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Labour Party Conference Resolutions Censored

(July 1977)

From Militant, No. 366, 29 July 1977, p. 3.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

There is growing anger through Constituency Labour Parties following the circulation of the Preliminary Agenda for this year’s Annual Conference [released 23 July]. From reports that we have received to date it appears that well over a hundred resolutions from CLPs and trade unions, have been excluded from the Agenda.

It is striking that, compared to last year’s Agenda, which included 436 resolutions, this year’s prints only 339. This is leaving aside between 30 and 40 amendments to party rules, many of them supported by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and excluded from last year’s agenda, which are being held over until the Final Agenda.

This is an attempted repetition, on an even bigger scale, of last year’s arbitrary use of Standing orders to chop up and politically censor resolutions more blatantly than at any time since the days of Gaitskell and right-wing supremacy in the Labour Party.

Again, as last year, party secretaries have been telephoned by Transport House in an attempt to pressurise them into dropping parts of their resolutions, decided on by Management Committee meetings, as the price of ensuring that they actually appear on the Agenda.

Resolutions calling for a 35-hour week, public works schemes, and other measures against unemployment have been excluded. So have resolutions opposing incomes policy and calling for a minimum wage.

Others calling for industrial democracy and the nationalisation of the monopolies have been ruled out of order.

Just a glance at the Agenda shows that the majority of the remaining resolutions could equally well be classed as “covering more than one subject” or liable to be ruled out of order under the “three-year rule” – the pretexts that have been used for removing particular political policies which CLPs want discussed at conference.

Who is responsible for this censorship of policies and demands by the rank and file? Is it the full-time officials? Has the Conference Arrangements Committee discussed all these resolutions? Does the NEC know what’s going on? Will they intervene on behalf of the disenfranchised Constituency parties and trade unions?

All constituency parties should demand that all resolutions submitted by affiliated organisations must be included in the Agenda. The compositing meetings and conference itself, after considering the Conference Arrangement’s Committee’s recommendations, must decide what is debated at our conference in October.

Meanwhile, we appeal to all CLPs and other affiliated bodies who may have had their resolutions dropped, cut or queried to inform us urgently, so that the rank and file of the party may be fully alerted to what is happening.

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