It's time to bite the bullet

Greg Tucker

The following is a transcript of part of the discussion at the RMT conference on working class political representation. Greg Tucker is a leading member of the International Socialist Group. You can read our account of the conference here


Greg Tucker Waterloo RMT and a member of Respect, there are a lot of people here who understand that the Labour Party is no longer a vehicle for the working class. There are still members  of the RMT in this room who still believe its possible to change the Labour Party but even they have to accept that their argument was passing them by and that within the RMT most members of the RMT now agree that the Labour party is dead and they have to find some other way of fulfilling political needs.

The Labour party reformable, you can't bring it back. We do need though a political vehicle and it is not just enough to sit back and wait for something good to come along. It's not just enough, even though it's very good, to change our arrangements with political representation in parliament and to have John M working on our behalf, good as though that is, we have to do more than that, we have to be seen to act not just to wait for someone to come along but to act now ourselves.

I personally have taken the decision to join respect and be part of respect and help build it up and we'll be standing candidates in the local elections and I'm sure we're going to do very well from that and I would endorse the appeals that have been made from around this room today that we have to unite and have have united slates where we can and  not to stand in competition with each other.

We've all shown in Respect the massive steps forward that we can make.

Comrades talked about PR, proportional representation, and I support them in the fight for it but Respect has shown that even without proportional representation we can win parliamentary seats in the worst of conditions.

I would  urge people to join Respect and to join with us to further that campaign but I don't stand up here to ask the RMT to affiliate to respect I stand up to ask the RMT to build something even  bigger and something even better and I think that is possible

today's conference has been an amazing step forwards an historic victory in terms of moving this debate on but it is up to the RMT now to go back and actually to discuss as quickly as possible to take even more steps to make this even more of a reality

to actually bite the bullet and decide that the time has come now to move towards forming a new party let's hope that we can do what's been said by everybody here today learn together first of all to build a real practical experience of acting together in fighting for our demands

but actually also building the political formation necessary to actually challenge this Labour Party I agree with a large part of what was said by one of the other RMT speakers earlier about the history of our movement was a big step forward when they took those steps in fighting to form that representation committee and then the labour party and he talked about how it took 14 years before the labour party really came into existence

it has to be said in terms of our history actually the campaign to win that battle in 1900 started in 1890 ten years before there was a long campaign inside our movement to win that even before 1900 i hope it isn't going to take us 24 years to form a new socialist party worthy of where we are today. Let's move much faster than that and let's see the RMT executive go back today and start their discussions and come up with practical proposals on how we can move forward.




March 2006

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