Last week I indavertently ended up in a SWP public meeting/forum. They had the usual discussionn etc. (which i may comment upon at some point), but what interested me was a little discussion they had at the end about the BNP standing in a local by-election in Calderdale. The BNP won a by-election in the Illingworth & Mixenden ward in 2003, and since then now have two councillors in calderdale (down from 3 at one point). The by-election is interestingly enough in the Illingworth & Mixenden ward, where a sitting Labour councillor has died. Thus the SWP are mobilising against the BNP in this election.
But what are the SWP in Huddersfield & Calderdale doing to stop the BNP, they're out leafletting to get people to not vote BNP. And who are these voters supposed to vote for instead, the Tories, Liberals or Labour, all of whom support the cuts that are allowing the BNP to gain support? What is needed is a new worker's party that can oppose these cuts and help lead the fight against them, the SWP claim RESPECT is this, but they are not standing a candidate or even putting out propaganda for people to join RESPECT (this is to the best of my knowledge). From what I've seen, the SWP seem to have a policy that says that Labour is reclaimable, as can be seen by their failure to call fro the trade unions to disaffiliate from a Labour party that is attacking them and call for a new party (or even join RESPECT). Their approach is best summed up as a stages approach, first we stop the BNP getting elected, and then we do something to support the struggles of working people.
Unfortunately, the SP in Halifax do not have a large amount of members and when discussing whether we could put out propaganda for the formation of a new workers party (and asking people to join the CNWP) we found that due to our conference being this weekend we didn't have enough comrades left to do so (this would have been in addition to the stall we'd already arranged in Huddersfield). It is something we want to do, given the resources and the mobility to do so.
Where we stood last year in Huddersfield we did cut across the BNP vote significantly (their support was minimal in the ward we stood in), and Dr Jackie Grunsell has shown herself as a class fighter, supporting the Unique Care strike, the campaign against Academies, and against nurseries closures and other issues in Kirklees. Hopefully we can build upon this work, and stop the BNP reclaiming the area that was once the 'jewek in their crown'.
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