Founding statements

December 6, 2013

The two statements on this page were passed by Left Unity’s 500-strong founding conference on 30 November 2013. They were voted on after discussion and many valuable amendments by the party’s founding members, and lay the basis for Left Unity as a new party. Left Unity is now democratically developing more detailed policies in a range of areas.

Statement one

1. Left Unity stands for equality and justice. It is socialist, feminist, environmentalist and against all forms of discrimination. We stand against capitalism, imperialism, war, racism, Islamophobia and fascism. Our goal is to transform society: to achieve the full democratisation of state and political institutions, society and the economy, by and for the people.

2. Our immediate tasks are to oppose austerity policies designed to destroy the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades; to oppose the scapegoating which accompanies them; to defend the welfare state and those worst affected by the onslaught; to fight to take back into public ownership those industries and utilities privatised over the last three decades; to fight to restore workers’ rights; and to advance alternative social and economic policies, redistributing wealth to the working class.

3. We are socialist because our aim is to end capitalism. We will pursue a society where the meeting of human needs is paramount, not one which is driven by the quest for private profit and the enrichment of a few. The natural wealth, and the means of production, distribution and exchange will be owned in common and democratically run by and for the people as a whole, rather than being owned and controlled by a small minority to enrich themselves. The reversal of the gains made in this direction after 1945 has been catastrophic and underlines the urgency of halting and reversing the neo-liberal onslaught.

4. We are feminist because our vision of society is one without the gender oppression and exploitation which blights the lives of women and girls and makes full human emancipation impossible. We specify our feminism because historical experience shows that the full liberation of women does not automatically follow the nationalisation of productive forces or the reordering of the economy.

5. We are environmentalist because we recognise that if humankind is to survive, it has to establish a sustainable relationship with the rest of the natural world – of which it is part and on which it depends. We recognise that an economy based on achieving maximum profits at the lowest cost in the shortest possible time is destroying our planet. The current operation of industry and economy is totally incompatible with the maintenance of the ecosystem through the growing loss of bio and agro diversity, the depletion of resources and increasing climate change. The future of the planet can only be secured through a sustainable, low carbon industrial base designed to meet people’s needs on a global basis.

6. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether on the basis of class, gender, race, impairment, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, religion, age or politics. The current economic onslaught disproportionately affects already disadvantaged groups and we oppose their persecution and oppression. We support the introduction of legislation and social provision to make this intention a reality. No society is just and equal while some people remain without the support needed to achieve their full potential.

7. We work for and support strong, effective, democratic trade unions to fight for full employment, better wages and salaries, for improved living standards, for better working conditions and stronger, more favourable, contracts of employment. We believe that the strength of the union is the people in the workplace; that what each person does at work matters – to make the job better, to make the service provided more effective, to persuade workers to combine for greater strength. Going on strike (including mass/general strikes), occupying workplaces and solidarity between workers (in different unions and/or workplaces) can be effective tactics in winning individual disputes and changing society.

8. Our political practice is democratic, diverse and inclusive, organising amongst working class communities with no interests apart from theirs, committed to open dialogue and new ways of working. We will campaign, mobilise and support struggles on a day to day basis, recognising the need for self-organisation in working class communities. We recognise that support for our party and its electoral success will only advance to the extent that it is genuinely representative of working class communities, has no interests separate from theirs, and is an organic part of the campaigns and movements which they generate and support.

9. We will engage in elections offering voters a left alternative – where any elected representatives will take an average wage and be accountable to the party membership – while understanding that elections are not the only arena or even the most important arena in which political struggles are fought. We aim to win political power, not to manage it. We will not participate in governmental coalitions with capitalist parties at a local or national level.

10. We are an internationalist party. There are no national solutions to the problems that humanity faces. Capitalism is an international system, highly organised and globalised and its defeat requires not only international solidarity but the linking up and coordination of struggles across Europe and the world. We will work with left organisations and movements in Europe and internationally that share our aims. We will also seek to learn from the experience of those parties in Latin America which have challenged and rejected neo-liberal economic policies and are establishing a social and economic alternative in the interests of the majority of their people. We stand against imperialist wars and military intervention, against the exploitation of other countries for economic gain, and for a drastic reduction of military expenditure for the benefit of social spending, and for a foreign policy based on peace and equality.

(Statement from the Left Party Platform amended by the founding conference)

Statement two

The Ken Loach appeal launched in association with his film The Spirit of 45 and calling for a new left party has resulted in over 8000 responses nationally.  The film informs us that in 1945 the Labour Party pledged to put an end to the social evils of disease, idleness (mass unemployment), ignorance, squalor (slum housing) and want (poverty) and, despite the legacy of wartime debts, achieved significant reforms. Britain today, along with the rest of Europe and North America, is far wealthier in human and technological resources than it was in 1945. Yet as a result of over 30 years of so-called free-market policies, culminating in a chronic economic and financial crisis since 2007, all those evils have returned.

Our most urgent task is to defend and reclaim the gains won by the labour movement during more than a century of struggles. We believe that there is no prospect of the Labour Party today doing that effectively. Elsewhere in Europe left parties such as Syriza in Greece are winning mass support for resistance to austerity. In Britain we also need to create a new Left Party founded on the following political principles and policy commitments:

1. On the Immediate Economic Crisis

  • We are against austerity programmes which make the mass of working people, the old, the young and the sick, pay for a systemic crisis of capitalism.
  • We are for policies to restore full employment through measures  such as  reduced working hours for all;  spending on public housing,  infrastructure and services; and the public ownership of, and democratic collective control over, basic utilities, transport systems and the financial sector.

2. On Public Services

  • We are against the creeping privatisation of the NHS and Education, the sell-off of the Royal Mail and the marketization of the public sector as a whole.
  • We are for free provision of education (from nurseries to adult and higher education), the arts and all forms of healthcare.

3. On The Environment

  • We are against an economic system which prioritises short-term profit over the future of the planet, and which is responsible for accelerated climate change and ecological crisis.
  • We are for sustainable development, an end to energy and transport policies which contribute to global warming and for an agricultural system which is committed to animal welfare and environmental protection.

4. On Employment

  • We are against the casualization of employment conditions and laws which restrict the right of workers to organise effectively and take industrial action.
  • We are for the ‘living wage’ as a minimum for all, an extension of employment rights for all workers and support for workers’ cooperatives.

5. On Tax and Welfare

  • We are against cuts in benefits and measures such as the bedroom tax, changes to disability allowance and cuts in legal aid, hurting the poorest.
  • We are for a tax and welfare system based on the principles of social justice, universal benefits and steeply progressive and effective taxation.

6. On Equalities

  • We are against all forms of discrimination and oppression whether on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexuality, (dis)ability or national identity.
  • We are for an inclusive society with equal citizenship rights for all, including asylum-seekers and refugees, and support for all those in need.

