England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Why we call for a new left party

By Connor Rosoman, Socialist Alternative London

We are headed for a Starmer government – that much is clear. But to win the demands of the millions mobilised in solidarity with the people of Palestine, the thousands on NHS waiting lists, junior doctors on strike for a pay rise and many more, we need a new left party of struggle, with a socialist programme to provide a real way forward.

For millions, there is a burning desire for change, driven by a sense that the current system is in crisis, but in the battle between Starmer and Sunak over who can best represent the interests of the corporate elite, no answers to these crises will be found.

While the end of 14 years of Tory rule will be a relief, Starmer’s government will face new crises, even as it fails to put forward a solution to those we already face. New protest movements, strikes and other struggles are inevitable. But for our struggles to succeed, we must organise to confront the system responsible and its representatives on a political level.

This election will see a number of independent left challengers standing for an alternative to the establishment parties, but former Labour left Jeremy Corbyn represent perhaps the most high-profile challenger, and we will be supporting their campaigns. A strong protest vote can galvanise the forces fighting for a political alternative, and a victory for any genuine left candidate will show that it is possible to take on the right-wing Labour machine and win. To do so, bold campaigns will have to be built, drawing on the energy of the thousands of people who have already shown their willingness to mobilise and take to the streets to fight back, with a political platform that can mobilise them.

We think such campaigns could mobilise the forces necessary to serve as the springboard needed for the launching of a new left party out of this General Election. For this reason, we have raised the need for a ‘conference of resistance’ following the elections, drawing together those fighting to elect left-wing candidates, Palestine solidarity and climate activists, striking workers and others, to discuss how we continue our struggles under a Starmer government.

A party of struggle

Corbyn’s independent campaign is correctly calling for renationalisation of water, mail and energy companies, rent control, and ending the privatisation of the NHS, but to win these demands, and more, we must go beyond a few independent left MPs, or simply holding an incoming Labour government to account, as he has pledged to do.

To fight for and to win the kind of demands Corbyn is putting forward, a party of our own is essential. This need for political organisation has already spurred on the development of groupings such as the loose network ‘Collective’, with links to Corbyn himself, Just Stop Oil and other groups, which seems poised to take further initiatives after 4 July. Any post-election gathering of forces, however, must explicitly raise the urgent question of a new left party.

We think a new party would have to be a party rooted in organising on the streets, in the workplaces, on campuses and beyond to support these kinds of demands. Of course, Corbyn’s programme looks merely to reform capitalism whereas Socialist Alternative fights for revolutionary change. In any case, a new party is necessary for workers to launch an independent struggle and discuss what programme is necessary. A new party must give political expression to the struggles taking place, allowing us to move beyond just protesting against our capitalist leaders, and toward posing an alternative of our own.

It must also be clearly a party led by, organised by and fighting in the interests of workers – a genuine workers’ party, which we seriously lack at the moment. It should be a party present at every picket line, and connecting the immediate issues faced by working class people to the socialist policies needed to tackle the crisis we face. Building support from fighting trade unionists and union branches for a new party will be absolutely crucial. This is why Socialist Alternative will be pushing for democratic discussion in the unions over the urgent need for such a political alternative for workers.

A party for socialism

Such a party would have to stand uncompromisingly for the demands of the working class, and against all forms of oppression and exploitation. This also means resisting any pressure toward ‘lesser evilism’ and compromise with the ruling class and its political lackeys.

Only on that basis can we put forward the kind of policies needed to confront this system directly and address the various crises it produces. Corbyn’s existing policies are crucial, but we can – indeed we must – go further. A fundamental break with this system is necessary. We will be calling for a conference of resistance, and will actively support any attempts to build a new left party in the next period, wherever it may come from. But we will also fight for it to adopt the necessary socialist programme to provide a genuine alternative to capitalist misery 

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