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’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
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.”