Socialist Worker

Open letter responses: A reply to the Socialist Party

by Chris Bambery, editor Socialist Worker
Issue No. 2162

The desire for unity on the left is driven by the meltdown in Labour’s support, the lengthening dole queues and the election of two fascist British National Party (BNP) candidates to the European parliament.

If we fail to establish even the most minimal united challenge to Labour at the forthcoming general election we will not only harm ourselves. We will undermine the wider resistance.

Responding to the SWP’s open letter (» A federal approach, 18 July), the Socialist Party’s Hannah Sell seems to focus on the issues which divide us rather than those that might unite the left.

The most recent walkouts in construction together with the victories at Visteon and the Vestas occupation show the way forward. But there are those desperate to turn discontent with Gordon Brown against migrants. The way the BNP seized on the “British jobs for British workers” slogan shows the danger.

Hannah is determined, against all evidence, to deny that this slogan was central to the first walkouts in construction at the start of this year. She also holds up the No2EU campaign in the European elections as a success story.

In truth it received 1 percent of the vote, trailed behind the moribund Socialist Labour Party and failed to create the local breakthroughs that Respect achieved in east London and Birmingham in the previous European elections.

We are well aware of the scars left by split in of Respect. We are not rushing to lay down one prescription or to claim we have all the answers – we are committed to talking to everyone who wishes to discuss with us, no matter past disputes.

In that situation Hannah’s determination to push through one “federalist” model seems misplaced.

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