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Labour party officer quits and joins Socialist Party
Michael Wainwright - youth officer for the constituency and Chiswick branch secretary - has resigned from Brentford and Isleworth Constituency Labour Party (CLP) after four years' membership - having joined at the age of 15.
Michael has now joined the Socialist Party (formerly the Militant Tendency) and outlines his reasons for his decision below:
"I joined the Labour Party because I believed in the values of Labour and socialism. New Labour's leadership had not displayed any of those values since the general election of 1997.
"However, I had believed that you could still work within the party and reclaim it for the Left.
"But, it was becoming increasingly clear that this New Labour Blairite clique had severed all the democratic structures within the party. In the past, party members at least felt they had some influence over the leadership and party policy.
"Now, however, Blair and his supporters have overturned these structures.
"They have done this in order to use the Labour Party as a tool to continue the Thatcherite neo-liberal policies of privatisation, erosion of public services and increase the wealth gap between rich and poor in Britain.
"Labour's attacks on human rights and civil liberties - issues I feel strongly about - were particularly vicious and undemocratic. The two wars - Afghanistan and Iraq - have shown that the Labour leadership is determined to carry out the interests of US imperialism and big business - the so-called 'special relationship'. For these reasons I believe there is no longer any chance of democratically changing the party. It is impossible to justify remaining within New Labour. This is a party that now behaves no differently from the Tories in attacking the living standards and conditions of the vast majority of people in this country.
"I believe we now need to build a new party, one that represents the interests of working class people and the poorest and most vulnerable sections within society.
"Such a party, which can help overcome the crisis of political representation for working people, must be built through the trade unions and young people to challenge the anarchy of the capitalist free market system.
"As the party's youth officer I found young people, in particular, are looking for a more radical alternative to Labour. Recent demonstrations have shown that young people are not apathetic but angry, anti-capitalist, anti-war, anti-Blair and increasingly anti-Labour.
"I feel that the Socialist Party has the best approach in offering young people a genuine channel to voice their anger at the capitalist system. They are taking up the real issues facing working people today and they are at the heart of many coherent and concerted campaigns that make a difference on behalf of ordinary people.
"I would urge all those who think like me and who still remain in the Labour Party to leave the party now.
" Those who want socialist change should join those of us who are realistically facing up to the historic task of building a new party that will genuinely fight for the rights of working-class people and genuine democratic socialism."
In The Socialist 9 August 2003: