Make it happen!

Hackney Socialist Alliance is putting forward an ambitious number of candidates in the forthcoming local elections. We are standing a candidate in 13 out of the 19 wards and are supporting the Socialist Party and the Communist Party of Britain, who are each standing one candidate. Paul Foot is standing in Clissold ward against Ian Peacock, Hackney's chair of education. Will McMahon is opposing Jules Pipe, leader of the Labour group on the council and notorious for his Blairite appetite for inflicting cuts. Both of these campaigns promise to be high-profile. One of the problems of the campaign is that Hackney has opted for a full postal ballot in these elections. The rules are confusing and there is a lack of information on how to vote. Local elections always have a low turnout in any case, but it seems that the confusion over the postal ballot, linked with the demoralisation felt throughout the borough, will see even less people voting this time. Although the campaign has been slow in getting off the ground, we are planning to have a visible and dynamic presence across the borough in the next two weeks. It is important that we do as much canvassing as possible in order to get our message across and also encourage people to vote. Unfortunately at the moment the numbers involved in the Socialist Alliance campaign appear to be down on the general election. Some supporters and members have dropped out since then because they were not integrated. Others became demoralised because they say the SA only calls them when there is an election going on. All of this shows the need to build a real organisation. The SA cannot even be effective as an electoral front if it is switched on and off. And how can we say we are different from the rest if we are not seen as consistent fighters for our class on every issue? Votes are not all-important - the issue is building an effective working class organisation. Paradoxically the failure to do that will almost certainly result in lower votes. We need to hold and advertise regular meetings, at both ward and borough level, to draw new people into the SA and take a qualitative step forward. We need to think of the future of the SA. What will happen after May 2? The response from canvassing shows that there is significant raw material out there to build a real SA branch in Hackney. I believe that we have an obligation to make that happen. Anne Mc Shane Socialist Alliance candidate Stoke Newington Ward To get involved in the campaign ring Will Mc Mahon, Hackney SA secretary, on 020 8525 6616.