AMM 5 October 2022
MOTION TO SLN MEMBERS’ MEETING: THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS AND THE LEFT
1. The Truss government has plunged Britain into a deep political and economic crisis. The labour and trade union movement can take advantage of this, but only if we step up the mass strike and solidarity action began this summer to a scale that can bring down the government.
2. The Truss government was put in place by a relatively small number of Tory Party members and is only backed by a minority of Tory MPs. The government’s real base is in the most predatory sections of finance capital, like hedge funds, private equity and other speculators. Once in office the government has moved to reward its backers its already infamous “mini-budget” – a £45 billion raid on state finances to fund tax cuts for the rich.
3. The reaction by financial markets has been savage. Runs on the pound and sales of government debt (“gilts”) forced the Bank of England into an eyewatering £65 billion emergency action try to stabilise the currency and to prevent pension funds, heavily dependent on gilts, from collapsing. The Chancellor Kwarteng is now threatening cuts in benefits and public services to stabilise markets and pay for the tax cuts.
4. The political effect is a collapse in electoral support for the Tory Party and a serious chance the government will fall with the Labour Party seen as the only alternative. This is what made the destruction of Corbynism an imperative for big business and the establishment. The recent Labour Party conference also underlined the efforts of the ruling class to suppress political debate and socialist activity both in the Labour Party and society more generally.
5. All over the country we see a rising tide of action with trade unions like the CWU, the RMT and others fighting inflation and the cost of living crisis. So far we have mainly seen one day strikes except on the docks and the barristers.
6. The Truss government wants to tighten the already draconian anti-union laws forcing more ballots and requiring a minimum service level during strikes – effectively reducing strikes to demonstrations. They will try to keep the working class divided by launching ever more heartless attacks on the rights of refugees. At the same time employers, doubtless in close co-ordination with the government are moving to destroy workplace organisation – Royal Mail has announced it wants to tear up every agreement it has with the CWU and effectively to remove recognition from the union.
7. Under these conditions of a frontal assault on the entire living and working conditions of the working class including layers which have seen themselves as above the class struggle the strategy of one day strikes by each union which occasionally coincide as on 1stOctober can only be seen as inadequate.8. With the ruling class divided, the middle class in uproar over mortgages and pensions and the working class seething with rage at rising prices and falling real wages, if a real lead were given by the labour and union leaders, who can doubt millions would answer the call? We fight for:
a) Strike together: indefinite strikes for above inflation pay rises – unions should bring forward their pay claims and link them into a simultaneous mass strike across the public and private sectors
b) Demand the TUC call a general strikec) Action councils in every town, city and borough: bring together the hundreds of thousands signed up to Enough is Enough, Don’t Pay, People’s Assembly, Acorn, rank and file trade union members and campaigns into unified groups to support the strikes, build protests and help build a movement for a general strike
9. Now more than ever the working class needs its own politicalparty – following the call of Ken Loach, the Socialist Labour Network aims to organise an all-Britain conference of working class organisations, including trade unions, local cost of living groups, tenants’ campaigns, ex-Labour Party members and socialist groups to discuss the formation of a new mass political party of labour.
AMM 29 July 2022
Motion on Strike Action
The Socialist Labour Network supports the strike action taken so far in defence of wage levels against inflation. Inflation is being used to further cut the real buying power of wages which have been falling in real terms since the financial crisis of 2007-08. However, it is disappointing that unions are only calling one day strikes and have so far avoided having a strike by more than one group of workers on any given day. It is likely that much of the public sector will be offered around 5% in the next few weeks, this is another cut in real wages with inflation running at over 10% for working class households. Further it is likely the Tory government will use the opportunity to further cut public sector jobs and services by refusing to fully fund any pay awards. The SLN supports building a popular campaign for a general strike both in defence of wages and to bring down this incredibly reactionary Tory government.
The Tory government has pushed through a law allowing scab labour to be employed to break strikes. The government has made it clear that it intends to introduce legislation requiring trade unions to provide minimum service levels in the event of strikes. This is a direct threat to the right to withdraw one’s labour and is an attack on Britain’s remaining democratic rights.
The trade union movement is crippled by the anti-trade union laws and the time has long passed when we need to destroy these laws.
