Who’s for the SLP?

Communist press

“Another split and another party are not what the British labour movement wants or needs at the moment.” So says the Morning Star (January 15). It went on to explain: “What is most needed is maximum unity in action to force the Tories out of office, return a majority Labour government at the general election and build up pressure on Labour ...”

The New Communist Party takes a similar stand but, alongside its continued orientation towards the existing Labour Party, it does make the following political point:

“Of course the emancipation of the working class can only be achieved through socialism and that can only come about through revolutionary change. The Labour Party cannot lead that struggle, nor can any other social democratic party like Arthur Scargill’s” (New Worker January 19).

Militant Labour, which has been quick to give it electoral assistance, summed up its attitude to the SLP:

“Militant Labour should be guided in its attitude towards the Socialist Labour Party by what was in the best interests of the working class. We should continue to adopt a friendly but critical attitude towards the SLP’s development” (Militant January 26).

The January edition of Workers Power makes interesting reading. It lambasts the SWP for “running scared of Scargill’s SLP initiative”. The SWP, it argues, “fears a rival organisation to the left of Labour, for the simple reason that it cannot clearly delineate its political differences with left reformism”. But, most unusually for a British left paper, Workers Power endorses the position adopted by another organisation - Militant Labour.

“Militant Labour are unreservedly in favour of the foundation of a Socialist Labour Party. To their credit, they haven’t allowed their enthusiasm to push them into a capitulation to Scargill’s bureaucratic constitution ... We are ready to unite with Militant Labour to fight for an open, democratic discussion about what sort of party the SLP should be.”

But all is not apple pie and cream between the two organisations. Workers Power points out:

“The SLP provides the chance to rally working class forces to the fight for a revolutionary party ... but Militant Labour’s leaders are clearly not trying to do this. They see the SLP as a left reformist alternative to Labour that can once again serve as a vehicle for their old perspective of strategic entry.”

Julian Jake