Saturday, August 26, 2006
What are nice trade unionists like us doing in a Labour Party like this?
Having written the last post on this blog I got to thinking about how little benefit the trade union movement has had from the “New” Labour Government since 1997 and that lead me to thinking about the question of what our unions are doing being associated with the Labour Party…
The friendly folk at the Socialist Unity website asked me for my views. So I explained why I think socialists should be active in the Labour Party.
I believe this because there is a viable socialist organisation within the Labour Party and because the Labour left has found a standard bearer willing to challenge for leadership of the Party – which means that we can try to force socialist ideas onto the Party’s agenda. The recent results of the elections to the Party’s National Executive give some grounds for optimism.
I know that many good trade unionists have given up on the Party and have other ideas about how to organise politically, whether in coalitions or new parties. I sympathise with and respect these comrades but disagree.
It is 100 years since the Party created by the trade unions became a serious force. We need a political voice more than ever if we are going to fight for trade union rights or against privatisation. I really don’t see why we should abandon the Party we created and go away and try to build a new one – when the majority of Party members who voted in the last elections to the National Executive backed left wing candidates.
We need a campaign around a Labour leadership candidate who will stand for what we believe in…