We call on the TUC to draw up a strategy of non-compliance with the trade union legislation beginning with a special TUC Conference.
- The initial demand should be for a one day General Strike
- That we should be building Councils of Action in as many cities and towns as possible to bring together the activists and supporters of the current set of disputes – local and national.
Motion on the Forde Report
We welcome the belated publication of the Forde Report which Starmer tried to bury. But we also note that:
- The Forde Report has serious inadequacies in particular its ‘both side-ist’ approach to what happened in the Labour Party during the Corbyn era. In particular its failure to condemn, without reservation, the sabotaging of Labour’s 2017 election campaign by Labour’s unelected staff.
- Its failure to administer anything but the mildest of reprimands to Labour staff who diverted £135,000 to the Ergon House campaign to support right-wing Labour MPs. Forde described this as whilst not illegal, it departed from the approved strategy, it was as such wrong.’
Nonetheless the Forde Report will not be welcomed by Starmer because of:
- The clear condemnation of the racist and sexist conversations on 3 WhatsApp groups.
- The revelation that senior members of the Labour Party tried to halt the investigation in its tracks by making threats of legal action against the Forde Panel. Unfortunately these people were not named and we call on Forde to name and shame them.
- The recommendation that JVL be involved in ‘anti-Semitism training’ is welcome and has caused apoplexy in the Zionist press: see for example here and here
- The Forde Report’s acceptance that some on the Right were weaponising the use of anti-Semitism even if it does conclude that ‘anti-Semitism’ was a genuine phenomenon in the Labour Party.
- Its acceptance that the Labour Party was operating a hierarchy of racism.
- Its remarks that ‘there appear to be no published procedures re use of administrative suspension’
We call for:
- The implementation of Forde’s recommendation in respect to the Jewish Voices for Labour and ‘anti-Semitism training’. We find it outrageous that apologists for the world’s only apartheid state should be in charge of such training given that accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are so frequently levelled against Palestinian supporters.
- The reinstatement of all those expelled or suspended under Starmer and the ‘fast track’ procedure. In particular the reinstatement of all those targeted under the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations except where there is clear and demonstrable proof of anti-Semitism as per the Oxford English Dictionary (not the IHRA) definition.
- An end to all fast track expulsions
- We therefore instruct the Steering Committee to organise a demonstration/lobby outside the Labour Party headquarters demanding the implementation of the Forde Report.
This SLN meeting notes that for nearly three years Julian Assange has been locked up in high security Belmarsh Prison having never been charged in any court of any crime. We feel this is an outrage and resolve to enrol, wholeheartedly, in the campaign to free him.
This All Members Meeting believes:
- That the primary blame for the crisis in Ukraine rests on the United States and NATO which has continued, since 1999, to expand into Eastern Europe despite guarantees given to the USSR and Gorbachov. [see NSA archives https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early
- We note that Russia’s intervention at the moment is basically defensive and has been provoked by NATO and that Russia does have the right to defend itself against NATO expansion. We call for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and reject Putin’s assertion that there is no nation of Ukraine.
- We support the right of the 2 breakaway republics, Luhansk and Donbass to secede
- We oppose sanctions on Russia as war by other means
- We call for the dismantlement of NATO.
- We condemn the war hysteria and war propaganda waged by the MSM and in particular the call to close down RT as a means of shutting of any alternative sources of information
Ukraine 8 April 2022
The Socialist Labour Network condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We call for an immediate ceasefire and for all Russian armed forces to immediately withdraw.
The working classes of Russia and Ukraine have nothing to gain from war and will pay the biggest price. Despite the terrible situation caused by the intensification of rival nationalisms, we support the building of unity among workers across national boundaries. The workers of Ukraine and Russia have common interests.
We call for the abolition of NATO as an offensive imperialist alliance.
We call for Britain’s unilateral nuclear disarmament and the scrapping of Trident.
We stand in solidarity with those in Russia who have protested against the invasion, despite police repression. We support the building of a mass anti-war movement, including among Russian troops.
We support workers in Ukraine acting independently of the Zelenski regime and building their own organisations and taking independent action. We condemn the actions of Zelensky in banning 11 left-wing parties.
We condemn any far right or fascist group, on either side of this conflict, seeking to take advantage of the war to build their own organisation.
