Socialist Party congress 2006
Perspectives for the Labour Party and a new mass party
We have recently produced quite a number of articles, in both the journal and the paper, on the Labour Party, both in its current state and on historical issues, in so far as they touch on the need for a new mass party of the working class in Britain. It is only necessary here to repeat some of the main points. Events since the re-election of the government for a third term have completely reconfirmed our analysis on the degeneration of the Labour Party into a capitalist party. Opposition to our analysis on the left is inchoate, amounting to a romantic yearning for the past days of the Labour Party that will not return.
The left trade union leaders cling to the battered wreckage of the party, alongside a dwindling band of left MPs, because no serious alternative new pole of attraction exists. People like Tony Benn are isolated figures when they argue, hoping against hope, that the Labour Party can be recaptured for the left. The experience of most young people of New Labour is of a party of war, education cuts and a general attack on past gains. The idea of transforming this party holds no attraction to them. The rebellion against Blair that spluttered into life following the October conference of the Labour Party gives them hope that the party can somehow be brought back to life.
However, as we have ceaselessly commented, the only real short-term alternative to Blair is Brown, which is no real alternative at all. ‘Mr PFI’, as he is dubbed even by the capitalist press, has made it absolutely clear that in fundamentals he will carry out Blair’s policy although the mood music and posture on some issues may be different. This is not to say that if, rather than when, Brown replaces Blair, the perception of many workers initially could be that things will be different. But Brown has made it clear, at the TUC, the Labour Party conference and in cabinet meetings following Blunkett’s resignation, that while he might oppose some ‘ill-considered’ privatisations, in general, as his support for London Underground privatisation demonstrates, he will continue to extol its virtues. He has also stated that he opposes ‘generous’ increases in pay for public sector workers, which presumably refers to the increase to a miserly £5.58 an hour for hospital workers.
However, we should never underestimate the illusions and patience which can be generated among working-class people when a new leader appears on the scene. Despite his courting of the capitalists in the run-up to the 1997 election, there was a widespread illusion that Blair was a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’; once in power he would bare his fangs towards the capitalists. Instead, he proved to be a lamb as far as capitalism is concerned. Soon after Blair arrived at Number 10 in 1997, the CBI paid him a visit with a ‘shopping list’ of demands. They had a bottom line but never got a chance to explain this because Blair accepted, to their astonishment, their demands in total! Brown might be a lot more robust on standing up to the capitalists on individual issues but he will act on fundamentals like Blair.
If Brown takes over quickly – some time in the next 12 months – then it is possible that by changing the rhetoric at least, if not content of policy, Brown could for a period give the impression that he is different to Blair. Major managed, seemingly against all the odds, to pull off a narrow majority for a fourth consecutive Tory victory in 1992. True, his then opponent was Neil Kinnock, a Labour leader without weight and who was distrusted by a significant section of the working class and the middle class. Moreover, John Smith, then shadow chancellor, made the blunder in the election of threatening to increase taxes on higher-paid workers and the middle class. However, Major did manage to give the impression for a time that he was different to Thatcher. He buried the poll tax once and for all, he moved away from the baroness’s euro-scepticism – famously condemning her supporters in the cabinet as ‘bastards’ – but in substance, and particularly on domestic policy, he pursued fundamentally the same line. For instance, it was Major who carried through the privatisation of British Rail in 1996, which has proved to be perhaps the most catastrophic of all British privatisations.
Brown could tack and weave but would be prepared to carry out the original New Labour ‘project’ of him and Blair, particularly the attempt to implement the neo-liberal programme, not just in Britain but in Europe and throughout the world as well. In the event, however, of a serious recession or slump, with wholesale closures of factories and workplaces, then Brown, like even bourgeois governments in Japan, could carry out emergency measures to take them fully into public ownership. On the internal developments of the Labour Party, Brown is as much of a control freak, brooking no serious opposition, as Blair. One-man rule, with a tiny cabal around the prime minister, is the norm within the New Labour government. Cabinet discussion, as ex-ministers have revealed, when they take place on serious policy issues, are for form as the important decisions have been taken outside. The meetings of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which in the past was forced to reflect the pressure of the base of the party, working-class concerns, discontent, etc, are according to Clare Short not a forum for discussion but merely "rallies" in support of the leader. A Brown prime ministership may signify a short interregnum in the discrediting and disintegration of this moribund party but it will not fully arrest its decline. Conditions for a new mass workers’ party
The conditions for a new mass workers’ party exist as much in Britain and for that matter in the rest of Europe, as in Germany where the Left Party received 8 % of the vote and 54 MPs in the last general election. The only difference is that Britain has experienced neo-liberalism, its political expression being Thatcherism and now Blairism, over a protracted period, whereas Germany under Schröder experienced fast-track Thatcherism. The shock and political reflex has therefore been much more immediate and greater in Germany. The crucial difference between here and Germany, however, is that a leading figure like Oskar Lafontaine stepped outside the increasingly discredited ex-social democracy and linked up with trade unionists and young people to create a bloc between the WASG and the Left Party.
