes to once again permit left, communist and revolutionary parties to affiliate. That is what we mean by a united front of a special kind. As long as they do not stand against us in elections, this can only but strengthen us as a federal party. Today affiliated organisations include the Fabians, Christians on the Left, the Cooperative party … the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Business. Allow the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party in England and Wales, CPGB, the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain, etc, to join our ranks.
  8. Being an MP ought to be an honour, not a career ladder, not a way for university graduates to secure a lucrative living. A particularly potent weapon here is the demand that all our elected representatives should take only the average wage of a skilled worker – a principle upheld by the Paris Commune and the Bolshevik revolution. Our MPs are on a basic £67,060 annual salary. On top of that they get around £12,000 in expenses and allowances, putting them on £79,060 (yet at present Labour MPs are only obliged to pay the £82 parliamentarians’ subscription rate). Moreover, as leader of the official opposition, Jeremy Corbyn not only gets his MP’s salary. He is entitled to an additional £73,617.3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leader_of_the_Opposition_(United_Kingdom). Let them keep the average skilled worker’s wage – say £40,000 (plus legitimate expenses). Then, however, they should hand the balance over to the party. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott ought to take the lead in this.
  9. We must establish our own press, radio and TV. To state the obvious, texting, Twitter and Facebook etc have severe limits. They are brilliant mediums for transmitting simple, short and sharp messages. But, when it comes to complex ideas, debating history and charting political strategies, they are worse than useless.
  10. Programmatically, we should adopt a new clause four. Not a return to the old, 1918, version, but a commitment to working class rule and a society which aims for a stateless, classless, moneyless society, which embodies the principle, “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”. That is what socialism is all about. Not a measly £10 per hour “living wage”, shifting the tax balance and a state investment bank. No, re-establishing socialism in the mainstream of politics means committing the Labour Party to achieving a “democratic republic”.4)Labour Party Marxists July 7 2016

References   [ + ]

1. http://labourlist.org/2016/02/mcdonnell-and-woodcock-clash-over-plan-to-scrap-member-checks
2. Independent Labour Party Report of the 18th annual conference London 1910, p59
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leader_of_the_Opposition_(United_Kingdom).
4. Labour Party Marxists July 7 2016