Sign this statement – For public ownership of the banks

Introduction

As Owen Jones put it in the Guardian recently, “privately owned banks have proved a catastrophic failure – for our economy, our social cohesion and our politics. There is surely no alternative to public ownership… run by workers, consumers and local authorities, with an obligation to defend the best interests of our communities.” As Owen points out, existing Labour proposals for a “public investment bank, backed up by similar publicly run local banks… are not in themselves sufficient”.

Owen’s article comes in the context of a growth of debate about public ownership of the banks in the Labour Party. To push forward this debate, we are calling for Labour members to support this statement.

Dave Kirk, proposer of motion to Leeds West CLP (who submitted it to Labour Party conference)
Zack Murrell-Dowson, proposer of successful motion to Young Labour Policy Conference

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LABOUR SHOULD FIGHT FOR PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THE BANKS

We welcome the motion that the recent Young Labour conference voted overwhelmingly to submit to Labour’s policy process, calling for the next Labour government to bring “retail, commercial and investment banks into 100% democratic public ownership”, to create a public banking, pensions and mortgage service.

When banks are continuing to act in an utterly anti-social and irresponsible way, from the “publicly owned” RBS closing branches at a record rate to Morgan Stanley denouncing the possibility of a Corbyn government, demanding genuine public ownership and democratic control should be central to a strong Labour response.

As the motion proposed by the FBU and adopted by the 2012 TUC Congress put it, a “publicly owned banking service, democratically and accountably managed… [can] play a central role in building a sustainable economy, investing in transport, green industries, housing, creating jobs and assisting recovery in the interests of working people”.

Our party should campaign and pledge to convert the whole of the UK’s banking sector into a single democratic public banking service.

To sign use the form below

or email theclarionmag@gmail.com, with your name, CLP, union, positions held, etc.

3 Comments

  1. In the wake of the catastrophe of the 2008 banking crisis and the austerity it brought in its wake, I welcome the general spirit in favour of bank nationalisation.

    There are two reasons (at least) why a state monopoly is essential.

    One reason relates to strategy for securing the public bank in the first place. This will require nationalisation of privately-owned banks. If the Corbyn government merely takes into public ownership “the largest” banks (to use Young Labour’s verbiage), this is an arbitrary criterion. There will be endless argument about which are “the largest”. This argument will not only occur in the political sphere. There would undoubtedly be court cases where “the largest” banks invoke Jeremy’s beloved European Convention on Human Rights (Right to Property Ownership, Protocol 1, Article 1) and argue that the British state’s deprivation of private property is arbitrary and therefore disproportionate and unlawful.

    The second argument for state monopoly relates to the end result. If we merely have a large state bank in competition with privately owned banks within a capitalist market, then these very rich institutions will be able to use their “deep pockets” to nab customers away from the state bank with short term offers, even if it is in the long term interest of customers to stay with the state bank. A bank may be small in the UK but big and rich in the world, particularly if linked to other banks.

    All the 1945 nationalisations were based on public monopoly, bar health – an exclusion which was a mistake! The better policy therefore would be to have a public monopoly in the banking sector, with only genuine building societies allowed to operate alongside the publicly owned bank.

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