Why we're launching a new paper

Statement from International Socialist Group and Socialist Solidarity Network, August 2002

The International Socialist Group and the Socialist Solidarity Network, along with individual sponsors, are taking the initiative to launch a new paper - Resistance*. We think this is necessary to express and build support for a distinct political position which, despite differences among us on secondary issues, we share. We want to deepen the fight for a broad socialist party in England on the model of, for example, the SSP in Scotland and the Party of Communist Refoundation in Italy. We want to strengthen the fight for inclusive, creative and forward-looking Marxist politics on the British left. We will do this in the Socialist Alliance, the SSP, the anti-globalisation movement, the movements of the oppressed and the labour movement generally. In taking this step, we base ourselves on the following positions: (1) World capitalism has moved into a major new recession, which is exposing the contradictions of modern capitalism ever more blatantly. This recession will bring hardship and despair to millions who see their savings and pensions disappear or substantially reduced - so much so that even George Bush speaks of the danger of the American people "losing faith in our free enterprise system"! (2) This crisis is impacting on the third world through mass poverty and austerity, and in the worst of cases mass starvation. More than ever, the role of the transnational corporations and the institutions of imperialism like the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF is being exposed - leading to an explosion of support for the anti-neoliberal globalisation movement, which has survived the impact of September 11. To environmental destruction, mass poverty and unemployment is now added the constant danger - and daily practice - of imperialist militarism, already impacting on Afghanistan, Colombia and other countries, showing itself in the escalation of Israeli barbarity against the Palestinian people, and most likely leading soon to a massive assault on Iraq. (3) This new crisis of world capitalism, together with the collapse of Stalinism, and the abject capitulation of social democracy worldwide, exemplified by Blairism in Britain, has created a new space for left and socialist alternatives. But this is happening in a period when the labour movement internationally is still on the defensive and when rebuilding the labour movement and social movements of the oppressed, and the traditions of mass solidarity and resistance, is still ongoing. (4) We see the movement against neoliberal globalisation as a key instrument for helping resolve the crisis of the labour and social movements. We want to learn from its refreshing dynamism, creative ways of organising and spirit of renewal. Within this movement it is crucial to fight for socialist, anti-capitalist perspectives and against those which see the possibility of a 'reformed', 'humane' capitalism. (5) For us a crucial aspect of that is the fight to build broad socialist parties, exemplified by the Scottish Socialist Party and Communist Refoundation in Italy, which can begin to act as a political alternative for at least a section of the masses. We do not believe that existing far-left organisations, even the largest of them, are politically broad enough or have enough organisational strength to play this role on their own - although they have a vital role to play in bringing new socialist parties into existence and leading them. We note, for example, that the French LCR, even after its electoral success in the presidential elections, launched an appeal for a broad anti-capitalist formation which could become a new broad socialist party. We think this is the right way forward. In the existing crisis, reactionary as well as leftwing alternatives are being forcefully advanced, as exemplified by the successes of the far right in elections in France, Holland and elsewhere. The far left is in a race with racist reaction for mass allegiance, as the political centre collapses or goes into crisis. The formation of broad socialist parties able to intervene in elections and beyond, and posing a credible alternative, is crucial to stopping the advance of the far right. It would be irresponsible not to fight for a broad socialist alternative in the face of this danger. We will seek to promote: * A creative, inclusive and forward-looking Marxism, which implies a willingness to reach out to, learn from and engage in a dialogue with those from other traditions, as well as a wide range of campaigns, movements and activists who do not see themselves as Marxist or even socialist. * The fight for the Socialist Alliance to become a broad socialist party when the organisational and political conditions for this are ready. The precondition for this is activity to build the alliance and extend its political scope. * The building and rebuilding of mass movements of resistance to racism and the war on asylum-seekers, the oppression of women, lesbians and gay men, and people with disabilities. The vast majority of the victims of this oppression are working class; building these movements will strengthen and help unify the working class movement and the left within it. * The rebuilding of the fighting strength of the labour movement, and within that the fight for class struggle politics and democracy in the unions. * Socialist internationalism, expressed through deepening and consolidating links with like-minded socialists and movements in Europe and beyond; and also in the fight against the witch-hunt of asylum-seekers, and support for Globalise Resistance and other movements against neoliberal globalisation, and the Stop the War Coalition. Through these things we want to help extend the fight for inclusive and forward-looking Marxism to new layers of young people. We think that the development of more comradely relations and collaboration between different viewpoints on the far left in Britain over recent years is a major step forward. However, we also think within this framework, sponsors of Resistance have something distinctive to contribute, which is why we are launching the paper. In addition to putting forward our own political views as outlined above, we will actively seek to reflect and give a platform to debates within the left in Britain within the pages of the paper. We believe that the politics outlined here enjoy significant support. If you agree with us, we ask you to support us in this project. *Resistance is a working title for the new paper - a final decision on the name has yet to be taken. * Paper thin unity