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.
• Anti-union laws. John has a consistent record of supporting workers' rights and workers in struggle. He stood beside the Gate Gourmet workers on their picket lines and he is one the the main sponsors of the Trade Union Freedom Bill.
• Against privatisation. John helped establish the Public Services Not Private Profit Campaign. Campaigning against privatisation John has worked with trade unions in many sectors, from prisons and the justice services through to civil servants and the rail unions. In all these campaigns he has helped expose the bankruptcy of Blairite "modernisation" and the Brownite Private Finance Initiative for both workers and those who use public services.
• Save the NHS. John voted against Foundation Hospitals.
• Top-up fees, pensions and schools. John voted against top-up fees for higher education. He supports the pensioners' campaign to link pensions to earnings, and a comprehensive school system.
• Equality. John believes the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia and for disabled people's rights remains key. He has consistently stood in solidarity with asylum-seekers and migrant workers.
• International issues. John has taken a stand against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and supports the scrapping of Trident.
As Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, John is a supporter of the trade union-Labour Party link and grassroots community campaigning. Whilst calling for socialists to join Labour, John's campaigning work has the potential to unite all the left, inside and outside the party. Supporters of his campaign in the unions come from all parties of the left, and none.
In the unions, we can maximise support among the millions of political levy payers who will get a vote in the electoral contest for the Labour leadership. Members of unions that are not affiliated to the Labour Party can still organise for activist and leadership support for the campaign, mobilise around the issues that will be promoted by the campaign, and encourage their Labour Party members to vote for John.
As the stock of this New Labour Government reaches an all time low, with the connections with big business, millionaires and quangocrats a turn off for ordinary voters, it is time for an alternative. It is time to argue the case for a genuine workers' voice in politics.
John McDonnell is prepared to clearly represent the interests of working-class people in Parliament. By standing for leader of the Labour Party, he is advancing the case for a Labour Party that represents working-class people's interests, a workers' party.
This pamphlet outlines why John McDonnell's campaign gives socialists the opportunity to politically develop the labour movement, argues the case for a workers' government to deliver real change to people's lives, and describes how the left should and should not be building in the unions for working-class political representation.