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Labour Party should be open to all socialists


Michael McKeown (Write Back, August 29) suggests that socialists are an alien force in the Labour movement. In fact, the Labour parties in Britain and Ireland were founded by socialist militants.

The real "cuckoos" within the movement are the pro-capitalist ideologues, such as Tony Blair, who infiltrated these parties and conspired to shift them decisively to the right by neutering party democracy and the influence of the trade unions.

It was because of their opposition to this process that the forerunners of the Socialist Party, the Militant tendency, were expelled from the Labour parties in Britain and Ireland, rather than because they were a "party within a party".

Indeed, some of those who recently resigned from Labour's Northern Ireland executive are also members of the Co-Operative Party, which remains affiliated to this day.

While the Right-wing leadership of the Labour Party prevaricated before Thatcher, the Militant tendency led the successful battle against the poll tax, which ultimately forced her from power.

In both Britain and Ireland, the Socialist Party continues that fighting tradition today.

The mass support for Jeremy Corbyn's Left-wing policies presents the possibility of reclaiming Labour as a party for the working class in Britain, but it will require a battle to democratically oust the Blairites who continue to dominate the parliamentary party, councils and the bureaucracy.

The party should be opened up to allow socialist and anti-austerity groups to affiliate and join this struggle.

In Northern Ireland, the Socialist Party supports the building of a broad, anti-sectarian party for the working class.

We worked with others to launch Labour Alternative ahead of last year's Assembly election as a step in that direction.

Labour Alternative has been central to successful campaigns against austerity and its four candidates have won the largest votes for Left candidates in their constituencies in decades.

Daniel Waldron

Socialist Party

Belfast Telegraph

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