7. On Internationalism

  • We are against fascism, war, imperialism and an international economic system dominated by the wealthy and militarily powerful nations.
  • We are for the right of national self-determination for oppressed nationalities such as the Kurds and Palestinians and solidarity with all those resisting austerity and oppression. We are for ‘fair trade’ and recognise the necessity for global solutions to global problems such as climate change.

8. On Anti-Capitalism

  • We are against a system whose benefits go disproportionately to 1% of the population and which is responsible for devastating economic and ecological crises across the planet.
  • We are ultimately for a radical social transformation based on the principle of ‘people not profit’ and drawing on the best of the cooperative, radical democratic, feminist, green, and socialist traditions (although we may disagree on how such a transformation can eventually be achieved).

9. On a New Party

  • We are against the bureaucratic centralism, corruption and sexism to be found in many existing political parties.
  • We are for a mass, democratic and inclusive party which unites campaigners and trade union activists, supports collective direct action and self-organisation, and has close links with similar parties or movements resisting austerity and ‘freemarket’ policies across Europe and elsewhere.

(Statement from Hackney/Tower Hamlets Left Unity amended by the founding conference)

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67 Responses to Founding statements

  1. Philip P
    December 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Excellent statement and I’m glad about the recognition of women’s liberation. I hope that we reject the TERF caricature of feminism, in favour of socialist feminism.

    • Pan
      March 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Well said.

  2. Paul Thompson
    December 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Is there anyone in Coventry who would come and talk to some 6th formers about Left Unity?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    PT

    • December 9, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Did someone contact you about this Paul? There is a group in Coventry I can put you in contact with. If they can’t help, we’re just down the road and may be able to help. Email: leamington@leftunity.org. Cheers

  3. PoliticalPartyBroadcast
    December 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

    What about a reduction in Pensions for the young back to 65?

    • Viv Willis
      April 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      The right to retire at 55, especially for people who left school at 15 and went straight into work – labouring and building, mining heavy manual work. What about the loss of jobs via new automation, digitisation and artificial intelligence. Include the citizens wage. Oh where is the money coming from? There is no shortage of “money” there is oodles out there.

  4. PoliticalPartyBroadcast
    December 7, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Also what about being against the abolishment of housing and other benefits for under 25 if Tories win next election?

  5. PoliticalPartyBroadcast
    December 7, 2013 at 12:28 am

    This statement seems outdated if you’re not going to include that Osborne has raised the pension age to 70 – are you going to be opposing/against that?

  6. PoliticalPartyBroadcast
    December 7, 2013 at 12:50 am

    What about immigration policy?

    • John Penney
      December 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      These are intended as quite broad statements of our political and philosophical intent, PoliticalPartyBroadcast. The Statements are not intended to get down to individual policy level. That task is already underway on the separate LU “Policy Commissions” discussion site – covering a vast range of policy areas. Perhaps you would like to contribute ? The March 2014 LU Policy Conference is intended to start the huge task of establishing the actual specific, detailed, policy objectives of our new party.

      I think though you can take it as read (or indeed RED) that Left Unity will oppose all the recent reductions in pensions rights, from the various divisive uppings of the pension age for the state pension – to the move to averaged rather than final salary pensions in the public sector. And not forgetting the eventual , so far concealed, intention of all the main capitalist parties to end inflation indexing of state pensions – forcing people to pay vast amounts of their dwindling income into dodgy private sector pension schemes with huge overhead costs and uncertain final payouts. We haven’t developed a policy on this yet though. Or on immigration policy – or anything else. It’s our next priority task as a brand new party .

      • Ian Barlow
        December 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        “I think though you can take it as read . . .that Left Unity will oppose all the recent reductions in pensions rights (including) . . the move to averaged rather than final salary pensions in the public sector.”

        Before opposing all the changes being made it is worth thinking about whether some have merit. Final salary pension schemes have always seemed to me grossly unfair to the middle income earner. Someone who moves into a high paid job (usually management) for even a short period of time then gets a much higher pension based on their final salary which they could then be receiving for longer than they worked (almost certainly for longer than they earned the high wage). A career average pension scheme could be much fairer for those who remain middle or low earners (perhaps because they prefer to “do” rather than manage). The outcome depends on the way in which the pension rights are accrued. A properly constructed career average scheme could benefit low and middle earners. High earners have the choice to make other additional provision for their retirement out of their increased earnings without being rewarded by a final salary pension scheme which their own pension contributions will almost certainly have provided sufficient funding for.

        Of course, in a fairer society, the wage differentials would in any case be much reduced so this would be less of an issue. If we had a society aimed at meeting human needs for a physically comfortable and intellectually rich life rather than a society constructed on creating new “needs” to generate consumerism and capitalist profits then there would be no incentive to earn the grossly inflated salaries some currently “earn”.

      • Neil Foss
        January 3, 2014 at 10:33 am

        Surely a pension should be relative to the average salary at the point of claiming it?
        The best pension pays a fair amount at the time of claim and stays inflation proofed for the rest of the claimants life.

      • January 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

        If you are genuinely interested in protecting the rights of the workers, then you will need an immigration policy that halts the flow of immigrant workers in order to rebuild the UK’s current infrastructure. Is that likely?

      • nick
        March 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm

        @Robert Price, I disagree with that statement. The best way to protect the rights of workers is to ensure that there is a) a decent minimum wage for all b)strong workers rights that are rigorously enforced to ensure that bosses can not abuse immigrants in order to drive down wages and working conditions.

        If the business community is no longer able to pay immigrants substandard wages,with no/limited rights… then immigration will no longer have a negative impact on the working classes as it does in certain sectors.

  7. Barry Greenwood
    December 9, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I agree with most of the founding conference decisions. My disquiet is about decision 3 – “…our aim is to end capitalism.” Capitalism is good at creating wealth but bad at distributing it fairly. Socialism is good at distributing wealth fairly, but bad at creating it in the first. There’s no point in having a wonderful system of fair wealth distribution if there’s no wealth to distribute. How does Left Unity propose to create wealth? The capitalist system, for all its faults, does harness human creativity, drive and entrepreneurship to create wealth. Socialism has never managed to do this wherever it has been tried. Planned economies tend to be a bureaucratic mess and very inefficient.
    What is Left Unity’s answer to this?

    • Mervyn Hyde
      December 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Barry it is difficult to know how much you know about socialism and therefore please forgive me if I am trying to teach Granny how to suck eggs.

      Firstly, socialism actually works, what has been the problem over the ages is that the Banking system has always been controlled by capitalists. That must now change.

      Secondly please look at this link: http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/language/en-US/ENG.aspx

      The Mondragon Co-operative operates as any socialist institution does by it’s workers controlling every aspect of policy including wages and welfare. They have their own education system, university, and health care.

      Whilst I use this as a demonstration as to what socialism is and does, if a socialist government came to power here it proves that humanity can grow without the capitalists driving it.

      It should be obvious to you by now that the capitalist system is not delivering and that we must fundamentally alter our aspirations to create a sustainable economy, capitalism has decided for itself that the East is where the profits are to be made, we will never be able to compete with that, China !.3 billion people to our 60 odd million, logic should tell anyone the numbers are too great with the technology they now have at their disposal.

