Socialist Worker

Open letter responses: Some criticisms and questions

Issue No. 2159

Michael Rosen’s idea of creating an umbrella organisation or federation of the left is a great idea. However, haven’t we been here before?

We’ve had it before, such as the Socialist Alliance and Respect. In the recent European elections we even had No2EU – Yes to Democracy, which was a coalition of some left parties.

Yet, most of these groups fail to stay united, even after initial successes. I’m not sure what the problem really is.

It may be an unwillingness by some on the left to tolerate differences, which results in yet another “pure” faction splitting off.

The Scottish Socialist Party was a kind of umbrella for the left in Scotland that did really well and then split.

Until we work out what ends up splitting alliances of the left, I’m not sure we should attempt another coalition.

Graeme Kemp, Shropshire


I would like to offer my support for a new left unity project.

I doubt that a formal, separate organisation is feasible (or even desirable given the administrative work required) in the time we have left before the next election.

Therefore, I would favour an emphasis on inviting established local groups of activists and parties to come together to campaign under a “People Before Profit” slogan or loose alliance – a bit like the form the left took in Ireland recently if I’ve understood that correctly.

I would also urge that the initiative co-operates with the Greens as far as possible and that it looks to the long term and not just the next election.

It would be a disaster if the new initiative was wound up after only one general election. Even if the vote in 2010 is very low, we must build on it.

Bill Kerry, by email


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Tue 7 Jul 2009, 18:50 BST
Issue No. 2159
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