Organising our campaign together: your chance to input at LCFM’s 2022 conference

Posted: 29 June 2022

Protesters and trade union banners march down a street, towards the camera, behind the "Labour Campaign for Free Movement" banner. In the foreground, a person turns back towards the other protesters to chant through a megaphone.

There’s still time to register to attend the Labour Campaign for Free Movement’s conference on 16 July in London!

One of the most important things we want from the event is for all of us, as LCFM supporters, to have the chance to contribute to the campaign going forward. Throughout the day, we’ll be having practical discussions about the issues and campaigning, which will feed into the work of our Steering Committee and the working groups you will be able to join. And towards the end of the day, we’ve set aside some time to discuss and vote on two things:

A new Statement of Purpose for the campaign

The current Steering Committee has written an updated version of the Statement of Purpose that our last national meeting agreed in 2019, and you can read it below. The proposed amendments submitted by campaign supporters are at the bottom of this page. Please note that the deadline has passed and new amendments can no longer be put forward – this is so that we can print agendas for accessibility, and so that other supporters can see and think about them. At the conference, supporters will discuss and vote on the amendments and the statement.

A new Steering Committee

Our campaign is headed up by a team that was elected at our last National Meeting, and it’s time for a refresh! The conference will elect a committee of 12 organisers. LCFM doesn’t have staff, so as well as political and strategic decisions, the committee and other volunteers are responsible for carrying out all the campaign’s work, from writing and policy research to organising events and campaign actions.

Please think about putting yourself forward. You can nominate yourself at the registration desk (open 10:30-11am and during lunch) before 13:45. Alternatively if you can’t attend and want to run, please email before 10am Saturday 16 July with your name, email address, phone number and a short statement to be read out (maximum 125 words).

[Draft] New Statement of Purpose for the Labour Campaign for Free Movement

Changes from the 2019 statement are indicated in red: additions by underlining, deletions by strikeout

What we stand for

The Labour Campaign for Free Movement is a network of Labour members and supporters, campaigning in Labour and the trade union movement to defend and extend free movement and migrants’ rights.

We believe that Labour should be a socialist, internationalist party standing for all workers, regardless of birthplace. Our party and our trade unions must counter the scapegoating lies that sow division by blaming migration for stagnant wages, insecurity, unemployment, crumbling services and the housing crisis.

Free movement is a workers’ right – the rich and powerful can always move where they like. Attacks on the rights and freedoms of migrants don’t protect British workers – they undermine all of us.  They make migrant workers more precarious and so vulnerable to hyper-exploitation, driving down wages and conditions for everyone. They divide us with suspicion and hostility, making it harder to unionise and push back.

To turn back the anti-migrant tide, our movement has to confront it and win back hearts and minds, rather than retreating into appeasement and triangulation. We must tell the truth about who is responsible for the problems facing workers: exploitative employers and landlords, and the succession of governments that have protected their interests against ours.

And we must propose real solutions: redistribution of power and wealth; massive public funding to ensure good jobs, homes, services and social security for all; and scrapping all anti-union laws and replacing them with strong legal rights for workers and unions, including strong rights to strike and picket, so that, uniting across divisions, workers can push up wages and conditions. Migrant workers have always been central to trade union campaigns beating low pay and exploitation. To low pay and exploitation, to deprivation and dispossession, we say: build unions, not borders!

Our aims

Ending free movement with Europe is an immediate threat to the rights of millions The end of free movement with Europe was an immense roll-back of rights for millions of workers: both EU citizens who have come here or may want to in future, and UK citizens who will lose lost the right to move, live and work freely in those countries. Labour and our trade unions must defend itfight to restore free movement with Europe. But we cannot stop there.

We must reject policies that determine migrants’ freedoms to move, live and work here based on number caps and targets, on incomes, or on how useful they may be to employers. We oppose the expansion of temporary labour migration programmes, especially those where workers are “tied” to an employer.

We must oppose the brutal policies imposed by the UK government on non-EU migrants, including:

And we must oppose the lethal Fortress Europe policies imposed at and beyond the EUEurope’s borders, standing instead for welcoming refugees and extending free movement beyond Britain and the rest of Europe, with the ultimate goal of equal rights to free movement worldwide.

Our work

Since our foundation in 2017, we exist to argue for these principles and demands within Labour and the trade unions, to secure their adoption as policy, and to make sure that our movement consistently enacts them both in government at all levels, and from opposition.

We must combine parliamentary and extra-parliamentary action. While we campaign to change laws and policies, we also embrace direct action and civil disobedience. These are neither contradictory nor separate: direct action halts injustices in the here and now and also helps to build pressure for reform.

In particular, we know that it is workers who make the world move, and organised workers who can bring it to a standstill. So as a labour movement campaign, we work to foster, support and promote workers’ refusal to cooperate with anti-migrant policies.

We recognise the huge range of other campaigns and organisations for migrants’ rights and we want to work with them: our roles are to help them win over the rest of our movement, and to encourage Labour and union members, individually and collectively, to get directly involved in taking action.

The next period

Given this government’s constant barrage of assaults on migrants’ rights and the changing situation, our work has to be responsive and flexible to a degree. Nevertheless, we agree some broad outlines for our activity coming out of this conference:

Amendments proposed by supporters

Amendment 1

What We Stand For, paragraph 1:
delete “Labour members and supporters” and replace with “socialists, inside and outside the labour party, migrants and refugees”
Our Aims,  paragraph 1, penultimate sentence:
delete “Labour” and replace with “socialists inside and outside the Labour Party”

Amendment 2

What We Stand For, end of paragraph 3:
add: “There can be no non-racist or fair immigration controls – they are inherently racist.”

Amendment 3

Our Aims, paragraph 3, after the point on raids, detention and deportation:
add new bullet point: ” –   stopping the offshoring of migrants and refugees to Rwanda or any other country”

Amendment 4

Our Work, final paragraph, after “we want to work with them”:
add: “especially self-organisation by migrants and refugees”

Amendment 5

The Next Period, end of last bullet-point
add: “Campaign for trades unions to encourage refusal to carry out immigration controls and to defend members to take that stand.  Defiance not compliance!”