Socialist Party documents

Perspectives for Britain 2017


Socialist Party's role

44. It is our role to fight for every step forward for the workers' movement. The battle inside the Labour Party is one front in the struggle, but it is not the only or ultimately the most important one. The outcome of the fight against the Blairites inside the Labour Party is not only dependent on what takes place within the Labour Party's structures but also by the broader class struggle; battles which we are involved in to defend workers' living standards, prevent evictions - as in the magnificent struggle of the Butterfields tenants - and oppose council cuts.

45. Over recent years we have played an important role in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) alongside the RMT and others in building electoral opposition to cuts. Clearly, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has changed the role of TUSC, but it has not - at this stage - made it less important. In the May 2016 local elections the TUSC steering committee agreed to authorise candidates only in seats where the Labour candidate had made clear that they did not support Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity stance and would carry out cuts at local level. After Corbyn's second landslide victory, in September 2016 the Socialist Party proposed to the TUSC steering committee that TUSC 'make no further preparations for contesting the May 2017 elections in England and Wales pending discussions with Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters on the new possibilities opening up following his re-election victory'. However, given the retreats by Corbyn since his re-election and the lack of a strategy within Labour to oppose what are huge local council cuts, it is important that TUSC gives a voice to anti-austerity candidates in the local elections, standing against clearly pro-cuts Labour councillors. To do so would win support from the most militant and determined of those that have joined Labour in order to help create a genuinely anti-austerity party.

46. Over the last year we have orientated skilfully towards the fresh layers of workers and young people who have been enthused by Jeremy Corbyn's victory. As a result we are extremely well-placed to take advantage of events that will develop in 2017. We may have opportunities to take dramatic qualitative and quantitative steps forward. If so we must grasp them wholeheartedly. Whatever happens it is clear that there are already increased opportunities to build the Socialist Party, particularly amongst young people. We need to turn with iron determination to transform our increased authority among growing layers of the working class into increased membership; driving to 2,500 members and beyond.