Ken Loach’s new party appeal takes off

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An individual membership party, please.

Last Thursday’s well attended meeting of the Left Unity project in London, at which a number of Socialist Resistance comrades were present, reflected the huge development of the project reports Alan Thornett.  Ken Loach made his appeal for a new left party around the launch of his new filmThe Spirit of 45’. In fact the pace this is moving at is remarkable. Over 6,000 people have now signed up and 50 local groups have been established most of them in the course of a few days. People are signing up and groups being formed faster than they can be administered. There are tens of thousands of hits on the website.

It is clear that as Labour moves to the right and panders to anti-immigrant racism and the coalition pushes through the cuts there is a groundswell of people looking for an alternative in the form of a new party which is anti-austerity, broad, pluralist, left of Labour and not dominated undemocratically by a far-left organisation.

The meeting, which was trying to catch up with all this, was very positive and more united in its approach to the project of a new party than the previous meetings of Left Unity, which had been more diverse. The Workers International had pulled out because they are now opposed to standing against Labour at the next meeting and Red Pepper were not present (possibly because they don’t support the idea of a new party). On the other hand there were a lot of new people including three from the new ex-SWP International Socialist Network, who were extremely positive.

Some of the contacts for Left Unity groups across London

Smiling after getting elected to the interim London committee

There was a common view that moves towards the establishment of a new party (and the majority clearly want it to be a party) would now need to take place quite quickly in order to maintain the momentum, although views differed as to whether it should be July or September or even later in the year. Another proposal was for a possible two-stage process with the first taking place as a national meeting (rather than a conference) in July.

There was also a common view that a new party will have to be based on individual membership, rather than a federal structure, which we fully support. A number of people in the discussion (apart from ourselves) stressed that a new party has to embrace ecological and feminist issues as well taking the lead in fighting austerity.

Despite reservations expressed as to the ability of the left to squander such opportunities it is clear that short of unforeseen developments there will be a new broad party emerging out of this initiative before the end of the year.

An interim organising committee was set up to administer these development support local groups and to make proposals in relation to a national meeting or a launch conference. It will do this in consultation with the local groups and will hold joint meetings with reps from the local groups.

see the local groups that are mushrooming here and sign up to get involved in your area

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5 Comments

  1. Toni Gill-DeVito
    March 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm · Reply

    I have been a member of the Labour Party, because there was no other choice. But since Blair changed the core beliefs (as in abolishing Clause 4) I am disenchanted with their lack of meaningful opposition to the onslaught by the Tories on the majority of citizens with their swingeing cuts. I am so heartened to find a place for me politically.

  2. Richard Finnigan
    April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm · Reply

    Its got to be revolutionary, otherwise there is no point. We all know the score, a left of centre party gets into power, the money markets and the City London precipitate a loss of confidence by the capitalist class because they no longer have power via a tame proxy elected government, the left of centre government capitulates because it is not willing to break the power of the ruling class and we are back to an utterly demoralizing square one with a left of centre government carrying out pro capitalist policies. There’s no point calling yourself a socialist if you not willing to break the economic and political power of the capitalist class, its as simple as that really.

  3. Steve Why
    April 2, 2013 at 3:05 am · Reply

    To “break the economic and political power of the capitalist class” as Cde Finnigan wishes, is betrayal. We need to get rid of money and profit. The ‘withering away of the state’ is no longer and option, nor is participating in bourgeois democracy as a ‘new party’ is all about this. We need unity in solidarity action, in direct action – and we need to develop workers and people’s abilities to their full potential so we can cooperatively run our own communities and workplaces. You people should get out of fear of a real change, of building a new human society.

  4. April 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm · Reply

    The Lib Dems sold their souls to the Tories for power, and ended up with very little. Labour are a poorly disguised Tory tribute band.

    In desperation, and the absence of any discernible social conscience in mainstream politics, I have joined the Green Party.

  5. David kemp
    April 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm · Reply

    just left the SWP looking for a new political home.

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