OVER 60 people in Haringey, north London, met on Wednesday of last week to kick off the London Socialist Alliance's campaign in the run-up to the general election. LSA supporters are determined to build on the support of LSA candidate Weyman Bennett in the Tottenham by-election earlier this year. Broadcaster and journalist Mark Steel urged people to tap into the feeling of anger against New Labour.
"We can get a good vote. But it is not just the votes that matter. We are fighting for ideas and principles, for a socialist alternative to New Labour." Haringey LSA supporters also pledged to stand against Home Office minister and witch-hunter of asylum seekers Barbara Roche, the MP for Wood Green and Hornsey. The meeting heard from many local campaigners. Steve Cook from the local Defend Council Housing campaign, for example, spoke of how disgusted he was at New Labour's determination to "eradicate all council housing".
There was also a serious discussion about how to build much wider support and to raise the thousands of pounds needed to stand in two parliamentary seats. The next night over 60 people attended an LSA public meeting in nearby Islington.
They heard speakers, including author Michael Rosen, outline the socialist alternative to New Labour and the need to build strong local LSA groups in the run-up to the elections. The central theme of the meeting was the need for direct action in defence of jobs and services. There was a unanimous vote to send a message of support for action against cuts in nearby Hackney.
The meeting ended with a buzz of activity as people signed up for the LSA and pledged their active support for the local anti-cuts campaign. nTHE Lancashire Socialist Alliance kicks off its election campaign on Wednesday of this week for the Preston parliamentary by-election, which will take place on 23 November.
Local independent socialist councillor Terry Cartwright is standing for the Socialist Alliance. He will face New Labour's Mark Hendrick, a Blairite former Euro MP. The Lancashire Socialist Alliance is organising stalls, activities and canvassing every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm, meeting at both the town centre and the University of Central Lancashire.
- THE Socialist Alliance is standing in a council by-election in the Golcar ward in the Colne Valley on Thursday 9 November. The Socialist Alliance candidate is Michael Andrassy, a teacher who lives locally in Kirklees. He is pledging to fight the local council's plans for cuts in libraries and schools.
Forthcoming Socialist Alliance public meetings include:
- BRENT AND HARROW LSA: Thursday 9 November, 7.30pm, Willesden Green Library.
- WALTHAM FOREST LSA: Wednesday 15 November, 7.30pm, Ross Wyld Hall, Church Hill, Walthamstow.
- OXFORD SA: Thursday 16 November, 7.30pm, Temple Cowley Middle School, Temple Road, Cowley.
- BIRMINGHAM SA: Tuesday 21 November, 7.30pm, United Services Club, Gough Street.
- CARDIFF SA: Thursday 23 November, 7.30pm, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
- BRADFORD SA: Thursday 30 November, 7.30pm, Priestley Arts and Leisure Centre, Chapel Street, Little Germany.