In Britain, leading figures who could play that role such as Tony Benn or trade union leaders like Tony Woodley use all their efforts to shore up and try to repair what is now the wreckage of a past workers’ party. Neither they nor the dwindling band of left activists who still advocate work within this party really believe in their heart of hearts that they now have much hope of success. Labour Party ‘activists’ are reduced to a rump of councillors and their hangers on increasingly devoid of power and isolated from the population they purport to represent.
Blair and his entourage hope to complete the ‘project’ before he departs the scene, particularly as far as the Labour Party is concerned, by emasculating even further trade union influence within the party. Alan Johnson, former trade union leader and now a government minister, has called for a further cut in the vote of unions at the conference from the present 50% to 15%! The defeat of Blair and the government on a series of issues at the conference became a hopeful sign to the union leaders that the party could be saved for the working class. Yet this has become the very reason for the right to carry through an even further neutering of trade union and activists’ influence. Tony Woodley’s riposte was to declare: "A Labour Party with no place for working class collectivism would be a Labour Party no longer" [The Guardian]. He was speaking in the future tense but that is the reality now. The late Sir Keith Joseph, guru and author of the counterrevolution against workers’ rights and conditions, once declared that the Tories’ aim was to create "two Tory parties in Britain". They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Even if one could postulate that some time in the future Labour, by expelling the Blairites, then shifting towards the left, reconnecting with active trade unions, accepting socialist or social-democratic policies, could once more become a bourgeois workers’ party, that is no excuse for arguing for work within the Labour Party now. This is not an active, fighting approach. It is the philosophy of quiescence, sitting on one’s hands, keeping your mouth shut in the teeth of a New Labour bourgeois offensive against the working class. The task of socialists and Marxists in particular is to build a position of influence, to hold out hope and provide, when possible, a fighting example to a new generation of workers. This is the best way to accumulate the forces for future possibilities of work within larger formations. In Germany, for instance, we recognise that social democracy had morphed into a bourgeois formation. However, the development of the WASG immediately led to our sister organisation in Germany seeking, successfully, to be part of the process of the assembling of a new party.
We think it is unlikely – effectively ruled out in the short term – that the Labour Party can be regenerated as even a bourgeois workers’ party. However, even if one accepted this scenario in the long term it would not justify the quiescence and acquiescence which, in the end, forms the raison d’être in reality the philosophy of Tony Benn and others of clinging to this discredited party at all costs. His main argument in a recent Guardian article was that he had witnessed, as a child, the betrayal of Ramsay MacDonald. However, he says that the Labour Party then recovered… in 1945! It took 14 years to overcome this betrayal. There was, however, a fundamental difference between the Labour Party then and now: Labour was still a workers’ party at the bottom, even after the defection of MacDonald, although it had been reduced to a small number of MPs in the Commons. It was still therefore an arena for work for socialists and a vehicle for working class views and action.
Nobody, not even Benn, can argue that about the Labour Party today. But even if one accepted his – and various opportunists’ – long, very long, perspective the task for today would be to build up a force outside that could seek to decisively influence Labour in the unlikely event of it swinging left at some future date. More likely, in our calculation, is that a new formation will develop in Britain as the Labour Party, under right-wing control, becomes increasingly discredited, as the Liberals were in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It is therefore vital that our campaign for a new party, including the conferences that are planned for 2006, is energetically pursued. Tories
The Tory party suffered its third electoral defeat on 5 May. However, the number of Tory MPs increased for the first time since 1983, from 165 to 198. The difficulties facing the Tories attempt to climb back to power are manifold. They still have the mark of Cain upon them, Thatcher, which weighs them down with leaden boots. A believer in the Thatcher counterrevolution, economics correspondent of the Financial Times, Samuel Brittan, recently complained about the ‘modernisers’ in the Tory party, especially as, "One of them has reportedly said that the conservatives would never really recover until Baroness Thatcher was dead and buried."
