Socialist Alliance agrees to use large part of recent legacy to help fund largest possible left electoral challenge – through TUSC
RESOLUTION TO SA AGM 21st SEPTEMBER 2014 ON UNITING LEFT FORCES IN THE GENERAL ELECTION, AND ON THE RECENT LEGACY
The Socialist Alliance notes:
§ The success of UKIP in the local authority and European elections in May 2014, standing on a populist anti-migrant platform, and that this will be a major factor in the design of the General Election campaigns of the mainstream parties, accommodating and appeasing the trend set by UKIP.
§ That the Coalition Government has adopted, and is proposing, a variety of populist measures around immigration, benefits, equalities and disabilities.
§ That the Tories are committed to deepening the austerity drive and will further increase its attacks on the working class if elected.
§ That all the main parties, including UKIP, will continue the austerity policies.
§ That despite this, many workers may still vote Labour as a defensive measure against the feared Tory attacks.
We therefore conclude that it is vital for socialists to stand together and make the largest possible impact on the General Election in May 2015 to:
1. Put forward a socialist alternative to the austerity drive
2. Challenge the racist and bigotted populism around the issues of immigration, benefits, equalities, disabilities.
3. Act as a focus to build local campaigns to defend services, fight racism and fascism and to build an effective socialist party locally and nationally.
We further note:
§ That there are two initiatives to bring together the left – TUSC, an electoral coalition at this stage, and Left Unity, a project to build a united left party.
§ These two initiatives are not working together at a national level. However, the SA and the Independent Socialist Network (ISN) are working together in both these projects in an attempt to bring about co-operation and unity between them.
§ The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) shares the SA commitment to support the establishment of the largest ever co-ordinated left challenge in the 2015 General Election, its policy being to ‘to achieve the broadest possible united left challenge in 2015’
§ TUSC has recently written to all the main players on the left, including Left Unity, inviting them to exploratory talks about standing together as part of a broad left General Election challenge
§ If at least 98 candidates stand under the same coalition name, the coalition will achieve the agreed threshold and be guaranteed national media coverage
§ LU has not met with TUSC in response to its recent letter, and, at this stage, LU has made it clear it will not be part of any election coalition, and will only discuss clash avoidance, and that will only be after it has a developed election strategy
§ There is an appetite in LU for challenging anti-migrant bigotry and racism in the election campaign along the lines of the resolutions on immigration and racism adopted at its March conference.
The Socialist Alliance has not abandoned hope of co-operation between TUSC and LU in the General Election. On the contrary we believe it to be imperative. By co-operation we mean more than simply a pact not to stand against each other, but genuine joint campaigning. Ideally we would like to see TUSC, LU and other socialist candidates standing under one umbrella across the country. However, failing that, we would be pleased to see an agreement for TUSC campaigning for LU candidates and LU candidates campaigning for TUSC candidates during the elections, seeking as much consensus as possible on the electoral platforms of both bodies. The Socialist Alliance will argue and work for the highest unity achievable, in the time available, for the General Election. Immediately we call for an urgent meeting between the two organisations.
We will encourage LU candidates to advance the policy of opposition to immigration controls in the General Elections and will try and win TUSC to that position also.
Despite a serious concern that the LU leadership is not implementing its Conference decision on left electoral unity, the Socialist Alliance agrees to continue working within both TUSC and LU, in ways as agreed at the 2013 AGM, and in particular through the Independent Socialist Network
With respect to the legacy paid recently to the Socialist Alliance (SA), stating “the legacy will be utilized solely for the purposes of the Alliance”, this AGM affirms that the over-arching principle is that this money should be spent in accordance with SA policy – the purpose of the SA – which has consistently been about building ‘left unity’ as part of the process of creating a new left party based solidly within the working class. In the present context we believe, given the considerations laid out above, that some of the legacy be used to implement SA policy to support the largest ever co-ordinated left challenge in the 2015 General Election, as agreed at the 2013 AGM.
Our aim will be to support the candidacy of at least 98 candidates, standing under the same socialist coalition/umbrella, or whatever is the number needed for national media coverage, to make a symbolic, inclusive, and practical gesture to unity on the left
In practical terms, the Socialist Alliance will donate:
§ £500 each to the first 100 candidates who are selected and endorsed by a left coalition, such as TUSC, which will help create the largest possible left challenge and thus contribute towards there being national media coverage. The Socialist Alliance National Executive, meeting subsequently on Sunday, decided that it would be TUSC that was identified as that left coalition to receive such donations
§ £500, if funds allow, for additional candidates to the 100 on that same basis.
§ £500 to any candidate not part such a left coalition, but who has demonstrated that her/his organisation is willing to work co-operatively at a local level. This could be by simply engaging in discussions to avoid electoral clashes, although we would hope it would be more.
§ An additional £500 to any such candidate who can demonstrate to the SA NEC, in writing, before the end of February 2015, that they are, or have been, a member of the Socialist Alliance and are committed to its principles
§ £500 towards any other socialist party/organization/campaign group standing which clearly demonstrates a commitment to unity on the left
§ If the necessary number of candidates are fielded by a Left coalition such as TUSC, the cost of a fully-professional Party Election Broadcast, up to a maximum of £5,000.
It will only be in exceptional circumstances that any of the above donations will be extended beyond the end of February 2015 to encourage early planning and campaigning
A copy of this motion will be posted on the Socialist Alliance web site. We will also ask the Independent Socialist Network to make the motion available on their website.
Moved by Pete McLaren/Dave Landau