We, the undersigned, believe that now is the time to restore Clause 4 to Labour’s constitution.
Clause 4 was Labour’s original commitment to end capitalism and bring about the socialist transformation of society. It was adopted by the Labour Party in 1918, but removed by Tony Blair when he established New Labour.
Under Blair, the party leadership championed PFI and privatisation. Blair's aim was to destroy the Labour Party as a socialist party. “My vision for New Labour is to become as the Liberal Party was in the nineteenth century,” stated Blair. The removal of Clause 4 was part of this agenda.
Now New Labour is dead. The party has been transformed under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. It is time to bring back bold socialist policies.
Support for nationalisation has been rising. In opinion polls, over 80% support the nationalisation of the utilities and the railways. 50% even agree that we need to take over the banks.
Notably, this backing for nationalisation exists despite the lack of any mass campaign in favour of public ownership, and despite the enormous opposition from the Tory press.
We must learn the lessons of past Labour governments. You cannot plan what you do not control. And you do not control what you do not own.
Labour must not nationalise the losses and privatise the profits. In the past, nationalisation has only been done to bailout bankrupt industries. Massive over-compensation was handed over to the former owners. And management was placed in the hands of bureaucratic boards.
We believe nationalisation should be of the key profitable sectors: the commanding heights of the economy, to use the words of Nye Bevan. Nationalised industries should be run under workers’ control and management.
Today, privatisation has been completely discredited. The current crisis of capitalism is a decade old, with no end in sight.
We need a Labour government committed to fully carrying out the socialist transformation of society, as encapsulated in Clause 4. This would mean “a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power in favour of working people and their families.”