The Workers’ Party has said that the circumstances leading to the resignation of Dawn Purvis MLA as leader of the Progressive Unionist Party are a reminder of the need to build a socialist alternative to the politics of unionism and nationalism. General Secretary John Lowry commented,
“The emergence of the Progressive Unionist Party under David Ervine and others as a political party dedicated to introducing a clear socialist voice to unionism was one of the most positive developments of the peace process. The sound of guns and bombs drowned out the voice of ordinary working people in an era of massive unemployment and social deprivation. However, it was never an easy task for those within loyalism who sought to reinvigorate the labour tradition within unionism, and the difficulties and frustrations of that task have clearly led to Dawn Purvis’ decision.
“We welcome the fact that Dawn Purvis has stated clearly that she intends to continue to promote socialist politics as an independent MLA, and that the PUP has said that it will continue to pursue its current policies in future.
“There has been a great deal of talk within both nationalism and unionism of the need for realignment. The aim of any such realignment would be to strengthen tribal solidarity. As the recent election results, the Executive’s agenda for cuts, and the circumstances surrounding Dawn Purvis’ resignation make clear, neither unionism nor nationalism can deliver for the working people of Northern Ireland.
Those who reject sectarian politics and who stand on the Left need to work more closely together to build a socialist alternative in time for the next local government and Assembly elections in 2011. Another sectarian headcount will do nothing to advance the interests of the working people.
Issued 3rd June 2010