On 26th September 2021, Labour’s Conference overwhelmingly passed a composite Green New Deal motion rooted in internationalist solidarity and a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of climate struggles across the globe.
Thanks to the Global Climate Justice motion that originated within Labour International for a Green New Deal, Conference committed Labour to support:
- debt relief for low income country debt held by UK institutions, financially assisting the transition in developing countries and freely sharing technology and resources internationally
- legal recognition of climate refugees’ right to asylum
- linking internationally with indigenous groups, trade unions and groups resisting ecological assault
- linking all future bailout and stimulus eligibility to climate action and just transition plans
- using public procurement to promote decarbonisation, environmental protections and international justice in global supply chains
The overwhelming and passionate support that these ideas received on the conference floor is testament to the appetite of members for meaningful policy to address the fundamental injustice by which those who have contributed least to the problem are suffering most.
It is also the result of months of organising on the part of Labour International for a Green New Deal.
The Road to Conference
Global Climate Justice was LIGND’s first ever campaign, and it has brought together a dedicated and creative group of people who contributed in different ways and at different stages of the process.*
Participation in Momentum’s Policy Primaries was key, as it gave us the platform to run events such as our March motion launch with John McDonnell MP and lent us additional credibility when we reached out to other CLPs asking them to send the motion to Conference, and to Ed Miliband’s office asking for a pre-Conference strategy meeting.
We created our own CLP map for outreach purposes (credit: Nick Clay, NW France), using LI contacts as our starting point. Thanks to collaboration with Matthew Crighton (Friends of the Earth Scotland/Just Transition Partnership), we were able to add a new version of the motion to mix via Edinburgh Central CLP, which rooted our demands more solidly in a Just Transition framing.
Union outreach brought exciting new developments, with both the FBU and BFAWU unions working with us to develop their own sector specific versions of the motion (credit: Richard Brown, Germany/Switzerland).
Our campaign infrastructure – website, social media, campaign video was also built from scratch (credit: David Mishra Newberry, Germany/Switzerland).
Organising at Conference
The Climate Justice delegation was a small, but highly informed and committed minority grouping within the Compositing process (4 CLPs to Green Jobs’ 128). Delegates entered the room well-prepared, having been armed with a detailed briefing document (credit: Richard Cronin, LISEAC). The had also attended a pre-Conference briefing session with contributions byJerome Phelps (Jubilee Debt Campaign), Rosemary Harris (Platform), Sam Knights (climate activist) and Richard Brown (Labour Germany/Switzerland) and were receiving additional support via WhatsApp from Sam Knights and Kate Laycock (Labour Germany/Switzerland).
The Edinburgh Central delegation (Hannah Taylor and Vijay Jackson) were crucial in championing Global Climate Justice demands in compositing and impressed the other delegates so much that it was Hannah who was then asked to second the motion on the conference floor, alongside Matt Wrack of the FBU. Hannah’s speech was electrifying, as were the contributions from a whole host of young delegates determined to put internationalist solidarity at the heart of Labour’s Green New Deal.
The motion was overwhelmingly passed, receiving rapturous applause from CLP and union delegations alike.
What’s next for our Climate Justice campaign?
There is so much for us to build on, including exciting possibilities in terms of positioning ourselves to become part of the bridge connecting workers’ climate struggles in the Global South with those closer to home. Additionally, we and all other Green New Deal activists within Labour have our work cut out if we’re to ensure that the motion passed at Conference is actually implemented in policy terms, particularly in the light of Keir Starmer’s post-Conference refusal to back the nationalisation demands which form such a crucial part of the Green New Deal.
Report by Kate Laycock
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