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Friday, 25 May, 2001, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Alliance is a left-wing party which aims to offer a "real alternative to the New Labour-Tory consensus".

It is composed of individual members with no affiliated organisations.

However, there are a number of supporting organisations such as the Socialist Party (formerly Militant), the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, Workers Power, and the International Socialist Group.

The alliance's well-known backers include film director Ken Loach, playwright Harold Pinter and comedian Mark Thomas.

Among the members are former Labour MP Dave Nellist and Liz Davies, who was on Labour's ruling national executive committee from 1998-2000.

It is putting up 92 candidates in England.

Elsewehere in Britain the alliance has sister parties - the Scottish Socialist Party and the Welsh Socialist Alliance.

Main policies

Any candidates who win a seat have pledged to refuse a full MP's salary, taking only the equivalent of the average working wage.

Its policies include:

  • Renationalisation of the railways and an end to all privatisation

  • An end to hospital closures and use of the private finance initiative

  • Restoration of the link between pensions and earnings

  • An increase the minimum wage

  • Raise taxes on the rich

  • End university fees

  • Scrap the voucher system for asylum seekers

  • Cancel third world debt

  • Oppose the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, and the IMF

The Socialist Alliance proposes to pay for these reforms by taking the wealth that they say is in the hands of a tiny elite and re-distributing it to benefit the great majority. So the SA calls for:

  • The abolition of VAT

  • A "swingeing tax" on the profits of the oil companies like BP

  • An end to arms spending and use the defence budget to rebuild the NHS and other public services

  • All of the privatised utilities to be brought back into public ownership

  • Nationalisation of banks and major financial institutions

Struggle

The alliance was formed in a bid to boost support across the board for socialists.

The alliance says that it aims to draw in thousands of activists "who have revolutionary socialist ideas but will not at present accept affiliation to any of the groups".

In doing so, it would have "a whole much more than the sum of its parts".

The alliance plans to campaign, not just in elections, but in "every big struggle" be it in the workplace or on housing estates.

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