Socialist Worker

Preston and North East London

Issue No. 1906

Grassroots campaigns that built an anti-war alternative to New Labour

MICHAEL LAVALETTE is a Respect councillor in Preston, where Respect polled 30 percent in council elections.

'RESPECT HAS shown that it has sustained and consistent support across inner city Preston. Our votes came from the Asian and working class communities that dominate this area and have traditionally been the bedrock of Labour support.

We are delighted with this vote. It shows there is a constituency for a radical, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-privatisation, pro-welfare, pro-pensioner, pro public ownership party. We will build on these results across the city and intend to challenge the three big parties of war and privatisation in the next round of local elections as well as at the general election.'

DEAN RYAN, Respect candidate for the North East constituency in the London Assembly elections, won 11,184 votes, taking nearly 9 percent.

'WE HAD no media coverage, so it was vital that we reached out at the grassroots and had a really vibrant campaign.

Groups of people got involved from the Turkish, Afro-Caribbean and Muslim communities and we really want to build on that. We made sure we did leaflets in different languages, especially Turkish. When we had a battle bus, we had people speaking on the megaphone in Turkish.

We also linked up with other campaigns. I am really proud that I was able to get involved in the campaign to stop the closure of Craven Park School. We weren't just anti-war. We were the only party that linked strong opposition to the war to strong opposition to privatisation.

There are a lot of angry people who just refuse to vote. But now there are thousands of people in this area now identify with a political party to the left of New Labour.'


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News
Sat 19 Jun 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1906
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