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Year 2001 No. 97, June 7, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Vote for Candidates of the Alternative!

Build the Workers’ Opposition!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Vote for Candidates of the Alternative! Build the Workers’ Opposition!

South Shields Election Meeting:
A Call to Support Candidates of the Alternative and Build the Opposition to the "Third Way"

Making the Vote Count for a New Society

Labour Membership Plummets

Birmingham Man Set on Fire in Vicious Racist Attack

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Vote for Candidates of the Alternative!

Build the Workers’ Opposition!

WDIE urges the electorate to support and wherever possible vote for candidates who represent an alternative to the party-dominated system of government.

The big parties in the June 7 election are presenting no genuine choices to the electorate. The workers and other sections of the people have had no say in selecting their candidates nor in formulating their manifestos. Where is the choice when the people are not involved and the manifestos all represent a continuation of the anti-social offensive?

The working class and people must not be fooled into giving support to New Labour, which will try to claim that it has a mandate to carry out its retrogressive programme of the "Third Way" which is supposedly neither anti-people nor pro-socialist.

The party-dominated system keeps the people out of political power and gives the government power to press ahead with its offensive against the workers and all society. To vote for independent and alternative candidates and to build the workers’ opposition to the "Third Way" is to join in the work to plant the alternative on the soil of Britain. It is to begin the work for worker politicians to come forward, selected by their peers, and to set the agenda for a new society.

The agenda of the working class is to put the people’s well-being at the centre of all decision-making, whereas the agenda of the "Third Way" is to make the monopolies successful in the global marketplace. This "Third Way" programme must not be allowed to go through!

The genuine choice for the electorate on June 7 is to vote for candidates of the alternative, stepping up their struggles for their own rights and interests and building the workers’ opposition!

Support and Vote for Candidates of the Alternative!

Build the Workers’ Opposition to the "Third Way"!

This Is the Way Forward!

Article Index

South Shields Election Meeting:

A Call to Support Candidates of the Alternative and Build the Opposition to the "Third Way"

On June 5, an election meeting was held at Brinkburn Community Centre in South Shields called by Roger Nettleship, the Independent health worker politician candidate for the constituency. Twenty people, mainly health workers from the district, attended the candidate’s meeting. Many of those present were active themselves in supporting the campaign for an independent candidate of the alternative.

The meeting listened to a speech from Roger Nettleship in which, using his experience in the NHS, he elaborated the need for people in the area to organise to safeguard the future of the NHS and to build their movement in opposition to the "Third Way" programme of New Labour. He elaborated the issues behind the stand being taken both in South Shields and throughout the country by independent and alternative candidates.

The political system that brings parties to power will not safeguard the future of the NHS, he explained. This form of governance marginalises people, he said, and a system of governance is needed in which the people are the decision makers. He concluded by saying: "I know you are supporting myself and other independent or alternative candidates in this election. I call on you to join with your fellow peers to build the opposition to the ‘Third Way’ programme of New Labour just as you heroically fought Thatcher’s anti-social programme. This is the crucial task to safeguard the future of the NHS. This is the way forward."

The candidate’s speech was met with warm applause from the participants.

A student from Newcastle University who had been supporting the candidate in his campaign then gave a message. He elaborated on why it was so important for youth and students to support candidates of the alternative and indeed to come forward themselves to end the marginalisation of the youth in society.

John Berry, Secretary of the North East Pensioners Association, also gave a message. He said that what they were trying to achieve now was not just for themselves but for the future and he gave his support to the campaign of the candidate. All the speakers were warmly applauded.

In the ensuing discussion, among the important issues raised was why people still vote Labour. Dealing with this point, the candidate explained that the important thing was taking a stand for the alternative. Talking to people who always had voted Labour, he said, yes, they were questioning this on the basis of the stand that is being taken for the alternative, whether they intend to vote for the alternative this time or not. He explained that even people he had met that were still going to vote Labour did not and would not forgive the Labour government for what they had done to elderly care, the PFI and so on. However, they were voting because so much propaganda was being done in the election that if you do not vote Labour, Hague will be standing there, and this would be so much worse.

There was a question on where the finance should come from to fund the NHS, taking into account what the Liberal Democrats were saying. The candidate said that the position that the Liberal Democrats were giving makes them look more "left" than the Labour Party. But actually, he said, they have exactly the same neo-liberal policy. They believe in the "free" market in health care. In their manifesto they say they will not get rid of the PFI but that they will have an "equal playing field". So, he said, we have heard this all before. It is very easy for them to promise to train 10,000 more nurses than the Labour Party and so on.

