The Socialist Unity Network
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The Clock Is Ticking

Jim Jepps


 

As the days to the election fall away faster than audience members at a screening of Troy we all need to take a deep breath and ensure we use these days as effectively as we can. The urgency is particularly true in those regions where the vote will be entirely by postal ballot.

 

Every socialist can make the best use of this time by deeply involving themselves with those brave left wing individuals who are organising the election work.

 

In Scotland building the SSP vote can help build the momentum that has turned the SSP into a real pole of attraction for the left north of the border. An increase in their vote will help them drag leftwing Labour members, kicking and screaming out of the comfortable traditions of Labour and into the hotter, more principled arena of socialist community politics.

 

In Northern Ireland a vote for Eammon McCann and the Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) could help them build on Eammon's 5% share at the Assembly elections and create an alternative to sectarianism based on the unity of working people in a common struggle for a better world.

 

In England the Euro elections give everyone a chance to use their vote to give a clear and unambiguous anti-war vote. Every vote that RESPECT gets will push forward the idea that left unity is not something that should simply be confined to small warring grouplets and can be something that breaks into new, more fertile territory of wider sections of the community.

 

If RESPECT can achieve a good vote that will move the entire left forward, if it does badly the left as a whole will be set back and demoralised.

 

In the council elections getting involved with local election campaigns can be your chance to build roots, support and networks with others on the left. There are a number of socialist cnadidates in these elections, standing under a variety of names, independent and a few as Labour candidates. We can all use this opportunity to maximise the left vote locally that can only help build those community campaigns and influence of the left on the estates that is so fundamental to building a larger united socialist voice.

 

The same is true for anti-fascist work. Getting involved now with local anti-fascists (who will usually although not exclusively be organised in UAF) will not only help to marginalise the BNP vote, it will give every activist that involves themselves in activity the chance to talk to Labour Party members, unaffiliated progressives, Greens and the like, building useful networks and debating which way the world is going.

 

What ever the results of the elections what we do now to positively move things forward will be remembered in the months ahead, and if we are to shift the debate for a real and broad socialist voice its vital that we get involved, do our best and show socialist unity not just in the abstract but in practice on the ground through our actions.

 

 

May 2004

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