      So in order to survive we need to become self sustaining, that means planning not market theology.

      Some raw details as expressed by Ha-Joon Chang economist, during the 50s to the 70s Britain grew by an average of 3% per year, since the Thatcher revolution Britain has only achieved 1.5% down to todays current figure of 0.8%. During the 50s-70s we had nationalised industries, we had a better health care and welfare system, all now being dismantled.

      Neo-Liberal theology has driven these changes, which appeared at the beginning of the seventies and since then driven wages down whilst productivity gains have risen exponentialy.

      The deficit lie has always been used to denigrate public services and promote the private sector, but common sense should draw the obvious conclusion that if you have a policy of tax reduction ( which has been the case since the seventies) then it is impossible to maintain public services. They of course promised this would improve efficiency, over forty years of course this is plainly ludicrous and demonstrates beyond doubt the real intention of the policy, is to undermine public services.

      This Little video also shows the deficit to be a lie. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4bXpOUYrr1c

      Capitalism strangles innovation, why after 40 years of Neo-Liberalism are we failing and here where we are? When Labour came to power after the war working peoples living standards rose to levels unheard of in our history. Only since Thatcher and Neo-Liberism have those living standards crashed.

    • Lawrence O'Donnell
      December 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Barry,

      In my considered opinion, our first task is to clearly establish the fact that Left Unity and Social Justice are synonymous. One could make the arguement that private enterprise and initiative are arms of free expression. Private enterprise is not, in itself, an evil undertaking.

      The amount of profit any individual should be permitted to hoard, is quite another matter. Bill Gates, (Used strictly as an example!), did not amass his fortune without injuring others, unnecessarily, during his climb to the top rung. Limits need to be placed on profits, in my opinion, and a just taxation system would be an effective regulator.

      How much wealth does an individual require, anyway? When is enough, truly enough? Would you advocate for a world where there are no limts on individual greed and self entitlement? Shouldn’t entitlement be regulated? While the multi millionaire is eating her/his filet mignon, somewhere in the world, a child is dying from hunger. I am, my brother’s keeper; or if you prefer, “He ain’t heavy…, he’s my brother”.

      That’s one person’s opinion, for what it’s worth.

    • John Penney
      December 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      It is all too easy for socialists to dismiss the important, relevant, questions your post is asking, Barry. A credible democratic radical socialist Party does need to have credible, believable, popular answers to the fundamental “economy” question if it is to have any chance of winning popular support from ordinary working people.

      As you say, and as Marx himself was very keen to emphasise, capitalism is the most dynamic and productive “mode of production”, human history has yet witnessed. It is of course also fundamentally chaotic and irrational, constantly plagued by booms and slumps, woefully bad at distributing the fruits of production equitably, and the intrinsic competition of the system constantly produces war between competing capitalist powers. It is also a system which has no ability to “forward plan” for humanity and our planet in the long term – hence the environmental disaster facing our species.

      Today we are locked globally into a 1930′s style systemic capitalist crisis of profitability, which is driving competing capitalist ruling classes to “turn out the pockets” of their own citizens as a “band aid” solution to boost profitability. Without a significant shift in the current trend of Austerity being pursued by every nation, in the UK specifically within about 15 years all the welfare and living standards gains made by the mass of working people since 1945 will have gone.

      In that context, it is not enough just to offer a all encompassing “socialism will sort it all out” slogan, and expect masses of working people to be at all convinced. Instead , we have to offer an integrated National Development Plan which will , in the short and medium term, offer a radically reforming Left solution to our imbalanced , overly financial services based, economy, which promises to create well paid jobs manufacturing for everyone, particularly in the now deindustrialised wastelands of the North. it must also be environmentally sustainable, more equitable in its distribution of rewards, supportive of a high quality Welfare State, and yet will be efficient, productive, and capable of supporting our population trading in what for a long time yet will continue, internally and externally to be a capitalist economy – albeit a “mixed” one in structure – with the “Commanding Heights” and basic utilities back in public ownership.

      Our Party “Aims” agreed at Founding Conference a part of our Constitution recognises this by recognising a role for a range of business ownership forms beyond public ownership, eg, workers co-operatives, social enterprises, and private firms – particularly SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises).

      It is all too common on the Left to make a , completely unexplained, conceptual leap between “where we are now”, in a fully capitalist economy, with few remaining publically owned enterprises, and the almost quasi religious , philosophical endpoint – the socialist state with EVERYTHING in public ownership, and all production and distribution issues “solved” by virtue of it simply “being a workers state”.

      Reality aint that simple, as the experience of Stalinist “command economies” should amply demonstrate. As a radical Left socialist party we have to have credible economic plans offering believable solutions during a long period of transition. And we shouldn’t assume that the disastrously inefficient, bureaucratic, models offered by the Stalinist “socialist” states offers us a way forward. It is quite possible that, even under a fully “socialist” system, that, as per the experiments in introducing “quasi market” relations between different enterprises to encourage innovation and efficiency in Tito’s Yugoslavia for instance, that within the overall economic Plan a wide variety of “quasi market” features could be tolerated – constrained of course by sensible limits on maximum reward levels and safeguarding of worker rights. It is foolish to assume that the views of Karl Marx in 1848 about the future structure of “socialism” or the state, is the final word on these issues. We have to learn from the disastrous inefficiencies of Stalinism, and use our reasoning powers TODAY ,and tomorrow, to work out the best route forward to a socialist future which also is productively superior to capitalism, more sustainable, fairer, and maximises human freedom.

      • Richard
        December 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

        I share the sentiment of Barry’s questions, and the responses go a long way to answer them. I’m just not sure the bluntness of the aim to replace capitalism with socialism (I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s essentially the message) adequately reflects some of the ideas above, which actually incorporate a role for capitalism – private businesses, SMEs etc. I’m pretty much in agreement with all the other aims, but that one doesn’t sound like the ‘credible, believable, popular’ sort of answer that you (rightly) argue the party needs.

        Further, if the 50s-70s period is to be cited as an example of economic success, it seems potentially contradictory that that period was not run on a socialist model, rather as a mixed economy, which in many respects positively encouraged capitalist enterprise. Also implicit within that argument is that rate of economic growth is necessarily a measure of success – also a potentially problematic assumption.

        I’m keen to understand more about Left Unity (I’m currently floating somewhere to the left of the Labour Party) and potentially to get involved, but at this stage just seeking some clarity and reassurance… as John alludes to, I think it’s important to strike the right balance between excitement at something potentially transformative, and the need to provide clear, real and relevant answers for people.

    • Brigitte Lechner
      February 4, 2014 at 4:54 am

      There are a number of founding myths surrounding capitalism. There is the invisible hand of the market or the trickle-down theory; and then there is human creativity, drive and entrepreneurship. The caustic mix of competitiveness and perpetual growth does of course often engender creativity; all too often though as variation or imitation dressed up as innovation. Human creativity and ingenuity does not need the whip of competition and profit margains. There are many paths to unlocking it. Nor does socialism need to fall back on the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the planned system. Left Unity’s answer will no doubt, and in time, arise from principles of the New Economy.

