Far right on the rise, Tories head for power - build a Socialist Alliance to fight back!

Submitted by martin on 8 June, 2009 - 8:30 Author: AWL
Socialist Alliance

An appeal to socialist and working-class organisations and activists

Add your support to this appeal by emailing unity.2009@yahoo.co.uk. And download a copy of the text as pdf ("attachment", below) to circulate hand-to-hand.

In the 2009 Euro elections, the fascist British National Party increased its percentage of the vote and won two seats.

If UKIP leader Nigel Farage's claim that he reaped ÂŁ2 million in expenses in his last term as a Euro MP is a model, that means millions extra for BNP funds. UKIP polled second with 16 percent. The right-wing nationalist English Democrats won mayor of Doncaster. The Conservatives are clearly heading for power.

After more than a decade of attacking working-class people, Labour's vote collapsed. And yet there was no substantial socialist election campaign to offer an alternative.

Racism and reaction are on the rise - as shown not just by the election results, but by incidents like the recent anti-Muslim rioting in Luton. All this must be serious cause for alarm.

In order to reach workers and young people angry about the crisis and the mainstream parties' pandering to the bankers and bosses, we need to build something like the Socialist Alliance - the coalition of the main activist-left groups and many unaffiliated socialists which in the 2001 general election stood candidates in 98 constituencies - as one step towards a new working-class political party.

Otherwise the right and far right will continue to gain from the anger and despair.

The left should unite in a Socialist Alliance to put forward working-class socialist answers to the crisis: jobs for all workers; open the books; nationalisation under workers' control of firms cutting jobs; full nationalisation and democratic control of the banks and finance system. We should fight for independent working-class representation in politics, and for a workers' government, based on the organisations of the labour movement.

We should unite in day-to-day action in support of struggles like Visteon; the schools actions in Glasgow, London and Barrow; and the Tube battle over jobs, pay and union rights; and to organise the left and the rank and file in the workers' movement.

The working class needs to reject and fight nationalism and racism. Workers can only deal with the crisis by organising together across ethnic backgrounds, across differences of origin and across borders. The crisis is creating huge pressures towards protectionism and the raising of economic barriers between countries. We need a united socialist voice for working-class solidarity and unity across Europe, to take on the bosses and level up towards decent jobs, services and rights for all - fighting for a Workers' Europe.

We the undersigned:
â—Ź Call on the activist left groups, including the SWP, Socialist Party, and Scottish Socialist Party, to meet to discuss setting up a new Socialist Alliance;
â—Ź Pledge to support efforts to create local Socialist Alliances.

Attachment Size
Socialist Alliance call.pdf(63.18 KB) 63.18 KB


Submitted by AWL on Tue, 09/06/2009 - 17:54

An open letter to the left from the Socialist Workers Party

It’s time to create a socialist alternative

Dear comrade,

Labour’s vote collapsed to a historic low in last week’s elections as the right made gains. The Tories under David Cameron are now set to win the next general election.

The British National Party (BNP) secured two seats in the European parliament. Never before have fascists achieved such a success in Britain. The result has sent a shockwave across the labour and anti-fascist movements, and the left.

The meltdown of the Labour vote and the civil war engulfing the party poses a question—where do we go from here?

The fascists pose a threat to working class organisations, black, Asian and other residents of this country—who BNP führer Nick Griffin dubs “alien”— our civil liberties and much else. History teaches us that fascism can be fought and stopped, but only if we unite to resist it.

The SWP firmly believes that the first priority is to build even greater unity and resistance to the fascists over the coming months and years.The BNP believes it has created the momentum for it to achieve a breakthrough. We have to break its momentum.

The success of the anti-Nazi festival in Stoke and the numbers of people who joined in anti-fascist campaigning shows the basis is there for a powerful movement against the Nazis.

The Nazis’ success will encourage those within the BNP urging a “return to the streets”.This would mean marches targeting multiracial areas and increased racist attacks. We need to be ready to mobilise to stop that occurring.

Griffin predicted a “perfect storm” would secure the BNP’s success. The first part of that storm he identified was the impact of the recession. The BNP’s policies of scapegoating migrants, black and Asian people will divide working people and make it easier to drive through sackings, and attacks on services and pensions.

Unity is not a luxury. It is a necessity. If we do not stand together we will pay the price for a crisis we did not cause.

The second lesson from the European elections is that we need a united fightback to save jobs and services.

If Cameron is elected he will attempt to drive through policies of austerity at the expense of the vast majority of the British people.But the Tories’ vote fell last week and they are nervous about pushing through attacks. Shadow chancellor George Osborne told business leaders, “After three months in power we will be the most unpopular government since the war.”

We need to prepare for battle.

But there is a third and vital issue facing the left and the wider working class. The crisis that has engulfed Westminster benefited the BNP.

The revelations of corruption, which cabinet members were involved in, were too much for many Labour voters, who could not bring themselves to vote for the party.

One answer to the problem is to say that we should swallow everything New Labour has done and back it to keep David Cameron, and the BNP, out. Yet it would take a miracle for Gordon Brown to be elected back into Downing Street. The danger is that by simply clinging on we would be pulled down with the wreckage of New Labour.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union, has asked how, come the general election, can we ask working people to cast a ballot for ministers like Pat McFadden.

McFadden is pushing through the privatisation of the post office.Serwotka proposes that trade unions should stand candidates.

Those who campaigned against the BNP in the elections know that when they said to people, “Don’t vote Nazi” they were often then asked who people should vote for.

The fact that there is no single, united left alternative to Labour means there was no clear answer available. The European election results demonstrate that the left of Labour vote was small, fragmented and dispersed.

The Greens did not make significant gains either. The mass of Labour voters simply did not vote. We cannot afford a repeat of that.

The SWP is all too aware of the differences and difficulties involved in constructing such an alternative.We do not believe we have all the answers or a perfect prescription for a left wing alternative.

But we do believe we have to urgently start a debate and begin planning to come together to offer such an alternative at the next election, with the awareness that Gordon Brown might not survive his full term.

One simple step would be to convene a conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working class interests at the next election.

The SWP is prepared to help initiate such a gathering and to commit its forces to such a project. We look forward to your response.

Yours fraternally,
Socialist Workers Party


Dear comrades,

We welcome your letter calling for a united left and for "a conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working-class interests". This is in line with our call for a new Socialist Alliance. We would like to meet with you to discuss collaboration, and convening such a conference.

In solidarity,

Workers' Liberty
020 7207 3997

[We copied this reply to the Socialist Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Alliance for Green Socialism, Workers Power and Permanent Revolution.]

Submitted by martin on Fri, 03/07/2009 - 19:42

As you may read elsewhere on this website, when challenged at an SWP fringe meeting at Unison conference Chris Nineham eventually promised that the SWP would respond to our reply.

They have not done so yet.

However, they have now responded to some other people.

Pete McLaren of the Socialist Alliance (a small group which keeps the name going of the old SA which was effectively trashed in 2004-5 by the SWP, in favour of Respect) has received the following reply:

> Thanks for signing our open letter.
> I am just writing to keep you up to speed with the latest
> developments.
> Since launching our open letter we have had meetings with various
> organisations and individuals that include Respect, Mark Serwotka,
> Socialist Party and next week we are meeting Bob Crow.
> So far everyone has agreed to come along to an informal meeting to
> discuss some kind of electoral unity.
> We hope that if that if this was successful we would like to hold a
> conference to discuss such issues.
> Yours in solidarity
> Martin Smith (SWP National Secretary)

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