Like an economic and social Black Death, the effects of Thatcherism linger on in derelict communities in the industrial areas of the north, Scotland, Wales and in the army of poor throughout Britain. She still has a powerful deterrent effect on the psyche not just of the working class but of considerable sections of the middle class as well. One Tory leader after another and the party as a whole have been seen almost as war criminals by the majority of the British people. They have vainly struggled in three general elections to overcome the Thatcher legacy, but have failed. If they embrace the ‘new’ and youthful David Cameron, perhaps in a double act with Kenneth Clarke – who has the advantage of appearing not to be part of the Thatcher era – it is in an attempt to break decisively with this legacy.
Another problem for the Tories is the age of its membership – overwhelmingly over 65 – and its shrinking social base: "The party has become dependent on the rural officer class and the shaven headed white van driver" [Philip Stevens, Financial Times]. The dire state of the party was on view for all to see at its 2005 conference. The party chairperson, Francis Maude, pointed out that among the UK’s four million strong ethnic minority population the Tories were in third place, that in 2005 fewer women than men had voted for the Conservatives for the first time since universal suffrage was introduced; and that the party had actually lost vote amongst graduates, working in business and in the professions. He didn’t, however, go as far as Theresa May, his predecessor of three years previously, who dubbed the Tory party as the "nasty party".
It is not certain that this desperate attempt to give a ‘modern’ facelift to the Tory party will bear fruit at the next election. Right-wing journalist Max Hastings, for instance, believes the Tory election contest was a "battle for the honour of losing the next election". However, this is not at all certain as the Tories in key marginal seats need just 60,000 extra votes, which they hope to garner from those disillusioned with twelve years of Blairism, to scrape home in an election. Moreover, Hastings’s calculation does not take account of unfavourable economic developments for the government that could produce political convulsions. The election of Cameron is a measure of the desperation of the Tories. Traditional leaders of what was the main bourgeois party were usually blooded in the hurly burly of politics both in the ‘bear pit’ of parliament and outside on the electoral stump. The risk is that he will fall on his face when he comes up against ‘bruisers’ like Gordon Brown when he replaces Blair.
His difficulties are added to because Blair and Brown occupy traditional Tory territory, the so-called centre, the muddled middle. A correspondent of the Financial Times spoke for even bourgeois opinion when he wrote: "The problem with your editorial ‘make your mind up Tories’ is that Britain has a perfectly good Conservative Party in Labour." Others have referred to a new phenomenon, describing the ‘two Davids’, Blair and Cameron, as ‘Camerair’. They point out that they could easily form a "grand coalition, as their German counterparts just have" [The Guardian, 20 October 2005]. On the surface this may not appear to be much different from the ‘butskellism’ of the 1930s and the early 1960s (when Hugh Gaitskell, the Labour Party leader, and Rab Butler, the power behind the throne in the Tory party stood on common ground). But at bottom, the Tory and Labour parties then, in their then composition, had different class characters.
Now, as Timothy Garton Ash has pointed out, it is more like a "competition between two rival management teams, trying to convince shareholders that they are best suited to run UK plc. After New Labour New Britain (NLNB) there is a bid from ‘MCC’". The real shareholders however are not the voters who are merely electoral fodder, but the capitalists and their representatives, like the CBI. The CBI, in the wake of recent retreats by the government on pensions, is growling in the background with a clear threat to withdraw their tacit support from the government and transfer their hopes elsewhere. They have not as yet reached the position of pulling the plug on Blair because the "moor is doing his duty" presiding over the best capitalist government that the British bourgeois could possibly envisage at this stage.
Notwithstanding all the difficulties confronting Cameron, it is not ruled out that the Tory party could be politically renovated, backed by the media, and exploit the discontent with Blairism and Brown, especially if the economy goes pear-shaped. If mass abstentions occur in the next election, as was the case in the last two, the Tories could creep back to power. Cameron and Davis are attempting to pretend, like George Bush, that they are ‘caring conservatives’. Translated, this means that they are ‘compassionate’ for conservatives, the rich and powerful.