    • Simon Benjamin
      March 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Would have to agree we need a mixed economy. Neither pure capitalism or pure socialism. Some industries really should be nationalised such as water and power generation and distribution. Whereas industries such as manufacture should definitely be private enterprises as Britain has proven in the past it cannot run them competitively.
      Anti-discrimination is also a fine concept, but we need to be careful not to marginalise British people, which is already happening in the NHS for instance.
      Environmental progress also needs to be made, and this could create many jobs. One policy idea I have is compulsory insulation, which would create jobs for people and would save energy and improve the British housing stock.

      • Carolyn
        April 6, 2014 at 12:24 am

        I have read these statements with interest. I too believe we need a mixed economy, nationalisation of essential services and infrastructure is sensible, private profit should not benefit from providing such things as electricity, water, public transport etc but entrepreneurship can free people from poverty, however, we need to have systems in place that support inclusive entrepreneurship and thus make innovation a central part of all communities.

    • Daniel Moase
      March 29, 2014 at 4:13 am

      Capitalism only ‘creates’ wealth by allowing the banking system to create money/debt, which it lends undemocratically (they decide where new money goes, not the people) and keeps the debt on its books as a deposit. It would be interesting to know what the Left Unity plans to do about this?

      But to say capitalism ‘creates’ is absurd. Capitalism only concentrates its self generated wealth, and pays the working person enough (and sometimes not) to survive. Sure, in the West with the former welfare state a safety net for capitalism was created but that has been eroded and trampled on; whilst the non-West suffer the true face of capitalism. So a question would for Left Unity would be is defending the welfare state a temporary measure before the spoils of the earth can be shared equally? How do we democratically decide what is produced and how is it to be distributed?

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/truth-money-iou-bank-of-england-austerity?CMP=twt_gu

      https://www.positivemoney.org/

      Capitalism only survives through violence; police, The State, prisons, unemployment, etc,. Socialism or socialist societies only fail when they are attacked by capitalist societies. There are very few examples of ‘socialist’ societies (Spain in the 1930′s) ‘working’ not because of any inherent flaws but because they are violent repressed. Violence is the underlying force that stops alternative systems ‘working’.

    • Huw Davies
      April 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      While I support the stated aims and principles, Clause 3 was the one point that concerned me. Barry Greenwood’s observations are deserving of serious attention. An all out extreme left approach is not the answer. You have to have a balanced mix of wealth generation and wealth distribution, which won’t be achieved by throwing the baby out with the bath-water.
      On a different note, should Left Unity really start to make ground and win support, I wonder how long before the 2 parties that currently monopolize Westminster realize their peril and decide to label the prominent LU leaders and spokespersons as ‘terrorists’ and secret them away to hastily erected detention centers? All for the ‘good’ of the people and to protect the children, you understand?

  8. A N Other
    December 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Is this not communism by another name?

    • Lawrence O'Donnell
      December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Absolutely not!, A N Other. I would not have given my support, if that were the case. Communism is an extremist ideology, as is Capitalism. I do not, and will not, support any form of extremism.

      Socialism rests on the ‘centre’ of the political continuum. It is to the’ left’ of Capitalism and to the ‘right’ of Communism. It is a uniquely moderate political ideology, despite the misinformation that’s floating about.

      The reason for this fallacy comes directly from the Capitalist, and it is an intended ‘scare tactic’. A true Socialist reserves the right to define him/herself. Capitalism is a right wing ideology. I could, if I chose to use the same tactic, replace the word Capitalism with Nazism, (a Totalitarian political ideology).

      A duck must waddle and quack like a duck, in order for it to be a genuine duck!

  9. Pat Whitaker
    December 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Very interesting, and I’d back this party if I knew how it could remove capitalism and replace with an economic system which flourishes whilst achieving the aims listed in the plan, and if I knew how it would strengthen the benefits system without encouraging people to rely on it when they have other options, and reduce benefit cheats.

    • Neil Foss
      January 3, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Benefit cheats steal less than the system wastes in maladministration.
      It is rightwing rhetoric, misinformation and lies that make people believe benefit cheats are rife.
      They are not.

  10. VoyArive
    December 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

    It seems to me that I hear an echo of Marx&Engels time, Trocki?..Lenin ?…And why “against Islamophobia”..??..I see no proportion to the other religious groups in the world in this statement….. “against discrimination” would not be enough??…There are a lot..plenty of things people can be “against” in today`s world..But it is not a solution to just state : ” I am against”. It is easiest reaction to say that. The world in real and facts is ruled by the bankers and the banks , it means – by money. I can not imagine a situation in which they stop because somebody said – I am against. Then what is your idea to stop capitalism in practice???

    • Martyn Fitzgerald
      March 28, 2014 at 9:34 am

      I’m very interested in Left Unity and broadly agree with its aims. Like VoyArive however why the singling out of Islamophobia? “Against discrimination” as suggested above would suffice and cover everyone.

  11. Ray G
    December 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Richard,

    Our aim is to end capitalism. I understand this as meaning the political and economic domination of the capitalist class. It does not necessitate the complete abolition of all private companies. If you wait to see our full constitution, you will see that it does not rule out some private enterprises, co-operatives etc.

    I cannot foresee a majority of the people ever giving their support to a total ban on free enterprise of any kind. However, a full democratically planned economy, with all the important strategic sectors, and crucially the banks, in public ownership, would break the rule of the minority 1% and allow the 99% to rule for the first time. This is our aims as set out in the constitution.

    I hope you can join with us to achieve these aims.

    • Alan Kennedy
      October 7, 2014 at 12:36 am

      Ray G

      This is the answer to the question that most are posing which I wanted to hear. I have to agree that eradicating capitalistic ways altogether will be a hard thing for people to get behind. It has to play a part as most people seem to be saying here.

      The fact you and the party recognise this, while holding strong beliefs against and intention to stop the darker side of capitalism is fair enough for me. A modern socialism if you will, like anything new can learn lessons from previously failed economic systems. Getting rid of the failed aspects and incorporating the good ones from any previous system wether it be from socailist, capitalist or any other system while still maintaining the core ideology of said Socialism.

      We as a civilised people have not been on this planet for very long in reality and we are still on a grand learning curve. I do agree totally that capitalism has failed us as a common people on this planet and Socialism does seem the logical next step on the whole but with lessons learned from previous failed economic systems.

      I and many others will be on board with your aim to put an end to the political and economic domination of the capitalist class as long as we are not faced with any kind of extreme socialism, which after reading your comment I don’t think we will be.

  12. marjorie arnold
    December 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    a new party is very welcome but how do you propose to do it quickly? i would think it would take a decade to gain enough votes to win an election.

    • David Cameron
      April 4, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Labour took 21 years to gain prime minister every party starts small same goes for left unity. 45 years to gain a majority for labour.

