The Socialist Unity Network

All under one umbrella;

why we should throw ourselves into RESPECT

There are some people on the left who are just grumpy. No matter what happens they always see the down side.

I wonder whether some of these people behave like this in their normal lives as well. They find a tenner in the street and moan "Could have been a twenty", their Gran gives them chocolates for Xmas and they say "I prefer sugared almonds".

These are the kind of people when the BNP councillor defected from the party would say things like "oh, she probably an ANL / Searchlight mole in the first place" (barmy) totally ignoring the fact that every BNP member around the country would feel like they'd been kicked in the guts.

So when these people look at RESPECT and say "it's not revolutionary", "it has people in it that aren't socialist" or "it's dominated by the SWP" what they are actually saying is that they won't come on board until its perfect (when quite frankly RESPECT wont need them).

The way we look at it is that although there are problems with every political project going, the way you sort those problems out is by getting involved in a whole hearted and sincere way. Do we want a big knock to New Labour? Yes. Do we want that knock to come from the left? Yes. RESPECT is the only vehicle for that.

We are where we are, whatever criticisms we can make about the process, the politics (the name!) we have to base our actions on the facts.

There is a progressive bloc, that has the potential to unite people from all kinds of backgrounds, tapping into the anti-war movement, bringing on board trade union branches and getting a far wider hearing than anything else on the market at the moment.

There are mistakes that were made with the Socialist Alliance and we can use that experience to attempt to avoid making those mistakes again this time round. On the anti-war demonstration all the left (as far as possible) should all be under one banner, under one umbrella - RESPECT - building it, fighting for new members and a higher profile so that it can begin punching far above its weight.

Where people are not yet on board we should be engaging with them, persuading them, working with them in the hope that they will come over to our point of view. In some cases this will take a lot longer than June 10th and ensuring we don't destroy our relations with everyone in the mad frantic blur of activity is one thing that thinking socialists can try to ensure.

On the demonstration Saturday the members of the Socialist Unity Network will be handing out placards, leafleting our transport, throwing our meagre human resources into ensuring RESPECT has the widest possible impact. Of course if we were to look at the demonstration in purely sectional terms it would be in our interests as a new group, just starting out in the world, to try to recruit as many people direct to us, to protect our future. We won't be doing that because we believe that the movement is more important than its component parts.

RESPECT has an opportunity (no more than that) of giving the three headed monster of the main stream parties a bloody nose. It may be able to forge a united force of progressive people up and down the country, but only if we make that happen. We have to do it, not sit back and watch to see what happens.

That means we need to turn the principles of democracy, inclusiveness, energy and political breadth into a reality by getting stuck into RESPECT, giving it our best shot and turning the experiment into a real lasting victory.



Click here for RESPECT

March 2004