Socialist Party manifesto 2010
Making socialist ideas a reality: organising and fighting back
The Socialist Party does not expect to be able to persuade the fat cats and the pro-big business politicians of the error of their ways. Working class people need to get organised to make change happen.
For fighting, democratic trade unions
The trade unions, vilified in the media, are the largest, democratic, voluntary organisations in the country. They are the first line of defence when workers are attacked.
Nearly seven million workers are members of trade unions. These organisations need to be strengthened and expanded as workers resist increasing numbers of attacks. The number of high profile industrial disputes in the past twelve months shows this process is beginning.
The Socialist Party campaigns in the trade unions for the election of trade union leaders who stand up in the interests of their members.
Fearful of the potential power of the trade unions to defend workers, New Labour has maintained the Tory anti-trade union laws, the most draconian in western Europe. The usefulness to the bosses of these laws was demonstrated in the recent British Airways cabin crew and Rail, Maritime and Transport union disputes. The courts were used to overturn the democratic decision of thousands of workers to take strike action.
The trade union movement needs to put the repeal of these laws at the top of the agenda. Socialists are not in favour of unnecessarily putting the resources of trade unions at risk; however, there are occasions where, on the basis of careful preparation, the anti-trade union laws need to be defied.
If trade unions are then threatened with sequestration the whole of the trade union movement needs to be mobilised in their support. The construction workers’ strikes last year gave a glimpse of how – if a movement is powerful enough – these draconian laws can be swept aside.
The Socialist Party calls for:
- Scrap the anti-trade union laws!
- For trade union members having democratic control over their own policies, constitutions and democratic procedures. For all officials to be elected, subject to recall and paid only a worker’s wage.
- For unionisation drives in areas such as call centres, hospitality and retail, including among young and migrant workers.
For a new mass workers’ party
Unless we are organised politically as well as in trade unions, we will constantly be fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. The majority of trade unions still fund New Labour, yet the government is kicking workers in the teeth.
We argue for the trade unions to break the link with New Labour and to use their funds to build a new mass workers’ party to draw together all those opposed to, and fighting against, the policies of the bosses’ parties. To be effective such a party will need to adopt a bold socialist programme. We call on the few socialists in the Labour Party to leave and join us in the building of a genuine working class party.
The Socialist Party initiated, with others, the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party (www.cnwp.org.uk). Building on this good start, the first significant step towards such a party was made in June last year in the European elections with the No2EU-Yes to Democracy coalition. Importantly, this had the backing of the RMT trade union. Many of the constituent groups are working together in this election with the formation of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.
The Socialist Party calls for:
- A new mass workers’ party drawing together workers, young people and activists from workplace, community, environmental and anti-war campaigns, to provide a fighting, political alternative to the pro-big business parties.
- Labour Party affiliated trade unions to disaffiliate from the Labour Party now and aid the building of a new workers’ party.
- Unaffiliated unions to use their political funds to support anti-cuts election candidates and to aid the building of a new workers’ party.
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
The Socialist Party is standing under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC – www.tusc.org.uk). Again, RMT branches are at the forefront of building TUSC, standing their own candidates in some areas. Leading figures, such as Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT and Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association have given wholehearted support in a personal capacity.
TUSC is an important step towards offering a genuine alternative for the most militant and combative sections of workers and working class communities. After the general election, and regardless of the vote, the Socialist Party will work to see TUSC, or any new and expanded formation, continue to develop as an alternative pole of attraction for workers and young people.
Join the Socialist Party
The Socialist Party has a proud record. Our branches around the country involve themselves in the day-to-day struggles of working-class people, from campaigning to keep schools and libraries open, to supporting demands for more regular bin collections.
Our members in the trade unions and workplaces are among the most militant in campaigning and organising to improve the pay and conditions of workers. Our young members organise in campaigns and groups like Youth Fight for Jobs, Socialist Students and Youth Against Racism in Europe to help young people fight for their future.
Click here to join the Socialist Party
The Committee for a Workers International protesting at the G8 summit 2005, photo Paul Mattsson
Our struggle does not stop at the shores of Britain. Capitalism is an international economic system. Multinational companies exploit the entire world in the pursuit of profit. Accordingly the struggle for socialism is an international one.
We are affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI, www.socialistworld.net) which organises in more than 40 countries worldwide. We stand in solidarity with the workers and oppressed of the world in the struggle against poverty, terrorism and war and for a socialist world.
A new workers’ party, while crucial, is not the end of the struggle to change society, but an important part of it. On the basis of a democratically planned economy the vast wealth created by workers, the development of production, knowledge, science and technology could promise humanity a bright future. But first we must organise ourselves to end capitalism.
The Socialist Party is made up of people like you – of workers, pensioners, students and young people. We organise democratically and everyone’s contribution is valued no matter how great or how small. To get rid of this rotten capitalist system, the cause of so much suffering the world over, and to bring about the socialist future, we need you!