  13. John Collingwood
    December 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Capitalism is a multi-headed beast. On the one hand there is the class aspect, which Ray refers to, focusing on the social and economic inequality which grows from the inherent polarisation of roles between those who own the capital and those who sell their labour.

    But there is also capitalism’s direct effect on the individual workers, whose personal fulfillment can be severely limited by their labouring purely for money, rather than being engaged in doing stuff for their own use, or for those around them.

    In modern capitalism, the class issues have become confused by the diversification of ownership of capital. Capital is no longer held predominantly by rich magnates, but is now spread across a wide range of institutions such as pension funds, plus other institutions, as well as many small investors. One can still spot the gross unfairness of bankers’ stupendous takings, and criticise the status and mode of operation of multinational corporations under their overpaid and perversely incentivised CEOs, but the picture of a well-defined capitalist class is no longer as clear as it was in the 19th century when the labour movements took off. (This is not to belittle the idea of the 1% vs the 99%; the ruling class is indeed small in numbers, but the massive expansion of debt has smeared capital ownership all over the place.)

    At the same time, the dehumanising aspects of wage labour are just as vicious as ever, and globalisation, mobile phones, email, etc have only exacerbated the problem. In this respect, state capitalism is no better than private capitalism. Private co-operatives can provide a more meaningful working environment than nationalised corporations, if the latter have simply been taken into state ownership without changing the relationship between the workers and their jobs. To put it the other way round, the concept of good lives for all does not depend on state ownership – collective control can work at many levels, appropriate to the goods and services being provided.

    So I think that we have to go beyond the usual notions of capitalist / socialist / communist systems, and look for a mix that provides the goods that our society needs, in a manner which is richly rewarding to their producers – not only in terms of equitable distribution, but also through the satisfaction that comes from doing something which one finds meaningful in itself.

    All those who take part in the capitalist system are helping in some way to perpetuate capitalism: the trick is to find opportunities to stop creating more of it. John Holloway puts it all much better in ‘Crack Capitalism’.

    • Richard Murgatroyd
      December 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

      If LU brands itself as a revolutionary socialist party that seeks the immediate overthrow of capitalism, rejection of all forms of markets, creation of a (soviet?) workers democracy, nationally planned control economy etc it will fail in uniting the left – most of whom don’t have that vision of a better society.

      They do not want to re-enact the 1917 revolution. By the way – can someone change the Soviet style imagery on this website – its putting people off.

      As John P. and others rightly say this ‘Year Zero’ type approach has been tried. Not only did it fail to create an efficient, sustainable and equitable system that gave people autonomy and control over their lives. But it would also be deeply unattractive to most younger people today who are more individualistic in outlook and are as suspicious of ‘big’ state institutions as they are of big capitalist ones.

      So the Aims adopted at conference were carefully worded to define LU as a radical, reforming party informed and motivated by a wider socialist and ecological vision.

      The social and economic policy will be decided by years of debate and our everyday experience of life in our communities and workplaces. But how about this…

      • Our starting point: full and satisfying employment and welfare for every citizen as a fundamental human right. As we put it in our aims: ‘an inclusive welfare state which operates on the principle that each will contribute to society according to their ability to do so, and society will in return meet their needs’.

      • Work on the assumption that state ownership will not in itself democratise the economy – that could operate through a mixture of self-employment, co-ops, state owned enterprises, small and medium private businesses. However, as a socialist party we would argue that the balance has to be firmly towards common-ownership.

      • The nationalisation of major banks and explore ways of making finance useful – the great challenge is to rebuild sustainable and prosperous economies rooted in local communities and this will only come from investment

      • Work on the principle that wherever possible production is local and sustainable. If it has to be carried out on a large national or international scale the assumption would be that enterprises are publicly owned

      • Accept that accountability of publicly owned enterprises should not just be political, but also through market mechanisms that factor in consumer sentiment, demand and quality control, whether by individuals or the community. Regulate in the interests of the majority, but only that which is needful. There is nothing inherently progressive or efficient about an over-interventionist state

      • Strong trade union, workers and employment rights for all – not only would this be necessary in a mixed economy, but would actually help detoxify immigration as an issue for many workers

      • The introduction of a 30 hour maximum working week. This would help to address structurally high unemployment while at the same time encourage people to get involved in wider society

      • Set maximum differentials between managers and workers within enterprises and a maximum income in society as a whole

      • Reboot taxation – yes to progressive income and corporation taxes but in the modern age land and property taxes are also crucial to curb the tendency to debt and speculation instead of constructive investment

      • The hardest truth of all is that in order to be sustainable many (in the West maybe the majority) of people may have the chance to own less (or very different) sorts of consumer goods. But any alternative to consumerism will only get popular support if people see that the alternative is better and necessary. Our great challenge is to promote and justify a sustainable economy in terms of social equality and individual/community well-being.

      The next year or so will probably determine whether LU breaks out of the far left bubble and engages with ordinary working people in language they understand. Will we propose policies that normal people will instinctively see as fair and realistic? Or will retreat to a comfort zone of revolutionary slogans and posturising? If its that then we will remain in the ever shrinking far left bubble that LU was supposed to burst?

  14. John Penney
    December 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Good stuff Richard. I get the firm impression that the, I would have thought, damned obvious reality that any incoming Left Unity Government would have to run an economy in which there would still be a huge private business sector, and a capitalist economy domestically and internationally, has hit a surprising number of fellow participants in the LU Project as a total surprising revelation !

    Our aim obviously would be to take back into public ownership the key “Commanding Heights” (as per the old LP Clause 4) , but with musch more worker participation, and public utilities (including the NHS ), especially putting the banks at the service of the implementation of a progressive transformative National Regeneration/Development Plan. I can’t see any useful political or operational commonsense mileage in threatening to nationalise every corner shop or white van man business – or indeed all the SME (small and medium sized Enterprise) businesses that employ so many people and are a potential source of a revitalised manufacturing sector. We would of course introduce a more generous Minimum wage, legislate for trades union/worker participation in the management of firms, and abolish al the previous anti trades union legislation. And we would use taxation to limit entreprteneur rewards to acceptable limits. But deliberately alienate small business owners ? Do we really want to drive them straight into the arms of the fascist parties – as Stalin’s collectivisation disaster helped drive the German peasantry into the arms of the NAZIS.

    As Richard says, we desperately need to rethink what the structure and methodologies of a dynamic, flexible, transitional “mixed” and eventually “socialist” economy would look like. Controlled quasi Market-like structures – within the overall Socialist National Plan , with workers co-ops, and private businesses participating, could well be the way to avoid the sterile inflexibility which destroyed the “Command Economy” statist bureaucratic model of the Stalinist “socialist” states.

    Too few radical socialists are prepared to “think outside the box” today – instead clinging to old failed economic models and ideas which will simply repel potential supporters from joining us to fight the Austerity Offensive.

