left party alternatives

London mayoral elections: Vote for the Left List

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What happens when your economic policies rely on a booming City of London and you're suddenly faced with a banking crisis and a credit crunch?

That's the dilemma facing the Labour government. It is also hitting Ken Livingstone in his mayoral contest, with Boris Johnson, the right wing Tory, ahead in recent polls. Many believe that the contest will be decided on transfer votes as the smaller parties' second preferences are divided between the two main candidates.

Let the people decide: Merseyside FBU considers standing in elections

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Once again public services are under attack. The current round of government grant settlements, essential money for local authorities from central government, has been decided.

As a result fire and rescue services around the country, but particularly in the north west, will receive funding which represents as little as 1 percent of the overall budget for this year, and 0.5 percent for the next two years running. It is significantly lower than the current rate of inflation and clearly a cut in the budget in real terms.

Letter From Germany: The successes and challenges of Die Linke

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Growing economic inequality and corruption have led to huge gains by the left. Christine Buchholz writes about the successes of Die Linke, and the challenges ahead

The left in Germany was celebrating last month after making a significant breakthrough in two regional elections. The polls in Lower Saxony and Hessen saw representatives of Die Linke elected with 7.1 percent and 5.1 percent respectively. The results were major election victories for the new left party, Die Linke, in former West Germany. This initial breakthrough was followed up by 6.4 percent in the election in the city-state of Hamburg.

The election results express a shift to the left by the population as a whole - a process that has been under way for some time.

London mayoral elections: Race and class in the city

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Race has been an issue in London all my life.

When I look back now, it is nowhere near the racist city it once was. London is visibly multicultural, much of the fabric of London life draws from ethnic minority culture, and there is not the same overt racism and bigotry which has dogged generations of immigrants who have been refused rooms, meals and jobs because of their racial or national origins.

London mayoral elections: Why I'm standing

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The election for London mayor is shaping up to be a celebrity clash between the incumbent mayor, Ken Livingstone, and his main rival, the Tory Neanderthal MP for Henley, Boris Johnson.

It is also getting nasty, especially since the Dispatches programme by Martin Bright last month which attacked Livingstone from a number of angles.

Both are well known figures, and already the level of media coverage surrounding the contest is high. Livingstone is facing daily attacks from London's main paper, the Evening Standard, while representatives of ethnic minorities, not to mention the left, quake at the thought of Johnson running City Hall.

Building an alternative to New Labour

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As Gordon Brown's neoliberal attacks on workers intensify, Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS civil servants' union, outlines his vision for a fighting left in Britain today

The Tories, once thought by many to have been consigned to opposition for at least a generation, are gaining in the polls. The genuine hope that Labour would begin the long overdue process of reversing the effects of 18 years of Tory rule brought their 1997 landslide victory. But ten years on there is widespread disappointment and, arguably, we have a government in crisis. Gordon Brown has replaced Tony Blair - but with little evident effect or result in terms of government direction.

Where next for Respect?

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The last few months have seen vigorous arguments over the future of Respect, culminating in George Galloway leading a split from the coalition. Martin Smith looks at where we are now and the enduring need for a left electoral alternative to Labour.

Over 350 people came to the fourth annual Respect conference last month. It was a broad and inclusive conference attended by PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, victimised health worker Karen Reissmann, six Respect councillors, ex-Labour stalwarts like Valerie Wise and Kumar Murshid, and lots of local activists.

Socialists in dispute

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Divisions within the left, such as that which has occurred in Respect, always have their basis in political disagreements. Socialists must always fight for their principles to take the movement forward.

Few things are so distressing for the socialist left as the bitter internal disputes marked by personal diatribes. Such disputes are not unique to the left. Witness the interminable rows within the Tory party, or the decade long feud within New Labour between bomber Tony Blair and bomber Gordon Brown. But the socialist left is based on principles very different from today's mainstream parties, and people expect better from it.

The grotesque bargain

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Last month Gordon Brown became the nearly man.

The debacle of his preparing for an election and then pulling back from it has confused and demoralised his own side, and given the Tories a major political advantage. While the election has probably now been pushed back nearly two years, Brown's own popularity has plummeted in the opinion polls.

Blair's Crisis: Holed Beneath the Water

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Blair's government is in terminal decline. The war in Iraq is the prime cause, argues Alex Callinicos.

The decline and fall of Tony Blair's premiership doesn't quite have the majesty of a classical tragedy. But it is following an ineluctable logic. That the government should lose a crucial vote in the House of Commons was entirely predictable, given the nature of the situation. A government with a small parliamentary majority and an unpopular prime minister will always be highly vulnerable to backbench rebellions.

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