Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/207/8513

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2001

The Socialist - What we think

Labour's union links crack at seams

LAST WEEK'S decision of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to loosen its financial links to the Labour Party is major step forward. Rejecting the recommendation of the union's executive, delegates to the annual conference voted by 27,000 to 23,000 to allow financial support to candidates opposing the Labour Party.

Coming as it did just days after Labour's Manifesto launch promising an ever-greater 'involvement' of private companies in public services, this was a timely response. It followed the early news coming from Wyre Forest that New Labour could well lose the seat to a Kidderminster hospital campaigner, such is the anger at the local attack there on the NHS.

With New Labour now so clearly another capitalist party, albeit of a more 'liberal' character than Hague's Tories, workers, public service users, and young people, need a new mass alternative, a new workers' party, to represent their interests.

The successful motion at the FBU conference, from the union's London region, reflected the experience of FBU members there. Having voted overwhelmingly last year to back Ken Livingstone for London mayor they had been compelled by the then FBU general secretary, Ken Cameron, to withdraw financial support for his independent candidacy.

Another telling argument was when the mover of the motion, a Socialist Party member, explained that under the previous policy the union would not be able to support the Socialist Alliance candidate in St Helens South, long-standing Labour Party member and FBU activist Neil Thompson, who has resigned from the Labour Party to stand against the millionaire ex-Tory MP, Shaun Woodward.

Significant though the FBU vote is, however, the experience even within that union shows that the process of building a new working class party will not be a straightforward one. The London region that moved the resolution to loosen the links, for example, also calls for Ken Livingstone to be re-admitted to the Labour Party.

Reflecting a lingering ambivalence amongst some sections that perhaps the Labour Party could be 'reclaimed', there is also a lack of confidence that a viable alternative to New Labour can be built. Significantly, a motion from Bedfordshire FBU, which explicitly argued for disaffiliation from the Labour Party and support for the Socialist Alliance, was withdrawn when early soundings showed that it would be defeated.

The Kidderminster candidate, Dr Richard Taylor, also sees the electoral successes of the hospital campaign as starting "a revolt against the major party political system" (Guardian, 26 March). But at this stage it is seen as an 'independent revolt', not linked to a national alternative.

A good showing by Socialist Party, Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party candidates in the general election will increase the weight of The Socialist's arguments that a new workers party is necessary. Clarity within the Socialist Alliance, on the need for a federal structure that can accommodate workers moving onto the political plane at different speeds, and even on the need for a new workers' party, will also be important.

But it will be mainly events, of workers responding to the deepening crisis that a second-term Labour government will face, that will fill out the processes signposted by the FBU decision and the Kidderminster campaign into the basis for a new mass workers' party.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 May 2001:

Keep The Private Vultures Out

Break The Chains Of Poverty

Labour's union links crack at seams

Asylum - Labour and Tories up the stakes

Fat Cat at Wakefield Mayor's Ball

Socialist Alliance hits the airwaves

Students and Socialist councillors fight fees' threats

Green Party - A serious Left alternative?

Plaid Cymru - good old fashioned socialism?

SNP: Standing up for big business

Law and order: Soft on a criminal system

No to a bosses' Europe: Fight for workers' unity

Middle East - Edging closer to all-out war


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 May 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

FBU:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

triangleSurrey FBU pass no confidence motion

Labour Party:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

Socialist Party:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2