Socialist Worker

Declaration for left electoral challenge to New Labour

Issue No. 1881

THE GREATEST mass movement of our age has brought us together. We have marched in unprecedented numbers against war, against racism and in defence of democracy and civil liberties. Our views are shared by millions, often a majority of the people in this country.

Yet no establishment politician, and very few elected representatives of any kind, will lend their voice to this movement.

The two most important statistics in contemporary politics highlight the growing chasm between ordinary working people and the political establishment: on the one hand we have participated in the greatest political demonstrations in modern history, on the other hand the last general election saw the lowest turnout since universal suffrage was introduced.

This chasm is at its widest on the question of war and peace. Tony Blair's New Labour has taken us to war five times in the last six years, each time with calamitous consequences.

The bloodshed, the waste of precious economic resources, the lying and hypocrisy that have accompanied the attack on Iraq have brought many to the conclusion that they must rethink their traditional political allegiance.

But the yearning for a political alternative is even wider than the anti-war movement.

Pensioners, students, trade unionists, Muslims and other faith groups, socialists, ethnic minorities and many others have been deeply disappointed by the authoritarian social policies and profit-centred, neo-liberal economic strategy of the government.

There is a crisis of representation, a democratic deficit, at the heart of politics in Britain. We aim to offer a solution to this crisis.

We stand for:

  • An end to the war and occupation in Iraq. We will not join any further imperialist wars.

  • An end to all privatisation and the bringing back into democratic public ownership of the railways and other public services.

  • An education system that is not dependent on the ability to pay, that is comprehensive and gives an equal chance in life to every child no matter how wealthy or poor their parents, from nursery to university.

  • A fully funded, democratically controlled NHS free at the point of need.

  • Pensions that are linked to average earnings.

  • The repeal of the Tory anti-union laws.

  • Opposition to all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs (or lack of them), sexual orientation, disabilities, national origin or citizenship.

  • The right to self-determination of every individual in relation to their religious (or non-religious) beliefs, as well as sexual choices.

  • The defence of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

  • We will strongly oppose the anti-European xenophobic right wing in any euro referendum. But we oppose the 'stability pact' that the European Union seeks to impose on all those who join the euro. This pact would outlaw government deficit spending and reinforce the drive to privatise and deregulate the economy and we will therefore vote 'No' in any referendum on this issue.

  • An end to the destruction of the environment by states and corporations for whom profit is more important than sustaining the natural world on which all life depends.

    We want a world in which the democratic demands of the people are carried out; a world based on need not profit; a world where solidarity rather than self-interest is the spirit of the age.

    Let this be the rebirth of hope for those who have become disillusioned.

    Join us!


    Make sure you're part of it

    A LEFT challenge to New Labour has taken a further step forward with the drawing up of a document outlining the basis of an electoral coalition.

    The draft statement above is to be put to a national convention on 25 January.

    The convention has been called by the forces that came together at a watershed 1,300-strong meeting in London at the end of October.

    The speakers at that meeting were anti-war MP George Galloway, RMT union general secretary Bob Crow, journalist and campaigner George Monbiot, anti-war activist Salma Yaqoob, John Rees of the Socialist Alliance, Linda Smith of the Fire Brigades Union in London, and socialist and film-maker Ken Loach.

    The declaration above represents the core principles uniting the new coalition. The convention will be able to debate, amend and vote on it. It will also launch the campaign to confront New Labour at the polls on 10 June when elections to the European parliament, the London Assembly and many councils take place.

    'We are urging people to come to the convention and be part of a serious left challenge to Blair,' says John Rees. Groups are already booking coaches to get people down to London for the event cheaply and reliably! Come along.'


    NATIONAL CONVENTION

    Sunday 25 January, 10am,

    Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London

    To register send £10 to National Convention, 10 Woburn Walk, London WC1H 0JL.

    Cheques payable to 'Unity Political Fund'


    CONVENTION OF THE TRADE UNION LEFT

    Saturday 7 February,

    central London

    Speakers confirmed include Bob Crow RMT, Mark Serwotka PCS, Paul Mackney Natfhe


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    News
    Sat 13 Dec 2003, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1881
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