Socialist Alliance (England)


Socialist Alliance (England)

The Socialist Alliance was a left-wing electoral alliance operating in England in existence between 1992 and 2005 and is currently (after being refounded in late 2005) a small grouping with a mutual affiliation with the larger Alliance for Green Socialism.

Origins

The alliance grew out of local Socialist Alliances, many of which ran in elections as the "United Socialists". These were formed by the Socialist Party of England and Wales, Alliance for Workers' Liberty, Independent Labour Network and independent socialists, from 1992 onwards. They gradually coalesced into the national "Network of Socialist Alliances". The Welsh Socialist Alliance was closely allied to the SA but had separate origins.

The Socialist Alliance was named and expanded in 1999, when other Trotskyist groups including the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialist Group and Workers Power joined, as did the formerly separate London Socialist Alliance. In the 2002 local elections, the alliance gained one councillor in Preston. The Socialist Alliance had fraternal relations with the Scottish Socialist Party.

Contraction and dissolution

In late 2001 the Network of Socialist Alliances was transformed into a one-member-one-vote political party called the Socialist Alliance (a title already registered for electoral purposes). This new structure allowed the largest and most disciplined group within the Socialist Alliance to exercise a dominant and controlling role - if that organised group was a Democratic Centralist political party (ie. able to instruct its members how to vote) then this was essentially a block vote.

The Socialist Alliance was riven by feuds, mostly concerning the behaviour of the Socialist Workers Party, which was by far the largest group participating in the Alliance, and which many felt dominated it. The Socialist Party of England and Wales left the Alliance in 2001, while Workers Power left in 2003.

In 2003 the SWP, supported by the ISG, led the SA into an alliance with George Galloway and other figures involved in the Stop the War Coalition to form the Respect Coalition. A minority of the SA objected to the way this decision was carried out and argued that the SWP were using their block vote to push their line. Many of these dissidented object to Respect on principle, and all objected to the way the decision to join it was carried out, many forming the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform.

In late 2004, some SA member organizations, which remained outside Respect, joined with the Socialist Party and the Alliance for Green Socialism to establish the Socialist Green Unity Coalition.

The SA was wound up in February 2005, having been moribund for about a year. In March, a few groups and former members of the SA, who did not join in the Respect Coalition, met as the "Socialist Alliance (Provisional)". On November 12, 2005, most but not all of the provisional grouping met again and claimed the name of the Socialist Alliance for a re-founded political organisation. This re-founded organisation has failed to grow but remains in existence and in 2007 it entered into a mutual affiliation with its largest supporting organisation - the Alliance for Green Socialism. The registered electoral title of Socialist Alliance is retained by this organisation.

The SA now fully supports the Campaign for a New Workers' Party and even has elected members of the steering committee.

List of organisations which supported the Socialist Alliance

*Alliance for Workers' Liberty
*Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC)
*Democratic Labour Party
*Independent Labour Network (disbanded before 2003)
*International Socialist Group
*International Socialist League
*Lewisham Independent Socialists
*Red Action (left 2001)
*Revolutionary Democratic Group
*Socialist Party of England and Wales (left 2001)
*Socialist Perspectives
*Socialist Solidarity Network
*Socialist Workers Party
*Workers International
*Workers Power (left 2003)

External links

* [http://www.socialistalliance.org/ Socialist Alliance (2005)]
** [http://www.socialistalliance.org/docs.htm Old site of Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform]
* [http://www.sademocracy.org.uk/ Democratic Socialist Alliance (formerly the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform)]
* [http://www.democracyplatform.org.uk/2001Manifesto.pdf People Before Profit] SA 2001 Election Platform "1.6MB PDF"
* [http://www.electoralcommission.gov.uk/elections/2001report.cfm 2001 Official UK Electoral Commission Report on the 2001 General Election]
* [http://www.socialistunitynetwork.co.uk/ Socialist Unity Network]
* [http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/CampaignsSocialistAlliances.htm Set of documents relating to the Socialist Alliance] hosted by the Socialist Party of England and Wales.


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