For a long time now, many in Britain, particularly England, have been without a political home. The change in the Labour Party since 2019 has been profound, morphing into a totally neoliberal party and aping some of the worst policies of the Tories on migration, the environment, and human rights. Thousands have left the party in despair, while others have been driven out by a witch hunt of the Left, where charges can amount to having shared a stage with the famous film director Ken Loach, discussing cinema. Many of us outside Labour felt that there was a crying need for a new party of the Left, along the lines of many that already exist in Europe.
Earlier this year, the Breakthrough and Left Unity parties and the People’s Alliance of the Left decided to come together and try to construct such a party. We felt that there had been enough talk, both from those still inside Labour and those outside, about building an opposition from the Left to Starmerite Labour. With this view in mind, we set up two working groups, one dealing with our core principles and the other with the constitution. We also established a Steering committee, which later included the Liverpool Community Independents, a group of ex-Labour councillors in Liverpool who were re-elected in May this year under their new banner. The core principles were agreed upon, and the constitution is still being discussed. We decided to approach a number of significant activists and figures on the Left and ask them to become signatories to our call for a new party.
Armed with this and our 10 Principles, we put out the call several weeks ago and have already had nearly 5000 people sign up, almost 2000 in the first day. We are now in the process of organising online meetings in many of the regions of England and later in Wales, where activists will discuss the new party and decide on what they wish to do to build it in their own areas. Over the next few months, we will be distributing leaflets at meetings and rallies, encouraging people to sign up for the new party.
The launch of the party will be the point where we formulate policy beyond our 10 Principles and also democratically agree on a constitution. One of our guiding principles is that the party will be democratic and bottom-up from the beginning and that all of our policies won’t come from above.
We are quite clear that we are an ecosocialist party, and saving the planet will be at the centre of everything that we do, which will include working closely with climate activists and movements.
We are also committed to equality and intersectionality in all their forms and will have a strong commitment to women’s and trans rights, along with fighting against racism and for the full equality of people living with disabilities. We will also be laser-focused on workers rights and hope to work closely with the unions on this; many of our leading members are active trade unionists.
There has already been some criticism of the party, Transform, from both centrists and some on the left, saying that we should have waited until after the next general election. We feel that we need to get organised now and be in a position to intervene and offer radical voters some opportunity in the election next year, as well as build a base for the future. This is because we feel that the current Labour Party in government will offer very little that is different from the current economic and political malaise in Britain to the British people, and that this will inevitably lead to huge disillusionment and a possible opportunity for the Far Right. In order to counter this, there needs to be a real socialist opposition party in place to offer an alternative. We also want to work side by side with progressive movements and campaigns so that we are not a solely electorally focused party, which we feel parties like the Green Party have become.
Many people at this time of growing inequality, particularly young people who put their hope in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, are now crushed by the cost-of-living crisis, high rents, and the increasing realisation that they have no future under this capitalist system run by the banks, big business, and the Tory Party. They don’t see any real alternative in Labour’s business as usual offer. Transform plans to offer a real socialist alternative and to place young people, along with those marginalised by this capitalist society, at the centre of its programme and work. The party will be launched later this year, and we hope that many people will sign up between now and then and help us build an alternative future. Never has it been more urgent to build a democratic party of the left, with the planet literally burning and the cost of greed leading to increasing poverty and misery. Come and join us!
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