The campaign to restore Clause IV – Labour’s original commitment to common ownership and socialist policies – is taking off.
Next week, the question of bringing back Labour’s socialist clause will be discussed at the Unite policy conference in Brighton, where the Labour4Clause4 campaign will also be hosting a fringe meeting.
As we speak, meanwhile, the RMT Annual General Meeting should be discussing an emergency motion, which calls for the RMT to support the Labour4Clause4 campaign and the fight to restore Clause IV.
And finally, we are happy to report that a constitutional amendment calling for the re-adoption of the original Clause IV has been passed in at least one local Labour party, meaning this question should be debated at next year’s Labour Party annual conference.
Carry on reading below for more details about all of these exciting developments.
Unite policy conference to discuss restoration of Clause IV
The biggest union in the country, Unite the Union, will be discussing restoring the original Clause IV text to Labour’s constitution at its upcoming policy conference, which begins next Monday in Brighton.
Labour4Clause4 will be present at the conference, with a fringe meeting on Clause IV and the fight for a socialist Labour government. See below for details.
CLAUSE IV AND THE FIGHT FOR A SOCIALIST LABOUR GOVERNMENT
Wednesday 4th July
12:30 – 14:00
The Old Ship Hotel (Gresham Suite), Brighton
The discussion on restoring Clause IV should also be on the agenda for the policy conference itself. This follows a decision by the South East Construction branch to submit the Labour4Clause4 model resolution to the conference. The branch also took a decision to send a donation to the campaign for £250.
The same model motion has also been submitted from the Portsmouth Unite activists committee.
Russ Blakely, construction worker and delegate to the Unite policy conference, spoke to the Labour4Clause4 campaign, saying:
“The question of nationalisation is becoming more popular after the disasters of privatisation and the bankruptcy of the private sector, starting with Carillion.
“We must get the Labour Party back to committing to socialism and not bowing down to the market. There have been important steps forward, but we must go all the way. Tony Blair abolished the original Clause Four as part of the New Labour Project.
“He scrapped socialism and put in its place he put the wonders of the market and ‘rigors of competition’. Well we all know what that means: privatisation, PFI, a race to the bottom for working people.
“The union rulebook stands for ‘a collective society in which public services are directly provided on the basis of public need and not private greed’. We hope we will have a good debate and the delegates support bringing back Clause Four.
“We need to get rid of capitalism and its greed, a system that puts profit before people.
“If common ownership was good enough for Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour Party, it should be good enough for us!”
Labour4Clause4 campaign urges support for Constitutional Amendment to restore Clause IV
The following constitutional amendment was circulated to supporters by the Labour4Clause4 campaign. The closing date for submissions from local Labour parties was last week, on 22nd June. We understand that it has been passed in at least one CLP and should therefore appear on the agenda of the 2019 Labour Party annual conference.
The campaign also intends to circulate a contemporary motion on the restoration of Clause IV at the beginning of August. This can be passed in CLP meetings prior to this year’s Labour Party conference, taking place in September in Liverpool.
The Labour Party Rule Book 2018, Chapter 1, “Constitutional Rules”, Clause IV, Aims and Values.
REPLACE sub-clause (1) with:
“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”
And DELETE sub-clause (2A)
Then renumber to A,B,C
The collapse of Carillion once again demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of capitalism and the market economy. Millions are in favour of nationalisation.
Labour needs to take control of the economy by taking over the “commanding heights”, and to run these in the interests of working people, not the billionaires.
As the adage correctly states: you cannot plan what you do not control; you do not control what you do not own. It is as simple as that.
This year is the centenary of the introduction of the original Clause IV, which was a clear commitment to the socialist transformation of society. New Labour is dead. It is time we brought back the original Clause IV.
Emergency motion on Clause IV submitted to RMT conference
Bristol and Reading branches of the RMT have submitted an emergency motion to the union’s annual conference on restoring Clause IV. The conference is taking place at the moment, in Edinburgh.
The motion submitted states:
“This AGM notes the decision taken at the 30 May Special General Meeting in Doncaster not to affiliate to Labour at this time, and welcomes the decision to align RMT towards Labour and encourage RMT members to be active in the party.
“AGM also welcomes the decision of the SGM to explore what other steps the union can take to support, defend, and develop the socialist advances that have been made within the Labour Party.
“In line with the RMT Rule 4b (b) our overriding task is to work for the supersession of the capitalist system by a socialistic order of society.
“In 1995, the RMT opposed the removal of Clause IV, part 4, of Labour’s Constitution which committed the party to the socialist transformation of society.
“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.
“Unfortunately, this socialist aim was abolished by Tony Blair and New Labour. It was then replaced with a worship of the market and support for privatisation and this paved the way for the return of the Tories into Government.”
“This AGM therefore agrees to support the Labour4Clause4 campaign, which aims to restore the original Clause IV as Labour’s socialist aim.
“Wherever possible, the RMT and union members who are members of the Labour Party are urged to give the Labour4Clause4 campaign its full support as part of our efforts to bring about the socialist transformation of society. “
Hopefully, this motion will be accepted as an emergency and will be debated by the RMT Annual General Meeting. Given the RMT’s commitment to socialism, we hope this motion will be successful, giving a boost to the fight for socialist policies in the Labour movement.