We provide here model motions about Clause 4 that can be moved in Labour Party and trade union meetings. If you have any questions about moving motions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also get in touch with reports of any successes in moving motions.
We call on our supporters to pass the following model motions in order to:
- Fight for a new socialist Clause 4, based on the words and principles of the late Tony Benn.
- Ensure that any review into a new Clause 4 is led, discussed, and agreed upon by members, and by an appointed committee.
Model motion: For a new socialist Clause 4 – in the words of Tony Benn
This CLP / trade union branch / conference notes the decision of the 2019 Labour conference to establish an NEC review to look into a new wording for Clause 4.
We also note that 62% of local Labour Party delegates voted to maintain the original 1918 wording, which committed the Party to common ownership.
To fulfil this obligation, we also believe we should pay tribute to the great contribution of the late Tony Benn to the Labour Party.
As a result, we believe that the Party should enshrine into its constitution a new Clause 4, using Tony Benn’s own words. This reads as follows:
“We stand for the inherent rights of all people to useful work, good homes, education, health care and dignity in retirement, free from all forms of discrimination. We believe that these rights cannot be fully realised under capitalism where human values are subordinated to the demand for profit. Our aim is to abolish the obstacles to the realisation of those aspirations.
“As a socialist party, we do not exist to manage capitalism. We aim to bring about a fundamental transformation of society, which will give to everyone a chance to live a full and satisfying life. We will adopt the means necessary for that purpose by, amongst other things, the common ownership, under democratic control and management by working people, of the commanding heights of the economy, including the banks and finance houses, the land and all the companies which dominate our economy. We stand for a democratic socialist society based upon the principle from each according to their ability to each according to their need.”
Conference believes this would be a fitting testament to Tony Benn. We therefore agree to submit a resolution to the next Labour Party conference calling for a new Clause 4 using the above wording.
Model motion: For a members-led Clause 4 review
This CLP welcomes the promise made by the NEC at the 2019 Labour Party conference to conduct a review into a new wording for Clause 4, which outlines our party’s aims and values.
This CLP notes that the constitutional amendment debated at the last Labour conference – to restore the original Clause 4 wording – received 62% support from CLP delegates. This demonstrates the strong desire that exists amongst rank-and-file Labour members for our party to commit to the principles of common ownership.
This CLP believes that the new Clause 4 review must be membership-led, involving a proper democratic debate throughout the party.
We note that the decision to scrap the original Clause 4 in 1995 was done on the basis of a very limited discussion. Members were presented with a fait accompli, and were provided with no opportunity to vote on any amendments. We cannot allow this situation to be repeated.
We therefore demand that the new Clause 4 review include the following conditions:
- Any review working group to include grassroots representation from those CLPs that proposed the Clause 4 constitutional amendments at the last conference.
- All CLPs and affiliated organisations to be provided with the opportunity to amend any draft proposals for a new Clause 4 wording emerging from the working group.
- Labour conference 2020 to vote and make the final decision on a new Clause 4.