Cameron is a toff, educated at Eton, was an adviser to discredited chancellor Norman Lamont and is the preferred candidate of the last Tory leader, Michael Howard. He is, however, presented as representing a break with the discredited Thatcher. In the manner of celebrity politics, which dominates in this era, he is also pictured as a ‘man of the people’. The fact that he has a disabled child has been unscrupulously exploited to enhance this image. Harold Macmillan, former Tory prime minister, and General de Gaulle in France, both had disabled children but the mass of the population would never have known this because they were never projected into the public limelight. Underneath this gloss, however, Cameron as with all Tory leaders is a firm defender of capitalism: "Both Clarke and Davis offer the stale three courses of yesterday’s dish; tax is bad, family is lovely and global is us" [The Guardian].
Although he is dismissed as a lightweight, Cameron could lead the Tory party to an electoral victory. The Guardian ICM poll in October showed that Labour’s lead was down to just three points (Labour on 36%, Conservatives 33%). Both Blair and Brown will use the threat of a return of the Tories to bolster their own position. Schröder tried the same tactic in the German election but it didn’t work. Therefore, a Tory victory in the next general election cannot be discounted. On the other hand it is possible that a hung parliament could be the outcome. What government would result from this is now not at all clear. No differences between the parties
Tory chairman Maude has even floated the idea that the Tories could form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in a situation like this. This is in itself a mark of how the situation has changed in the last 30 years. Ted Heath, Tory prime minister in 1974, when he found himself in a minority following the February election that year tried to broker a coalition with the Liberals, then led by Jeremy Thorpe. However the Liberals, then posing as a radical party, would have been completely shattered if they had accepted the embrace of Heath and the Tories. In those circumstances a minority Labour government came to power.
The Liberal Democrats today, however, are a different beast entirely, having embraced privatisation and other neo-liberal measures. The proponents of the ‘Orange Book’ in the Liberal Democrats – which enshrines their neo-liberal programme – like Vincent Cable, their treasury spokesman and a former top oil executive, could easily sit in a Liberal-Democrat/Tory cabinet. The more radically inclined Liberal Democrat base would oppose this, maybe even leading to splits to the left. Such a scenario cannot be ruled out.
The MPs of all three major parties today hardly differ in their social origin and political outlook. They can pass from one party to another with little difficulty. For instance, Labour MP for Burnley Kitty Usher is the niece of Tory MPs Virginia and Peter Bottomley! This coalescence of the political class in the middle will further the process of the disillusionment with formal politics. This does not mean to say that there is not an interest or a preparedness to be involved in real politics. The new generation in particular, against the background of a troubled world, looks with a fresh eye on the issues of the day. Two of the most crucial issues are world poverty and the environment. The big G8 demonstrations in the summer on the theme of ‘Make Poverty History’ brought out the idealism and urge for action of young people.
We made a splendid intervention in Edinburgh under the banner of our party and the CWI. Given the incapacity of world capitalism to make significant inroads into this intractable problem, which cannot be solved within the framework of the ‘market’, a continuing concern and openness to socialist solutions will exist amongst this new generation. This is linked in the consciousness of these layers to the issue of the environment. The natural disasters in Asia – the tsunami and the Pakistani earthquake – and the Americas with the hurricanes, particularly Hurricane Katrina, have revealed the unpreparedness and the warped priorities of capitalism in the teeth of such developments. There is mass support for action to prevent a further poisoning of the world’s atmosphere, the melting of the ice caps and the horrifying legacy that will be left to future generations unless action is taken now. Out of the green, environmental movement many young people, with our help, can find their way to a socialist approach to this issue.
Conscious of the danger of this, voices within the ‘green movement’ have now sought to argue that only by modifying capitalism would it be possible to offer a solution to environmental degradation. Jonathan Porritt, Prince Charles’s favourite environmentalist, writes in a new book that he believes "capitalism must be transformed – rather than overthrown – to ensure both economic and environmental equilibrium". He is attempting to square the circle. He argues: "Few businesses want to kill off the source of their profitability." In other words, they fear that if the destruction of the environment goes on capitalism will lose the ‘goose that laid the golden egg’, that is the working class. They also can be affected by the destruction of the environment on a personal level. In the nineteenth century one of the motivations of the bourgeois in the construction of sewers and other health and safety measures was to eliminate typhoid, which did not respect class barriers and therefore killed the bosses and their families, as well as their workers. However, it was the state on behalf of capitalism that intervened and not ‘private philanthropy’ which led to the building of sewers and other measures to solve the problem.
