WeeklyWorker

WW archive > Issue 386 - 31 May 2001

Canvass, canvass, canvass!

As we enter the last week of the general election campaign, the Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party are gearing up for the final push up to polling day on June 7.

Letters

SA party impossible; Canvass!; Simon says

A candidate?s diary

CPGB member Lawrie Coombs is the Socialist Alliance parliamentary candidate for Stockton South

Ipswich

Another defection

Our history Overcoming division

In the aftermath of the formation of the Third (Communist) International in March 1919 the first serious attempts were made to weld Britain?s divided revolutionary forces into a strong, united Communist Party. The first unity meeting between the British Socialist Party, the Socialist Labour Party, the Workers? Socialist Federation and the South Wales Socialist Society was held in London on May 13 1919. As our first report - from the BSP?s The Call - shows, it proved to be a difficult meeting. The BSP carried out two branch ballots in early 1920: the first, on affiliation to the Communist International, was carried by 98 branches to four; the other, on revolutionary unification in a Communist Party, was also carried by an overwhelming majority. However, things were more complicated in the other organisations. The SLP leadership sought to deliberately confuse the issue of communist unity by making it conditional on no affiliation to the Labour Party. So while the SLP membership voted by a large majority for a merger, predictably they also voted by a large majority against any affiliation to the Labour Party. The dogmatic wing of the SLP leadership only wanted unity with the BSP on their own terms. They had also come to mistrust their own team responsible for unity negotiations: Tom Bell, Arthur MacManus and William Paul, who, although themselves opposed to affiliation, put the formation of the CPGB above such tactical differences. Because of this the SLP leadership by a narrow majority voted not only to break off negotiations, but to dissolve its own Unity Committee. The WSF referendum (given its leftist politics) also produced a contradictory result: for unity, but against unity if it meant parliamentary action and Labour Party affiliation - the SWSS was so weak that it could not hold any sort of ballot; by early 1920 it had to all intents and purposes ceased to exist. As a result the two meetings of the Unity Committee in January both ended in deadlock. As can be seen in the second report - carried in the SLP?s paper, The Socialist - the return of the SLP to negotiations, in March, only compounded the impasse.

New England fights back

Dave Craig of the Revolutionary Democratic Group presents his views on Oldham, Britishness and race

Opening up the Star

And

MI6 and UK Independence Party

Tories? desperate throw

Greater Manchester

Weakness revealed

Leaving behind the ghost of Cliff

Letter to IST

Towards an SA party

Peter Grant, a member of the CPGB, is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Salford. John Pearson spoke to him

Simon Harvey of the SLP

Missing candidates

Introduction to discussion with LCR

Chris Harman?s notes for May 17 meeting

Notes on regroupment

Teesside

Labour scared

Greenwich and Woolwich

Looking to the future

Latino support

Anti-left witch-hunt

Prelude to Blair?s second term

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