Joint policy statement by SGUC

Submitted by AWL on 13 February, 2005 - 8:38

Socialist Green Unity Coalition: IN THE looming general election a joint campaign against Blair is being mounted by five left parties and some independent socialists.

These will put forward an alternative to the right-wing policies of privatisation, war and environmental destruction offered by both the major parties and the Liberal Democrats too.

We believe that the New Labour party of Blair and Brown has deprived the working class of political representation, and we want to restore a workers’ voice in politics. We believe MPs should earn the average wage of a skilled worker and we are standing to give voters a chance to elect representatives who will not profit personally from election.

We are socialists. We believe that there is a fundamental contradiction between the needs of capital in an exploitative, profit-driven system, and the needs of the large majority of human beings here and throughout the world. We stand for a thoroughgoing restructuring of the economy and society as a whole, based on common ownership under democratic working class control of the major concentrations of productive wealth.

We are green socialists. We want integrated, expanded and publicly-owned and run transport services, and a planned conversion of the energy industries to sustainable technologies. These are just the first steps needed to stop capitalist greed destroying the world in which we live through global warming and environmental destruction.

This joint election campaign includes individuals and parties who each have our own programme and policies corresponding to the differing perspectives we have on how socialist and environmental change can best be achieved. But all our candidates will campaign for:

AN END TO PRIVATISATION

Public services

  • All public services should be publicly owned and democratically controlled. There is no place for private finance, control or management in public services.

Stop privatisation

  • Stop and reverse privatisation, including covert privatisation by schemes like the so-called "Private Finance Initiative" and "Public Private Partnership".

Public utilities

  • Privatised public utilities should be returned to public ownership. End the exploitation of the utilities and communications industries by big business profiteers; bring them back into public ownership and under democratic control.

Public railways

  • Renationalise the railways immediately.

Public ownership

  • Common ownership of the major concentrations of productive wealth.

EXTEND THE WELFARE STATE TO END POVERTY

Progressive taxation

  • Reverse Thatcher’s and Blair’s huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

No means testing

  • No means testing of rights and benefits.

No poverty

  • Raise the income or benefits of every child and adult above the poverty line.

Free care

  • Free residential and nursing care for the elderly and disabled.

Increased pensions

  • Universal state pensions linked to the higher of prices and earnings with its value restored accordingly.

EMPLOYMENT

Right to work

  • Give everyone the opportunity to work and a fair income as the main aim of economic policy.

Minimum wage

  • We support the TUC demand for a minimum wage level of half median male full-time earnings, with no exemptions, as a first step.

35 hour week

  • Cut the working week to 35 hours and expand public services, so as to ensure the right of every worker to a decent job.

Trade union recognition

  • Establish workers’ rights to join a trade union and have their union recognised.

Right to strike

  • The right, for all employees, to take strike and solidarity action without legal intimidation.

Employment rights

  • Full employment rights for all employees from the first day of employment.

Repeal anti-TU laws

  • Repeal the anti trade union laws.

DEMOCRACY

Proportional representation

  • Use proportional representation in all elections.

Local government

  • Restoration of powers and funding to democratically elected local government.

Abolition of the monarchy

  • Abolish the monarchy and the House of Lords.

MPs wage

  • We believe MPS should earn the average wage of a skilled worker and we are standing to give voters a chance to elect MPs who will not profit personally from election.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Civil Liberties

  • We are opposed to civil liberties being trashed in the name of the "war on terror".

No ID cards

  • No compulsory national ID cards.

Trial by jury

  • Keep the existing right to trial by jury; no judge-only courts.

End internment

  • End the abhorrent practice of imprisoning people without trial.

Women’s rights

  • Full equal rights and opportunties for women including effective equal pay and women’s right to control of their own bodies, including the right to choose.

No compromise on equality

  • Positive action to oppose racism - including racist attacks and institutional racism – sexism, homophobia and all forms of unjust discrimination.

Right to asylum

  • Defend the right to asylum and asylum seekers’ rights.

CLIMATE

Global warming

  • Make the prevention of global warming a top priority nationally and internationally, with immediate action to reduce fossil fuel use.

Aviation fuel

  • End the exemption from tax for aviation fuel, which causes huge global warming.

Species loss

  • Take and support action to stop the current large scale extinction of species.

POLLUTION

Polluter pays

  • Make corporate polluters pay for the immediate and long term effects of their pollution, including health costs.

Publicise pollution

  • Monitor local air, water and other pollution levels and publicise the results.

Integrated transport

  • Provide an integrated system of convenient, accessible, cheap, efficient public transport, publicly owned and run.

Recycling

  • Bring in mandatory targets for recycling for manufacturers, retailers and local authorities.

Sustainable energy

  • Planned conversion of the energy industries to sustainable technologies.

FOOD

Local food

  • Favour local food over food transported long distance, by means of planning and other law and the tax system.

Stop food mountains

  • Stop subsidising wasteful over-production in the UK and the European Union and stop harming third world producers by dumping subsidised food on their countries.

HEALTH

Free NHS

  • The National Health Service should be free to all at the point of need, and we will bring back free prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatment.

Public NHS

  • The National Health Service should be publicly provided and democratically controlled, with no privatisation.

Investment in health

  • Increased investment to help abolish waiting lists and dramatically improve mental and community health care.

No private health subsidy

  • No tax concessions or other state support for private hospitals or private health insurance.

HOUSING

No housing privatisation

  • No more privatisation of housing, in any form including "arms length companies".

Public housing

  • A mandate for local authorities to build good quality houses and flats for affordable rents, and central government funds for this.

EDUCATION

Free education

  • Education should be free, including higher education, with no student fees; replace loans by non-means-tested maintenance grants.

Public education

  • State education should be publicly provided.

Comprehensive education

  • All state education should be comprehensive, with no selection, providing equal education opportunities for all under democratic local control.

No league tables

  • Abolish league tables and the current excessive testing of children.

No private education subsidy

  • No tax concessions or other state support for private schools or private fees as a step towards the abolition of private education.

Secular education

  • State education should be secular, with no religious indoctrination in state schools.

PEACE

Troops out of Iraq

  • No to the occupation of Iraq.

No war for oil

  • Peace, not war for oil.

Palestine

  • Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.

Support Iraqi workers

  • Support Iraqi workers in their struggles to build and defend independent trade unions and working class political representation.

No nuclear weapons

  • Immediate and complete unilateral nuclear disarmament.

No weapons in space

  • Oppose US plans to put weapons in space and use it as a theatre of war, threatening earth.

Arms spending

  • Cut arms spending and use the money on public services.

Arms trade

  • End the arms trade.

LAW

Accountable police

  • Local democratic accountability of the police.

De-criminalise drugs

  • Education and treatment for drug abusers, not criminalisation that fuels crime.

INTERNATIONAL

No IMF bullying

  • Oppose the IMF forcing poor countries to adopt right wing economic policies like privatisation.

Cancel debt

  • Cancel all debt owed by poor countries.

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