Porritt is right when he argues that it is possible to exploit the world’s natural resources for the benefit of all without destroying them and sacrificing future generations. Some individual capitalists like Lord Browne at the oil company BP have spoken publicly of their desire to adapt their companies to promote environmental protection. However, no matter how laudable their aims, this is what environmental activists call ‘greenwash’. It involves presenting a concerned approach to the environment while continuing to deploy harmful anti-environmental measures. While the pressure of the masses can limit the harm that capitalism can do, it will not be able to overcome this completely. The proposal now being made for carbon emissions sharing – involving richer countries buying some of the rights of underdeveloped countries to continue to pollute – is no solution at all. It is impossible, as we have argued above in relation to China, to continue with the uncontrolled anarchic industrialisation of that country, as well as India and the neo-colonial world without it resulting in an environmental catastrophe. Only by a new world division of labour is it possible to have sustainable development.
The division of labour which exists under capitalism is exploitative of the neo-colonial world, which is faced with the invidious choice of emulating the developed capitalist countries through industrialisation – with all the massive pollution that this involves – or continued dependency and impoverishment. It is a false choice that would not be necessary on the basis of a world socialist plan of production, initiated by the working class and the poor of the planet. Then it would be entirely feasible to have growth, to raise living standards and develop the world in a harmonious fashion for the benefit of the whole of humankind. To do this, however, we must put an end to the rule of a handful of giant corporations who hold humankind by the throat and threaten to drag it into the abyss if they are not stopped. Our work in the growing environmental movement is now critical, as is the production of clear material explaining our programme of demands on this issue.
Since the big anti-capitalist demonstrations in 2000 and 2001 there has been a steady increase in the rate of radicalisation of young people. As with all such phenomena this process has ebbed and flowed. After the peak of the anti-war movement and the 15 February 2003 demonstration there was a temporary lull but since then we have seen the development of a politicised minority of young people drawing anticapitalist and socialist conclusions.
This has been in response to a number of issues both international and domestic. Many initially became active around the issue of the invasion of Iraq. This was significant in a whole number of ways. It gave many, and school students in particular, their first taste of political activity. It brought some up against the forces of the state and many have since drawn on those conclusions to form political analyses.
Since then a whole range of international events have provoked a development of consciousness and questioning of capitalism. The tsunami, Asian earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and other environmental disasters have made the massive chasm between rich and poor impossible to ignore. The G8 meeting in Gleneagles raised discussion on both the question of poverty and what is the solution and to an extent was part of the larger discussion on the environment that is taking place.
But it is not the international issues alone that are posing such devastating questions in the minds of young people in Britain. While a minority will be forced by these issues to think about the system a bigger layer is forced to think about it because of their experience of coming up against it in their day to day lives.
Students in schools and colleges around the country are experiencing the reality of league tables, privatisation and all the other aspects of Labour’s plans for education. Education under capitalism has always had its limitations but in the current context this is even more the case. Over-testing, underresourcing, fees, the abolition of the grant, student debt, student poverty, student stress to get a good degree to get a good job; this is the student experience in both the higher and further education sectors.
Many young people are workers as well as students and mainly through agencies or on temporary contracts. Over half (54 per cent) of graduate jobseekers, who left university in 2004 or earlier, are still looking for their first graduate job, according to a report released in August by Manpower.
While young people in Britain do not have the same experiences as those in France there are similar features to both. The criminalisation of young people, the application of ASBOs and attacks on the rights to protest and strike, combined in the case of black and Asian youth with racist police harassment, will contribute to anti-establishment feeling and to a certain extent alienation from society that is one side of the response to the attacks.
In a period of relatively low class struggle and in the absence of a mass workers’ party to raise political ideas, many young people have not got a clear idea of socialism, of the role of the working class, of what trade unions are and of how to have an impact on society. They are searching for solutions to the frustrations and inequality they experience and witness. At the same time they do not have the experience of Stalinism or the collapse of Stalinism as an obstacle to the future development of their consciousness. Many young people read ideas on the internet and take part in political debate on forums. In the absence of a wider movement this is one of the only ways to find things out which can be both negative and positive.
