Independent Working-Class Association
by Colin Foster
THE election-figures expert John Curtice reckons that the 4 May local government poll outcome “was not a disaster for Labour” (Independent, 6 May).
Labour got the equivalent of 26% of a general election vote. That was low, but exactly the same as what Labour got in 2004 — before its 2005 general election victory.
Governing parties, these days, can lose out heavily in mid-term local government elections, and still go on to win general elections.
In the last council by-election in my ward, in Islington, north London, I voted for the Independent Working-Class Association.
I had my doubts, but the IWCA seemed to be making some effort to offer a working-class political perspective to the voters here — a corner of Islington which until recently was almost all big blocks of council and housing-association flats, and is still very heavily working-class, yet belongs electorally to the Liberal Democrats. The IWCA did well, coming third only 14 votes behind a competent New Labour candidate.
'Hackney Independent' - formerly the Hackney branch of the Independent Working Class Association - is standing a candidate in the Hoxton by-election, which is taking place on May 5th, the same day as the General Election.
I read with interest Janine Booth's letter on the International Working Class Association (IWCA) in Solidarity 3/54, and I think she is basically right. However, I would make a couple of points.
The IWCA's success in Oxford has been both unexpected and spectacular. I wonder if the reason they are less electorally successful (although more visible in the community, and probably a lot more popular) in London is that in London their political approach is more honest and consistent.
The last issue's interview (Solidarity, 3/52) with London Mayor candidate Lorna Reid showed up both strengths and weaknesses in her group, the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA).
Lorna Reid of the Independent Working Class Association is standing for London
Mayor on 10 June. The IWCA has one sitting councillor in Oxford, and has conducted
a number of very local campaigns in other areas, mostly in London. Solidarity
cannot agree with much of the IWCA's localist approach and their exclusive
stress on community issues. We have very a different, we think broader,
vision of independent working class politics. Cathy Nugent
interviewed Lorna, who is based in Islington.
The Independent Working Class Association has announced a candidate for the London Mayoral election on 10 June 2004.
The IWCA was launched by a small left group, Red Action, but has won some good election results by a dogged focus on local campaigning on council estates.