  15. Ray G
    December 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Richard and John

    Just to say – spot on. I would emphasise that the outlook you both suggest does not, in my mind, involve LU in managing a capitalist system (ie one where the bulk of the economy and the state is dominated by the rich and powerful) for nay length of time at all.

    The real politics of the situation would mean that if we got a sniff of power, and certainly if we were allowed to actually form a government (Oh what dreams!!) the powers that be would seek to economically or even physically detroy us. The taking over of the ‘commanding heights’ would have to be a virtually immediate act which relied very much on our support in the communities which would lie behind and purely electoral victory.

    However, that would not entail nationalising every single enterprise of any size and I foresee, and support, a thriving sector of small and medium businesses as part of an overall economy subject, to the first time, to real democratic control.

  16. Neil Sheriden
    January 2, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Fantastic political statement. You will get my vote

  17. January 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I was sorry to miss the conference, I enthusiastically agree with everything in these statements. Could someone point me to Left Unity’s position on abortion if one has been made, specifically whether it would be an individual conscience issue as for the 3 major parties or whether LU policy is to increase legal access to it, as with the Green Party?

  18. Coolfonz
    January 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    The aim is “to end capitalism” ? What does that even mean?

    And a `living wage`? Just like that? How much? How will you need to raise via tax to pay for it? How will it affect low wage jobs if employers then cut wages? How will it affect staff working in the benefits system?

    Sorry but – as a member – these kind of statements aren’t radical at all. They are trapped in language, aims and aspirations from half a century ago, longer.

    It is as if the last 35 years hasn’t happened. Really disappointed.

  19. Steve Reid
    January 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    It’s a shame this party didn’t spring into life sooner. As most people now know and understand The labour party is an utter disgrace – people will really only vote for it to keep the bullingdon vermin out. I’d consider myself soft left, with the majority really, and I’ve watched in horror as the blue & yellow scum have ripped up the social contract, impoverished an entire generation, sold the NHS & Royal Mail to their corporate buddies – and have sniggered as the food bank queues got longer and longer. And, what has Labours response to all this been….er, well nothing really…just a few complaints about the administrative side of things.The labour front bench has to be about the most uninspiring insipid ground of politicians this country has ever seen.
    An utter disgrace! The Labour Party should be disbanded…in fact after Milliband has had a bash at being PM next year..and failing, the labour party – like the other 2 will be unelectable. The Blair cancer has spread to all parts of this once great party, and it is truly finished. There are no policy differences between all the main parties and they should merge, and I believe they will in the fullness of time.
    I want to support this new party, but dont become a protest party that can be easily vilified like the ‘end capitalism’ thing.Just another Socialist Workers Party – the bullgindon’s and their media masters will have a field day. I think just being a pro nationalisation,a pro people party, anti neo-liberal will be enough. I for one can never vote labour again, so I will be watching your growth with great interest.

  20. Dave Burns
    February 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I think that if you want to be taken seriously you should be less vehemently anti-capitalist. It may not be the perfect system but a system without any kind of free market requires capital that our current technology cannot easily achieve. Ending capitalism should be the final aim not an immediate objective.

  21. Dave Burns
    February 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Also a position on the right to die would be nice.

  22. Paul Scivier
    February 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I have read these threads with great interest. Like a number of contributors have said, its too son to know if Left Unity could be a “home” for me.
    I
    am a member of Christians on the Left( formerly the Christian Socialist Movement), although not a member of the Labour Party. Our belief starts on the premise of a group of people who sold their property, and possessions and distributed the proceeds to all who were in need.

    Some 2000 years later, the possible founder of mutualism, was quoted as saying that “property is theft”…..- actually he said – “it is..when it is related to a landowner or capitalist whose ownership is derived from conquest or exploitation”

    The rise of the centralised state and the centralised corporation has created a system in which the two are organisationally connected. The state “allows” capitalism to exist through the privileges, licenses, franchises and tax breaks they get. So the so-called free market could not exist without the state!

    As others have said wealth needs to be created in order for it to be distributed.

    There should be a diversity of social/economic models including co-operatives, mutuals,partnerships and , yes SME businesses too- they aren’t all fat capitalists, but often owner/operators on low income themselves and have been crippled by the banking crisis!! A possibility is the creation of a Peoples Free Credit Mutual Bank that would loan to small enterprises at no or minimal cost.

    There is a need for the public ownership of natural monopolies -water, gas, electricity, transit, and yes the banking system. However-those of us old enough to remember must be honest when we recall the “good old days” of public utilities, and recall how beauracratic and unresponsive they could be(not saying privatised are any better) but maybe we need different models in an anti-capitalist freed, fair market, with utilities really owned by the people co-operatively?

    I do hope that Left Unity will be as described – broad enough to accept diversity of what constitutes “the left”, and also united in reaching out to all of a Left persuasion- particularly those who are Left- but don’t know it yet!!

  23. Paul Scivier
    February 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I have read these threads with great interest. Like a number of contributors have said, its too soon to know if Left Unity could be a “home” for me.

    I am a member of Christians on the Left( formerly the Christian Socialist Movement), although not a member of the Labour Party. Our belief starts on the premise of a group of people who sold their property, and possessions and distributed the proceeds to all who were in need.

    Some 2000 years later, the possible founder of mutualism, was quoted as saying that “property is theft”…..- actually he said – “it is..when it is related to a landowner or capitalist whose ownership is derived from conquest or exploitation”

    The rise of the centralised state and the centralised corporation has created a system in which the two are organisationally connected. The state “allows” capitalism to exist through the privileges, licenses, franchises and tax breaks they get. So the so-called free market could not exist without the state!

    As others have said wealth needs to be created in order for it to be distributed.

    There should be a diversity of social/economic models including co-operatives, mutuals,partnerships and , yes SME businesses too- they aren’t all fat capitalists, but often owner/operators on low income themselves and have been crippled by the banking crisis!! A possibility is the creation of a Peoples Free Credit Mutual Bank that would loan to small enterprises at no or minimal cost.

    There is a need for the public ownership of natural monopolies -water, gas, electricity, transit, and yes the banking system. However-those of us old enough to remember must be honest when we recall the “good old days” of public utilities, and recall how beauracratic and unresponsive they could be(not saying privatised are any better) but maybe we need different models in an anti-capitalist freed, fair market, with utilities really owned by the people co-operatively?

    I do hope that Left Unity will be as described – broad enough to accept diversity of what constitutes “the left”, and also united in reaching out to all of a Left persuasion- particularly those who are Left- but don’t know it yet!!

  24. Peter Wicks
    March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Date 2 March 2008

    Dear Mr Brown

    This will be my first and last letter I will ever send to a serving Prime Minister.

    At my age (71) I have lived in a period of this counties history of many heartaches and changes and I feel privileged to have seen the only real socialist government this country has ever seen in the 1940s

    I have enclose two membership cards belonging to my wife and I, we had hoped that you would be a different person to Mr Blair (The best PM the Conservative Party never had)
    But alas the mould was never broken when you took on his crown.

