The important Labor Party electoral program was among the many resolutions that came in for a long series of debates.
In 1996, the founding convention decided not to endorse candidates or run candidates for public office and instead set up a committee to develop an electoral strategy. District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen served on that committee; the committees report was endorsed by the LP Interim National Council and referred to the convention.
RUNNING FOR OFFICE
Last months Pittsburgh convention adopted the report on the partys future electoral strategy, deciding: "The Labor Party will run candidates for public office in order to elect representatives to positions where they can help enact and enforce laws and policies to benefit the working class."
Electoral politics is not "the only tool needed to achieve working class power," delegates said. "Unlike other political parties, the Labor Party will be active before, during and between elections, building solidarity in our communities, workplaces and unions."
The party will run candidates only where basic criteria are met, to ensure that campaigns are credible. A national committee will review all applications for LP electoral campaigns.
Party backing will go only to Labor Party members running as Labor Party candidates. Elected officials who ignore the partys platform will not be allowed to run for re-election as LP candidates.
Although the UE and other national union delegations backed the report, a vocal minority of delegates had reservations.
Some thought the electoral program gave too much power to the national organization; the majority argued that running candidates is a serious proposition that requires accountability, sufficient resources and national coordination. Some delegates wanted to eliminate the requirement that candidates run solely on the Labor Party line; their amendment was defeated. Another amendment, also defeated, would have allowed the Labor Party to endorse candidates who are not party members. Supporters argued that the Labor Party shouldnt put itself in the position of competing with parties with similar programs. Opponents argued that such cross-endorsements would dilute the Labor Partys power and identity.
DOUBLE THE SIZE
Delegates unanimously approved a resolution which sets a goal of annually doubling the membership rolls through individual recruiting, expanded outreach to unions and campaigns that lend themselves to party-building. The convention also committed the Labor Party to building local organizing committees that are easy to join and encourage involvement in the partys campaigns.
A party with a mass membership will have to be built person by person, said Ed Bruno, chairperson of the conventions organizing committee. The partys New England organizer and a former UE national officer, Bruno said, "All of our experience tells us people will join if we ask them, if we discuss the issues with them."
And the Labor Party knows the issues. The convention endorsed these major campaigns:
UE News Labor Party Convention Coverage
From a UE perspective, here's a look at the Labor Party's First Constitutional Convention ...
Here are the event-by-event summaries distributed to the delegates attending the Labor Party's First Constitutional Convention.
Day One Summary
Day Two Summary
UE News - 12/98
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