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Campaign for a New Workers Party launched in England and Wales

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | other press author Monday November 21, 2005 13:36author by cnwp Report this post to the editors

THE FOLLOWING declaration for a new workers' party was launched by the Socialist Party at Socialism 2005, a weekend of discussion and debate attended by hundreds of young people, trade union and community activists.
Initial signatories include 21 trade union national executive committee (NEC) members and four councillors.
The campaign for a new workers' party will be collecting thousands more signatures over the coming months in support of the declaration.

A CENTURY ago trade unionists and socialists came together to fight for independent political representation for the working class: the result was the Labour Party.

In the past the Labour Party, however imperfectly, provided a voice for the working class. Today, however, New Labour is a party of the giant corporations, its policies a continuation of Margaret Thatcher's attacks on the lives and living conditions of working class people.

Public services are being sold off; the occupation of Iraq has led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and over two thousand 'coalition' soldiers; democratic rights are being undermined in the name of fighting terrorism; and the Tory anti-trade union laws, the most repressive in the European Union, have been left almost completely intact.

At this year's Labour Party conference 99% of the trade union votes supported the reinstatement of trade unionists' right to take solidarity action. However, the Labour Party conference no longer has any power. This, and the other anti-New Labour resolutions passed, were immediately brushed aside by the party leadership. At the same time Gordon Brown made it absolutely clear that his future leadership of the party would not represent 'a shift to the left'.

We believe that the chance to reclaim the Labour Party has long past and there is no point in continuing to fuel false hopes. The recent success of the new Left party in Germany, winning 8.8% of the vote and 54 MPs, gives a glimpse of the potential for a new left force. We pledge to do all in our power to bring a new workers' party into being in England and Wales.

We believe it would be wrong, at this early stage, to attempt to predetermine the structure or every aspect of a new party. That can only be decided on the basis of democratic debate leading to agreement amongst the forces involved.

However, if it is to be successful, it is crucial that a new party, and any pre-party formations, be open, democratic and welcoming to all those who want to work together against the neo-liberal onslaught on the working class. This means that all groups and individuals, provided they are in agreement with the basic aims of the party, should have the right to democratically organise and argue for their point of view.

This approach will help ensure the new formation is attractive to trade unionists, community and environmental campaigners, and anti-war activists. Most importantly it will assist in reaching out to workers and to young people who are not yet active in struggle. In this way we can unite the strongest possible forces to build a powerful working class party that is capable of effectively opposing the anti-union laws, cuts, privatisation, environmental degradation and war.

We believe that such a party would represent a fundamental break with the big business parties which currently dominate politics, giving workers the opportunity to resist the neo-liberal capitalist agenda and fight for a socialist programme - including a living minimum wage, full trade union rights and for fully funded, democratically controlled public services.

We, the undersigned, agree to campaign for the establishment of a new mass workers' party in England and Wales.
We will campaign for the calling of a representative conference as a step towards the founding of a new party.
We will also support all other genuine initiatives towards independent working-class representation, including the conference called by the RMT. (all signatories in a personal capacity)

Janice Godrich PCS President

Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary

Marian Lloyd PCS NEC

Rob Williams PCS NEC

Mark Baker PCS NEC

Jane Aitchison PCS DWP President

Sevi Yesidalli PCS NEC

John McInally PCS NEC

Danny Williamson PCS NEC

Kevin Greenaway PCS NEC

Roger Bannister UNISON NEC

Jean Thorpe UNISON NEC

Raph Parkinson UNISON NEC

Glenn Kelly UNISON NEC

Diane Shepherd UNISON NEC

Andrew Price NATFHE NEC

Bernard Roome CWU NEC

Gary Jones CWU NEC

Linda Taaffe NUT NEC

Robbie Segal USDAW NEC

Molly Cooper NUJ NEC

Jim Barbour FBU NEC

Dave Nellist Coventry Socialist Party councillor

Karen Mackay Coventry Socialist Party councillor

Ian Page Lewisham Socialist Party councillor

Chris Flood Lewisham Socialist Party councillor

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author by Confusedpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 14:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The call is signed by Jim Barbour. A recent candidate of the SP in Ireland.
Now does Jim think that this is only relevant to England and Wales and of no relevance to Ireland or does the fact that Jim's name appears on this mean that he hopes to see a similar drive in Ireland?
In short why is his signature on this call? Very very confusing.

author by apublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The FBU represents firefighters working in Britain & the North - as a member of the NEC of the FBU Jim Barbour backed the motion for the disaffiliation from the Labour Party, which is busy attacking firefighters and the working class in general. Why should you be confused that he would support a campaign for a new mass workers party in England & Wales?

author by Confusedpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's one thing for Jim to campaign for the disaffiliation of the FBU from the Labour Party but quite another thing for him as an Irish candidate of the SP (where the LP isn't set up) to be a signature of a campaign for a new 'mass' workers party in England and Wales. Strikes me as being very hypocritical not to extend that call to Ireland where he was a candidate for the SP.

author by unconfusedpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 15:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The FBU is a UK trade union. Most of its members are in Britain. Jim Barbour is on the executive that covers Britain and NI. It makes sense that Jim has a position on this vital question for the workers' movement in Britain.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jim Barbour is a fighting Socialist who proved his worth as a Trade Union leader and as an Ant Fascist fighter. Whats wrong with Jim lending his support to a call for action in England and Wales? When have Irish Campaigns ever refused support from English or Welsh Trade Unionists?

