RMT conference: Not A Penny More To Labour

THE FORTHCOMING annual general meeting (AGM) of the rail union RMT has the opportunity to make a clear call for a new party that will give working-class people a political voice.

A conference delegate

Not only have Labour failed to renationalise the railways but they have also forced through the lunatic PPP scheme on London Underground. The wholesale privatisation of the NHS and our public services is now threatened.

To cap it all, Blair has lied and covered up in order to support Bush and the US oil companies in their invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Those claiming to fight for socialism and workers’ rights in the Labour Party are now isolated and without effective influence. But the elections of Bob Crow as RMT general secretary and the other members of the so-called awkward squad show that trade union members are more determined not to support leaders who are tainted by close association with New Labour.

Those unions, RMT, PCS, CWU, TGWU and others should call for a trade union, workplace and community-based conference to discuss how a new party might be built as a first step to rebuilding a new mass party of the working class in Britain.

Rule changes proposed to the RMT conference from Manchester South Branch (Rule 23 Clause 13) and Stratford No1 Branch (Rule 23 Clause 25), would remove the rules forcing branches and regions to affiliate to the Labour Party and remove the requirement for any candidate the union supports from being a Labour Party member.

The Socialist Party fully supports these changes, which would allow RMT to support candidates from socialist parties and other organisations. More importantly it would open the way to establishing a new mass working-class party.

If any branch wanted to support other campaigns and/or candidates, in line with union policy, then this could be decided without us being hamstrung by rules tying us to New Labour.

We appeal to all delegates to reject the rule change from the Council of Executives (New Clause 26) that would force the union to institutionalise our affiliation to New Labour at a national level.

This proposal is a backward step that would make it impossible to reverse our affiliation, irrespective of New Labour’s attacks, for another three years (the next rule change conference) at least.

This is clearly contrary to last year’s AGM resolution to distance ourselves from New Labour if it continues to impose anti-trade union polices.

This is an extract from The Red Line, produced by Socialist Party and RMT members working on London Underground. Copies are available from PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD. Tel: 02 8988 8764.