people’s charter or charter for a democratic republic?

a guest piece by Steve Freeman

Last Saturday the organizers of the People’s Charter held a conference, at which about 150 people attended. It became clear the Charter is going to be used for agitation around the general election. It has the support of the Labour Representation Committee, various trade unions, and a section of the left in England. More worryingly it is endorsed by the TUC. The demands are sufficiently broad to span across the left and even go as far as New Labour.

I had the opportunity to speak and pointed out that although the original People’s Charter had six democratic demands this new Charter contains no democratic demands at all. We have a broken economy and a broken society. It was surely time for the left to recognize the broken democracy. The massive alienation from parliamentary democracy is both a threat and an opportunity. Continue reading “people’s charter or charter for a democratic republic?”

the people’s charter – a charter for change?

by Chris Kane

Pick up any paper, listen to any news bulletin, and you will find reference to yet another redundancy announcement.

Unemployment is predicted to rise to two million by spring and three million in another year: indicators put it as the worse recession since 1980. Due to the rising cost of living and growing unemployment, arrears are mounting, repossessions are expected to rise to at least 75,000.

The unelected Business Secretary Lord Mandelson says that after the recession there will emerge “a renaissance in UK manufacturing and the expansion of the UK’s knowledge-based industries”. This promise of jam tomorrow is no more comforting than Brown’s job creation schemes, a drop in the ocean of the jobs cull underway. Continue reading “the people’s charter – a charter for change?”

the people’s charter: a charter for change? – updated

In recent weeks and months a “People’s Charter” has been elaborated by a commission involving a number of leaders of the trade unions and the left, notably the leadership of the RMT railworkers’ union but also John McDonnell MP, leading officials in other broadly radical trade unions such as the FBU and NUT, and prominent members of Respect and the Communist Party of Britain. This “charter for change” has not yet been finalised, but it appears that its text will be decided upon and then launched at a rally, rather than openly and democratically discussed across wider layers of our movement. We disapprove of the manner in which this project has been carried out, and do not think much of the current raft of “programmes for government action” issued by left groups which say little about what action we ourselves must take and what movement we need to do it.

However, we publish this draft of the document (see below) in the hope that it will provoke discussion and allow dissenting voices in the labour movement like our own to be heard: as always, feel free to post comments and replies. A more thoroughgoing analysis and critique appears in the second issue of The Commune. Continue reading “the people’s charter: a charter for change? – updated”