left party alternatives

It is important to vote

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I was struck by an obituary in the Guardian a few months ago. It was in the "Other Lives" section, where friends and family write in to celebrate the lives of people who were their own "local heroes".

This man had lived in Plymouth, where he worked on the railways, went off to fight in the Second World War, then carried on working on the railways, was a member of Aslef, and a Labour councillor who became mayor.

Then in 2003 he left Labour because of the war in Iraq.

German elections: weak victors and strong left

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The results of September's general election in Germany are contradictory. It brought to power a right wing combination of a conservative-liberal government.

But this doesn't represent a rightward shift in German society. The conservatives of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) had their worst showing since the Second World War, and the conservative-liberal camp actually lost a total of 300,000 votes.

Labour collapse, BNP victories - political meltdown

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The economic and political crises have undermined the legitimacy of mainstream politics, argues Alex Callinicos. As Labour's support crashes can the left offer answers?

Crises aren't made of whole cloth. They have multiple causes and are explosive precisely because they represent the coming together of the major contradictions in society.

Thus the political meltdown in Britain isn't just about a massive popular revulsion against what the media call the "political class". Its intensity arises from the way in which it has coincided with the global economic and financial crisis.

The left needs to unite to fight back

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Labour voters stayed home in droves in June's European elections. They simply didn't have a credible alternative to get them to the polling station. This tells us that millions of working class people need an organisation which will stand up for them.

One which will fight for more social housing, defend jobs and workers' rights. One which will oppose all imperialist interventions, resist racism, fight to defend services and oppose the cuts we all know are coming.

New party to unite the French left

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The birth of the New Anti-capitalist Party in France is a welcome development for those opposed to neoliberalism. Over 9,000 people from different political backgrounds have already joined up. Jim Wolfreys reports from its founding congress and looks at its prospects and challenges.

The founding of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA or New Anti-capitalist Party) in France last month marks a new stage in the search for a means of translating revolt against neoliberalism into a durable and effective political form. It comes at a time of renewed combativity against President Nicolas Sarkozy's attacks on public services and working conditions with 2.5 million people joining the strikes and demonstrations on 29 January that opposed the government's handling of the recession.

Letter from France

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The victory of conservative Nicolas Sarkozy last year has led to disorientation for the mainstream left. But this can offer exciting possibilities for anti-capitalists, argues Denis Godard

Just a few weeks after Nicolas Sarkozy was elected as president last year, many on the radical left were interpreting the electoral results as a whole society moving to the right. The Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) leadership, meanwhile, started to talk about calling for a new anti-capitalist party in France. This initiative responded to both a necessity and an opportunity.

The "move to the right" theorists were right on one point. The election campaign and the period since have seen the whole establishment moving to the right.

The crisis fuels discontent

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Global economic turmoil has led to food riots abroad and spiralling inflation in Britain. Michael Bradley and Judith Orr report on the growing resentment towards the crisis-ridden Labour government

Where did it all go wrong for Gordon Brown? Was it his failure to call a general election last October? Was it the attempt to impose a pay freeze? Was it the vote in parliament to extend detention without trial to 42 days? Just one year into Brown's premiership a recent Gallup poll showed Labour's popularity at its lowest ebb of support since Gallup first asked people to declare their voting intention in 1943. The government is in a crisis that appears out of control and the central issue that is derailing Brown is the economic crisis.

The resistible rise of the BNP

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The recent local elections saw the BNP gain ten councillors and a London Assembly member. Judith Orr puts these results in context, and argues that the fascists can, and must, be stopped once more.

One of the most shocking results last month was the election of Nazi British National Party (BNP) member Richard Barnbrook to London's assembly. This was on top of 13 seats the fascist organisation won in councils in England. It also lost three seats, so its net gain was ten, bringing a total of 57 seats.

Is Britain moving to the right?

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Labour's crushing election defeats and the increase in the vote for the Nazi BNP has led some to believe the country is drifting rightwards. Lindsey German opens our analysis of the situation by challenging that assumption and argues that election results don't tell the whole story.

It's hard to remember that only nine months ago 1 May was projected as a likely general election day. Then, the theory went, Gordon Brown would be able to take Labour to a fourth election victory, strengthen his position as elected prime minister and continue for another four or five years. Brown was at that time - again hard to remember - enjoying a honeymoon following the unlamented departure of Tony Blair.

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