Working-class socialists are as yet a small minority, Our ideas get a sympathetic hearing among wide circles of working-class people, but as yet it is a tentative, sceptical hearing.
It is a hearing made tentative and sceptical because of people's scepticism, shaped by successive setbacks, about the labour movement being able to mobilise to change society, and because of their disappointments about successive left-sounding political promises.
To establish our name, "Alliance for Workers' Liberty", previously absent from elections, as something solid and reliable enough to vote for in this general election was always going to be difficult.
The AWL candidate in Camberwell and Peckham, Jill Mountford, got a poor result: 75 votes, 0.2%. (To put that in context, the 2001 general election, standing as part of the Socialist Alliance, our candidates in Nottingham and Islington received 3.8% and 2.9%.) That does not mean that the election campaign was wasted effort. We explained basic socialist ideas to thousands of people; made new contacts and sympathisers; educated and trained ourselves in doorstep and street-stall discussions.
Unlike almost all other candidates, we argued the case head-on against the anti-immigration demagogy which filled papers like the Mail, the Express, and the Sun in the weeks before the election, and which the main parties all pandered to.
In short, we did a lot of the basic work of socialists: taking socialist ideas to working-class people. Whether people who sympathised with those ideas would vote for us this time was always going to be open to doubt.
Camberwell and Peckham was always going to be a difficult constituency to get a good left-wing vote in. Even in 2001, the Socialist Alliance did not do well in Camberwell and Peckham, despite a campaign in the constituency much more energetic than in most.
We chose the constituency for a "demonstration candidate" despite that, because of other advantages - a good local candidate, a central location, a heavily working-class constituency, a New Labour figurehead to oppose.
There was a radical shift in political conditions between our decision to stand an AWL candidate - in 2007, in conditions of strong working-class alienation from the Labour Party and little political differentation between Labour and the Tories - and the Labour/Tory electoral polarisation which took place in the weeks before this general election. That fundamentally limited us.
Beyond that, the result shows that we just did not have enough people on the doorsteps and on the streets, often enough, to establish a new political identity, lacking any national publicity, with the electorate.
Also, we focused our efforts on making political contacts, selling papers, and so on. That gives us a lot of contacts to be followed up by paper-sales and visiting in the coming months. But it had the flipside of making the campaign less ruthlessly focused on identifying, securing, and mobilising votes. In elections, that matters.
We will continue to be out and about on the streets and doorsteps of Camberwell and Peckham, advocating socialist ideas, and seeking to draw all those who supported or showed interest in our campaign into that basic work of socialist agitation and education.