The rail union RMT has called a workers' representation conference for 10 January 2009 at Friends House on Euston Road, London (11:00-15:00 - leaflet attached).
There rumours that the PCS civil service union may also sponsor the conference. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the firefighters' union FBU, has told Solidarity that he will be asking RMT to approach FBU to co-sponsor the conference.
But in any case it is an important initiative, one originating from a motion originating from AWL which got passed at the RMT's Annual General Meeting this year.
Though confidence on the issue is not yet high, many activists feel the need for the labour movement to recover a political voice now that the Brown-Blair Labour Party has definitely stifled any say for the organised working class.
A conference on the same issue called by RMT in January 2006 was so full that over 100 people were turned away, unable to fit into the hall.
The 2006 conference took no motions, and it is not clear whether the 2009 one will. But AWL members will be pushing motions in their union branches, for debate at the conference if that is feasible, and if not to go up through the usual structures of the unions.
We propose: "This branch believes that the working class needs our own independent political representation.
We resolve to send delegates to the conference on working-class political representation which the RMT has called for 10 January.
Our delegates should support moves at that conference to set up a Workers' Representation Movement, based on affiliations from working-class organisations.
That could be done by the RMT calling a delegate meeting for this Workers' Representation Movement, to establish a committee, basic rules and procedures. All unions and socialist groups should be invited to send delegates.
The Workers' Representation Movement should campaign to revive trades councils to form the basis of local workers' representation committees - campaigning bodies of trade unionists, socialists and working class campaigns.
The Workers' Representation Movement will help to identify and build support for socialist candidates in elections who deserve working-class support, recognising that some may be socialist Labour candidates, others non-Labour socialist candidates".
We will also be arguing for RMT in London to approach other unions to set up a cross-London committee with the aim of supporting Trades Councils or other representative working-class bodies in standing socialist candidates in the London borough elections of 2010.
Initiatives may also be possible in other areas. Nottinghamshire Trades Council is already organising a workers' representation conference for its area, to take place in February 2009.