Socialist challenge to New Labour in London elections
London Socialist Alliance press release
The newly formed London Socialist Alliance has announced that it intends to stand over 100 candidates against New Labour in the forthcoming London council elections.
The Alliance is a broad based democratic organisation which has brought together leftwingers from across the capital who are disgusted with the policies of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party.
In recent years Labour councils have forced through massive rises in Council Tax and rents, introduced changes in essential services such as meals on wheels, homecare and day centres. They have sacked thousands of front-line staff and closed down hundreds of vital community services.
In the past it was easy to blame the Tory government for these actions. Now that Tony Blair is in power these excuses cannot be used. Yet the attacks on vulnerable Londoners continue.
The LSA says enough is enough. It’s time to fight against the cuts and present a genuine working class alternative. This is why we are contesting the elections - to offer working class people throughout London the opportunity to vote for real socialist candidates who will fight to defend their interests.
The Alliance has the backing of Euro MEPs Ken Coates and Hugh Kerr
Draft minimal electoral platform submitted for discussion by the London Socialist Alliance
Where no Socialist Alliance candidate is standing, we urge voters to support any candidate who can support the following minimum demands. Anyone that cannot do so deserves no support from the working class:
- Democracy: there must be the fullest democracy in society. All elections should be on the basis of proportional representation. No to Blair’s London Mayor - yes to an elected assembly. All hereditary privilege in the constitution must be ended. The monarchy and the House of Lords should not be reformed. They must go. The people of Scotland and Wales must have the right to self-determination - the right to determine their own relationship with the rest of Britain. Oppose separation - yes to the voluntary unity of the peoples of Britain in a federal republic.
- Ireland: no to Blair’s ‘peace process’. Britain must unconditionally withdraw from the north of Ireland, leaving the people of Ireland free to determine their own future.
- Minimum wage: the minimum wage should not be set at what Blair says this decrepit, anti-working system can afford. Workers needs at least £285 for a maximum 35 hour week in order to live decent, dignified lives.
- Pensions and benefits: older people are treated as excess baggage. After a lifetime of work, they must have the right to full lives with access to all the necessities of the modern society that they have helped create. Pensions and all other basic state benefits should be set at the level of the minimum wage.
- Unemployed: no to ‘welfare to work’. Obscenely, the unemployed are blamed for being unemployed. In fact, capitalism produces unemployment and all parties - not least Blair’s New Labour - which defend capitalism share blame for the plight of the unemployed. Benefit should be set at the level of the minimum wage. The unemployed must be guaranteed a full life whether or not the bosses can employ them profitably.
- Anti-trade union laws: nothing indicates more starkly the anti-working class nature of Blair’s Labour Party than the decision to retain the Tory’s draconian anti-union laws. Trade unions - the basic organisations of self-defence of the workers - must be free from state shackles and interference and be democratically run by the workers themselves.
- Women: for real not just legal equality between men and women. Women must have real control their own bodies. There must be free abortion and contraception on demand. The state must provide free 24 hour nursery provision. There must be moves towards the socialisation of housework.
- Immigration: the product is free so should be the worker. Commodities move freely around the globe in the pursuit of profit. Workers should also be free to move wherever they wish. No to all immigration controls.
- End discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians: no to discriminatory legislation such as the age of consent. For the right of gays and lesbians to adopt children.
- Transport: in the major cities - not least in London - people are charged exorbitant prices for substandard, antiquated and overcrowd transport. Coordination is nonexistent. The system must be integrated and buses, trains and the underground must be provided free of charge. Mobility is a right for the able-bodied and disabled alike.
Resolution on London referendum unanimously agreed by CPGB members’ aggregate March 8 1998
1. Blair’s proposals for a powerful directly elected mayor and a weak Greater London Authority are an integral part of his project of reforming the constitutional monarchy system. However unlike Scotland there is no mass movement in London, latent or otherwise, which is committed to, or yearns for something higher. There is not even a sentiment for the return of the GLC.
2. The May 7 referendum, because it contains only one pre-set take-it or leave-it question, is rigged, designed to get the ‘democratic mandate’ the government wishes for. Those on the left who stand for the maximum democracy under capitalism have no official opportunity to test support for their ideas through the official referendum. The CPGB will therefore call for a boycott of Blair’s London referendum.
3. Boycotting a rigged referendum is not the same as boycotting normal bourgeois elections. There is no contradiction between urging a boycott of the May 7 referendum and standing candidates for the local elections on the same day nor fighting for a leftwing candidate for the London mayor if the referendum gives the government the ‘yes’ result it expects