Saving the British Labour Party -- the Fourth Socialist Conference

Martin Spellman martinwriter at
Fri Jul 4 03:41:25 MDT 2003

	This is the text of the flyer for this event, which takes place in London
tomorrow. The real thing is headed by pictures of Keir Hardie (one of the
original Labour MPs); Clement Attlee (Prime Minister of the 45-51 Labour
Government and John Smith (Labour Leader before Tony Blair) -- like this is
a tradition we want to continue???

	I was sent this by a friend and another asked if I was going -- I'm not.
I've been to this before, several times already. They have been having them
for something like 15 years. I went to what was then the Chesterfield
Conference (held in what was then Tony Benn's constituency) back in 85 or
86. All that has happened since is that everyone is older; some have died
and the conferences have got smaller and less interesting to the media. The
media will be there, of course, in case George Galloway says something
reportable. But I bet if you asked all those aged 50 and over to leave
tomorrow there wouldn't be many left in the hall.

	What is striking about this is the sheer amount of platform speakers
(enough for a conference themselves). They will take up most of the day
yakking on. There clearly isn't any provision for much intervention from the
floor. It is as if these people knew what it was all about and all we had to
do was draw near and listen. But if that were true why are we in the state
we are? These meetings show what is wrong with the movement as much as what
could be done to put it right. In some ways it reminds me of the demise of
the CP (though that was on a much smaller scale): tradition is invoked to
try and save the party and restore it to its former glory but it is all too
little too late and no one really cares anymore. Part of the problem, I
suppose, is that many of the participants have invested so much time, since
they left school or university, trying to transform the Labour Party in
various ways that they are unable to see any other perspective.

	Non-Brits in this group will note 'everything stops for tea' at 3.15 ;-)

Martin Spellman



4th Socialist Conference

Convened by the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs

Saturday 5th July 2003

9.30am - 4.30pm

TUC Congress House

Great Russell Street

London WC1

(Tottenham Court Road tube)

Chair: John McDonnell MP


Ken Livingstone – Mayor
 Tony Benn – President

Barry Camfield – TGWU
 Diane Abbott MP – Secretary

Bob Crow – RMT
 Alan Simpson MP – V.Chair

Kevin Curran – GMB
 Alice Mahon MP– V.Chair

Jeremy Dear – NUJ
 Jeremy Corbyn MP – V.Chair

Billy Hayes – CWU
 David Taylor MP – Treasurer

Joe Marino - BFAWU
 John Cryer MP

Tony Woodley – TGWU
 Mike Connarty MP

Ann Black - NEC
 Ian Davidson MP

Mark Seddon – NEC
 George Galloway MP

Christine Shawcroft - NEC
 Kelvin Hopkins MP

John McAllion - CfS

A Conference for All Labour Party and Trade Union Members


In a wave of triumphalism following the war on Iraq, New Labour is launching
a systematic attack on the basic principles and policies of the Labour
Party. To quote Tony Blair:  “What we have got to do is fundamentally redraw
the way the 1945 welfare state settlement is implemented, and we have got to
do it for health, for education, for the employment and labour markets, and
actually in the longer term for pensions too.”  FT 28.4.03.

New Labour is set to launch in July a programme for the long term
privatisation of education, health and pensions, including an assault on
trade unions rights under the guise of labour flexibility.  Our conference
starts the fightback and brings together Labour and TU members to save
Labour from New Labour.  This major gathering of socialists within our
movement will discuss the policies, campaigns, and organisation needed by a
Labour Government to win back disillusioned supporters and save the party
from extinction.  Unlike New Labour we will concentrate on refounding not
rebranding the party.


9:00 am – Registration

10:00 am - Plenary: Refounding Not Rebranding

Bob Crow,  Kevin Curran, Jeremy Dear, George Galloway MP,

Billy Hayes, Joe Marino, Alan Simpson MP, Tony Woodley,

John McDonnell MP (Chair)

11:30 am – Policy Workshops

Public not Privatised Services
State not Private Pensions
Union Rights not Flexible Exploitation
International Peace not Permanent War
·        Sustainable Economics not Corporate Globalisation

1:00 pm – LUNCH

Young Socialist Campaign Group Fringe Meeting

2:00 pm – Organisational Workshops

Fighting Fascism
Scotland & Wales
North & East of England
Midlands & South West of England
London & South East

3:15 pm – TEA

3:30 pm -  Plenary: Saving The Party

Diane Abbott MP, Tony Benn, Barry Camfield, Jeremy Corbyn MP,

Ken Livingstone, Alice Mahon MP, Mark Seddon,

John McDonnell MP (Chair)


I would like to register for the ‘Save Our Party’ conference. Please tick
the box that applies:

 Organisations £20 per delegate

 Individuals £10

 Unwaged £5






Please make cheques payable to ‘Campaign Group’, and return to:

 ‘Save Our Party’ Conference, c/o Socialist Campaign Group,

Room G10, Norman Shaw South, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

More information about the Marxism mailing list