What will be in Labour’s Green New Deal motions?

Submitted by AWL on 24 September, 2021 - 10:55 Author: Sacha Ismail
Labour for a Green New Deal graphic

There has been controversy around the Green New Deal motions to Labour Party conference (25-9, Brighton), after the “Green Jobs Revolution” motion promoted by Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND) was ruled out by the Conference Arrangements Committee. Following protests it was reinstated.

“Green Jobs Revolution”, submitted by 22 CLPs, is one of several left-wing motions in the Green New Deal section. There are also CLP motions under the title “Global Climate Justice” and motions from the FBU, BFAWU and TSSA unions.

Then there is a more right-wing or conservative motion from the GMB, some leadership-supporting CLP motions and one from Community focused almost entirely on the steel industry. All motions here.

Judging by what took place in 2019, the compositing meeting is likely to produce one composite motion involving GMB and most likely supporters of the Starmer leadership; and one from left-wing CLPs and unions.

In 2019 both composites were passed (though much of the left-wing motion was then ignored, including under the Corbyn leadership). Left-wing activists demanded a third motion including policies that did not make it into the main left composite, including public ownership of the banks and an end to airport expansion, but the CAC reneged on its promise to allow that (this kind of issue may arise again this year). For all three 2019 texts see here.

There many important demands included in the various left-wing climate motions. This is far from an exhaustive list, but I would highlight the following in particular as crucial things to fight to include and make a fuss about more generally:

1. Repeal of all anti-union laws, so workers can strike and take action over climate issues (this is included in the FBU and BFAWU motions with a good explanation of why; and the basic demand is in the LGND motion).

2. Free publicly owned public transport (FBU/BFAWU; in LGND free transport limited to buses).

3. More on the green jobs we want to win: that they should be secure, well-paid and unionised (in various motions); that there should be millions (FBU/BFAWU, LGND); and importantly that they should be “with publicly owned entities” (LGND).

4. Public ownership of energy (FBU/BFAWU, with good explanation that it means full public ownership; more briefly in LGND).

5. Other public ownership including water, transport, mail, telecoms (LGND).

6. Internationalist demands including debt cancellation, linking up with trade union, environment and indigenous activists internationally, and welcoming climate refugees (Global Climate Justice); sharing of technology and resources (LGND).

7. Democratic public ownership of banking and finance (FBU/BFAWU; Global Climate justice has a formulation about “public control”; LGND includes a different and much more limited demand for public investment banks, rather than taking over the existing big banks).

Comrades will obviously be keen, and rightly, to avoid regressions from the policy passed in 2019. But, difficult though it may be in these circumstances, we should also fight to take it further, including through the essential demand for public ownership of the banks.

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