Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/416/4729
Campaign for a new workers' party
THE FOLLOWING declaration for a new workers' party was launched by the Socialist Party at Socialism 2005, a weekend of discussion and debate attended by hundreds of young people, trade union and community activists.
Initial signatories include 21 trade union national executive committee (NEC) members and four councillors.
The campaign for a new workers' party will be collecting thousands more signatures over the coming months in support of the declaration.
If you would like to add your name or take copies of the declaration, contact info@CNWP.org.uk.
A CENTURY ago trade unionists and socialists came together to fight for independent political representation for the working class: the result was the Labour Party.
In the past the Labour Party, however imperfectly, provided a voice for the working class. Today, however, New Labour is a party of the giant corporations, its policies a continuation of Margaret Thatcher's attacks on the lives and living conditions of working class people.
Public services are being sold off; the occupation of Iraq has led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and over two thousand 'coalition' soldiers; democratic rights are being undermined in the name of fighting terrorism; and the Tory anti-trade union laws, the most repressive in the European Union, have been left almost completely intact.
At this year's Labour Party conference 99% of the trade union votes supported the reinstatement of trade unionists' right to take solidarity action. However, the Labour Party conference no longer has any power. This, and the other anti-New Labour resolutions passed, were immediately brushed aside by the party leadership. At the same time Gordon Brown made it absolutely clear that his future leadership of the party would not represent 'a shift to the left'.
We believe that the chance to reclaim the Labour Party has long passed and there is no point in continuing to fuel false hopes. The recent success of the new Left party in Germany, winning 8.8% of the vote and 54 MPs, gives a glimpse of the potential for a new left force. We pledge to do all in our power to bring a new workers' party into being in England and Wales.
We believe it would be wrong, at this early stage, to attempt to predetermine the structure or every aspect of a new party. That can only be decided on the basis of democratic debate leading to agreement amongst the forces involved.
However, if it is to be successful, it is crucial that a new party, and any pre-party formations, be open, democratic and welcoming to all those who want to work together against the neo-liberal onslaught on the working class. This means that all groups and individuals, provided they are in agreement with the basic aims of the party, should have the right to democratically organise and argue for their point of view.
This approach will help ensure the new formation is attractive to trade unionists, community and environmental campaigners, and anti-war activists. Most importantly it will assist in reaching out to workers and to young people who are not yet active in struggle. In this way we can unite the strongest possible forces to build a powerful working class party that is capable of effectively opposing the anti-union laws, cuts, privatisation, environmental degradation and war.
We believe that such a party would represent a fundamental break with the big business parties which currently dominate politics, giving workers the opportunity to resist the neo-liberal capitalist agenda and fight for a socialist programme - including a living minimum wage, full trade union rights and for fully funded, democratically controlled public services.
We, the undersigned, agree to campaign for the establishment of a new mass workers' party in England and Wales.
We will campaign for the calling of a representative conference as a step towards the founding of a new party.
We will also support all other genuine initiatives towards independent working-class representation, including the conference called by the RMT. (all signatories in a personal capacity)
Janice Godrich PCS President
Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary
Marian Lloyd PCS NEC
Rob Williams PCS NEC
Mark Baker PCS NEC
Jane Aitchison PCS DWP President
Sevi Yesidalli PCS NEC
John McInally PCS NEC
Danny Williamson PCS NEC
Kevin Greenaway PCS NEC
Roger Bannister UNISON NEC
Jean Thorpe UNISON NEC
Raph Parkinson UNISON NEC
Glenn Kelly UNISON NEC
Diane Shepherd UNISON NEC
Andrew Price NATFHE NEC
Bernard Roome CWU NEC
Gary Jones CWU NEC
Linda Taaffe NUT NEC
Robbie Segal USDAW NEC
Molly Cooper NUJ NEC
Jim Barbour FBU NEC
Dave Nellist Coventry Socialist Party councillor
Karen Mackay Coventry Socialist Party councillor
Ian Page Lewisham Socialist Party councillor
Chris Flood Lewisham Socialist Party councillor
To support this declaration contact: info@CNWP.org.uk
In The Socialist 17 November 2005: