From Socialist Alliance to workers' party

Statement by officers of the provisional Socialist Alliance

On Saturday April 9 the new committee of the provisional Socialist Alliance elected its officers. At the subsequent meeting the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform was formally closed down. This completes the first stage of rebuilding the SA, which began with the closure of the old SA at the February 2005 Socialist Alliance AGM. The closure of the SA was a turning point for the SADP. It could no longer continue as an SA platform. The SADP began to shrink. A number of comrades joined the United Socialist Party. The Alliance for Workers' Liberty withdrew to concentrate on the Socialist-Green Unity Coalition. The position of the CPGB was uncertain. It was clear the SADP would have to evolve into something else. But SADP members were not united about what this should be. The March 12 conference resolved this by deciding what direction to take. The two main proposals were to set up a democratic SA or launch a provisional Socialist Alliance. The proposal for a DSA was defeated and a majority agreed to set up a provisional Socialist Alliance. This process was completed on Saturday when new officers were elected and the SADP was closed. Without the SADP, the old SA would simply have collapsed and disappeared without a trace. The struggle of the SADP has been absolutely central to the defence of the SA. By organising and rallying the majority of the pro-party forces in the old SA, the SADP kept the spirit of the SA alive. The fight for the SA has not ended with the formal closure of the SADP. It is now being incorporated into the provisional SA. The provisional SA is therefore a continuation and extension of the struggle of the SADP. It is a bridge to a new SA. The SADP provided the foundations for that bridge. The provisional SA now intends to build further by preparing the ground for a new pro-party SA. This does not mean that all SADP members will necessarily transfer to the new organisation. That is a choice that individual comrades will need to make. Whilst the provisional SA will extend the work of the SADP in new directions, it represents an important continuity in politics and membership. The provisional SA stands on the same programme - People before profit - as the SA and the SADP. In addition SADP members and SADP officers form the majority on the provisional committee. However, the provisional SA is not simply the SADP by another name. There are three things that need emphasising: (i) The provisional SA is an alliance of socialist groups and independent socialists. We have firmly rejected any idea of turning the SADP into a group or party. Such a proposal would be a fatal mistake. It misunderstands the nature of the current stage in the fight for a new party. We are not on the brink of launching a new party and calling for groups to dissolve. On the contrary, we are back to square one: rebuilding an alliance almost from scratch. (ii) The provisional SA aims to broaden its appeal beyond the ranks of the SADP. The committee elected on March 12 contains two members who were not in the SADP. One of these comrades is now elected as an officer. He is still a member of the executive of the old SA until its closure and accounts are formally notified to the electoral commission. This is another link maintaining continuity with the SA. (iii) The provisional SA is not seeking to broaden its appeal by lowering the level of its politics. We are not relaunching an electoral alliance like the old SA. We are fighting for a new workers' party and emphasising the three key principal issues, identified by the Scottish Socialist Party as "republicanism, socialism and internationalism". We are adding to this a fourth issue of the environment. We aim to break from the narrow economism of the old SA. We appeal to SADP members to join the provisional SA and ensure that the struggle of the SADP now takes a new form. In 2001 the SA had very limited success as an electoral coalition. Now we have to fight to develop the socialist alliance movement to its full potential as a movement for a new working class party. We urge you to work with us for that end. Gerry Byrne, Dave Church, Steve Freeman, Jim Jepps, Pete McLaren