He went on to explain that the position of the alternative is that the question of resources should not be a limiting factor for the health service, education, pensions and so on. The economy should be directed at meeting those needs, and if people were taking the decisions then they could decide how those resources could and would be provided and the needs of the people met. For example, he said, we pay around £20 billion a year in interest on the national debt. He said that there is a question of pension funds, but why did these parties guarantee payments to very rich financial groups yet they are not guaranteeing the services that people need. He pointed out that if the alternative takes root, whereby people should take the decisions, then they would say that health education, education, pensions and so on should all be guaranteed and the resources provided to meet that guarantee. But all the parties of the status quo have the neo-liberal agenda where the first claim is for the big monopolies and the city.

Another important question was whether the Labour government would be forced by this movement against the "Third Way" to do a U-turn. The candidate explained that the goal of Tony Blair is to have the 21st century dominated by the "centre left" politics and that he held in reserve the option of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in exchange for the introduction of proportional representation, which was in his manifesto. The candidate compared these aims of New Labour's "Third Way" to those of the Third Reich to rule for 1,000 years. Therefore any idea that there is going to be a U-turn is an illusion, he said. The Labour Party in fact represents the most rich and powerful yet it embodies an arrangement where working class people are lined up to work for this agenda – that is the tragedy of it.

The only way forward is for workers to organise for the alternative and build the movement against the "Third Way". The candidate stressed how important it is that this stand has to be maintained after the election and people have got to see this as a beginning to further build the opposition to this "Third Way" programme.

After the discussion a participant proposed a motion of thanks to the candidate for his contribution and the Chair concluded the meeting. She thanked all those present for participating and she announced that there would be a conference in South Shields later in the year on Safeguarding the Future of the NHS in which the candidate would be fully involved and invited everyone to take part.

The meeting therefore was very successful in its aims to contribute to the campaign of candidates who represent the alternative to the party-dominated system of governance, and significantly advanced the programme to plant this alternative on the soil of Britain.

Article Index

Making the Vote Count for a New Society

Speaking to a youth rally on June 3, Tony Blair urged the youth to make their vote count. He posed the question: Does the country go forward or back?

This is indeed the choice, and Tony Blair is sensitive in this respect to the aspirations of the youth. The youth want to work for a bright future, they want to address the issues in society, they want everyone to be treated with equal dignity as human beings.

But having posed the question, Tony Blair immediately distorts it in putting it in the party-political context: "Labour or Conservative. That is the choice."

On the contrary, the choice is between the status quo and the alternative, between the party-dominated system of government and beginning to work for the political system where the working class and people are in power. In this respect, voting for candidates of the alternative is making the vote count in bringing about a new society. It presupposes that the work to nurture the alternative will continue and develop after June 7.

Even Tony Blair now is urging voters to move on from Margaret Thatcher. But to move on from Margaret Thatcher means to reject the policies for which she stood and which she implemented. It means to chart a way out of the crisis by the workers constituting themselves as the alternative, and the people becoming the decision-makers.

A vote for candidates who embody this alternative is what it means to make the vote count. Anything else is a wasted vote.

Article Index

Labour Membership Plummets

According to internal Labour Party correspondence, Labour membership has dropped to 280,000 on the eve of the general election. This represents a fall of more than 100,000 since New Labour was first elected in 1997.

The Guardian newspaper claims to have seen these figures, which are considerably lower than the 360,000 officially claimed by the Labour Party.

Article Index

Birmingham Man Set on Fire in Vicious Racist Attack

It has just emerged that a serious racist attack took place on May 25 in Aston, Birmingham. It appears that the police have attempted to withhold the incident in order to cover up the fact. They have used language like "racially aggravated" to hide the significance of the attack on a national minority.

The police are now saying that they are investigating the racist motivation behind the attack in which a young Asian man was deliberately set alight.

The young man, aged 21, suffered serious flash burns to his face and right hand after being sprayed with a flammable liquid.

The young Asian said that he and a friend were approached in Ettington Road, Aston, by two white men, who shouted racist abuse before the act of setting him alight.

The incidence of nazi and state organised racist attacks have been stepped up in a sinister way during the election period, particularly as the workers and people have been involved in a number of actions in the Midlands recently. As people come out of the margins and seek alternatives to the present political status quo then vigilance against such divisive activity needs to be taken on board. The "New Labour" government is faced with a crisis and its "Third Way" politics will increasingly come under greater pressure. It is because of the development of the crisis and opposition to the implementation of anti-social programmes that the bourgeoisie and its agencies attempt to apply their divide and rule methods. In this context the working class needs to take a lead in opposing the diversionary and splittist tactics in the community.

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