Britain: For an alternative to New Labour

For genuine working-class representation

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) has called a conference on 21 January, on working-class representation. This is an important event for all those looking towards establishing an alternative to New Labour.

Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist will be speaking from the platform along with RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, Colin Fox from the Scottish Socialist Party and others from the labour movement. An interview with Dave Nellist will appear in the next issue of the socialist.

The Socialist Party and the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party fully support this initiative. The conference was called due to the passing of a resolution at the RMT union’s 2005 AGM (see right).

However, Bob Crow has made it clear that this will not be a conference to establish a new party and some of those attending will be arguing to reclaim the Labour Party. It is very important that Socialist Party members and others who want to see the establishment of a new mass workers’ party attend to participate in the discussion and debate and argue for their point of view.

There will also be a meeting afterwards in the Drayton Suite in the Friends Meeting House. For more information, please call 020 8988 8777 and ask for the Industrial Department.

RMT resolution

The RMT passed the following resolution at its national Annual General Meeting in Exeter 2005.

"The AGM reaffirms its decision of 2004, which rightly characterised the Labour Party, under its current leadership, as the party of privatisation and neoliberalism, support for the imperialist wars of the extreme right Bush administration, attacks on civil liberties and trade union rights and freedoms.

It is more important than ever that our union takes up the task of developing political representation of the working class. The last year has seen no relenting of these policies, indeed the run up to the general election was characterised by a wholesale attack on workers’ pensions, housing and health. The AGM instructs the Council of Executives to:

  • Build a National Conference of trade unions and organisations of working class communities and political organisations to discuss the crisis of political representation of the working class.
  • Continue the work already begun by the union, in the European Social Forum, to develop a high profile for the debate internationally on the question of trade unions and political representation."

Proposed by the Bristol branch

An open debate on working-class representation

Speakers include:

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, John McDonnell, MP, Colin Fox, SSP, John Marek, AM, Tony Benn, Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor, Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP (invited).

12-3pm, Saturday January 21 2006

Friends Meeting House,

Euston Road, London NW1

All welcome.

Campaign for a New Workers’ Party

The success of the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party (CNWP) website, www.cnwp.org.uk has been confirmed with over 1,000 visits in the first few weeks of being online.

Many of those who have signed up in support of the declaration so far have done so using the online form available.

The new year brings new opportunities to gain support for the campaign. Local launches and public meetings will be taking place around England and Wales.

The first of these is taking place in Reading at 8pm on 17 January 2006 at the Reading International Support Centre. Get in touch with info@cnwp.org.uk for more information from your area.

An initial national conference of the campaign has been called on Sunday 19 March 2006 and will take place at the University of London Union, Malet Street, London NW1. More details will appear in a future issue of the socialist.

Please email info@cnwp.org.uk or call 020 8988 8777 and ask for Fiona to order campaign material including a model letter to trade union branches.

The declaration states:

  • We, the undersigned, agree to campaign for the establishment of a new mass workers’ party in England and Wales.
  • We will campaign for the calling of a representative conference as a step towards the founding of a new party.
  • We will also support all other genuine initiatives towards independent working-class representation, including the conference called by the RMT.

New signatories to the declaration include (all in a personal capacity):

Chas Berry, DWP PCS West Kent Branch Secretary and SE Regional Trade Union Side Secretary

John Ewers, UNISON South West Gas Branch Secretary

Bill North, General Secretary of Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council

Ronnie Job, Secretary Swansea Trades Council

Kim Morgan, PCS DWP Northern Regional Organiser

Nigel Sheahan, DWP PCS South East Regional Officer

Steve North, UNISON rep in Education Services, Salford

Martin Clements, PCS Regional Vice-Chair Yorkshire and Humberside Region

Craig Lewis, Executive Committee member of NATFHE Wales

Avril Lewis, PCS Branch Executive Committee member

Bernie Lyons, PCS South West Regional Committee member

Wayne Coombes, PCS Bristol Branch Committee member

Bob Nash, PCS Bristol Branch Committee member

Bob Marshfield, UNISON Bristol City Council Steward and Branch Executive Committee member

Roger Thomas, PCS Bristol Branch Chair; DETR Bristol and SW Regional Committee member

Mick Philipsz, PCS Assistant Branch Secretary, London Branch Department For Education and Skills

April Ashley, Southwark UNISON Deputy Housing Convenor

Suzanne Muna, UNISON Housing Corporation Branch Chair

Pav Alam, Assistant Secretary CWU London CityWest branch and CWU National Race Advisory Committee

Ali Moosa, CWU Birmingham Engineering Branch rep

Onay Kasab, Branch Secretary Greenwich UNISON

Nicky Downes, Coventry NUT Equal Opportunities’ Officer

Jim Cessford, President of North Staffs TUC

Mandy Marfleet, Stoke-on-Trent College Students’ Union Executive Officer

Jon Swift, National Student Convener for the Community and Youth Workers’ Union (CYWU)

Pete McNally, Vice-chair ASLEF Worcester branch.

From The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party, cwi in England and Wales

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