Chartist Unveils its Anti-Austerity Manifesto

In a period awash with party election manifestoes, the left magazine and campaign group, Chartist, has unveiled its own manifesto for “a properly democratic socialist alternative to austerity”.

chartist mastheadChartist’s 2015 manifesto is a revised version of one published by its editorial board in 2007 – “the year before financial capitalism fell in on itself”. “Capitalism has re-emerged in uglier form,” explains Chartist’s introduction to the new document.

“This manifesto, in this election year, is a starting point for Chartist readers and friends to help form a properly democratic socialist alternative to austerity, here and globally.”

Put together by Chartist editor Mike Davis, in consultation with the magazine’s editorial board, the 2015 manifesto is intended to be a “working document” not a “final statement”. It contains 23 statements organised into five sections:

  • Socialism for the 21st century
  • Private wealth and public services
  • A socialist international policy
  • A tolerant and diverse democracy
  • Towards socialism

You can read the pdf document in full here, or online here.

The following is the manifesto’s ‘Preamble’:

“Britain is on the verge of the most important general election in a generation. The Tory/LibDem coalition has presided over the longest recession in 100 years. A severe austerity programme has been the neo-liberal economic medicine served up to the British people with huge cuts in public spending and welfare, further privatisation, sustained unemployment and reductions in living standards for those in and out of work. Meanwhile the 1% have been getting richer at the expense of the many. Inequality has reached new heights while food banks, homelessness, insecurity and ill health mount correspondingly.

“The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence showed the strength of opinion for an independent Scotland. We recognise this has major implications for the nature of the United Kingdom including the idea of independence for the Six Counties and a United Ireland and for greater devolution to Wales and English regions. We welcome the proposal for a constitutional or citizens convention to discuss the governance of the UK. This process should also be informed by local assemblies reviewing proposals for the modernisation and democratisation of the British state.

“Power and wealth have been concentrated in private hands for too long. The Tories promise another five years of austerity which means tax cuts for the rich few while the many continue to pay the price for the profits system. The election is a chance to call time on the Tory lie that we are all in it together. The only party capable of providing an alternative government to the Tories is Labour. We have campaigned long and hard for democratic socialist policies for Labour. We will continue to do so. As part of this process we are publishing our updated manifesto, a summary of key policies and perspectives to light a new course out of austerity based on socialist values of human solidarity, equality, liberty and democracy.

“We are aware it is not fully comprehensive. The manifesto is published to generate debate. The EB welcomes comments from supporting subscribers and from other readers.”


You can read more about Chartist and subscribe to the magazine here.


  1. Ernest Jacques
    15 April 2015

    Ben is most likely right to suggest that a full-blooded anti-austerity agenda on May 6th would see a flight of capital and funny money abroad. But such threats are meaningless in large parts of the UK which look like war-torn Beirut and have more in common with third world nations than the land of milk and honey painted by our wannabe Westminster MPs.

    In this respect, I have just returned from visiting my family in Kirkcaldy (Gordon Brown’s back yard) which, along with the other staunchly traditional Labour towns of Fife, is a bomb site where poverty, social exclusion and despair is pervasive and loathing of Westminster politics and spin is palpable. Just two weeks ago a by-election in Glenrothes (a formally rock solid Labour town) went SNP. So following 40 years of neoliberal economics, under successive Tory, Labour and Con/Dem governments, it would be unsurprising if the good people of Fife now turn their backs on the Westminster politicians who have stuffed them good and proper and (in May) vote for change.

    So if the super-rich and the hedge fund and currency traders place their (sic) money abroad it will make little or no difference to the millions of working class people living in deprived neighbourhood communities, in bed and breakfast accommodation and in houses of multiple occupation. They have little left to lose and because most won’t bother to vote, the bulk of our wannabe MPs don’t care.

  2. Ben Saltonstall
    11 April 2015

    It’s very big picture stuff, with few specific commitments.

    I think being anti-austerity is sloganeering. You can want to turn the economy around, make it fairer and restore the tax base over time. No government – whatever their politics – could return public spending to its 2007 level overnight. The fact is that the money is held by corporate finance and an anti austerity agenda introduced overnight would result in an investment strike, and, guess what, the re-introduction of austerity.

    As Sir Charlie Bean, former deputy governor of the Bank of England…………. said: “The UK consolidation (aka austerity) was never undertaken in the belief that it would boost demand directly, but rather that it would reduce the likelihood of a loss of market confidence in the UK government’s economic policies, which – had it occurred – would have necessitated a much sharper consolidation.”

    From the horse’s mouth………….

    The one policy that might work is taking over international finance, but no government acting alone has the power to do that.

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