left party alternatives

Left Alternative: Beyond the Crossroads

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Paul Foot puts the case for a unity coalition of the left, while Socialist Alliance councillor Michael Lavalette explains how he has forged a campaign in Preston.

The vast demonstration against Bush on 20 November once again opened wide the increasingly intolerable contradiction on the British left. These demonstrations in 2003 were far greater than anything in the 1960s or indeed at any other time before or since, yet when the crowds have dispersed, there is so little sign of any political result. The huge Labour majority cannot even prevent parliament from moving yet another step closer to the privatisation of the health service.

Manifesto for Change: Empower the People

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Chair of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition Salma Yaqoob proposes her ideas for a progressive alternative to New Labour.

I believe that at this juncture we face some hard choices. In the aftermath of the largest demonstration in British history, when the concerns of the people were put aside by a contemptuous leadership, can any one of us afford to be complacent about the state of democracy in this country? Disillusionment is running deep, and even the trade unions that started the Labour Party are questioning their continued links and financial support to it.

Socialist Alliance: A Real Alternative in Brent

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The decision taken by the Socialist Alliance at its annual conference in May to explore the possibilities of building a broader and more credible political coalition has provoked fierce debate in some quarters.

But the perspective of the 'task group' of national executive members charged with giving this project national leadership is very clear.

We intend to continue with the process of seeking to build the Socialist Alliance while actively exploring any possibility of boosting the general project of creating a left alternative to Blair. This means engagement with members of the Muslim community radicalised by the war, community activists and trade unionists.

Electing to Fight

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Carlo Morelli, Joe Hartney and Mike Gonzalez examine the success of the Scottish socialists, while Michael Lavalette explains how he won in Preston.

The political landscape of Scotland was transformed on 1 May, with the election of six Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) MSPs to the Scottish Parliament. In the face of Blair and New Labour across Britain, we cannot overestimate how important it is that a party that openly talks about socialism and is consistently anti-war has won mass support. Even the most reticent bourgeois commentators agree on that.

Young, Gifted and Back

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Cabinet resignations, backbench rebellions and increasing public anger are all making life difficult for the government. Rob Hoveman views the prospects for the left.

Tony Blair and New Labour are in trouble. The most dramatic political event in years - the war on Iraq and the mass movement against it - created deep splits in the party. Some 140 Labour MPs voted against the government even though Blair effectively made it a vote of confidence in him. The movement against the war very nearly forced Blair from office. Two cabinet ministers - Robin Cook and belatedly Clare Short - have now resigned because of the war.

The Conquest of Iraq

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The Stop the War Coalition is now entering a new phase of its evolution.

From its first meeting in September 2001 it has been clear that the coalition is unique as a single-issue campaigning body. Its precursor was the anti-globalisation movement, whose broad critique of capitalism and methods of organisation entered into its bloodstream at birth even if it never formed part of the coalition's explicit programme.

Unity in Diversity

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The movement against neoliberalism and war must be built, but so too must the revolutionary Marxist current within it.

The 2000s are proving to be a new era of mass movements. This is most spectacularly reflected in the international campaigns against global capitalism and against the 'war on terrorism'. Of necessity, these movements unite a wide range of political forces in common action. The anti-capitalist movement prides itself on its unity in diversity. The second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre brought together a very wide spectrum that extended from French and Brazilian social democrats to revolutionary socialists and autonomists.

Labour and the Unions: We are Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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RMT activist Greg Tucker explains how growing radicalisation is leading to a rift between New Labour and the unions.

The RMT leadership was always proud of the deep links between Labour and the union at all levels. At the top the RMT sponsored half the shadow cabinet and had great expectations of a Labour government. A significant number of union activists had been encouraged to become Labour councillors and at the grassroots the union boasted the highest density of party membership of any trade union.

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