Fighting for unity

As the debate around the future structure of the Socialist Alliance picks up, 13 leading alliance members have initiated a joint statement, ?For a democratic and effective Socialist Alliance?, which we reproduce here. This represents an important signpost pointing towards a genuinely class-based socialist organisation in this country.

Those signing do so for their own reasons and there is no intention to ascribe my thoughts to them. The statement is intended as a broad appraisal of what is needed for the alliance to move forward effectively and democratically. Signatories have their own desired outcomes and expectations, which may or may not be similar to those of myself and the CPGB. However, all share the desire for democratic accountability and an effective, united organisation.

With humble beginnings as the Network of Socialist Alliances in the mid- 1990s, the SA has managed to firmly place itself in a relatively short space of time on the national political map as one of the ?major minor parties?. Through the general election we forged for ourselves a common programmatic identity (ie, our People before profit manifesto). Our current structures are clearly now woefully inadequate for our tasks and the vision we set for ourselves: not least achieving working class rule (ie, socialism) in Britain, across Europe and throughout the world. The CPGB believes it is time to up the tempo of our collective organisation and political development and set our sights on building the Socialist Alliance as a political party as quickly as practicably possible.          

The Socialist Alliance is a watershed for the left in Britain. It is now possible to overcome decades of sectarian divisions through united action and democratic discussion. With the current crisis of Labourism, the socialist and communist left must unite - of course on a principled basis. The working class requires and demands no less.

Incorporating comrade Mike Marqusee?s draft ?Charter for members? rights?, the ?Statement for a democratic and effective Socialist Alliance? makes it clear that an effective organisation and democratic accountability and transparency are mutually dependent.

The Socialist Party leadership is intent on returning the Socialist Alliance to its embryonic federal stage. Likewise the SWP wants nothing more than a ?united front?, albeit of a ?special kind?. Initiative, for the most part, is meant to remain within the SWP and outside the alliance itself.

Both approaches are inadequate for our needs. What is needed is a democratic and effective Socialist Alliance.

Marcus Larsen
Socialist Alliance executive committee