Birmingham Socialist Alliance: Re-elect Steve Godward

Birmingham Socialist Alliance is being called upon to dump its pro-party chair by the SWP

Not content with deposing comrade Steve Godward as vice-chair of the Socialist Alliance executive committee, the Socialist Workers Party seems set on staging a coup to oust him as chair of Birmingham SA.

Comrade Godward, an independent member of the executive committee and a sacked firefighter on victimisation pay, could pay the price for daring to publicly express minority viewpoints on the way forward for the SA. His recent article in the Weekly Worker (June 5) was too much for the control-freakery of the SWP and John Rees, its leading member in the alliance.

Birmingham SA is to have its annual general meeting this Tuesday, July 1. On the agenda is the way forward for the alliance in Birmingham and the election of officers. Leading members of the SWP in Birmingham have told comrade Godward they will stand a candidate against him due to his “minority positions”.

This latest act of idiocy from the Socialist Alliance’s biggest faction is designed to send out signals to the rest of the movement and beyond about who is in control of the SA. Birmingham is particularly sensitive for the SWP. It is here that negotiations with Salma Yaqoob and the Birmingham central mosque are taking place in pursuit of a deal for the European elections in June 2004.

However, not everything is going to plan. The membership of the BSA is opposing the SWP’s scheme. Comrade Godward is being nominated for chair by the International Socialist Group, normally a compliant ally of the SWP. He will be seconded by Workers Power. All the groups and just about all non-aligned members active in the BSA will be supporting comrade Godward. The SWP will have to stack the meeting to get its way.

If they do this, we will have another nail in the coffin of SA democracy and inclusivity. At least one non-aligned member of the executive, normally close to the SWP, is also supporting the removal of comrade Godward from the position of chair. However, rather than come out openly against his minority views, they have been hiding behind the claim that comrade Godward is not a very good chair. If this were the case, then surely the SA should aim to train up its “inexperienced” members - not do a hatchet job on them.

The CPGB calls on all pro-party members of the SA in Birmingham to attend this vital meeting and put a stop to the shenanigans. If we can halt the SWP’s anti-democratic plans here, we can begin to reassert the rights of the membership across the alliance. These antics show that, more than ever, we need a campaign for a workers’ party from within the SA and across the labour movement.

Annual General Meeting

Tuesday July 1, 730pm, Carrs Lane Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4.