Debate & discussion: What future for the Socialist Alliance?

Submitted by Anon on 22 October, 2004 - 11:29

The Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform (SADP) emailed and posted a letter to the National Committee of the SWP on 27 September concerning the future of the Socialist Alliance (SA).

The SADP contacted the SWP because that organisation represents a majority within the SA, and any decisions taken by the SWP are likely to be adopted by SA Conference. The letter is printed below, and represents a genuine attempt to resolve the situation whereby for the last seven months the SA has basically ceased to function. This is despite the fact that the last SA National Conference, in March, agreed to “maintain the Socialist Alliance at national and local level… debate the future of the SA and its relationship to Respect at the SA AGM to be held before the end of 2004.” .

One of the problems now, however, is that there are no longer any forums to hold that discussion. Meetings of the SA National Council have been suspended/cancelled since January, and the SA National Executive has not met since May, with the one scheduled Executive meeting for September also being cancelled. There is no longer an SA Office or office worker, and it has proved impossible to contact SA officers.

The SA Executive Meeting which did take place in May suggested 4 December as a date for the SA AGM, but nothing has been done to implement that decision, and time is running out for such a meeting to be organised. The main purpose of the letter was to start a discussion which could result in an amicable resolution of the impasse, even if that meant a comradely parting of the ways to a certain extent.

The problem we now face is that, despite reminders, we have not received any response at all from the SWP National Committee. We made a final effort to speed up the process by giving the SWP leadership until 18 October to reply to our reasonable and sensitive request to at least enter into dialogue with us on these issues. They have failed to do so

We have therefore started to contact individual members of the SWP with an Open Letter. We have informed them that we are also releasing the contents of our letter to the left press to stimulate wider public debate. We have been very reasonable.

From the letter sent to the SWP

Your party has clearly concluded that the Respect Unity Coalition is to be your preferred way forward, at least for the immediate future. It is therefore obvious and understandable that your members will be asked to give their time and commitment to that organisation rather than to the SA. In these circumstances, it would seem that there are the following options:

1. as now, keep the Socialist Alliance formally in being but not actually functioning in any meaningful way,

2. wind up the Socialist Alliance,

3. SADP and other non-SWP members to leave the Socialist Alliance,

4. ask your members to leave the Socialist Alliance.

Option 4 would we believe be the best way forward, allowing comrades to pursue our common Socialist objectives in a comradely way, notwithstanding genuine disagreement.

I would emphasise that our suggestion that Socialist Workers Party members leave the Socialist Alliance is not meant as hostile criticism of your members’ participation in the SA, but merely a recognition that there is now honest disagreement on the way forward.

Pete McLaren, Convenor, Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform (SADP)

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