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If you think all the big political parties are the same - you're right! The bosses have got three parties - isn't it about time we had one of our own?


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Manchester CNWP:

Promoting a working class alternative for the council elections

Manchester CNWP held a successful meeting to discuss the widest possible opposition to New Labour at the elections in May.

 Everywhere you go groups are challenging the New Labour agenda.  The Community Action Party are standing in Wigan and Salford, Merseyside fire-fighters are standing against several Fire Authority members, the Socialist Party are maintaining their long-standing commitment to standing in Wythenshawe.  CNWP supporters see the possibility of bringing these and other groups together around concrete issues and exchanging experiences. So we asked Jackie Grunsell, a Socialist Party member who was elected to Kirklees Council two years ago on a 'Save Huddersfield NHS' ticket, to speak to us and also invited trade union & anti-cuts, anti-privatisation candidates to come along and speak too.

 Jackie outlined the crisis in society, the crisis in working class representation and the need for an electoral challenge.  She spoke of the campaign against NHS closures in Huddersfield and the way New Labour and the Liberal Democrats did their best to undermine the movement, including dividing local Asian electors along communal / nationalist lines.  The far-right British National Party attempted to divide the whole working class along racial lines. But a broad class appeal, including involving  Asian youth, had prevented this and Jackie had been elected.  This movement in turn had inspired the struggle to prevent the closure of three local nurseries and prompted other community activists to stand in the elections a year later - as a result of the campaign two of the three nurseries were saved.

 When one of the audience asked Jackie to explain what was the secret of the movement's success Jackie replied clearly: 'People wanted a fighter, and they knew we would fight'.

 Prospective Socialist Alternative candidate for Baguley, Lynn Worthington, speaking for the Socialist Party explained how they have won the confidence and trust of working-class people. Uniting the community through campaigning has reached out to young people and the majority who hate all three main parties and their representatives. Lynn contrasted the Ł35,000 the council is spending on a PR company to improve Wythenshawe’s image, with the battle waged by the socialists and community activists to defend and improve the real living standards of working-class people in Wythenshawe.

  We also received support from the CAP in Wigan, although unfortunately their speaker was unable to attend on the day.

 We are exploring joint statements, a joint press conference, sharing canvassing plans and other practical suggestions. In our view, a new mass party will be built through the experiences of working-class people in struggle and big events. But as campaigns and groups seek to challenge New Labour’s agenda, we can work together wherever we can on practical, concrete issues.

 This was an excellent meeting, full of anger but focused on the tasks in hand.  Around twenty people attended, two of them for the first time.  Many signed the CNWP declaration if they hadn't already and Ł25 was raised in the collection.

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