Launched earlier this year, the Labour4Clause4 campaign has already begun to gather momentum.
The campaign’s aims are simple: to restore Clause 4, the Labour Party’s original commitment to common ownership and socialist principles.
With privatisation now a dirty word, and Blairism beaten back within the Labour Party, this goal of restoring Clause 4 is increasingly finding an echo amongst grassroots activists from the labour movement. Party members and trade unionists are sick of “New Labour”; instead, they want to see a socialist Labour government coming to power in the near future.
This week marked the centenary anniversary of Clause 4, which was introduced into the Labour Party constitution at a special conference on 27 February 1918. 100 years on, the demand for nationalisation of the “commanding heights of the economy” is once again back on the agenda.
Thanks to the commemoration of this historic event and the support of well-known left-wingers, the Labour4Clause4 campaign hit the headlines in the mainstream press recently. The Mirror, for example, highlighted the endorsements given to the campaign by high profile figures such as film director Ken Loach and veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner.
“Bringing back the controversial clause,” the article continued, “would symbolise the death of New Labour and the end of Tony Blair’s legacy on the party.” We 100% agree!
This idea of hammering a nail in the coffin of Blairism chimed with those writing in the comments section. “This sounds like a great campaign,” one reader commented. “Time to fully reverse Blair’s legacy! Bring back Clause 4!”
Another comment was even more enthusiastic about the campaign: “Yes please! These are excellent steps towards giving power back to the general public. These ideas are why I am a Labour Party member.”
One Independent reader, meanwhile, asserted that “reinstating Clause 4 is a no-brainer”. “Capitalism has been exposed for the sham and con-trick that it is.”
And it’s not just online that the campaign taken off. We have also had reports in of Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meetings passing motions in support of restoring Clause 4.
One supporter in South Thanet, for example, wrote in to inform us that a motion to bring back Clause 4 had received almost unanimous backing at a recent CLP meeting. Elsewhere, another supporter in Blyth Valley says his CLP also voted to restore Clause 4. Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley, is one of the key signatories of the campaign’s statement.
In the trade unions, we have reports of several union branches debating the topic of Clause 4. A comrade in Kent, for example, says that his Unison branch in Medway hospital have passed a motion in support of restoring Clause 4. This means that it should be on the agenda for the Unison national conference later this year.
This strong start for the Labour4Clause4 campaign is only a taste of what is possible. Our aim is to see this question discussed at the Labour Party national conference. And, ultimately, we want to see the original Clause 4 restored, committing Labour – once again – to the fight for socialism.
Add you name to our statement, and help support the campaign by: