SP comrades rebel

We can only guess how divided the leadership of the Socialist Party in England and Wales is over its unfortunate support for the single-issue CATP against the LSA slate (now an uneasy coalition between the SP, Pat Sikorski's Fisc, and naive syndicalists). Individual members on the ground, however, give a glimpse of the confused situation inside their organisation. The official position is: support for the CATP against the London-wide LSA slate, but support the 14 LSA candidates in the first-past-the-post constituencies.

Last Wednesday, at a public meeting in East London, leading Socialist Party member Peter Dickinson - at that point still chair of the LSA - argued vehemently that the CATP is a "real movement of the working class" and explained why the Socialist Party could never support the LSA under these circumstances. After a lengthy intervention, he was eventually booed down from the floor.

The next day Socialist Party member Steve Nally spoke at a well attended public meeting in Lambeth. He congratulated the LSA for its initiative and made clear local SP support the alliance. And, although he briefly explained the official position of the SP in his contribution, he stated his personal sympathies quite openly. At the end of the meeting it was comrade Nally who called for a collection - more than £200 was raised.

Similarly, at a big public meeting in Waltham Forest on the Friday, SP member Simon Donovan openly declared his "full support for the local Socialist Alliance candidates and the LSA slate". Not once did he mention the CATP. The only other SP comrade to speak, Molly Cooper, also made no mention of the CATP, urging trade unions to affiliate to the LSA.

It is good to see that an important layer in the Socialist Party refuses to follow the utterly sectionalist position pushed by the Taaffe-Mullins leadership. Let us hope that the crisis in the SP can be resolved positively. Let us hope more comrades get up and fight for left and working class unity.

Tina Becker