Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/429/5034
Campaign for a New Workers' Party
IT'S HARDLY surprising that Tony Blair's government is fuelling anger amongst working-class people, not least because of its big business policies in education, the NHS, public-sector pensions and in the provision of public services. Also, millions of people have taken to the streets to protest against Blair's slavish support for George Bush's military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yet despite these rotten policies, many trade union leaders continue to give millions of pounds of workers' contributions to finance this anti-worker party and advocate a Labour vote.
Breaking from New Labour and establishing a new workers' party would give the working class a political voice in their struggles against exploitation by big business.
That is why attending the 19th March conference will be an important step in the campaign for a new workers' party. Make sure you're there!
Why I'm going to the conference...
"As a young anti-war activist I feel that young people have no political voice that will speak up for them anymore. My trade union supports New Labour.
If you ask them why, they will tell you that there is no-one else we can support.
That is why I think it is so important to 'gather the forces of workers and youth' and set up a new party that will represent the working class.
Together we can bring the troops home, fund the NHS and education and give everyone decent housing. I will go to the CNWP conference confident in what we will achieve in the next few years."
Glyn Matthews, USDAW shop steward, Cardiff
"I am attending the CNWP conference for one important reason, that the working class have no political representation and therefore New Labour have been able to attack vital resources and services that the working class rely on.
"A new mass workers' party would be able to challenge New Labour's neo-liberalism and defend the gains that the working class have fought for over the last 100 years.
As a student I also understand that students are exploited too, and have a duty to be active in any new party which can fight against top-up fees and the commercialisation of education."
Jim Thomson, Exeter University
"New Labour is stepping up its drive to privatise our public services and even break up the comprehensive education system but the mainstream political parties offer no resistance.
In fact they compete to see who can destroy them quicker. A new workers' party is desperately needed to provide a voice for the millions who rely on these services.
"I believe the Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference will be an important step in trying to provide that voice. This is why I am planning to attend and would urge all trade unionists, community campaigners and environmentalists to do the same."
Phil Clarke, NUT, Brighton
Campaign for a new workers' party
Sunday 19 March 2006, 11.30am-4.30pm.
University of London Union,
Malet Street, London WC1
(nearest Tubes - Goodge Street or Euston Square)
£5 entrance fee, cheques payable to CNWP, or pay online
- Mark Serwotka, general secretary PCS union;
- Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor; a speaker from WASG the new Left formation in Germany.
Local launch meetings coming up
9 March 7:30pm
Casa Bar, Hope Street.
14 March 7.30pm
Friends Meeting House, Mount Street.
For more information on the Campaign for a New Workers' Party, go to www.cnwp.org.uk
email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to CNWP, PO Box 858, London E11 1YG.
Building support for the campaign
HACKNEY SOCIALIST Party have drawn up plans to advertise the campaign, gain signatories to the declaration and get people to the 19 March conference.
These plans include visiting local workplaces such as the local hospital, Department for Work and Pensions offices and the council offices, as well as visiting Hackney College. Publicity material has been carried on Saturday stalls and made available at local rallies against the privatisation of education.
The branch have also put together a list of people from the local area to ask to attend the conference and so far have booked a number of places.
Socialist Party members in Huddersfield have approached the Fire Brigades Union and PCS civil service union locally about the campaign and the conference and have had a good response. They are aiming to fill at least one minibus for 19 March and are in touch with a number of local trade unionists, including the UNISON shop steward who led a recent caretakers' strike.
Manchester Socialist Party branch have been doing regular public activities since the campaign was launched at the end of last year. To publicise the conference and their local meeting on 14 March, members of the branch have been visiting various workplaces and also leafleting workers at Victoria train station in the morning. This has got a good response, especially when using the slogan, "time for a party of the working class!".
All Socialist Party members attending the conference should register today by using the online payments form at www.cnwp.org.uk/booking.htm or by sending contact details and a cheque (£5) to CNWP, PO Box 858, E11 1YG.
Branches should also approach others who may be interested in attending such as shop stewards, student union activists and local campaigners. Ask them to register as soon as possible using the online booking form.
CNWP meetings in England and Wales
A CNWP launch meeting in Swansea on 16 February was attended by 25 trade unionists and young people.
Opening speaker Rob Williams, (union convenor at the city's Visteon plant) argued that the union link with New Labour lessens trade unions' ability to defend their members, citing the MG Rover closure and the sackings of Gate Gourmet workers.
Yet unions like the TGWU still give millions to New Labour! However, Rob said: "We don't want non-political trade unions but a new mass party for working-class people."
Gloria Tanner, PCS union branch organiser at the Pension Centre in Swansea gave an update on the civil service job cuts dispute. Gordon Brown's jobs massacre is deepening the crisis in delivering public services, with benefit claims taking as much as 12 weeks or more.
PCS young member, Sarah Mayo gave an angry attack on the future that Blair and Brown have shaped for young people. Low pay, student debts and ASBOs for wearing hoodies! Young people have no loyalty to New Labour, and the large youth contingents in the anti-war movement showed that young people are not apathetic or non-political.
'Our class needs socialism'
"WHEN I looked out the window again I saw 150 riot police in the street. When they came into my house ten riot police with shields surrounded me in my little room. I grabbed a bag and had to leave".
Steve Nally (Lambeth Socialist Party)
Delroy's crime? Living in a massive, well established and peaceful squat in Kennington, Lambeth and daring to stand up to Lambeth council to keep a roof over his head.
Delroy's experience around homelessness, combined with other activists' local struggles, set the combatative tone of the South West London launch of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party.
Over 30 campaigners, trade unionists and socialists heard Lewisham Socialist Party councillor Ian Page and Rob MacDonald, President of Lambeth College Student Union, outline the burning need to build a socialist alternative to New Labour. There were also speakers from NATFHE, Lambeth UNISON, Northern Line RMT and Luke from the Save The Playgrounds Campaign.
Rob summed up the mood when he said "that unless we fight for socialism then nothing will change for our class in this area".
Fight the cuts
THREE MONTHS ago, South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) secretary, Jerry Pagan, said he stayed in the Labour Party to have influence for his members with Fire Authority councillors.
Last month, Labour councillors voted to close three fire stations! On Saturday, Jerry attended the Campaign for a New Workers' Party meeting after the Sheffield 'March for Jobs and Services'.
So did disabled people activists who are currently fighting Sheffield Labour Council's proposed 165% hike in community care charges! And a dozen civil service PCS union reps, including three branch secretaries, were amongst the 40-strong audience who heard Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist outline the case for a new mass workers' party.
PCS members, teachers, workers from libraries, adult education and Whipps Cross hospital, school and FE students attended the CNWP launch meeting in Waltham Forest. We had support from tube drivers and postal workers who couldn't make the meeting.
Andy, PCS rep at Inland Revenue, said: "When the minimum wage was brought in, we discovered that some Inland Revenue workers were on less than the minimum! Workers are asking 'where's the party that fights for us?'"
Nancy Taaffe, UNISON activist, summed up the meeting when she said that if the union leaders looked at their members, they'd see a fighting spirit that would follow them in a call for a new mass workers' party.
New Socialist Party pamphlet
£1 or £2.50 for 5.
Cheques made payable to Socialist Publications at PO Box 24697, London, E11 1YD.
In The Socialist 2 March 2006: