From the August 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard
The following Composite Motion and amendments were carried at a Conference of the AUEW held at Blackpool in May:
COMPOSITE MOTION No. 12
This Representative Council demands that the Parliamentary Labour Party carry out policy formulated by the organised Labour Movement and decided by the Labour Party Annual Conference and in pursuance of these demands recognises the necessity for a Labour Government to pursue a clear socialist programme.
FIRST AMENDMENTAdd at the end:- This programme should be committed not only to the pursuance of social justice but also to the maintenance of the basic freedoms of thought, speech and association and the people’s rights to be ruled by a freely elected government.
SECOND AMENDMENTAdd at end:- Conference therefore calls upon the NEC to demand a change in the Labour Party constitution such that the parliamentary party is duty bound to advocate and implement policies determined by Annual Conference.
FOURTH AMENDMENTAdd at end: - Furthermore, in pursuance of these demands and recognising the necessity for the next Labour Government to pursue a clear socialist programme, Conference calls on the EC to campaign both within TASS and the wider trade union movement for the active participation of workers in the Labour Party. Conference considers that this is the way to ensure that the Labour Party and the next Labour Government adopts these policies.
As a contribution to the debate our Comrade J. E. Flowers opposed the Resolution as follows:
Mr. President and fellow delegates, I wish to oppose the substantive Resolution and also to its being sent anywhere, TUC, AUEW or the Labour Party, for the following reasons.
As a Socialist recognising the class struggle, I am sympathetic to the struggle of the International working class, whether it be in Chile, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Russia, USA or Great Britain. So I am an active Trades Unionist, although knowing that TU activity is purely defensive against the Master Class. But I find the Labour Party and our Union this week only interested in reforms of capitalism not in its abolition. This abolition can only be achieved by political action by the overwhelming majority of the working class understanding and desiring it—i.e. the establishment of Socialism or Communism. These words mean the same thing, a classless, moneyless society.
Socialism therefore means: A system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of wealth production and distribution by and in the interest of the whole world community. This has not been the object of the Labour Party, supported as it has been recently by Lord Soper, Paul Foot, Tariq Ali, and now Enoch Powell, none of whom define what they mean by Socialism.
The Labour Party since its inception in 1906 has never had as its object the establishment of Socialism as described earlier. It has been reformist and supports the retention of capitalism, State or Private. The sale of the tools of war is as much a normal aspect of capitalism as is poverty, unemployment, racialism, sex discrimination, capitalist-oriented education, and housing shortages, from which technicians, as workers, suffer.
Marx and Engels, the founders of Scientific Socialism, insisted that the slogans for the working class should be “The abolition of the wages system” and “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a world to win.”
I ask you to reject this Motion and its submission to the AUEW or the Labour Party.