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Step forward for Scottish left

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Issue 1746

SWP and SSP vote to merge

Step forward for Scottish left

By Charlie Kimber

THE SOCIALIST Workers Party (SWP) and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) have voted to unite to form a single party. Separate meetings of members of both organisations agreed the move by overwhelming majorities at the weekend. Julie Waterson told a Socialist Worker supporters’ meeting on Saturday, “The background to this decision is the rising anti-capitalist feeling across the world and the deep crisis of the reformist, Labour-style parties. People are moving to the left and looking for new ideas. It is our duty and our opportunity to be part of shaping that movement. By uniting with the SSP we can be part of a party that will be a powerful alternative to New Labour, a real attraction to hundreds of people who previously were not sure about joining any political party. We start with the needs of the working class, not our own organisation. Everyone is justifiably proud of what the SWP in Scotland has achieved. We are not turning our back on the Marxist tradition that we stand for. But nobody would be proud of a party that failed to grasp the challenge and the opportunity that has been presented to us. Our target is to recruit 1,000 members to the SSP over the next month and to raise 10,000 for the election fund.”

After Julie Waterson spoke SWP members enthusiastically told of how there were dozens of people in workplaces, campaigns and the community who were ready to join now that the left was uniting.

Chris Bambery of the SWP said, “We want to build the SSP. We agree with the people already inside it on 90 percent of politics. We will argue about the 10 percent we don’t agree about, but at the same time we will work together. We want to help build new branches and push the party’s influence deeper inside the working class.”

Socialist member of the Scottish Parliament Tommy Sheridan told Socialist Worker, “I am very excited by the prospect ahead of us now we have 90 to 95 percent of the organised left in Scotland in a single party. I’m sure that many working class people will be delighted that the left has got its act together at last. They will say that now the left can stop knocking lumps out of each other and start knocking lumps out of the bosses.”

Socialist Worker supporters will be organised in a Socialist Worker platform as part of the SSP. The platform will have the same rights as other groupings within the party to hold its own meetings and sell its own literature. Its programme is the “Where We Stand” column on page 12 of this paper, plus the clause, “We support the right of self determination for the Scottish people and the extension of the powers of the Scottish Parliament. Scotland remains, however, part of the UK imperialist state. Together with English and Welsh workers we face a common enemy. Scottish workers remain part of British-wide trade unions. We stand for a united fightback by Scottish, English and Welsh workers.”

  • THE SWP meeting voted 113 for, two against and three abstentions to unite with the SSP.
  • SSP meetings across Scotland produced a total of 132 votes for, 36 against and nine abstentions.

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