Labour's Pains

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Huw Williams (March SR) correctly identifies the scale of the crisis facing the Labour Party.

Here in Scotland the Labour Party managed to defeat an anti-war amendment put by rebel labour MSP John McAfflon by just 5 votes at the Scottish Parliament. After the vote health minister Malcolm Chisholm made clear he only voted against it due to loyalty to the Labour Party, but is now prepared to publicly speak on anti-war platforms.

The extent of the crisis is also indicated by Labour CLPs' open acknowledgement that they are having difficulty finding enough candidates for the local council elections, and face a potential meltdown vote across Scotland in the forthcoming council and Scottish Parliamentary elections on 1May. At the same time the popularity of the Scottish Socialist Party has never been higher. Recent polls indicate the SSP's support is running at 10 percent for the proportional representation vote. We could even beat the Tories.

However there are two dangers facing the left in this situation. The first is to act in a triumphalist way towards those who will work with us in building an anti-war movement, yet remain in the Labour Party. Yes, we should argue that they should leave the party of the warmonger Blair, but we can still work with those who decide to stay yet remain opposed to the war and want to organise against it.

The second danger is to assume that the left's popularity means it does not need to fight for a socialist understanding of war within the anti-war movement. Socialist politics have been crucial to building a strong and vibrant anti-war movement and are, if anything, even more important today with the war in progress.

Carlo Moreffi
SSP Prospective Scottish parl arnentary, candidate for north east Fife