In particular we condemn the supply of weapons and training to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion by the United States, Britain and Israel. The Azov battalion has been integrated into Ukraine’s armed forces and is part of the Ukrainian state. Ukraine is the only state in the world to hold a national holiday in memory of a Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera, whose forces were responsible for the deaths of at least 200,000 Jews, Gypsies and Poles during the war.
This war is a proxy conflict between Russia and the United States, prompted by NATO expansion into central and Eastern Europe. We oppose this expansion and any intervention in this conflict by NATO forces. Ukraine should become a neutral state which is not aligned militarily with either Russia or NATO.
We oppose sanctions against Russia. Economic sanctions will disproportionately hit Russian workers and may well strengthen support for Putin.
We note the hypocrisy of those in the UK government criticising the state repression of protest in Russia whilst the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill will serve to create similar restrictions on protest and democracy in the UK.
We note the hypocrisy of those who call sanction on Israel ‘anti-Semitic’ at the very same time that starvation sanctions are being levelled on Russia.
We note the hypocritical criticism of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by those who are supporting the bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia.
We call for refugees from this and other conflicts to be welcomed.
We condemn the attempts by Keir Starmer to shut down such discussion on NATO within the Labour Party and to bully and threaten those with different views.
We support the right of secession of the 2 breakaway republics, Donetsk and Luhansk in the face of attacks on ethnic Russians and Russian speaking Ukranians
Russia, hands off Ukraine. Immediate withdrawal of occupation forces.
Solidarity with the people of Ukraine in defence of their democratic rights.
No trust in NATO, the EU, Biden or Johnson.
Self-determination for the peoples of Donbass and Crimea on the basis of a genuinely democratic referendum.
Mutual demilitarisation of the border territories on either side.
Unity of the workers of Russia and the Ukraine to overthrow their corrupt reactionary oppressors.
Julian Assange 22 April 2022
Socialist Labour Network stands in solidarity with Julian Assange. We condemn the extradition process being conducted by the UK and USA. Julian Assange is a journalist who revealed matters of grave importance about US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalists have a duty to hold the powerful to account and to uncover wrongdoing by governments and inform the people. If Julian is extradicted to the USA, every journalist, of any nationality, residing in any country could be vulnerable to the same process. This is demonstrably wrong. We resolve to continue to campaign for the immediate release of Julian Assange.
All Member Meeting 27 April 2022
Fuel and Cost of Living Crisis
1. This All Members’ Meeting of the SLN resolves to initiate or support local Can’t Pay Won’t Pay campaigns against the massive rise in energy bills.
2. We demand that benefits are increased in line with inflation, as it affects the poorest people, and that the £20 cut in Universal Credit is restored.
3. People have the right to be able to access gas and electricity supplies whether or not they are able to pay for them. The same applies to food.
4. Our aim is to build a mass political campaign.
5. In the first instance we aim to build local groups as part of a national campaign.
6. We call for the nationalisation and democratic ownership of the energy sector/utility companies
7. It is also important to consider the impact of poor and insecure housing on working and non-working people
Solidarity with the Left in France
This organisation recognises the strides made by the left in France where the centre left has been replaced by La France Insoumise and that party has engaged the Communist Party of France, the Ecology Party, and the (centrist) Socialist Party behind La France Insoumise in “La Nouvelle Union des Parties Ecologiques et Socialists” a bloc which will take up the assembly after the June elections. They hope to overturn Macron’s appointment of Prime Minister Borne and change all corresponding appointments. The parties have reached agreement on 601 of the 608 terms of the Insoumise manifesto the sticking points being nuclear energy and NATO. They agree that a new order must come about, a 6th Republic and that to keep to ecological commitments and bring about social change a strategic state for wide planning must replace a state which exists only to safeguard neo-liberalism’s late capitalism and has no interest in or connection with the people of France. Melenchon’s manifesto makes it clear that what is intended is the ending of high finance capital and free market determinism altogether and the other parties are in agreement.
This organisation congratulates all those involved in the enormous task of co-ordination as well the effort that has continued unabated since 2017 to bring about Jean-Luc Melenchon’s 22% vote in the presidential election. We wish them well for the June elections in solidarity.