Ted Grant

Constitution of Workers' International League, 1942

Written: August 1942
Source: 1942 pamphlet
Transcription/Markup: Emil, 2002
Proofread: Emil, 2002


Workers' International League (Fourth International).


Workers' International League aims to organise the working class for the establishment of a Workers' Government (the Dictatorship of the Proletariat) which will end the present system of capitalist ownership of the land and the means of producing wealth and substitute in its stead the common ownership and workers' control of these means of production.


(a) Any person who accepts the principles and Constitution of W.I.L. and who participates in its activities under the direction of the local, district and national bodies, is eligible for membership of the organisation.

(b) Application for membership shall be made in writing on the prescribed application form, or in such manner as may be directed by the C.C. and must be endorsed by two full members of the organisation.

(c) On acceptance in the local by a majority of members, application will be forwarded to the District Committee for ratification or rejection and from there forwarded to the Central Committee for entry into the Party Register.

(d) Where no local of W.I.L. exists, application for membership may be made direct to the District Committee or Central Committee.

(e) Applicants accepted by the District Committee shall be probationary members for three months, at the end of which period the application is reviewed by the District Committee who will decide to admit the applicant to full membership, extend the period of probation, or exclude the probationary member.

(f) A probationary member may be expelled or admitted into full membership before the termination of the full three months probation.

(g) Members on probation are entitled to a voice on any question, but may not vote and are not eligible to serve as officials of the organisation or members of the District Committee.


(a) The unit of W.I.L. is the "Local", which is based on an industrial or area group of not less than five. Where the local exceeds thirty members the District Committee have the right to divide it into separate locals.

(b) Each local shall meet at least once weekly, elect officials once a quarter and conduct its business in accordance with the standing orders guide.

(c) Each local has the power within the limits of the Constitution, to conduct its own business and procedure in accordance with the desires of its members.

(d) Locals shall elect, where necessary, a committee of not less than three, to facilitate the business of the organisation.

(e) Locals shall acquire premises and technical apparatus to conduct the business of the organisation in accordance with membership and financial position.


(a) District Committees shall be set up in the following Districts: London, Midlands, Yorkshire, Lancashire and North West England, North and North East England, Scotland, Wales; or in such districts as the National Conference or Central Committee shall decide, and shall be constituted from delegates from locals within the established district. Large isolated locals may apply to the Central Committee, for the same rights as District Committees.

(b) District Committees shall consist of delegates from not less than three locals, appoint all district officers and shall meet every month.

(c) District Committees are responsible for the direction of all local activities in the district and have the power, within the limits of the Constitution, to decide their own procedure and business in accordance with the desires of District Committee.


(a) A National Conference of the membership represented by delegates from each organisational unit: local, District Committees and Central Committee, shall be convened each year by the Central Committee and shall constitute the highest body of W.I.L.

(b) Locals are entitled to send delegates to National Conference on the basis of one delegate for every 20 members or part of twenty, and shall contribute towards the fares in accordance with the number of delegates.

(c) District Committees consisting of five or more locals are entitled to send delegates to the National Conference and shall contribute towards the pool fare.

(d) Delegates to National Conference shall be elected by ballot.

(e) Members are eligible for election as delegates to Conference after completing six months full membership of W.I.L.

(f) Where locals exist which have no members who have the necessary qualifications as delegates, or where locals desire to send a delegate who is without the necessary membership qualification, they may be represented at Conference by special application to the Central Committee which may grant voting and/or vocal rights.

(g) Locals and District Committees see entitled to submit resolutions to Conference Agenda: C.C. resolutions to be submitted to the membership at least two months prior to National Conference; final resolutions, together with the report of the C.C. shall be submitted to the membership at least three weeks prior to the National Conference.

(h) Conference shall be ruled by Standing Orders Committee elected by Conference.


No binding mandate to its delegate by any body shall be recognised by Conference. All delegates to Conference shall participate with a free vote.


Decisions at National Conference shall be reached by simple majority.


(a) Between National Conference full authority shall be vested in the hands of a Central Committee elected at Conference by ballot and consisting of fifteen members.

(b) The Central Committee shall elect a Political and Organisational Bureau for the conduct of its activities and shall meet at least every two months.

(c) The Political Bureau shall be in permanent session and shall be set up from full time and London members of the Central Committee and shall function from central headquarters, having full powers of National Conference in between sittings of the Central Committee.


(a) A National Council shall be set up consisting of the Central Committee plus a delegate from each District Committee and shall meet at least once every four months.

(b) The National Council shall be an advisory body except as specified in Article 9 and shall be responsible for maintaining close contact between the National members and the Central Committee.


Special Conferences with the same power as Annual Conference may be called by the Central Committee or by more than one third of the National Council.


Amendments to Constitution may be adopted by a simple majority at the National Conference.


In the event of an emergency, the constitution is suspended and all powers shall be delegated to the Central Committee or such committees as it may set up.



(a) Dues of W.I.L. shall be a minimum of 1/- per week to be divided into three parts: 6d. shall be forwarded by the local treasurer to the Central Committee on the first of each month; 4d. shall be retained by the local for its own funds; and 2d. shall be forwarded to the District Committee on the first of each month.

(b) Members two calendar months in arrears of dues are considered lapsed after due notice of arrears has been given, unless special application for reconsideration is made to the District Committee.

(c) The District Committee and Central Committee have the right to modify the dues of any member in the event of special application.

(d) Locals two months in arrears of dues shall be considered suspended by the Central Committee after due notice has been given.

(e) Members who are not fully paid up shall not be eligible for election as delegates to any Conference or Committee.

(f) Levies: Locals, District Committees and Central Committee have the right to impose levies on the members within the limits of the Constitution.

(g) Locals and District Committees shall issue quarterly balance sheets of all finances in accordance with local standing orders guide.

(h) The Central Committee shall issue a balance sheet of all finances to each National Conference.


(a) The majority decisions of any body are binding on all the members within its jurisdiction.

(b) While co-operating in carrying out the decisions of the majority, all minorities have the right to express dissenting opinions within the organisation, to circularise the membership with any material stating these opinions, and to appeal to higher bodies against any decision with which they disagree. The Central Committee shall maintain a theoretical or internal discussion bulletin as a medium for expressing such dissenting opinions and shall publish material submitted for discussion within twenty-one days of receipt.

(c) The National Conference shall define the limits of any discussion.

(d) Disciplinary action, including censure, reduction to probationary membership, suspension of membership, and expulsion may be taken by the body having jurisdiction against any member committing a breach of discipline or acting in a manner detrimental to the interests of W.I.L. and of the working class.

(e) Charges against any member must be made in writing and the accused furnished with a copy; such charges are considered by the local at a meeting to which the accused member is invited and the recommendation of the local is acted upon by the District Committee.

(f) Any member subjected to disciplinary action is entitled to appeal to the next higher body or to the Annual Conference, the disciplinary action in the meanwhile is upheld.


All who accept the principles and constitution of W.I.L. hereby dedicate themselves to the task of fulfilling its aims and are required to enter the mass organisations of the working class for the purpose of fulfilling these aims.