(This doesnt necessarily mean that I support the new party or such a party in Ireland. Just defending Jim Barbour.)

PS Please dont use the term UK. Some of us more sensitive types find it offensive.

author by Randomerpublication date Tue Nov 22, 2005 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is this a call for a new workers party or just a call for more people to join the Socilalist party?

And the new mass workers party is....

The same old millies!

author by Thermos - nonepublication date Wed Nov 23, 2005 17:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Writing about the neo-liberal assault on Irish workers in the latest issue of "The Socialist", newspaper of the SP, the editor, Stephen Boyd writes:

"The Socialist Party believes we also need a new political force in this country - a mass working class party that will stand up and take on the right-wing establishment parties".

Up until now the SP has said that the conditions are not right for such a new party but have also rejected the idea of any practical steps being taken to start the process of moving towards such a party. Does the above quote indicate that, like their comrades in England, the SP now believe something should or can be done to start this process? This is a genuine question not an invitation to the usual suspects to continue their long-running "CWI good vs CWI evil" feud.

author by SP Member - Socialist Party/CWIpublication date Wed Nov 23, 2005 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The above quote from S. Boyd is nothing more than a re-affirmation of the SP's position going back many years. In the General election of 1997 the SP was part of the Taxation Justice Alliance with others like Seamus Healy.

The key question for the SP has been and continues to be - what forces will make up this new group? what structures will it have? etc. At the moment we do not believe there are sufficient numbers of new activists with an outlook of the necessity to form such a party. The debacle of the Socialist Alliance in England and the ongoing 'communalist' outlook of Respect are prime examples of what happens when there are insufficient new forces to prevent any particular group dominating the new formation. This is in contrast to the initial advances made by the SSP (although elements within the ISM are making errors that are not helping advance the situation now). When the increase in class struggle, that will inevitably come to Ireland, occurs, then this situation will alter and when that happens the SP will be actively involved.

author by Spartacuspublication date Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why not a separate party for Wales? Do the CWI oppose Welsh Independence? Its only lately that Peter Taafe has allowed the "SP in Wales" have any sort of autonomy but they are still firmly under Londons thumb.

The Welsh are as entitled as any other Nation to decide their destiny. Those who insist that ultimate control must remain in London will be swept away by the tides of history.

author by Mark Ppublication date Thu Nov 24, 2005 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I sometimes find myself wondering why so many anonymistas feel the need to phrase questions in such a confrontrational way. There is no big secret here, and you would get an answer just as easily by asking politely.

Socialist Party Wales is a region of the English and Welsh Socialist Party. It is that way because its members have chosen to stay part of the same organisation. From the time when the Scottish region became a seperate sister party onwards, Welsh SP members have strongly argued against making such a move in Wales.

If they change their minds on that, there would be no problem in them forming their own section of the Committee for a Workers International. CWI affiliates are not always organised along existing state boundaries. The existence of one Socialist Party covering all of Ireland is a case in point, as is the existence of seperate organisation, the International Socialists, in Scotland. As far as independence for Wales goes, the Socialist Party doesn't actively advocate it and support for the idea in Welsh society generally is currently very low. However we do recognise that Wales is a seperate nation and that it has a right to independence should its people choose it.

Thermos does ask his/her question politely and I think it's already been answered. The basic point is that the Socialist Party has been in favour of a new working class party in Ireland for a number of years and you will find statements to that effect in our publications on a reasonably regular basis. We do not however agree with some on the left here that the formation of a preliminary campaign or left alliance would get much of an echo right now. As I've said before, that's something it would be a pleasant surprise to be wrong about but I don't think we are.

author by Glass hammerpublication date Thu Nov 24, 2005 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I sometimes find myself wondering why so many anonymistas feel the need to phrase questions in such a confrontrational way. "

The 60,000 word diatribe against all the other components of the Dublin Anti-Bin Tax campaign. The article on the alleged plagarization of a Stephen Boyd article. etc, etc.

People in glasshouses....................

author by Karlpublication date Thu Nov 24, 2005 17:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Socialist Party Wales is a region of the English and Welsh Socialist Party. It is that way because its members have chosen to stay part of the same organisation. From the time when the Scottish region became a seperate sister party onwards, Welsh SP members have strongly argued against making such a move in Wales."

And they didn't make any fuss whatsoever about Scotland?

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