(fwd from Alec Prianikoff) Socialist Party leaves Socialist Alliance

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Sat Dec 1 11:42:11 MST 2001

Louis, you may want to forward this article, which I've already put on
UK left network.  For some reason access to usenet has been blocked by



Saturday December 1st

At precisely 4.45 p.m.today,  the Socialist Party walked out of the
Logan Hall in Bloomsbury and out of the Socialist Alliance, the
organisation they helped to found nearly 10 years ago.

Socialist Party spokeswoman Hannah Sell, warned that the result of the
SA Conference backing a Constitutional proposals of the SWP, ISG and
independents would be the SP's defection from the Alliance.
She claimed that this was "not an ultimatum", but this was clearly
the message behind her contribution in proposing the SP's motion.

The argument of the SP was that the Alliance had to remain a Federal
organisation, which they claimed would make it more open to activists
in the labour movement who were breaking from their traditional

The conference of over 600 S.A. members heard 6 different motions on
the proposed constitution and debated them reasonably thoroughly.

The arguments of the SWP and its supporters was that individual
members needed to be better represented by having a "one-member
one-vote" constitution.
John Rees made some pointed comments about the failure of the SP to
stand under the SA umbrella in the General Election and said that it
could not be allowed to happen in the future if the Alliance was to

The SWP presented the SWP's proposals as an attempt to use their
weight of numbers to "dominate the Alliance", something the SP would
not tolerate.

When the vote was finally taken it came out as follows: -

SWP/ISG et al      345 votes
Socialist Party    122 votes
Workers Power       29 votes
C.P.G.B             42 votes
Pete McLaren        97 votes
Rev.Dem Group       21 votes

This gave the SWP/ISG/et al motion an absolute majority of 34 votes,
meaning that it was carried without a run-off being necessary.

Dave Nellist stayed in the Chair and the bulk of the SP remained to
see how the ammendments went in the afternoon.

When it became clear that the vote was going against them, Cde Nellist
issued a brief statement that the SA was no longer the organisation
he'd helped form and led an organised walk-out of around 100 SP'ers.

Everyone still inside the conference expressed their regret at the SP
walk out.
The remaining 500 delegates nominated John Nicholson of Sheffield SA
as chair and the conference carried on with the business of discussing
the remaining business and electing an NEC.

There was some tension on the question of using the Slate system to
elect the NEC, especially amongst ex-CP'ers and the Green Left
Network.  In the event Slate1 which included 3 SWP'ers, 5 members of
the other principal groups,ex Militant members Lesley Mahmood and
Margaret Manning and ex Labour NEC member Liz Davies was elected by a
large margin.

On a more positive note, the opening session of the conference heard a
fraternal address from the International organiser of Rifundazione
Communista, Gennaro Milliori, who called for "building a movement of
anti-capitalist trends around the world"

Tariq Ali also pointed out that the movement against the war in
Afghanistan had been build in record time with "mega rallies" across
the country, something that was difficult with a Labour government in
power.  He called the killings of Taliban prisoners in Mazar i Sharif
a CIA set-up operation, the work of American fundamentalist
imperialism.  The current war was one to re-map the world, but the US
rulers are not aware of what they are unleashing- a sign of its
political weakness.

It was pointed out that the SA had recruited over 200 members since
Sept 11th on the basis of its anti-war leaflet.

As Tariq said: " We should congratulate ourselves".

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