Socialist Worker

Build left alternative

Issue No. 1731

Every day this year a new scandal explodes and fuels the bitterness people feel with New Labour. This week millions of people were sickened by the shocking picture of bodies dumped on the floor of a hospital chapel because cost cutting meant the mortuary was closed.

They were furious that Railtrack bosses had the nerve to demand £1 billion off the government, or over reports that Blair backs George W Bush's mad 'Son of Star Wars' scheme that could launch a new nuclear arms race. The question is, what are we going to do?

There is a real urgency for everyone to join together to build a united left wing opposition to Blair and New Labour's neo-liberal, pro-market policies. Whether we are car workers threatened by job losses, postal workers threatened by bullying managers, or health workers threatened by privatisation, we need to come together and build solidarity with each other's struggles. There is also a brilliant opportunity for a show of left opposition to Blair in this year's general election.

This election is different from those of the past. Under previous Labour governments there always loomed the threat that the Tories would be able to cash in on the disillusion with Labour. But increasingly the Tories have been unable to pull people towards their right wing policies.

When people criticised Blair at a meeting in Bristol last week, it was not to demand tougher measures against refugees or attacks on welfare 'scroungers'. They wanted the renationalisation of the railways, more money for the health service, and an end to the privatisation of schools and services. Socialists will be challenging New Labour in up to 150 seats across Britain. The National Network of Socialist Alliances in England and the Welsh Socialist Alliance are to stand in over 60 seats.

The Scottish Socialist Party launched its election campaign this week and is standing in every constituency in Scotland. The more people who get involved in campaigning, and the more people who vote socialist in the election, the more we can mount a serious left wing challenge to New Labour's agenda.

One thing we can all do to begin this is to campaign for rail renationalisation. The National Network of Socialist Alliances is calling for mass petitioning outside railway stations on Saturday 27 January-using the petition launched by Tony Benn MP and rail trade union leaders.

The Socialist Alliance was also calling on its supporters to join them on the 'Save Vauxhall' march for jobs in Luton this weekend. Over the coming weeks and months we have an urgent task-to unite all the struggles against New Labour, and against the capitalist corporations and institutions the government upholds.

Mass petitioning outside rail stations, 12 noon to 2pm, Saturday 27 January. Called by the National Network of Socialist Alliances.


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What We Think
Sat 20 Jan 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1731
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