Make no mistake, tonight's League of Social Democrats' rally will be no Hong Kong version of the 'red tide' on the streets of Taiwan, where protesters called for President Chen Shui-bian to step down. Whereas protesters in Taiwan wore red to symbolise anger, the league's founders have put a positive and relaxed spin on their choice of the symbolic colour. In a newspaper advertisement for tonight's gathering at the MacPherson Playground in Mong Kok, the league says red represents 'love, hope, progress, democracy, social justice, freedom and equality'. Red 'is the symbol of social, democratic and labour movement', it says. Welcome to the birth of a new political force that calls itself the real leftist party, hoisting high the flag of opposition. The emergence of the league, which will be officially inaugurated in the next few months, comes as the two biggest pro-democracy parties - the Democratic Party and the Civic Party - join hands to contest the chief executive election. Comprising such political stars as 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and talk-show host Raymond Wong Yuk-man, the league will position itself as a champion of the grass-roots sector and underprivileged groups. Although the new faction will contest district and Legislative Council elections, members undoubtedly attach more importance to mobilising people through street politics. So it will come as no surprise that they take a cynical view about participating in the 'small-circle' chief executive election. In contrast, the joint ticket of the Democratic Party and the Civic Party in the election for the top job illustrates a different approach to fighting for universal suffrage through the existing system. Composed primarily of middle-class members, the two parties also hold similar views on social and economic policies. By design or by default, their joint election campaign and the launching of the League of Social Democrats will herald a reconfiguration of forces in the pro-democracy camp. That may run counter to the wishes of its supporters, who would like to see a grand coalition in the belief that unity is power. Their hopes for a united democratic force were raised when former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang joined the pro-democracy rally in December. With her high popularity and strong credentials, Mrs Chan had been seen as the best possible candidate to gel the fragmented democratic forces. When Mrs Chan decided to bow out of the race, cracks within the camp began to surface again. Some of the smaller groups, such as The Frontier, have already indicated they would not support a candidate from other like-minded groups. The scenes of Mrs Chan and key pro-democracy figures holding hands before the July 1 rally have become history. As Mrs Chan said when she introduced the lineup of her core group, she has opted for a different platform to pursue the goal of universal suffrage and good governance. By the same token, the League of Social Democrats will be another platform for like-minded people to push ahead with social and political changes - in their own ways. Wong Yuk-man has described their approach as 'happy politics'. Talk shows and political speeches aside, the league's newspaper ad says there will be live rock and roll music at tonight's rally-cum-party. From the discussions of Mrs Chan's elitist core group on constitutional and governance issues and the Democratic Party-Civic Party campaign in the chief executive election, to the league's street politics, different forces in the pro-democracy camp are going their own way. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as the democratic movement has reached a low point. Different initiatives with the same goal of broadening and deepening the pro-democracy front could help build a stronger support base for a fresh wave of democracy.