OVER 350 members of the Socialist Alliance met in Birmingham last weekend to discuss the policies it will fight the general election on. Socialist Alliance chair, former Labour MP and socialist councillor in Coventry Dave Nellist introduced the conference. "The Socialist Alliance, along with the Scottish Socialist Party and the Welsh Socialist Alliance, are aiming to attract those who feel let down by the major parties," he said.
"We want to develop as a pole of attraction to the left, and are standing in a quarter of the constituencies in England and Wales. This represents the biggest left challenge for decades. We are putting socialism back on the agenda."
The conference agreed that all Socialist Alliance candidates would fight to:
- Stop privatisation in all its forms and bring the rail back into public ownership.
- Achieve the 35-hour week now, and for the right to work.
- Ensure a fully funded NHS, and an end to privatisation and cuts.
- Raise pensions and restore the link.
- Oppose the sell-off of council homes and end homelessness.
- Defend comprehensive education.
- Raise the minimum wage to �7.39-the European decency threshold-and restore union rights for all.
- Save the planet-tough action on pollution and food safety.
- End discrimination on the basis of racism, sexism and homophobia, and defend asylum seekers.
- End student tuition fees and provide high quality education for all.
- Tax the rich to rebuild the welfare state.
- Stop the onslaught on civil rights.
- Cancel Third World debt.
LIVERPOOL: Thursday 15 March, 7.30pm, Gladstone Hotel, Lord Nelson Street. Speakers include Christine Blower and Mike Marqusee. BOLTON: Monday 19 March, 7.30pm, Bolton Central Library, Lamands Crescent. Speakers include NUJ president Dave Toomer. NORTH LONDON: Tuesday 20 March, 7.30pm, Wood Green Labour Club, Stuart Crescent, N22. Speakers include Louise Christian, Paul Foot, Imran Khan, Weyman Bennett, Tariq Ali and Delroy Lindo. SHEFFIELD: Thursday 22 March, 7.30pm, Royal Society for the Blind, Mappin Street. Speakers include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. BIRMINGHAM: Thursday 22 March, 7pm, Library, Broadway School, The Broadway, near Perry Barr. Speakers include Caroline Johnson, Laura Teague, RAGE and UNISON (personal capacity), and Steve Godward, West Midlands regional officer FBU (personal capacity). LEEDS: Friday 23 March, 7.30pm, Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall, Headrow. MANCHESTER: Wednesday 28 March, 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street. Speakers include NUJ president Dave Toomer and Mike Marqusee. LONDON: Tuesday 3 April, 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road.