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South Region Labour Meeting

(April 1976)

From Militant, No. 299, 9 April 1976, p. 12.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The 30th annual meeting of the Southern Region of the Labour Party takes place in Worthing this weekend. The agenda reflects the growing opposition from the rank and file to the policies being carried out by the Labour government.

Cuts in public expenditure come in for the harshest criticism. Resolution after resolution deplores the effect the cuts will have on services and employment.

On unemployment, the motion from AUEW (TASS) no. 26 Divisional Council, says that it “pledges increased support for the campaign against unemployment and factory closures. The myth must be shattered that unemployment is a necessary evil to solve the economic problems of capitalism.”

An amendment from Eastbourne CLP outlines the way the fight against unemployment should be developed:

“We believe that redundancies can be halted by the immediate nationalisation of factories threatening closure without compensation and re-instatement of the workforce. We also demand the opening of the books and work sharing with no loss of pay in the case of redundancies without factory closures.

“This economic crisis is the crisis of capitalism and capitalism must pay for any hardship caused by redundancies or closures.”

Eastbourne CLP also takes up the blocking role of the House of Lords and calls for its abolition. The question of the democratic control of Labour Members of Parliament is taken up by the New Forest CLP who “endorse the view that Labour MPs and prospective candidates should be subject to annual re-adoption.”

Fareham CLP in an amendment demands that MPs “should only receive the average wage of a skilled worker as well as receiving necessary expenses these to be audited by the labour movement.”

Hastings CLP condemns the Labour government for sending a representative to the funeral of the fascist dictator Franco, and calling for support to be given to the LYPS campaign on Spain.

There are a number of resolutions that call for a return to Labour’s Manifesto and take up the question of wage restraint in a capitalist society.

The amendment from Brighton Kemptown CLP to the resolution from Portsmouth North, points the way forward for the labour movement.

“Growing unemployment coupled with falling living standards and collapsing social services demand emergency action. A bold socialist programme is needed. This meeting calls for enabling legislation to carry out the nationalisation with minimum compensation under workers’ control and management of the 200 or so monopolies banks and finance houses which control the economy. The investment strike, the anarchy and wastefulness of capitalism could then be ended and replaced with a socialist plan of production which would end the stupidity of 1½ million unemployed at the same time as plant lies idle and achieve an irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power in favour of working people and their families.”

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