Build a Democratic Socialist Alliance Towards a Mass Workers’ Party

Conference March 12th 2005, United Services Club, Gough Street, Birmingham

Dear Comrades,

At the time of writing, the Socialist Alliance NEC, under the direction of the SWP leadership, have promised to organise an AGM of the Socialist Alliance on February 5th 2005. We encourage all comrades who can, to attend this AGM of the Socialist Alliance.

We recognise that the Socialist Alliance has been virtually disbanded by the SWP leadership, and the SA’s basic aims of uniting the Left and its potential for moving towards a mass workers’ party have been seriously damaged. We have a dossier on the sectarian and undemocratic behaviour of the SWP leadership in the Socialist Alliance and a list of 28 questions for the SA Committee which are still unanswered. Both can be found on our website or can be obtained by contacting the SADP Convenor (as above), as can the SA original policy document People Before Profit.

Our purpose in calling a Conference on March 12th 2005 is to gather together those comrades who wish to carry forward the policies as stated in People Before Profit of the Socialist Alliance and the aims of unity on the Left and organising for a mass workers’ party. One organisational model might be the SSP – one Party with the right of members to belong to platforms or tendencies within it but with no possibility of a sectarian take-over by one Left Group. We acknowledge that the building of such a Party is a long process. We believe that the lessons and traditions of the Socialist Alliance are one important basis for this process. We are not prepared to let them go at the diktat of the SWP. We intend to hold a Conference in March whatever the outcome of the February SA AGM.

The need for a political challenge to the Left of New Labour becomes every day more clear. New Labour is locked into actively promoting the imperialist policies of the International Monetary Fund. This means attacking the working class and smoothing the way for international big business. The official Communist Parties have imploded and most Left Groups seem locked into the politics of a bygone age. There are of course many struggles going on internationally and locally. These need to be supported in a spirit of dialogue and learning from joint experience, not in a spirit of sectarianism – i.e. using them to boost the numbers of your own group – or in a spirit of opportunism – i.e. pandering to backwardness while using the struggle to enhance your own popularity. These are difficult times because many of the issues are no longer straightforward and simple; the need for dialogue and listening is vital.The policies of the Socialist Alliance are contained in the document People Before Profit. We are proposing that only policy resolutions on emergency issues are taken at the Conference. Policy issues can be discussed at a future Conference. The main discussion and decisions will be around what sort of organisation we want and around ideas for how we are going to get there.

We are proposing a pre-Conference discussion culminating in a pre-Conference bulletin on this question – Building a Democratic Socialist Alliance Towards a Mass Workers’ Party – and on how to promote a democratic and anti-sectarian culture within a new Socialist Alliance. Contributions to the bulletin can be made by sending them to me as above.The next meeting of the SADP on January 29th 2005 in Birmingham (12.30pm United Services Club, Gough Street) will be devoted to organising for the February 5th AGM of the SA and for the March 12th Conference.

This is an open meeting for comrades who support the process. Please contact me if you want further information. The SADP website is SADP website and can be used for discussion on the March Conference and contributions to the pre-Conference bulletin.

Documents already to be found there are:

  • People Before ProfitSA policy document
  • The dossier on the SWP and the Socialist Alliance
  • 28 questions to the SA National Committee
  • The Critique Supporters’ Group’s call for building a workers’ party

Please sign up if you are prepared to support the aims of this Conference either in an individual capacity or as an organisation. And please pass on the message. We want to make this an open and representative conference. Send your name as an individual or your organisation’s support to me as SADP Convenor.

Support already

We have discussed the question of a Conference on building a workers’ party with a number of organisations, and the Critique Supporters’ Group and the RDG have so far agreed to co-sponsor such a Conference.The United Socialist Party based in Merseyside have also agreed to send representatives to the Conference.

In Unity

Pete McLaren, Convenor SADP

The Republican Communist Network supports the establishment of SSP-type parties in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. In that spirit, we therefore wish the Socialist Alliance Democratic Platform well in their endeavours to establish such an organisation which can unite the left on a principled basis.