Solidarity 103 McDonnell supplement, 6 December 2006

Back the John McDonnell Campaign — For a workers' voice in politics!

By Maria Exall, Labour Representation Committee vice-chair and CWU NEC

John McDonnell's candidacy for Labour Party leader is a great opportunity for the left in Britain. With principled politics on many key issues, John's campaign is an important focus for all socialists in the labour movement. By participating in John's campaign we can put class issues back on the political map.

The unions and political representation

A central theme of John McDonnell's campaign will be getting the unions to develop an independent political voice and to challenge New Labour. How far advanced is the debate over political representation in the unions and how exactly do the unions relate politically to the Labour Party? Martin Thomas reports.

'Respect' and independent working-class politics

By Tom Unterrainer, Nottingham City NUT

"THE resurgence of radicalism in the anti-capitalist movement and the trade unions has provoked an important debate cross the left internationally. The issue is this: what kind of party should socialists build? Should it be a broad socialist party or a revolutionary organisation? ... the tactics of any socialist organisation have to rest on an understanding of the phases through which the class struggle passes".1

A socialist alternative

By Sacha Ismail

IN a sense, the most important thing about John McDonnell's campaign is not its formal policies. The fact that in Parliament and outside it McDonnell has been a consistent and courageous fighter for the working class defines the importance of his bid for the leadership more than his in fact quite limited public programme. But of course, for revolutionary socialists, the politics matter too. They will define and shape what the campaign achieves, not just in terms of nominations received and votes cast, but the recomposition of the left in the labour movement.

A chance to reshape the left?

By Kate Ahrens, LRC Steering Committee

JOHN McDonnell's campaign for Labour leader is the first venture in a long while to raise the banner of the political left on a large and public scale.

Since 1998 the leftish element inside the Labour Party has, for setpiece purposes, called itself "Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance". More widely, of course, the Labour Party now names itself "centre-left", rather than "left", or claims to "go beyond traditional divisions of left and right", as do many greenie radicals.

Organise to support McDonnell!

Organise local meetings

ON 18 October a meeting for John McDonnell's campaign at the Hackney Empire, with McDonnell speaking alongside leading radical trade unionists, attracted over 100 people. The meeting, co-sponsored by Hackney Trades Union Council and the Labour party's Leabridge branch, was pitched towards rank-and-file union activists and Labour party members who wanted to discuss an urgently needed alternative to Blairism; that of working-class political representation.

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