This first appeared as a guest post at Dave's Part.
No2EU might not have made a big media splash, but in nine short weeks it has probably run the most dynamic and energetic campaign of any of the contenders at this Thursday's European election. Around 10.5 million leaflets have been distributed - not counting local literature produced by No2EU backers. Somewhere in the region of 150 public meetings have taken place. If the elections were won on effort alone No2EU would be returning MEPs by the dozen.
No2EU came late to the race to Brussels and not without some controversy. It is unfortunate that despite fielding candidate lists packed with trade unionists and backed by the most militant union in the land, a large number of socialists will be lending their vote to other parties for a variety of reasons. I've tried to deal with some of the objections here.
But as far as I'm concerned, No2EU's positives outweigh the cons.
These last 14 years have seen many false dawns on the road to refounding working class political representation. And yet after the failure of each we get up, dust ourselves off and try again. No2EU is more significant because this time a trade union is in the mix. Because the RMT backs No2EU large numbers of trade union activists and officials will be watching the result. The greater the vote we manage to pull in, the more likely disaffiliationists in Labour-loyal unions and in those without a political home will fight this disintegrating government at the polls. Already Mark Serwotka of the PCS has announced he will be seeking the support of his membership to back trade union candidates at the general election. A decent result could encourage more to take the plunge.
In short, a vote for No2EU is something more than a vote for its platform. It's a vote for the assertion of the independent political interests of our class now AND in a year's time.
There are a couple of things I'd like to add about No2EU's future. At the public meeting organised by North Staffs No2EU on Tuesday night, Dave Nellist (pictured) not only pledged to take the average wage of a skilled worker in the West Midlands should he be elected, but took the opportunity to reflect on the campaign. Comparing No2EU with Dave's experience as national secretary of the Socialist Alliance, there were none of the tensions that eventually led to its splintering. However from June 5th the name the election was fought on will be dead for the next five years - it falls to us to build something new. He expressed doubt a new workers' party could be formed in time for the general election but a federated workers'/trade unionist list could very much be on the cards where the components agree a basic set of demands and have the freedom to make their own additions and embellishments in their election material. And the good news is it appears the RMT and Communist Party agree - at the June 1st No2EU rally in London RMT and CPB general secretaries Bob Crow and Rob Griffiths committed themselves to organising for working class political representation beyond today's elections.
Right, I'm off to the polling station.