Black Rose is the libertarian socialist caucus of the UK Labour Party. We are Labour members who, like all other socialists, believe in the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; but we also realise that the fullest realisation of this core socialist principle can only occur in a system where the working class have direct power over their lives.
Socialism is inherently about democracy – true democracy – for it empowers workers to break the chains of wage slavery and take control of their workplaces. Extending this democracy to all aspects of a person’s life is at the heart of libertarian socialism. It is about taking the means of production from the hands of a powerful minority, whether that be private capitalists or state bureaucrats, and putting it instead into the hands of all.
We are members of the Labour Party because we see it currently as the best vehicle for social change. It is a mass movement of 500,000 members with the biggest trade unions in the country affiliated to it. Many of these members were inspired to join by the party’s turn to the left since the election of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. However, despite massive improvements from the New Labour and Miliband years, we are not entirely content with the party’s policy platform – and nor should any true socialist be! It is our job, as members on the left of the party, to continue to leverage the party’s democratic mechanisms to push its platform in a socialist direction.
This is why Black Rose hopes to launch alongside two motions for Labour Party Conference 2020:
- Our Civilian’ Rights motion is motivated by our libertarian principles, and, if passed, will ensure that the party will finally take a proper anti-authoritarian stance that will directly empower workers, activists, and the ordinary citizen.
- Our 'Portugal Plus' drug decriminalisation policy will also ensure that the party is promoting a public health approach to drug policy, one that is evidence-based and puts the people most affected by our poor drug laws - people with unhealthy addictions and BAME communities - at the heart of our aims.
It is important to note that we are not another electoral faction of the party because we will not be standing candidates in internal party elections or officially endorsing any slates. We are members that firmly identify as being on the left of the party, and thus will be working with and supporting the rest of the grassroots left. We strongly believe in the democratisation of the party, and it is only the Labour left that has consistently fought for it.
We aim to promote extra-parliamentary workplace and tenant organising among the membership, as well as community organising. We believe the party should adopt worker ownership as the centrepiece of its policy offer, as well as the libertarian stances we are putting forward at Conference.
Over the next year we will work with interested Labour Party members to develop our two policy ideas in time for us to push them forward for Conference, as well as to develop a set of structures and governing documents that will formalise us as the Labour Party's Libertarian Socialist Caucus.