A contribution from Thelma Walker to the discussion about the need for a new mass left party.
When was the realisation for those of us on the left that a new radical left eco-socialist party was needed to fill the political vacuum?
Was it the general election defeat in 2019? Was it when Jeremy Corbyn lost the whip? Or did it take Brexit and the mishandling of the response to the pandemic for us to see behind the curtain of our sham democracy? Whatever the reason, the national mood has changed and it feels the tipping point has been reached for many across our country. It is not the politicians however, who are leading the charge for change, but workers, coming together and workers represented by strong, articulate, principled union leaders.
The last few years have shown to the world that the political system in the UK is broken and no longer fit for purpose. Such low turnout at the last few by elections shows that trust has gone in many politicians and in our electoral system. The Tory ID legislation currently moving through parliament, will make it even more difficult for people (especially the young and vulnerable) to cast their vote. Let’s be clear, it suits the present Labour Opposition to keep the FPTP system and to sustain the two -party control and status quo.
We have to work to wrench control of government from Westminster and establish true democracy. Petitions and letters to ministers nor debates in the chamber are ever going to cut through or bring about the urgent radical change needed. There have been a number of excellent campaigns organised over the past few years which have brought people together, yet nowhere do we see anything of substance which proposes how we would bring about constitutional and electoral reform, nor anyone stepping forward as of yet, to lead it.
It is nearly two years now since I started to invite leaders of the different groups together to begin the conversation about how we could work in solidarity together to build our movement and deliver a socialist government. Since those first meetings, our People’s Alliance of the Left (PAL) has grown in numbers and the political parties within PAL, have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and now work closely together on planning electoral strategy. So far the MOU group is made up of Left Unity, Breakthrough Party, Northern Independence Party and Liverpool Community Independents. Each of the PAL parties share a policy platform.
On a personal level, I am no longer a member of any political party but see my role as helping our movement to grow, connecting people and nurturing and mentoring future socialist leaders.
People across the country are crying out for an alternative to the two parties who seem to work only to further their own position and maintain the establishment status quo.
When people have nothing left to lose, they will take action and that action has to be led and organised. Workers are now getting organised through their unions and strike action is being coordinated, thanks to brilliant teams like Strike Map UK. Workers are demanding fair pay and fair and safe working conditions, which is everyone’s entitlement.
Every human being has the right to be treated with respect and to live and work with dignity. Standing in a food bank queue or waiting for treatment on a hospital trolley or in the back of an ambulance, is not living with dignity.
Our nurses, doctors, teachers, posties and emergency services’ staff are working day after day when their pay has been cut in real terms year on year, and funding for the service they provide starved of investment; this is not acceptable or sustainable. All this is happening whilst CEO’s and shareholders are given vast bonuses and dividends.
PAL members stand in solidarity with all workers taking strike action but more is needed. Now is the time to bring our movement together and establish a new socialist party, to offer people a real choice when they vote. A vote which will bring about real, positive change and improve the quality of life for everyone. There will be somewhere else to go. Labour have blown it. The call for a new party is getting stronger every day, the call is for strong eco socialist policies and principles. I believe PAL can lead the way on this.
Will you join us?
‘Educate yourselves, because we’ll need all your intelligence. Stir yourselves, because we’ll need all your enthusiasm. Organize yourselves, because we’ll need all your strength”
Founder and Chair of PAL (The People’s Alliance of the Left)
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Just Stop Oil – Slow Marches
Slow marches are still legal (so LOW RISK of arrest), and are extremely effective. The plan is to keep up the pressure on this ecocidal government to stop all new fossil fuel licences.
Wed 31 May, 19.00
Trade Union Struggles in France & Britain – Left Unity Public Meeting
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With the appalling ‘Cost of Living’ Crisis, the ever-worsening Climate & Ecological Crises, the continuing ‘creep’ of fascism and hard-right ‘culture wars’ across Europe, and the continuing hollowing out of UK democracy, “Let’s do this!” (as the Octonauts would say!) – and make 2023 the year neoliberalism, in ALL its aspects, is consigned to “The Dustheap of History” (as Trotsky did say!).