Sunday, August 31, 2008

Convention of the Left: public statement

The convention of the left is taking place in Manchester from September the 21st to the 24th, to coincide with Labour's Party conference in that city. They've just released this public statement;

We explicitly challenge Labour’s programme of warmongering, neo-liberal privatisation and failure to tackle environmental destruction.

We believe that there is an alternative. The wealth exists in the world to abolish famine and poverty and to pay for our essential needs; the debt-fuelled culture of conspicuous consumption does not produce a fairer or happier society – and is anyway unsustainable; and peaceful collective public enterprise is preferable to the private profit-making of the unregulated market and its escalating competition for scarce resources. The problem is capitalism, which produces only for profit not need, which destroys the environment and carries out endless warfare in pursuit of market domination.

But we also believe that we must win these arguments. The Left is weak and has been repeatedly forced on the defensive. We must find ways to develop and promote alternative positive policies and demands – of peace, social and environmental justice, public ownership, workers’ rights, civil liberties and equality.

We must join together with all those seeking a better society, as an anti-capitalist left fighting for an alternative socialist society.

Question Time For The Left

The Convention of The Left therefore aims to debate alternative strategies that are critical of capitalism – environmentally and socially just, inclusive and peaceful, pluralist, tolerant – in pursuit of a greater common objective that benefits the many and not the few. We aim to ask ourselves the essential questions – the whole Convention is a kind of “Question Time For The Left” – and we hope to arrive at some of the answers.

We also aim to encourage participation from below, not top-down platforms. We want to start defining new ways of working - so that we can join together in making policies, putting forward demands and campaigning in practice - regardless of the organisations (or none) that we may belong to or support.

Participation in Debate - Unity in Action

We are not saying that this means the construction of another political party. But we do resolve to find ways that the Left as a whole can co-ordinate action both nationally and locally wherever we can. We are not aiming to displace existing united campaigns, but to strengthen these and to encourage working together across the widest range of organisations and individuals.

We therefore resolve to encourage the development of local left forums, where appropriate, and to support those already in existence, in order to promote discussion and co-ordinate united action across the Left, in an inclusive, participatory, pluralist, tolerant and democratic way.
We also resolve to hold a “Recall Event” on Saturday November 29th at which we will seek agreement to ideas and demands emerging from the Convention.

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