Socialist Party (Northumbria)

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Socialist Party
ChairmanMartin Aquinas
Founded12/02/21
Preceded byRepublican Party
HeadquartersBowburn
NewspaperPeople's Pravda
Ideology • Social democracy
 • Democratic socialism
Internal Factions
 • Social democracy
 • Democratic socialism
 • Republicanism
Political positionLeft
International affiliationParty of the International Left
Official colours     Red
Seats in the Parliament
12 / 41
Seats in the Witan
5 / 25
Seats in county councils
27 / 107

The Socialist Party is a political party in the Kingdom of Northumbria, and the second largest by number of seats in Parliament. They are currently also the largest opposition party.

The party encompasses a rather large spectrum of left-wing opinion, with membership including social democrats, democratic socialists, libertarian socialists and communists; the former two ideologies are referenced in the party's manifesto. Much of its support emanates from the larger cities of Northumbria, especially Sunderland and Middlesbrough as well as the various ex-pit towns throughout the country.

History

Predecessor parties

The Socialist Party stands in a long line of left and far-left political parties. The first of these was the People's Communist Democratic Party of Kozlova (PCDPK), which embraced a Marxist but anti-Stalinist position. The Sorrenian Federation's politics was dominated throughout its entire existence by left-wing parties, the first of which was the Socialist Party of Sorrenia. The PCDPK and SPS' ideologies were often inchoate however, and reflected the particular ideological interests of the party leadership at various times more so than a unified set of beliefs.

The Socialist Party later merged into the Sorrenian Workers Party, which itself began as an offshoot of the SPS. The SWP dominated electoral politics throughout the later years of the Sorrenian Federation, and like its predecessor espoused a large set of ideological commitments. It is also noteworthy for developing the Sorrenian Celticist movement, and at no point did it lose an election, though often chose to enter into coalition with the centre-left NDLP and the far-left CPSF.

The Republicans were the most recent pre-Northumbrian iteration of the left. The party began as a wing of the Socialist League who fought the War of the Sorrenian Succession. Harold Wanton led a section of the League to a peace treaty with the new Kingdom of Sorrenia, entering into parliamentary politics and rejecting the revolutionary aims of the League. The Republicans were in opposition for most of their existence, but briefly entered into government after the November 2019 general election. Factionalism between the centre-left and the far-left of the party ultimately brought down the government, and was a key factor in the dissolution of the Kingdom of Sorrenia.

Formation and opposition (February 2021 -)

The Socialist Party was formed shortly after the National Democratic Party implemented a series of democratising reforms in January of 2021. More left-wing members of the NDP joined with socialists from the Sorrenian Republican Party to create a new broad church left-wing party. Electing Martin Aquinas as its first chairman, the Socialist Party quickly emerged as the leading contender to the NDP. In the March 2021 general election (the first democratic election in Northumbria's history), the Socialists won eleven of the forty-one seats in Parliament, coming second behind the NDP. Unlike its predecessors, the Socialist Party avoids Marxian symbols and terms and is closer to contemporary social-democratic parties like the British Labour Party and the German SPD. Unlike every single one of its predecessor parties, the Socialist Party does not use the hammer and sickle, instead adopting as its logo the rose which is commonly associated with the social-democratic movement.

Ideology

The Socialist Party is influenced by a large number of left-wing traditions and ideologies. Moderate centre-left influences include Keynesian and neo-Keynesian economics, Bernsteinian social democracy and liberal socialism. Members most influenced by these traditions generally endorse the post-war economic consensus and seek to reconcile and ameliorate the social ills of capitalism rather than abolish the economic order altogether. They may argue that there is not a necessary contradiction between liberalism and socialism.

More explicitly democratic socialist ideological currents include cooperative politics, guild socialism, the gradualism of the early Fabian Society, and the ethical socialism of Labour Party politicians and theorists like Keir Hardie and R.H. Tawney. Many members drawing upon these traditions belonged to the 'Corbynist' wing of the British Labour Party, and are influenced by the anti-austerity movement.

The Socialist Party is very much situated within the British history of socialism. Though some members draw upon democratic interpretations of Marxism, the party as a whole is far more influenced by British trade unionism, and the variant of socialism found in the centre-left Labour Party, than by left-wing traditions found in continental Europe. More explicitly far-left ideologies are generally restricted to the party's small 'republican' faction.

Constitution and structure

An organisational chart of the Socialist Party

The Socialist Party consists of individual members organised into constituency parties, affiliated trade unions, sub-parties, the People's Pravda and a parliamentary caucus which is made up of all members of Parliament who are members of the Socialist Party.

The party's highest decision-making body is officially the Party Conference, which meets once a year to elect party officials, debate and vote on motions and ratify decisions. The Conference consists of delegates from each constituency party, representatives of internal factions and affiliate entities and all members of the Socialist Parliamentary Caucus. Recognised sub-parties who are afforded a set number of delegates include Together, the Cooperative Party, the Blue Socialist Movement and the October Group. The Conference's most important decision is that of choosing members of the Executive Committee and the Organisations Committee who are elected yearly. Any alteration of the party's constitution must also be ratified by the Conference.