    May be you could stick these two cards to either side of your reading glasses to act as blinkers to shield your embarrassment at the things you did not do for your counties men and woman.

    In the time Labour has been in office and with the power to do almost anything for its people, you did sweet FA for the millions of pensioners who thought you would link pensions to average earnings.

    You stood bye whilst your “Working Class Hero” John Prescott sold off, at knock down prices all the council houses in England and Wales for as little as £10k per property to shyster get rich quick housing associations!

    You have not done a blind thing to protect the old and those on low pay against the greed and might of the utilities that are ripping the British people off (funny thing Mr Brown, they were all part of the “Family Silver” once)
    We view with total utter contempt all the sleaze and corruption that goes on in the Halls of Westminster in our name, a fraction of the perks MPs get is more than our pension, shame on your house

    Parliament and those who serve the Nation in our name
    Are regarded as the bottom of the pile by ordinary folk and your chances of winning another term in office is like Jesus walking on water, impossible, for there is a movement afoot
    To start a fourth political party, one that is for the down trodden, the underclass and most of all the forgotten pensioner.


    If there is any rebate due on our membership cards, please give to “The Fund for Destitute MPs”

    Peter Wicks

  25. Petrushka
    March 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Glad to read your statement of principles. I have two questions:
    1. What is the Left Unity position on the EU? If you see it as a capitalist club (I’m guessing here), then how will you develop the internationalist agenda?
    2. There seems a lot in common with the Green party manifesto here. While I’m not necessarily saying everyone here should join the Greens, won’t this movement create the exact opposite of its name – eg Left DISUnity?

  26. Gail Richard
    March 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Although I do not claim to be fully knowledgeable about politics, there are certain things that I would like to see. As a Nurse, it is obviously going to be that every person in this country should have access to a Health care industry that provides complete and up to date services that do not discriminate against anyone. Give all our nursing students a salary while in training, so that we would not be advertising in other countries for students to come here. There are a huge number of people who would do their training if it were financially possible. There should be no post code lottery on medications or treatment. It must be fully available to account for the fact that every person has something to contribute to this country if they are treated correctly. No issues of withdrawing treatment for anyone. Secondly, I believe education should be free to all that would like to pursue it. Personally I have paid for college courses etc, and have also been to Uni., but when I look to further my education, both for work related issues and for social classes, I have to shake my head and miss out as I just cannot afford the cost of these. Would it not be far better to have free education at all levels to give the British population the knowledge to pursue worthwhile careers, give people the opportunity of goals and the chance to develop themselves. And thirdly, welfare…….as that is such a hot topic right now. As I have a quadriplegic husband, I am fully aware of all the discrimination by this Government aimed at the sick, the vulnerable and elderly. It is an absolute disgrace and for that point I would like to see the welfare benefits system overhauled and for those on benefits for disability to be assessed by their own GP’s and hospital consultants, who know the medical history fully. There should never come a time when a computer and a tick box system can decide whether someone should get benefits or not. The jobseeker system must also be overhauled, to support those truly looking for work, combined with access to free education. Then at least these people would stand a chance of being employed. At no point does telling someone to apply for 50 jobs?? per week, from a website that has fraudulent/scam jobs help anyone back to work or then to sanction their money if they do not manage it. For those genuinely looking for work, support, education and realistic goals should be encouraged. We all understand that there will always be those that will make a life where they don’t want to work, but for the majority, they do and would give anything to be a productive member of our society. I suppose what I am trying to say is…..Make sure we have a healthy population with free access to all healthcare……..Make sure that education is available for those who would like to further their skills……..and make sure that our elderly, our vulnerable and disabled are given all that is needed to deal with their lives to a standard that should be available for all.

  27. Sarah Ward
    March 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I am also reading this comments thread with great interest and a shiver of optimism. I’m also not 100% sure Left Unity is for me yet but this is the closest I’ve seen to a political party which is in line with how I think and feel. I’ll be checking out any London events you may have in the near future…

    Also just a slight aside on the party logo/branding (sorry I know a lot of people will think this is utterly trivial). I work in design and was struck by the logo immediately. It is very reminiscent of socialist propaganda design of the last century, something you may be using deliberately, but I think many people may be put off by this. Left Unity is a new party, looking forwards, not a party looking back to the communist era, and all your design should reflect that.
    I know that next to the serious policy debates above this seems unimportant, but if you want to attract the support and votes of everyday people you have to get this sort of stuff right too. The modern political parties understand this all too well and have sophisticated design, branding and PR machines working with them all the time.

  28. Andrew Burgess
    March 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    what about small and medium businesses,the self employed . people with ideas …innovators . How will they be treated ? With this be banned in a Left Unity utopia ?

    • John Edwards
      April 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      I think that sme’s and self-employed people have an important contribution to make to economic activity.

      However, It has to be said that most of the major inventions of the modern world came from state initiated and funded r&d and launch aid. e.g.. computing,electronics,mobile phones, jet engines, nuclear power, advanced materials. The private sector has profited from this. [Marianna Mazzucato; 'The Enterpreneurial State' also, Ha Joon Chang : '23 things they don't tell you about capitalism.']. Also, the nationalised industries were highly successful. The size of private companies may have to be limited and cooperatives and trusts to be encouraged.

  29. Loz
    March 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    A response to the trend of replies that are along the lines of: I like the ideals but realistically how would this actually work?

    I’m wouldn’t claim to have a great of knowledge of politics or economics so I trust that other poster’s have correctly and sensibly identified a gap between the policy statements and how these would actually be achieved.

    But the shocking political, economic and social inequality in the world today is a clear indictment of the systems currently in play. So I would make a distinction between voting for ‘a party that could realistically govern’ and ‘a party that represents your ideals’.

    If the latter has enough support, the mechanisms which can realise these principles will begin to develop. After all, with the speed of political change it’s highly unlikely that a party such as Left Unity would come into power overnight and be totally unprepared for governance.

  30. rob hayward
    March 29, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Are there any local members to me here on the Isle of Wight
    thanks

  31. Cathie
    March 29, 2014 at 11:17 am

    No mention of the exciting debates happening in Scotland just now. Is left unity just for England? It’s needed there.

  32. Tony Agathangelou
    March 30, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Left Unity is a breath of fresh air! Its open and welcoming discourse is inviting and diverse, the tumbling out of anger and frustration and even feelings of impotence the radical left has felt over recent decades. This embryonic movement contains an admixture of genuine insights and creativity with some of the out-of-date, formulaic and turgid vocabulary of old we have all been guilty of. In order to build a sustainable radical left challenge to the established power of local and global capital we must also be self critical, of our language and, at times, our naive idealism. The challenges we face are enormous: to challenge a ruthlessly aggressive political, economic and ideological system with its almost limitless resources. Almost, but not all. It does not have universal legitimacy; it is not a seamless monolithic force. It is riven with contradictions and internal conflicts of interest that our radical left analyses, organisation, and yes, leadership, must exploit. Do SMEs have the same interests as global corporations? Does the rentier class have the same interests as retail trade, to name just one of the sectors forced to operate at the rental margins?

