Thursday, June 12, 2008

Workers face breadline Britain

Campaign for a New Workers' Party Conference
Sunday 29 June 2008 11:00am - 5:00pm
South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1
Book tickets now at

We’ve had a New Labour government for eleven years. Eleven years of war, tax increases, pay restraint, cuts and privatisation for most of us, and eleven years of nirvana for the super-rich. The richest 1,000 people in Britain’s wealth has more than quadrupled since New Labour came to power – it has gone up by 15% just since Brown took over as prime minister.

No wonder New Labour’s poll ratings have been plummeting and Brown is so unpopular. For the first time since 1997 the nightmare scenario of a return to a Tory government is a real possibility. Millions of working class people who remember the Thatcher years are rightly horrified by the idea of a Cameron-led government.

The Campaign for a New Workers’ Party doesn’t want a return to a Tory government either. But nor do we want to spend our lives having to choose between two virtually identical parties for the super-rich – like trying to decide whether you would rather suffer from cancer or heart disease.

That is why we are campaigning for the trade unions in Britain to stop funding New Labour, and to begin building a party that actually stands up in working class people’s interests. Since 1997 trade union leaders have handed over more than £100 million of their members’ money to New Labour. New Labour have taken the money and kept on kicking trade unionists in the teeth. Enough is enough!

So far over three thousand people have signed up to support the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party. However, we need to do more. The need for a mass party that stands for the millions not the millionaires is more urgent than ever. A political voice is desperately needed for the millions of public sector workers battling against the government’s pay freeze, for local communities trying to stop their Post Offices or hospitals closing, for anti-war and environmental campaigners.

If you agree, come to the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party conference. The conference will discuss resolutions from local CNWP groups and affiliated organisations on the way forward from here.

From 11:00am - 12:30pm before the opening of the CNWP conference proper, the CNWP is hosting a discussion on the way forward for the left and the fight for a working class political voice.

Speakers confirmed so far include:

  • Bob Crow RMT
  • Dave Nellist Campaign for a New Workers' Party
  • Simeon Andrews Labour Representation Committee
  • Rob Hoverman RESPECT
  • Dave Church Walsall Democratic Labour Party
  • Mike Davies Alliance for Green Socialism

Shattered Illusions

The following letter from a Campaifn for a New Workers' Party supporter in the Public & Commercial Services Union (PCS) was sent to the civil service union magazine, PCS View, which is sent to all PCS members.

Back in 1997 many PCS members welcomed the election of a 'New Labour' government, believing it offered a radical alternative to the Tories. The illusion was quickly shattered, however, when Blair and Brown launched their attacks on public servants' jobs, pensions, pay and working conditions.

Our members no longer harbour any illusions, as we saw in the recent local elections. They are able to see that it is now nothing more than a party of big business.

We are in a situation where the three main political parties are indistinguishable from one another. At the last general election we saw the amazing spectacle of MPs from Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems engaged in a bidding war over how many civil service jobs they could axe.

So, if none of the main parties represent public-sector workers and workers in general, what are our options? Sadly, due to the virtual political vacuum that currently exists in Britain, the British National Party (BNP) has gained a certain level of support among traditional Labour voters on the basis of populist slogans that hide their true fascist and racist agenda.
In my opinion this makes it even more important for the trade union movement to talk about the question of working class representation and the need to link with community groups and socialists to build a new, broad-based party free of big business and capable of representing working people and driving the BNP back into the sewers from which they came.

PCS does a great job of defending our members' interests but I believe in the long term, the issues facing PCS members require political change.

Dave Lunn, Birkenhead