Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Building a left wing political alternative
FORTY PEOPLE including trade unionists, community campaigners and students attended the first London regional meeting of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP).
Glenn Kelly, Socialist Party member and Unison executive member, argued that the economic crisis makes the need for a new workers' party even more urgent, but that we need to be prepared for trade union leaders trying to say that the measures announced by Alistair Darling mean that 'Old Labour' is back.
However, as Glenn pointed out it is ordinary working people who will be expected to pay an enormous price for this crisis, through lost jobs, lost homes, and huge public sector cuts. He called for debates in trade union branches, informal meetings in workplaces and taking leaflets and petitions onto the streets to campaign against job losses and to argue for a new workers' party.
Steve Hedley spoke from the RMT rail union, explaining the important role trade unions and the better left trade union leaders can play in breaking with Labour and campaigning for a new party. Some in RMT argue to go back to Labour, but what influence have Unite and the other Labour affiliated unions had? Militant trade unionism can only take us so far, we need a political party.
Roberta Farr, a housing campaigner from Lewisham, stressed the part that community campaigns can play, including standing candidates in local elections.
Socialist Party member James Kerr spoke on the widespread school student actions in Germany and how young people there are getting involved in the new left party, Die Linke, and its youth section, Solid.
The chair and main organiser of the meeting, PCS branch secretary Elenor Haven, proposed meeting again in February or March 2009, and she asked for volunteers to form an organising group for London.