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Activists Say Build A New Workers' Party
REPRESENTATIVES OF two famous groups of Merseyside workers - the sacked Liverpool dockers and the 47 surcharged Liverpool councillors from 1983-1987 have started to organise a campaign to build a new mass party of the working class.
Roy Farrar, Liverpool
A meeting in Liverpool on 28 February, chaired by docker Jimmy Nolan and attended by about 50 trade union and political activists heard Dave Nellist, for the Socialist Party, explain why the Labour Party had ceased to represent working people in "any way, shape, or form" and had become "a party of the millionaires and not the millions".
The statement of intent (see right) was accepted unanimously by all present - from different political traditions and parties. '47' councillor Paul Astbury and others said that these differences could not be ignored; no one was expected to just abandon their programme or beliefs.
The dockers and the '47' saw that they were founding a federal framework for activists to campaign together but at the same time provide regular, democratic debate on programme and principles. Another meeting on 27 March will carry on the debate.
After six years in power, New Labour has abandoned every vestige of socialism. This meeting declares its intention to initiate a campaign for the establishment of a genuine working class party based on the following principles.
We aim to campaign in the trades unions and all working class organisations, appealing especially to the youth and student movement.
We agree to continue the campaign by organising a series of debates over the next year, beginning with a conference of leading figures from the labour and trades union movement, youth, student and community organisations.
Statement on Liverpool 47 website: Liverpool sacked dockers and members of the 47 group of surcharged liverpool councilors invite all socialists to join our campaign for a mass party of the working class
FBU Growing calls for disaffiliation
THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) national executive will be recommending to the union's conference in May that it cuts the amount of money it gives to New Labour, so money can be freed up to go elsewhere.
Several brigades are submitting motions to the conference on the union's relationship with New Labour. Resolutions from Northern Ireland and Strathclyde call for the union to immediately break the link with the Labour Party.
An FBU member from Northern Ireland told the socialist: "Members feel that it's a complete waste of FBU resources to give money to the Labour Party, especially after the atrocious way we were treated during our strike in 2002-03. I believe we should disaffiliate from New Labour straightaway."
Socialist Party public meeting
The case for a new workers' party
Saturday 13 March, 7pm (after the Manchester anti-war demo) Friends' Meeting House, Mount St. (behind central library, next to Albert Square), central Manchester. All welcome.>
In The Socialist 6 March 2004:
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