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Democracy in the Alliance
The key to resolving political differences within any Alliance will be commitment to democratic organisation. It is thereby important at the start to try to be as clear as possible about what this would actually mean. The proposals of the draft programme go some way towards this but we believe some considerations need to be taken on board. Every political organisation supporting the Alliance should have the right to its voice being heard on any central leadership body through full delegated membership. This body should also be able to reflect the forces coming to local alliances through delegates from local Alliance branches or other bodies affiliating.
The proposals are wrong therefore to limit the size of delegates from any individual organisation to two members. This is not only undemocratic in itself in that it will grossly under-represent the political views of many members of the Alliance but it will immediately conflict with the proposed provision that local alliances are allowed delegates to the leading body. To expect these not to be members of organisations is obviously unreal. Democracy involves the rights of the majority not just the rights of the minority. If, as is quite likely, the majority are members of the SWP then that simply reflects the membership of the Alliance. What matters is the provision of time and resources for political debate so that minority views have the ability to become a majority. Restricting the size of political viewpoints robs minorities of this prospect and reduces debate and vote taking to one of diplomatic games. Of course all organisations (and individuals) involved must exercise a certain diplomacy and maturity in their conduct. The temptation to take sectarian party advantage will not disappear but the only effective counter to this is the development of a new culture on the left born out of comradely debate.