Opportunity Knocks

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John Rees's article (May SR) should be a starting point for an active debate about the tasks for socialists in the coming months.

The scale of the anti-war movement has led to a deep politicisation - in every workplace, school and community there are people who are thinking about how to change things. People have moved seamlessly from opposing the war to generalising about imperialism and neoliberalism. Now their anger against Labour is directed against privatisation, Sats or foundation hospitals.

This debate is taking place in the context of people making all sorts of active links across issues and campaigns. Having built one movement, they are creating new and diverse networks. As socialists we need to have the same fluidity. We need to be organically linked to the tens of thousands of activists who are debating where next. The Socialist Alliance scored some impressive results in the local elections. But we need to try new things and be open to wider possibilities of involving more people. That can only work if we throw ourselves into the centre of wherever there is a campaign or a fight (or simply the prospect of one).

The best way to win the argument about the alternative to Labour is by making real the existence of an alternative based on the collective experience of the anti-war movement, which can enable us to build networks that are open and inclusive, but also reflect the depth of the political debate around us. Some of our existing networks may not be up to this task and may need to be discarded. Others need to be transformed quickly by recognising the potential and looking outwards. It is an important opportunity, and an exciting one.

Simon Basketter
London