Some 60 workers and trade unionists attended Wigan's first Socialist Alliance rally last week. It was one of the best political meetings in the area for years. The branch secretary and both assistant secretaries of the local UNISON branch turned up, together with at least eight shop stewards from across many different unions. Community activists and a local Green were there, together with two tenants' reps.
About a dozen apologies for non-attendance were given. They included half a dozen members of the trades council who were having their AGM on the night, and two Liverpool dockers. Speakers told of a brutalised world where everything is reduced to commodities, where racism sits comfortably beside privatisation, and where greed and political careers go hand in hand. Our meeting was a clear message to New Labour that they are to face opposition in their traditional heartlands.
About 30 activists attended a Socialist Alliance meeting in Norwich on Sunday and voted to select Dave Manning to contest New Labour's Charles Clark in Norwich. Dave works as a bus driver and is well known for his involvement in local campaigns.
Socialists in Telford are to mount a challenge to Labour MP Bruce Grocott at the general election. A meeting of Telford Socialist Alliance last week was addressed by Dave Church, former leader of Walsall council. He blasted New Labour for abandoning its own supporters.
Tube Worker Janine Booth was selected to stand as the prospective Socialist Alliance candidate for Islington South last week. She will be contesting New Labour minister Chris Smith.
Portsmouth Socialist Alliance selected well known local socialist John Molyneux to fight against sitting Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock for the Portsmouth South constituency last week.
The National Network of Socialist Alliances in England is holding a training day in Birmingham on Saturday 17 February. All prospective Socialist Alliance candidates and their election agents are urged to attend. The meeting is open to all Socialist Alliance members.
For more details contact National Network of Socialist Alliances on 020 7536 9696.