    Principally, ‘how do we get from here to there’? Our collective interests and analyses will eventually open up the inherent fissures in the established order, but not without an innovative strategy that incorporates new forms of organisation and leadership. Yes, we do have to confront these two hoary old demons. We have many examples of where and how they have failed in the past, but there is little solace to be found in citing Mondragon and other isolated and idiosyncratic examples. We must redefine and incorporate radically new forms of organisation and leadership into our movement.

    How can we harness our analyses, enthusiasm and commitment to the means offered by new forms of communication? How can we reinstate democracy at all levels in our discourse as the driving force for popular change?

    We must keep the following issues at the heart of our agenda: migration, political/economic regulation, and private ownership of the media, land, energy, transport, health and security. There is potentially an enormous and widespread public support for a radical left stance on these issues, once we have an agreed manifesto and reinstated an ability to engage with the broad spectrum of our society with humour and genuine reflection allied to conviction.

  33. Rick
    March 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    My sentiments entirely, Peter Wicks!

    I live in Spain and I want to see a broad left movement across Europe. Please don’t play into the hands of UKIP. Marx said, ‘Workers of ALL lands unite……’
    Not Stalinist communism, just common sense! The world is too small a place for the old policy of ‘Socialism in one country’.
    History tells us that the Left have never been ‘united’, maybe this could be a new beginning.

  34. Mike Hall
    April 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    The very first thing that Left Unity MUST DO before it formulates ANY economic policy is to educate yourselves on the origins & system – including the banking system – of the FIAT money (£stg) that you already have.

    Your own central bank, the Bank of England has just made a statement admitting that (bank) ‘loans create deposits’ – not the other way round, which is what nearly every mainstream economist still believes, as this falsehood has been stated in near every macro economics textbook for at least 5 decades. It’s hopefully the beginning of the end of the intellectual fraud that commercial banking has perpetuated in its own narrow interests for decades. It is the biggest single fraud that has enabled neo liberal economics to persist.

    How money and banking actually works in the real world is key to understanding the macro economic policy options & their effects.

    Prof William K Black of University of Missouri Kansas City has said in a blog recently that a team from the University will give a 2 day course to anyone for ‘free’ on understanding modern money from the ‘MMT’ (Modern Monetary Theory school of economics). (I would presume they would need some expenses at least.)

    I would urge you strongly to take them up on this. IMO they have a paradigm changing approach to achieving full employment and much besides.

    There are a few advocates also in the UK who write online… Neil Wilson & Philip Pilkington spring to mind.

    Seriously, the public and mainstream economists have been misled – deliberately lied to – on this key ‘nature of money’ pre cursor to macro economics understanding.

    Do not miss the opportunity to re-write macro economics policy to achieve everything you want.

    UMKC blog here:

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/

  35. Sandy
    April 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Hi – I’m very interested in the policies of this new Party – as I’m a disillusioned ‘non-voter, since resigning from the former ‘labour Party, just one year into the ‘reign of Tony Blair! I know that ‘Left Unity’ opposes all forms of discrimination – but, as an atheist, I’d love to see the term ‘secularists’ inserted into the list of those against whom discrimination is unacceptable! Until recently, I’ve not felt the need to align myself with others of ‘no religious faith’ , but, increasingly, rights for those with religious faiths appear to be causing discrimination against people like myself, with none. Foe example, as an animal rights activist, I oppose the practice, which is now prevalent, of local councils providing ‘halal’ meat meals for all school children, in order to meet the needs of those whose religious beliefs require the provision of such foods, only! This cannot be fair, in a country where many of us have fought, for decades, to achieve better welfare standards of animal welfare! Secularists are being ignored, in this situation. Please can we have a campaign for equality for all, whether or not any individual espouses a religious faith – and where no person is required to live in accordance with the religious beliefs and practices of another! That must also mean the ending of the role of the 26 unelected Church of England bishops in the House of Lords and the ending of public funds in support of segregated ‘faith’ schools – all of them! Thank you.

    Shandy

  36. Red Faced Man
    April 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Firstly, may I welcome Left Unity and congratulate you bringing much-needed choice to voters.

    You are against all forms of discrimination (Clause 6), yet Clause 8 twice mentions that Left Unity is has no interests other than those of the working class communities. I consider myself middle class, possibly in a middle-class community. What does this mean for me? Am I not welcome? Will I face discrimination?

  37. April 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    hmmmmm – very interesting but NO mention of state surveillance, GCHQ, identity cards etc…

  38. Alastair Heinz
    April 4, 2014 at 12:34 am

    The commentator which asks, seemingly genuinely and inquisitively, “is this not communism by another name ” needs to be given more and clear information about the economic policies of the party so that he can see what it is, that it is indeed for the common ownership of the means of production and power to the workers, that this policy falls into the remit of both socialism and communism. The party needs to decide on economic policy in more detail and publish here.

  39. EricBradley
    April 5, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Lots of words loved by the left. And a long wish-list which would cost tens of billions. But almost NOTHING on processes of wealth creation in the world we live in now with massive consumer debt, government debt and an ever-growing trade deficit as we fail to export.

    Taxing the rich and property could raise maybe £10 billion more per year. Our deficit is over one hundred billion NOW. How are we to pay our way? Should not that be the TOP priority?

  40. Robin Hume
    April 6, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Whilst I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Ken Loach is there really a need for another party? Has no one heard of the Socialist Party of Great Britain? One of the problems with left wing politics is the fact there are so many fragmented groups. It’s time for left to unite and there was surely no need for another party. That said, I wish it every success. Yours in Solidarity.
    Robin

  41. Chandrasekhar
    April 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I am extremely impressed with your innovative approach to take-on the new issues and problems . You are rightly focusing against the neo-liberal globalisation process and it’s ” áusterity offensive “. You are also uniting the various streams of liberationary efforts of ALL oppressed sections and environmental protection . You also upheld the importance of movements of NEO-colonial people against the new enslavement process of globalisation , like Venezuela, Bolivia etc . Left Unity correctly stressed the importance of global spread and unification of our movement against challenges posed by world imperialist system . REVOLUTIONARY GREETINGS

  42. Lewis
    June 10, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Where does Left Unity stand on members also being members of other parties? Does it have a working arrangement with the likes of SWP, SP, CPGB (PCC) etc, or even with Labour and the Greens. Are members of these parties welcome here?

  43. July 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    What about On Democracy? Process is even more important than content.

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7:30 pm Camden and Islington LU discussi... @ Unity Church
Camden and Islington LU discussi... @ Unity Church
Nov 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Speaker: Jamie Allinson, Middle East specialist in Dept. of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster The decline of the Arab revolutions, the rise of ISIS, the military intervention of the United States in Iraq and Syria, and the revival of the Kurdish question, have all posed new and complex questions for those concerned with international solidarity and progressive social change in the region. This discussion forum will address how we can make sense of these events.

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