Left Unity: How will the Socialist Alliance organise the left?

Submitted by Anon on 1 May, 2003 - 11:36

In recent issues Solidarity has been running a discussion on left unity, opened by a statement in Solidarity 26. This issue we carry excerpts from two relevant proposals drafted for the Socialist Alliance conference on 10 May.
The first is from Alan Thornett and Mandy Baker (associated with the paper Resistance), John Rees, Rob Hoveman and Weyman Bennett of the Socialist Workers Party, and Nick Wrack and Will McMahon (unaffiliated Alliance executive members close to the SWP).

This AGM needs to be effectively a relaunch of the Socialist Alliance, or at least a relaunch of the idea behind the Socialist Alliance...

We should therefore call for the widest possible discussion amongst those on the left on the increasing need for a united left alternative. This should be addressed to the many activists of the anti-war movement. It should be addressed to those who have left the Labour Party in disgust at Blairism and the war and those who will do so over the months ahead. It should be addressed to the Muslim community which has been radicalised in a left wing direction by the Afghan and Iraq wars and who have worked positively in the Stop The War Coalition. Religious belief is no barrier to being part of such a project, many are Labour voters...

It should also be addressed to the militants and activists in the trade unions... The new radical leaders who have been elected in recent years in a number of unions... have potentially an important role to play...

To this end this AGM instructs the new EC... to... initiate discussions (formal or informal as appropriate) with those political parties, organisations, campaigns and trade unions or trade union activists which it judges to be possible partners in such a project...
With the creation of such a broader initiative we should aim [at] the next general election [for] the goal of standing in every constituency which does not have a left-wing Labour candidate standing.

The second is from the Alliance for Workers' Liberty.

The Socialist Alliance failed to organise any coherent and distinctive intervention in the firefighters' dispute and the anti-war movement.

That happened essentially because the Alliance has been run as an "electoral united front", to be kept ticking over between elections, but with other areas of politics left to other "united fronts". All idea of the Alliance acting as a force for working-class and socialist politics across a range of campaigns and fronts of struggle is thus lost...

We must create a movement with stronger links and responsiveness to grass-roots workplace, trade union and working-class community organisations, one which establishes a continuous dialogue with working-class people in the areas where it operates.

Neither renaming the present Alliance - with this or that constitutional change - "party", nor merging the Alliance into a vague pink-green left link-up with no clear and upfront working-class identification, will take us in that direction.

The Alliance should initiate, with sympathetic trade union branches, organisations and leaders, with left Labour activists, and with other socialists, an open conference of the anti-war working-class left. The conference should seek to bring together Labour leftists, the Socialist Alliance, the Socialist Party, the SSP, left trade unionists, and other interested socialist forces, to discuss collaboration.

In that conference we should propose the formation of a new Campaign for Labour Representation, or Campaign for a Workers' Party...

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