THERE IS a message of hope for all those who want an end to war, privatisation and racism in the new year.
It comes from the organisers of the National Convention due to found an alternative to New Labour when it meets in London on Sunday 25 January. Anti-war activists, trade unionists, socialists, Muslims, anti-racists, environmentalists and civil liberties activists are already registering for the Convention. They all want to turn the Euro and Greater London Authority elections on 10 June into a referendum on Tony Blair's government.
Angered by Blair's war on Iraq, outraged at New Labour's plans to price working class students out of higher education with top-up fees, dismayed by David Blunkett's attacks on asylum seekers and disgusted by New Labour's love of big business, they are determined to unite around an alternative programme for which working class people can be proud to fight.
For many Labour Party supporters the expulsion of MP George Galloway for opposing the war was proof that reclaiming Labour is no longer a viable strategy. For many Muslims, often traditional Labour voters, it is their continuing demonisation by New Labour as part of its "war on terrorism" that is the final straw. Trade unionists still feel the icy wind of Labour's neglect and students have been on the streets in their thousands to protest at government education policy.
The Stop the War Coalition has given us all a model for a successful mass campaign that can bring together all these forces in a single united challenge to New Labour.
The new organisation will be a coalition. It will focus on the great deal that unites us, not the issues which divide us. It will not demand that any of us cease to defend our own distinctive political views, merely that on those issues where we agree we speak with a single voice, campaign for our common values, choose candidates who best represent us and vote for them in the June elections.
If we do this much we can lay the basis for the alternative voice that working people need. We can teach Blair the lesson that he cannot ignore the voice of the people who put him in power and on whom Labour depends for its funds.
Most of all, we can put the values of peace, equality, trade unionism, socialism, environmentalism and anti-racism back where they belong: at the centre of politics in Britain.
To register send £10 to National Convention, 10 Woburn Walk, London WC1H OJL. Cheques payable to "Unity Political Fund" E-mail [email protected]