New left on the rise in Germany
A CONFERENCE of the initiative for a new left party in Germany last weekend took a major step towards launching a serious challenge to the German SPD—the equivalent of New Labour.
Delegates voted to hold a ballot of the membership over declaring a new party, which could be in place by next spring—in time to contest crucial elections in the state of North Rhine Westphalia.
The last six years have seen a haemorrhaging of support from the SPD among its traditional supporters.
The left alternative is drawing support from the base and regional levels of the trade unions, which have traditionally looked to the SPD.
The enthusiasm at last weekend’s meeting reflected how established trade unionists, anti-capitalists, immigrants and the anti-war movement are beginning to come together to launch a political challenge.
Challenges ahead for SSP
The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is in the throes of its first major crisis. This follows a number of malicious media reports about Tommy Sheridan’s personal life which led to his resignation as party convenor.
Tommy is the party’s most popular figure and one of six SSP Members of the Scottish Parliament.
Over the years Tommy has played a pivotal role in the development and success of the SSP. In recent weeks he has played a key role in helping relatives of soldiers serving in Iraq build a campaign for the withdrawal of the troops.
Following Tommy’s resignation a statement from the party leadership stressed, “The executive completely dismisses the rumours that have circulated in the press that Tommy’s resignation was provoked by a leadership challenge, a factional power struggle or any other form of internal in-fighting.”
Unfortunately since then a number of executive members and Members of the Scottish Parliament have been openly critical of Tommy.
This is very damaging to the SSP, which has been an inspiration to the left internationally.
The SSP still has many challenges ahead. They include supporting Rose Gentle and others in the forces family campaign, and preparing for the SSP’s challenge at the forthcoming general election and for the visit of George Bush and the other G8 leaders to Gleneagles next July.
Hopefully Tommy Sheridan will continue to play a major role in all of that.