The question of the environment is important to us all. The issues involved are comprehensive, because the greatest threat to the human race is the power and influence of the transnational corporations' (TNCs') utter contempt for the quality of life for all of us. The anarchy of global capitalist development is destroying the very fabric of those elements that sustain life for all human, animal and other life forms. For the NCP to continue to defend that fabric, is to give leadership and ally us with those who see that defence in single-issue terms. Many of those expose single TNCs as the menace, though some are beginning to get more political in the process. We must bring our class ideas into these movements, but we must avoid dogmatic and sectarian approaches if we are to win them for the socialist alternative. For, as Lenin says, we must win allies in every strata of society in mobilising them into the fight against the threats by the imperialists to the whole human race. We can be confident that we shall prevail.
We call upon the new Central Committee to review and update our policy
on the environment.
We call on the new Central Committee to actively pursue a policy
to mobilise young people with the following proposals. All state
education must be free at all levels - to be funded by the Chancellor of
Exchequer introducing a progressive tax system heavily weighted against
the rich and a wealth tax. This would abolish fees and loans, would
include grants to all those needing them, so that there is no hindrance
to any student wishing to enter higher education opportunities in the nation's
interests - not just to create more entrepreneurs wanting to get rich in
the city. That there must be guarantees of long term employment when
studies are concluded, so that their resources are sufficient to provide
a dignified pension in retirement in later life.
No to any strike ban move
Congress opposes any move by the government to impose any form of abolition of the right to strike in the public services.
Low pay is endemic in this sector, with wages being driven down, even including higher paid workers at the National Minimum Wage level of £3.60 an hour. A no -strike law would enable employers to worsen pay and conditions and hire-and-fire at will.
The strike weapon is the most powerful means of conducting industrial struggle in the last resort. Any attempt at preventing the use of strike action by establishing it in law automatically threatens working people as a whole.
Anti-trade union legislation has systematically undermined workers' ability to maintain exclusively legal means of redress for attacks on their livelihoods.
A no-strike law would represent a serious step in the already gradual
repressiveness of the state. It would be a landmark change endorsing
further what the party has identified in its formulation of creeping fascism.
The future of Britain, our party and any advance to socialism depends on us getting the youth on our side.
The youth of this country, together with the pensioners, have been the subject of attacks on their standards of living by the Tory and Labour governments.
The education they receive is continually under attack, both its content and resources. The teachers who give of their best are constantly vilified and denigrated. If children show ability, their future depends on either their parents digging deep into their pockets or the students having to take loans. Thus capitalism gets its clutches on them early.
When they leave school there are few apprenticeships available to them and there are few training schemes of any quality. Most jobs that are available are on a hire and fire or short term basis and are poorly paid. Many of the youth services formerly run by local authorities have been lost in the continuing cutbacks. There is practically no provision for occupying the youngsters constructively.
When they want to settle down, there is very little affordable housing for them.
Congress instructs the new Central Committee to consider developing
a policy for youth that will involve them in the struggle for education,
jobs and housing and at the same time win them for the ideology of our
Genetically Modified Foods
There is growing concern, not only in Britain but in countries throughout the world, about food production and food safety. This ranges from distrust of bio-technology and the development of Genetically Modified (GM) foods in particular, health problems linked to food - such as BSE, E-Coli, Salmonella, Listeria and so on, the use of growth promoting hormones and antibiotics in livestock raising, pesticides, artificial fertilisers, unequal distribution of food around the world as a result of economic inequality, and loss of control over agriculture by third world countries as trading rules in the interests of the transnationals increasingly set the agenda.
These developments are not surprising since agriculture is as much subject to the effects of the capitalist system - of which it is part - as manufacturing industry and all other parts of national economies and international trade.
We see in Britain a growing gap between small and large farms with an increasing trend towards the large farming enterprises buying up the bankrupt small ones. This monopolisation is a feature of capitalism.
The powerful, internationally active bio-tech industry, which has among other things produced GM technology, has already succeeded in penetrating the agricultural industries of many countries and is seeking to further consolidate and extend its power. It has raised fears in European countries over the dangers of unleashing inadequately tested and potentially harmful plants and animals into the environment and the food chain and reducing bio-diversity. This is being countered by pressure groups and consumer rejection.
In the third world it is using the already existing trading rules on intellectual property to control the markets in seeds and other agricultural products. Sterile seeds (which necessitate the re-purchasing of seeds each year) are ruinous to farmers in the poorest countries. Monsanto, one of the largest bio-tech firms, has recently said it was withdrawing these seeds - but this is almost certainly a temporary move to redeem its corporate image.
GM foods and other western-produced farm-use chemicals, fertilisers, feeds, pesticides and so on are supposed, according to the companies' propaganda, to be progressive in their purpose which they claim is to boost production and so reduce world hunger. In reality the very opposite is the case - those capitalist agri-business empires increase hunger by reducing bio-diversity and ensnaring third world farmers into being dependent on their products.
Their claims are based on a lie - that millions go hungry because there is a problem of producing enough food. The truth is that millions go hungry because they are held in poverty by capitalism. It is not that there isn't enough food-producing capacity, but that there is grossly unequal distribution of wealth in the world.
We can see that this is so when we note the efforts that are made to actually restrict food production - practices such as EU set-a-side policy and food stockpiling to keep prices up.
These issues demonstrate the failure of capitalism to provide even the basic necessities of life for most of the world's people and that it puts the health and well-being of people at risk because it is only concerned about the making of private profits. Only socialism can resolve these problems. These economic and political realities need to be consistently explained and put before people.
Our immediate demands are -
1. That bodies responsible for inspecting and regulating food safety should be adequately funded by Government and should be completely independent of the companies involved in the industry.
2. That all food should be clearly and fully labelled - including the
presence of GM ingredients.
3. That the ban on GM crop production, currently imposed for three years, be extended so that no such crops are commercially grown until the long-term effects are known.
4. That we should press the Government to oppose the sale of sterile (terminator) seeds on the global market.