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Liverpool CNWP:

Alternative Capital of Culture success

At least 120 people attended the successful first film-debate organised by Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP) on 19 March. In addition to many existing supporters, 15 new people signed up to the CNWP.

Clara Paillard, event organiser, Merseyside CNWP

The documentary The Flickering Flame, by cutting-edge filmmaker Ken Loach, began our series of film events as part of the alternative programme 'City of Culture 08', working-class counterpart of the mainstream 'Capital of Culture' celebrations.

The documentary, made in 1996, showed how 500 dockers were sacked by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in 1995 after refusing to cross a picket line and how they struggled for two years without being reinstated.

A unique panel of speakers had been brought together to discuss issues raised by The Flickering Flame: Ken Loach sat next to a former sacked docker and Doreen McNally, one of the dockers' wives who supported the strike through a group called "Women of the Waterfront".

They were joined by Tony Mulhearn, one of the Liverpool '47 group' of councillors excluded from office by Margaret Thatcher's government. Ken Loach, who belongs to Respect Renewal, called for a united Left to represent Britain's working-class people.

In Liverpool that night, there was proof that the working class is still strong and can reinvigorate the struggle and the debate on the Left. That is what Merseyside CNWP is trying to achieve by organising another three film-debate events that will acknowledge the importance of the working class in Liverpool's culture.

While some want to sell us expensive tickets for celebrity events in secluded luxury hotels, we want to offer free and interesting events which will reflect how we believe in our city, in our culture. Culture is not the privilege of the rich and we won't let ours be wiped out by capitalism.

Watch out for our future events: www.myspace.com/cityorculture08

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