The Socialist Unity Network
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Proposed Constitutional Amendment on Platforms  

Andy Newman


Respect has made a very good start both in London and in recent by-elections. Its membership is now higher than was ever achieved by the Socialist Alliance.

To move forward Respect needs to establish itself as a campaigning organisation with a democratic internal life, attractive to former Labour party members, non-aligned socialists and also create space for the future participation of other socialist organisations, such as the Communist Party of Britain, (CPB), the Socialist Party (CWI) and the Alliance for Green Socialism.

One failing of the Socialist Alliance was that many individual activists felt that the decision process often had a predetermined outcome, given the numerical superiority of the SWP. This meant that some members were alienated from fully participating, and many activists were put off from joining. The experience of the Scottish Socialist Party is not a model that can be neatly transposed to English conditions. However, their experience of allowing organised platforms has been broadly positive. This allows individuals a voice and is a mechanism where domination by any one group can be counterbalanced.

In particular, Platforms allow groups of like minded individual members of Respect the opportunity to share ideas and develop alternative policies that can be put forward to the whole party for consideration. This promotes debate, and also allows members of other socialist organisations to join and fully participate in Respect without having to relinquish their existing political identity.

Platforms need to have rights. In particular, the right to organise and distribute material in appropriate Respect meetings. They also need the right to submit motions to conference (although a minimum membership requirement to exercise that right is sensible). If they have a right to submit motions, then they also need the right of representation at conference, otherwise a political minority may have no delegates elected from the branches to move their motion.

However, Platforms also have responsibilities. There is a responsibility to respect the right of others to dissent and to organise. There is also a responsibility not to publicly campaign against the interests of Respect.

In order to allow Respect to reach its full potential as a broad socialist organisation, the following amendment is suggested to the proposed Respect constitution:

To move this amendment we need 20 or more signatories from respect members. If you want to add your name please contact us at: jimjepps@hotmail.com

Delete clause

      4.6) Any group of at least 20 members will have the right to organise within Respect and to present resolutions to conferences - consistent with the agenda of the conference.

Replace with a new section

      6. Platforms

      6.1 Members have the right to organise in Platforms or Tendencies. Respect, as a pluralist party, recognises that a range of political points of view is a healthy source of debate and new ideas.

      6.2 All Platforms/Tendencies should be open - their constitution and aims and objectives should be brought to the attention of the National Committee and should be available to all other party members.

      6.3 Platforms/Tendencies have a right to be heard, to organise meetings, to produce literature, to distribute materials at Respect meetings and, in general, to try to influence and/or change party policy.

      6.4 Platforms/Tendencies of at least 20 members will have the right to present resolutions to conferences - consistent with the agenda of the conference.

      6.5 Platforms/Tendencies of at least 20 members will have the right of representation at annual and other conferences.

      6.6 Platforms/Tendencies are not expected, however, to organise public campaigns against the overall aims or policy of Respect.

 


 

 

September 2004

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If you would like to put your name to this resolution and you are a paid up member of RESPECT please let us know before October 9th

 

For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism