left party alternatives

Countdown to 10 June: Wipe the Smiles Off their Faces

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Peter Morgan looks at the unique opportunity we have to teach Blair and Bush a lesson on 10 June.

There is one memorable moment in Errol Morris's masterly new film The Fog of War, in which Robert S McNamara - the secretary of defence under Kennedy and Johnson and the man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese - admits that both he and Lyndon Johnson knew the US was embroiled in a war it could not win and a war it had to get out of. That point came, he admitted, after about 23,000 US servicemen and women had been killed. Yet the final total of US casualties in the Vietnam War ended up being 58,209.

Striking parallels

Countdown to 10 June: A Winning Formula

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For Londoners, 'Super Thursday' will be the most complicated election ever held. Sally Campbell demystifies the process.

There are three elections taking place on 10 June:


European Parliament

Which voting system is used?

Regional list system: The UK is divided into 12 regions (eg North East, North West, London, Scotland) and each elects a certain number of MEPs, so London is likely to elect nine, Scotland eight, North West ten.

Each political party puts forward a list of candidates for the region matching the number of seats (independents can also stand as individuals).

Red Light from the Greens

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The Green Party's resistance to making an electoral arrangement with Respect is unfortunate, but not entirely uncharacteristic, finds Andrew Stone.

The destructive forces of capitalism are driving us headlong into the sixth great species extinction of the earth's 5 billion year history. The Green Party has done the left a valuable service in highlighting this environmental emergency, and in explaining human-induced climate change as one of its prime motors. It has been disappointing therefore that attempts by the Respect coalition steering committee to cooperate in campaigning for the 10 June elections were so robustly refused by the Green Party leadership. This article explains why.

Moderate progress

Jumping Off the Bandwagon

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Mike Davis assesses the options for the left in the coming US elections.

Is the Pentagon too small, the war on terrorism too meek, and the Department of Homeland Security too underfunded?

John Kerry thinks so. In recent days he has repeatedly attacked the Bush administration for failing to put sufficient troops in the field or move aggressively enough against Al Qaida and North Korea.

Trade Unions: Making Labour Pay

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The expulsion of the RMT from the Labour Party is hastening calls to democratise trade union political funds - and not before time.

For 100 years the trade union movement has loyally backed the Labour Party. In the past few months real cracks have begun to open up. At midday on 7 February 2004 the Labour leadership expelled the RMT. Its crime? A special conference decision to uphold the right of branches and regions to support parties other than the Labour Party. The decision to expel the RMT was not just made by the cabal around Blair - NEC delegates from Amicus, GMB, GPMU, TGWU and Unison voted for their expulsion. Members of the 'awkward squad' control all five of these unions!

How to Fight the System

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Coalitions can't substitute for revolutionary organisation but are a vital prerequisite.

A couple of years ago Paul Foot wrote an article in Socialist Worker arguing that people who were involved in the anti-war movement needed to belong to something more, a political organisation that took up other issues as well. We received two letters criticising his argument. They were from people who argued that they already had a wider organisation, the electoral united front the Socialist Alliance, and saw no reason to be in the Socialist Workers Party.

Respect: 'The Unity We're All Looking For'

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Julie Bundy and Gareth Jenkins spoke to activists at the launch convention about how they see the coalition developing.

Over 1,400 people attended the founding of the Respect coalition at Friends Meeting House in London at the end of January: the young and the old, trade unionists, the left and those who have come to politics though the anti-war movement. The convention represented something historic in British politics - an embryonic movement making a decisive break from seeing the Labour Party as the party of the working class.

The Necessity of Respect

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As Respect is launched John Molyneux looks at the political and historical context of the coalition - and seeks to answer the doubters.

The launching of Respect: the Unity Coalition to mount an electoral challenge to Blair and New Labour is a new political development. It is new for those directly involved - George Galloway, Salma Yaqoob, the SWP, the thousands of ex Labour supporters or formally uncommitted people who will join. It is also new in that no political formation like it has hitherto existed in British history.

British Politics: The Alternative We Need

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Declaration and call for a National Convention to found an alternative to New Labour

The greatest mass movement of our age has brought us together. We have marched in unprecedented numbers against war, against racism, and in defence of democracy and civil liberties. Our views are shared by millions, often a majority of the people in this country.

Yet no establishment politician, and very few elected representatives of any kind, will lend their voice to this movement.

British Politics: Laying the Foundations

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As the left unity coalition forms nationally, Julie Bundy speaks to Harlow activists about how they are bringing together the local anti-war movement and ex Labour members to challenge New Labour

Harlow is a small town of around 70,000 in south Essex. Created as one of the postwar new towns, it was first populated as an east London overspill. Many of the manufacturing industries that were there when the new town was created have disappeared and many people now commute into London to work.

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