BY CHARLIE KIMBER
LONDON The Socialist Alliance candidate Paul Foot came third with 4187 votes, 12.7% of the total, in the October 17 mayoral election in the east London municipality of Hackney.
Foot beat both the Liberal Democrat and Green candidates, as well as two independents and the Hackney First organisation, and came within 315 votes of beating the Tory candidate and going into the final run-off to determine who would be mayor.
Together, the Socialist Alliance and the Greens scored 22% of the vote.
In less than two and a half years, the Socialist Alliance has moved from being a new organisation to become the main left opposition to the ruling Labour Party in Hackney.
In the Greater London Assembly elections in May 2000 the Socialist Alliance won 4.3% in the north east London region that includes Hackney. Then at the 2001 general election the alliance got 4.6% in the Hackney South constituency. Earlier this year in the council elections, Socialist Alliance candidates gained an average of 8% in the wards where it stood.
Foot provided a campaigning focus for everyone in the borough who wanted to protest against the international, national and local policies of New Labour. The campaign featured three very successful meetings with Turkish and Kurdish people. Foot spoke to groups of workers and strikers.
The Socialist Alliance successfully brought together people from many local campaigns. They included campaigners against closures of nurseries, schools and swimming pools, against the council's decision to take transport passes away from disabled people, and against the attacks on libraries and on the council workforce. Scores of people who have never done anything before with the Socialist Alliance were actively involved this time.
With further turmoil coming for Labour Party members and supporters over the war on Iraq and the firefighters' strike, the alliance has a great chance to grow strongly.
[Abridged from <http://www.socialistworker.co.uk>.]
From Green Left Weekly, October 30, 2002.
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