It formed as a political platform within the SA in order to counter what it perceived as the domination of the SA by the Socialist Workers Party as well as in response to the seeming marginalisation of the Alliance in favour of Respect. The Platform later opposed the 2005 dissolution of the SA.
After the dissolution of the SA the platform split with one group of its members forming the Socialist Alliance . Another group declared its intention to continue with the platform and adopted the name Democratic Socialist Alliance for use in its public political work.
The AWL is not involved in either formation but supports the Socialist Alliance (Provisional).