The Labour Party’s Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) has sparked outrage by ruling out of order the “Green Jobs Revolution” motion promoted for Labour conference by the Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND) campaign and submitted by at least 21 Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). They have ruled out 45 submissions in all, including one called "Build Back Fairer" about the pandemic and reconstruction, submitted by Newark and Newcastle East CLPs and promoted by Momentum Internationalists. It advocates taxing the rich to attack inequality and reconstruct society.
LGND and others are protesting. The CAC will hear appeals on Monday 20th. The reason given for ruling out motions is that they are too wide-ranging: not, as the rulebook requires, on "one subject". The criterion is obviously extremely slippery: it was little-used in the Blair-Brown years, when few motions were allowed anyway, a lot in the Miliband years, less in the Corbyn years.
The CAC has not ruled some other climate motions from CLPs (including one from Edinburgh Central CLP promoted by Momentum Internationalists). It has not ruled out the climate motions submitted by trade unions: from what we know so far, GMB, Community, FBU, TSSA and BFAWU.
The first two unions are on the right of the party and the last three on the left. GMB just got some pretty conservative climate text passed at TUC Congress and in 2019 it was the main force resisting the left-wing policy passed at Labour conference.
The effect may be that the Labour Party leadership, acting through the CAC, removes 20-plus CLP delegates from the compositing meeting which will decide what reshaped motion or motions on climate go through to conference floor, so they cannot back up the left unions against the GMB.
The Fire Brigades Union, whose members are working at the sharp end of how climate change is unfolding in the UK, has taken a lead on these issues for several years.
The FBU motion to Labour conference includes a clear call to take the banking and financial sector into democratic public ownership (as does the Build Back Fairer motion). As Michael Roberts, author of the FBU's pamphlet on this demand, explains here, it is absolutely essential in order for a programme to combat climate change to have weight and teeth. In this respect the FBU motion is significantly more radical than the LGND one.
The FBU motion also contains a clear formula on repealing all anti-trade union laws, so workers can freely take industrial action over climate issues and drive a radical climate programme.
The left must mobilise to get the Labour for a Green New Deal and Build Back Fairer motions restored. It must mobilise to support the FBU’s demands.
• The FBU is organising a meeting at Labour conference on its proposals for a socialist Green New Deal: 12.30pm on Monday 27 September, "inside the cordon" at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. Details here.