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If you think all the big political parties are the same - you're right! The bosses have got three parties - isn't it about time we had one of our own?

 

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Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference decisions

 

The following resolutions were passed at the CNWP conference on 12 May 2007:

 

Way Forward for the CNWP

In the fourteen months since its foundation the CNWP has made important steps forward. We now have more than 2,500 signatories to the CNWP ‘declaration for a new workers’ party’. In 2006 we held successful meeting on the need for a new workers party at eleven national trade union conferences, as well as numerous local and regional trade union events. In the recent local authority elections CNWP supporters have been involved in supporting a wide range of candidates; both socialists and other anti-cuts and anti-privatisation activists.

 

However, we believe that we have only scratched the surface of the potential for the CNWP, and that potential is likely to grow in the coming year. This conference takes place just as Blair, after ten long years, finally leaves office. But the end of Blair will not mean the end of Blairism. It is clear that Gordon Brown, Blair’s heir-apparent, fundamentally follows the same anti-working class, pro-big business policies as Blair.

 

Gordon Brown’s programme for government includes cuts and privatisation in the NHS, education and other public services, public sector pay cuts, and the continued support for US imperialism’s policies abroad. Even if, desperate to differentiate himself from Blair, Brown removes British troops from Iraq, he will support them remaining in Afghanistan.

 

The civil service strike on May Day gives some indication of the kind of trade union opposition Brown could face, particularly over the issue of pay. It is not excluded that, under mass pressure from the working-class, Brown could temporarily retreat from some of his government’s most brutal attacks on the working class. However, this would not fundamentally alter the vicious neo-liberal nature of a Brown government. Therefore, while there will be some workers who ‘hope against hope’ that Brown will reveal himself as more left than Blair once elected; these hopes will be shattered on the basis of their experience.

 

We do not believe that New Labour under Brown, any more than under Blair, can be ‘reclaimed’. The Labour Party today is an empty shell without democratic structures. Since 1997 the trade union leaders have given more than £100 million of their members’ money to New Labour. It hasn’t bought them a fiver’s worth of influence.

 

We argue the only way forward for working-class people and trade unionists is to build a new party that actually stands in their interests. Therefore the trade unions should disaffiliate from the Labour Party and begin to build a new mass workers’ party. We will argue that the unions should maintain their political funds and use them to convene a conference of working class organisations to discuss the formation of a party, and to commence the process of drawing up a party programme.

Unfortunately, at this stage the majority of trade union leaders are still mistakenly arguing that New Labour can be changed. If they are sincere in this, those in affiliated trade unions should support John McDonnell MP’s campaign for the Labour leadership, as the only candidate who stands on a programme that is in the interests of trade union members, in that it is against cuts, low pay and privatisation. While we do not think John McDonnell’s campaign will succeed, given the pro-big business nature of the Labour Party, if he gets on the ballot paper, we will call on those trade unionists that have a vote in the election to vote for him.

However if, as we unfortunately expect, the Labour leadership contest or coronation confirms Labour cannot be reclaimed, McDonnell and the other Labour lefts should draw the necessary conclusions from this and throw their weight behind the building of a party that stands for the millions not the millionaires.

 

We also not that, in the absence of a new mass workers’ party, disillusionment with New Labour is also leaving room for the far-right, racist British National Party to make some gains, falsely posing as a party of the ‘white working class’. We believe that, in order to successfully cut across the BNP, a campaign is needed which both exposes the racist, reactionary character of the BNP and works towards building a party that genuinely stands in the interests of all workers.

 

The CNWP will continue to vigorously campaign to popularise the idea of a new mass workers’ party over the coming year. In order to do so we agree the following:

This conference comes at a time when New Labour is moving further to the right and is intensifying its attacks on our public services; we are seeing ever growing privatisation and job losses throughout the public sector. It is vitally important that the CNWP grows and develops over the coming period by being involved with all those struggles taking place up and down the country to defend services. To this end we call on the CNWP to take the following steps as a matter of urgency. 

In addition to this, an updated version of the CNWP declaration was passed, which can be read here, and the following officers were elected:

 

CHAIR – Dave Nellist

VICE CHAIRS – Gerry Byrne; Jeremy Dewar; Clara Pyard

SECRETARY – Roger Bannister

ASSISTANT SECRETARY – Hannah Sell

TREASURER – Greg Maughan

TRADE UNION OFFICERS – Glen Kelly; Terry Pierce

OFFICER FOR WALES – Andrew Price

YOUTH OFFICER – Tracy Edwards

COMMUNITY OFFICER – Mel Mills

PRESS OFFICER – Pete McLaren

 

 

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