The Socialist Party has played a role in raising socialist ideas among young people. Our political interventions into the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements have ensured that a socialist alternative is raised in a concrete and straightforward way. Our participation in these and local campaigns has also meant that a section of young people have also seen a transitional approach in action.
Women have been increasingly to the fore in recent struggles. Women played a leading role in a number of recent strikes – notably the Gate Gourmet struggle, the Scottish nursery nurses strike, and the PCS strikes. Various factors, not least that women now make up a majority of the workforce, mean that, unlike in the past, women are now just as likely to be trade union members as men, and are actually more likely to be members if they are in their 20s or 30s.
A layer of young women, in particular, have been politicised by international issues – particularly the occupation of Iraq and environmental issues. In many schools, it was young women who led the school student strikes that took place on the day the Iraq war began. However, women are also being politicised by domestic issues, not least those that affect them particularly as women. Anger at the destruction of public services such as the NHS is particularly sharp amongst women, who form a large percentage of the workforce and a majority of NHS users.
The argument that we now live in a ‘post-feminist’ society, where women have achieved equality, is belied by the facts. It is true that women, particularly young women, are generally more confident than their mothers and grandmothers. However, they still suffer economic and social discrimination which is rooted in the very nature of class society. According to a recent survey by the Fawcett Society, almost 50% of women have a gross individual income of less than £100 a week, compared to 20% of men. A large proportion of women are still concentrated in low paid jobs such as retail, catering and cleaning – mostly work that is an extension of work which women have traditionally carried out unpaid at home.
Women also continue to bear the brunt of this unpaid domestic work in the home. At the same time the general falling back of consciousness in the 1990s has also had an effect on sexist attitudes, which have increased in some sections of the population, including the working class, as was demonstrated by the recent Amnesty survey which found that a third of people believe that a woman is "partially or wholly" responsible for being raped if she is intoxicated. It is possible that in the future governments could attempt to base themselves on these backward attitudes to launch further attacks on women’s rights, including the right to choose abortion, although this would undoubtedly be vigorously opposed by many women and men. One aspect of the role of a new mass workers’ party will be to fight to defend the rights of women and to raise consciousness on these questions. We will produce a supplement and more in-depth material on these issues as soon as possible.
The conclusion flowing from this analysis is that we have moved into a new phase in Britain and worldwide. It is characterised by economic uncertainty for capitalism where a recession or even a slump could develop in the next period. If, however, it manages to stagger on then this will be against the background of an intensified neo-liberal offensive against the working class and the poor in Britain and worldwide. This in turn means that, even without an economic collapse, the collision between the classes will grow, resulting in strikes, even defensive general strikes, social upheavals along the lines of the riots in France and the searching by a new generation in particular for a political expression in new formations of the working class.
The crucial question for us, which can affect our ability to grow, is of course consciousness. This is shaped in a complex way. There is one general point, however, we can make, which is that the ideological offensive in favour of capitalism, although in one sense undiminished, is not having the same affect when contrasted to the reality confronting the working class and the poor, compared to the 1990s and the earlier part of this decade. Anticapitalism still exists on a wide scale but the new features of the situation in Britain and elsewhere is the development of a small layer of conscious socialists amongst young people who are looking for an alternative. It is from these sections and in the revival in working class struggle that the party will grow in the next period.
Perspectives for us are working hypotheses. It is not possible to see all variants of a situation in advance. We have to be prepared for sudden turns in the situation. But the period is now more favourable than before, particularly for growth. We must use the pre-congress period and the congress to raise the level of understanding of all of our members, to explore in detail the political situation and the analysis we need to build a powerful Socialist Party, as well as the paper, our youth work, union work, work amongst the most oppressed black, Asian and other ethnic groups, and in other vital areas. We must prepare to defend the position we have in local government and try to forge with others a common front for electoral pacts to provide a viable alternative in the May elections.
It is capitalism that faces real difficulties. We are going with the grain of history now and it is therefore possible to grow and consolidate a base from which a numerically bigger Socialist Party can develop as well as qualitatively, and one which, through the quality of its cadres and the points of support it has in industry, can make a radical difference to the struggles of the working class in the next period.