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Terry Fields

Labour Party Executive – TU Section

‘Why I Am Standing’

(3 September 1982)

From Militant, No. 616. 3 September 1982, p. 5.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I am standing for the NEC of the Labour Party, having been nominated by the Fire Brigades Union, and am seeking your support.

At a time when the people of this country are faced with mass unemployment, bad housing, school closures, the National Health Service is starved of finance, and the industrial base of the country destroyed through lack of investment, the Labour Party needs a fighting programme based on the needs of ordinary working people and a willingness to implement such a programme, from the leadership of the Party.

As a member of the NEC of my union and a working fireman, I have been involved in a fight over many years to improve the conditions of my members. As a result, I believe that a return to incomes policy, or public sector cash limits, on the part of the next Labour government, would be a tragedy for the trade union movement, and the lower paid sector in particular.

I stand in support of socialist policies – of accountability at every level and the right to recall elected representatives – for CLPs to select the candidate of their choice and in total opposition to witch-hunts in the Labour party, and for the Labour party to campaign around a socialist programme to force an election and drive the Tories from office.

However, at a time when the right-wing of the Party pays lip service to ‘Unity’, in the same breath it launches a vitriolic attack, in the pages of the capitalist media and in the same language as those patently opposed to the Labour party and to socialism, against members of the Party who have been members for many years and who have fought to have Labour MPs and councillors elected, campaigned to recruit into the Labour Party to create a mass socialist party and fought for democracy within the party.

The disastrous effect of such a witch-hunt would split the party at a time when the call for ‘unity’ should be heeded; but unity around socialist policies to defeat the Tories and their Liberal/SDP allies.

I believe that the decisions of conference should be translated into action, and the whole labour movement should struggle on radical socialist policies in the interests of the majority in society, and break the grip of the parasites who currently control finance, industry and the monopolies. The wealth created by the workers should be put to the use of the workers, and their families, but this can only be achieved by a Labour government taking over the ‘commanding heights; of the economy and drawing up a socialist plan of production to implement such reforms. Labour must act with the same enthusiasm and commitment on behalf of workers as the Tories do their friends – big business interests in this country and abroad.

It is with this in view that I appeal for the support of the Trades Union section in the election to the NEC.

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