The Organisations Committee is primarily concerned with matters of procedure. Most importantly, it is responsible for organising and managing the Conference, and can decide what motions are to be debated during a session. Any party delegate can stand for the Organisations Committee so long as they are nominated by at least 5% of the Conference's total delegates.

The Executive Committee is responsible for management of the Socialist Party at the national level, and decides the contents of election manifestos, voting behaviour in Parliament and the Witan and the general strategic direction of the party. Unlike elections for the Organisations Committee, prospective candidates are nominated by members of the Parliamentary Caucus and are in turn ratified by the Conference. The Leader of the Socialist Party - the Party Chairman - is chosen through a one member, one vote special election and their leadership is ratified yearly by the Conference. The Chairman is granted an automatic seat on the Executive Committee and must be a member of Parliament so long as the Socialist Party has at least three MPs; the Chairman is also the Socialist Party's nominee for the position of Prime Minister.

Electoral performance

The Socialist Party's 'red wall' mostly consists of working-class urban and post-industrial parts of Northumbria. The three strongest areas of support are East Newcastle and Gateshead, Sunderland and Easington, and Teesside. The party's main competitors in these areas are the NDP and the Tees Party (in Teesside only). The remainder of the party's support is mostly diffused throughout Durham and the south-east of Northumberland.

Election year Leader % +/- seats won +/- Government
March 2021 Martin Aquinas 28 N/A
11 / 41
N/A in opposition
July 2021 Martin Aquinas
12 / 41
1 in opposition
November 2021 Martin Aquinas
15 / 41
3 in coalition government

Timeline of Party Leaders

Picture Name Term start Term end Notes
UK-Northumbria.png Martin Aquinas 13/01/21 Incumbent Founded the party; served as Leader of the Opposition after the March 2021 general election

Factions

The Socialist Party, as a broad church, consists of members who endorse views across the left of the political spectrum, ranging from Third Way liberalism to Marxism-Leninism. Officially the party is social-democratic and calls for the gradual creation of a socialist economy through parliamentary and democratic means, making it a democratic socialist party also. Difference is seen in belief between the party membership - who are often more left-wing - and the parliamentary caucus, which is generally more moderate.

Members are permitted to form 'factions' or 'sub-parties' which organise on the basis of shared political tendencies. Once formally recognised, sub-parties receive a set number of delegates who attend Conference and vote on a number of issues.

Together

Together is the largest faction and represents the establishment wing of the party. Members are often referred to as 'red socialists' and constitute the plurality of the Socialist Party's membership. Together dominates the Parliamentary Caucus and the Executive Committee allowing them to exert significant control over the ideological direction and strategy of the party. Due to its size, Together is in fact rather ideologically heterogenous, and consists of centre-left liberals, democratic socialists and libertarian socialists. These individuals are united in the belief that the Socialist Party should be a big tent, should not adopt republicanism into its manifesto and should seek to marginalise Marxist elements of the party.

Members include:
 • Martin Aquinas
 • Harold Wanton
 • Alastair Song

Blue Socialist Movement

The Blue Socialist Movement is a sub-party for ex-members of the National Democratic Party. Members are often referred to as 'blue socialists' and are so-named due to the NDP's traditional colour of blue. This term however is sometimes used as an insult, suggesting either that members are inauthentically socialist (as blue is traditionally associated with conservatism) or that they maintain links with the NDP. The membership of ex-NDP members in the Socialist Party was, and remains, controversial, especially after the Half moon conspiracy which showed that the NDP's leadership sought to infiltrate the Socialist Party and the LGA. The BSM works to ensure ex-members of the NDP can remain members of the Socialist Party.

Members of the Blue Socialist Movement tend to be more socially conservative; in particular, they defend the rights of the Northumbrian aristocracy and clergy, support the retention of the monarchy and the Witan and support greater restrictions on the power of the Party Conference; there is more variation in economic beliefs within the BSM.

Cooperative Party

The Cooperative Party seeks to represent cooperatives - autonomous associations of workers, tenants, consumers and others who unite voluntarily to meet common economic and social needs. Members of the Co-op Party are often referred to as 'purple socialists' as purple is traditionally associated with the cooperative movement. The Cooperative Party has been very effective at tabling motions to push for a greater role of cooperatism in the Socialist Party during Conference, and also has several MPs. They caucus closely with Together and are seen as a moderate faction within the Socialist Party.

October Group

The October Group is a far-left Marxist sub-party chaired by Adam Scargill. Created as a coalition of far-left republican dissidents within the Socialist Party, the October Group has a reputation for radical politics. In particular, it embraces Pitmatic thought which advocates for revolutionary struggle in Northumbria led by the 'old proletariat'. The October Group is mostly made up of syndicalists though closely interweaves this tendency with Marxist doctrine; it also includes a sizeable Marxist-Leninist minority. The name is a reference to the October Revolution.

Though the October Group has only one Socialist MP and no members on the Executive Committee, they represent a large section of the party membership and regularly win a controlling share of the Organisations Committee.

Members include:
 • Adam Scargill
 • Michelle Livennson