Socialist Alliance (England)
The Socialist Alliance was a left-wing electoral alliance in England between 1992 and 2005.
In late 2005, a small group reformed with the name "Socialist Alliance", with a mutual affiliation with the larger Alliance for Green Socialism.
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, Alliance for Workers' Liberty, Independent Labour Network and independent socialists, from 1992 onward. 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 (i.e. able to instruct its members how to vote) then this was essentially a block vote. The new rules adopted by the Socialist Alliance in late 2001 (pushed through by the organised block-voting of SWP members) meant that activists and members of local Social Alliances affiliated to the national body had, in effect, to expel any members who declined to join the Socialist Alliance Party. In cases where a local Socialist Alliance declined to join the national body under these conditions the SWP instructed their local comrades to withdraw en-masse in an attempt to close the local Socialist Alliance down.
Unsurprisingly, the Socialist Alliance was riven by political disagreements, 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 left the Alliance in 2001 (when the SWP pushed through the change to turn the alliance into a party) while Workers Power (themselves a splinter group from the SWP back in the 1970s) 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 dissidents objected 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 Socialist Alliance member organisations, which had remained outside Respect, joined with the Socialist Party and the Alliance for Green Socialism to establish the Socialist Green Unity Coalition.
As the SWP switched its priorities to working within Respect, the Socialist Alliance became virtually moribund during 2004 and was formally wound up in February 2005.
In March 2005, a few groups and former members of the SA who did not join Respect met as the Socialist Alliance (Provisional). On November 12, 2005, most of the provisional grouping (independent members, and members of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, Alliance for Green Socialism, the Communist Party of Great Britain (not to be confused with the former CPGB which dissolved in 1991), the Democratic Socialist Alliance, the Republican Communist Network (Scotland), the Revolutionary Democratic Group, the Socialist Unity Network, the United Socialist Party, and the Walsall Democratic Labour Party) met again and claimed the name of the Socialist Alliance for a re-founded political organisation, registered with the Electoral Commission. In 2007, this small group entered into a mutual affiliation with its largest supporting organisation, the Alliance for Green Socialism.
List of supporting organisations
- 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 (left 2001)
- Socialist Perspectives
- Socialist Resistance
- Socialist Solidarity Network
- Socialist Workers Party
- Workers International
- Workers Power (left 2003)
- Socialist Alliance (2005)[dead link]
- Democratic Socialist Alliance (formerly the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform)
- People Before Profit SA 2001 Election Platform 1.6MB PDF
- 2001 Official UK Electoral Commission Report on the 2001 General Election
- Socialist Unity Network[dead link]
- Set of documents relating to the Socialist Alliance hosted by the Socialist Party of England and Wales.