THE Socialist Workers Party is in the process of a major reorganisation of its local branches. It is a sharp shift driven by the need for socialists to urgently respond to the situation we are in. Labour is in crisis, and large numbers of traditional Labour supporters and voters are bitter with the government.
Many want to turn that bitterness into more active opposition, by standing up against the racist scapegoating of asylum seekers or by making a stand against job losses.
There are many more working class people who want to be part of taking up other fights too-against welfare cuts, in defence of council housing and on countless other issues. The recent elections in London showed the sheer number of people looking for some alternative to Labour. Over 270,000 people voted for socialist candidates or the Greens.
In response to this we are moving to create Socialist Workers Party branches which focus more sharply on a particular area, and which centre their activities on campaigns over national and local issues. We want our branches to be places where anyone wanting to organise and fight, whether in defence of asylum seekers, against job losses or council sell-offs, or any other issue, comes to discuss and build such campaigns.
In London our branches have already moved in that direction during the recent election campaign in support of the London Socialist Alliance. They found that the new way of organising helped SWP members work alongside others in that successful campaign. But the lesson is not confined to London, nor to an election campaign. There are people in every area of Britain who want to get involved in taking up a wide range of campaigns and issues.
We want our local branches to be a central part of pulling such networks of people together, and making our combined efforts more effective. As well as such weekly local campaigning branches, each town or district of the Socialist Workers Party will be organising monthly political public meetings, and other meetings on a range of issues.
The process of carrying through such a transformation should be complete within a couple of weeks. As soon as it is done we will publish a full list. But don't wait for that to get involved. Whether you are an SWP member or not, there are plenty of urgent issues we need to be building campaigns over in the coming days and weeks. To get details of your nearest SWP branch and how to contact it, phone our national office on 020 7538 5821.
News of the week
Fighting for jobs
SOCIALIST WORKER readers have been campaigning across South Wales over threatened job losses and closures. In the last week 46 copies of Socialist Workers were sold outside Llanwern steel works, 27 at the Calsonic car components plant in Llanelli and 11 at Port Talbot steel works. In the West Midlands 10 papers were sold on the gate at Longbridge, 8 at each of Dunlop, Birmingham post office and Land Rover, 6 at Wolverhampton post office, and 4 at both GKN Sankeys in Telford and Massey Ferguson in Coventry. Clydeside workplace sales included 12 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 11 at Glacier Metals, 9 at Kvaerner Energy and 5 at Yarrow shipyard.
Elsewhere 24 papers were sold at both Ford Dagenham and Riverside House council office in Greenwich, 6 at each of Brighton and Hove buses, Brighton post office and Bradford's Britannia House council office, and 5 at each of Walker's Crisps in Leicester, North Middlesex Hospital and Ferodos in Glossop, along with 4 at Holloway Road DLO in north London.
On Saturday Socialist Worker sellers were out campaigning in defence of asylum seekers. 65 papers were sold on the Anti Nazi League protest in Hastings, 120 in Manchester's Market Street, 100 in Northumberland Street in Newcastle, 93 in Leeds, 70 in Nottingham, 54 in Wakefield, 50 in Dudley, 40 in Wolverhampton, 38 in Coventry, 34 in Pontefract, 23 in Worcester and 22 in Glossop. Two new sales saw 21 papers sold in Bexleyheath and 17 in Guildford.
In London 55 papers were sold outside Dagenham East and Heathway tube stations, 73 in Brixton, 59 in Kilburn, 57 in Hackney's Mare Street, 50 in both Holloway and Wood Green, 42 in Green Lanes in Haringey and 42 in Dalston. An excellent 29 papers were sold door to door in Tipton. In the last week 4 people joined the Socialist Workers Party on the Anti Nazi League protest in Hastings and in Manchester; 2 in Leyton, Bradford and Birmingham; 1 in Burnt Oak, Leicester, New Cross, Sheffield, Warwick University, Bromsgrove, Dalston, Wood Green, Leeds Armley and Exeter. Each of the new SWP branches needs to ensure that in addition to its regular street sale it is doing at least one workplace sale.