Green Party ‘clause four’ moment?
It didn’t take long to discuss, but one policy motion at today’s Green Party of England and Wales conference marked a line in the turf for the party. It is a part of broader proposals around economic democracy, and reads as follows:
“We will grant employees the legal right to buy out their companies and turn them into workers co-operatives. Buy outs would be funded by a Green National Investment Bank and contingent on the co-ops following green and ethical policies. These co-operatives would localise economic decision-making and give employees incentives for greater productivity.”
There was a bit of a debate about whether this should apply to all companies, or if the motion should be opposed as it implicitly includes small as well as medium and large companies. But one speech about labour rights abuses in small companies put paid to that.
The motion was opposed by one member who said that this was effectively Labour’s old clause four. Much of the conference floor cheered in agreement – yes, it is, yes, that’s what we want. It passed overwhelmingly. And so the Green Party committed to collective ownership of the means of production.