Kerry Abel – Nominated by Crouch End
Toby Abse – Nominated by Greenwich and Lewisham, Southwark
Tina Becker – Nominated by M. Machover Robert Eagleton
Mark Bergfeld – Nominated by Crouch End
Matthew Caygill – Nominated by Crouch End
Jack Conrad – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Gioia Coppola – Nominated by Greenwich and Lewisham
Merry Cross – Nominated by Crouch End
Liz Davies – Nominated by Crouch End, Hackney
Ian Donovan – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Felicity Dowling – Nominated by Liverpool
Jon Duveen – Nominated by Crouch End
Robert Eagleton – Nominated by Moshe Machover and Maciej Zurowski
Mark Anthony France – Nominated by Worcestershire
Steve Freeman – Nominated by Phil Vellender and Mark France
Geoff Gay – Nominated by Loughborough
Daniel Gray – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Liz Gray – Nominated by Leiecester
Melanie Griffiths – Nominated by Huddersfield
Stephen Hall – Nominated by Wigan, Liverpool
Geoff Halliday – Nominated by Huddersfield
Simon Hardy – Nominated by Cardiff, Islington, Lambeth
Guy Harper – Nominated by Islington, Tower Hamlets
Dawud Islam – Nominated by Alison Treacher and Tom Armstrong
Ally MacGregor – Nominated by Leamington Spa
Moshe Machover – Nominated by R.Eagleton and Maciej Zurowski
Mike Macnair – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Peter Manson – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Micheline Mason – Nominated by Wandsworth
Yassamine Mather – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Sharon McCourt – Nominated by Crouch End, Birmingham
Sarah McDonald – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Pete McLaren – Nominated by Liverpool, Rugby
Karen Michael – Nominated by Crouch End
Emily C – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
John Penney – Nominated by Salman Shaheen and Susan Pashkoff
Colin Piper – Nominated by Brighton
Joana Ramiro – Nominated by Southwark, Lambeth, Cardiff
Lee Rock – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Barbara Segal – Nominated by Crouch End, Bristol
Sean Thompson – Nominated by Crouch End
Pip Tindall – Nominated by Brighton
James Turley – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Maciej Zurowski – Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
Nominated by Crouch End
I have experience campaigning in spheres such as women’s rights, anti-racism and against cuts in public services. I have been on the executive of Abortion Rights since 2009, this year I appeared on Newsnight to advocate increased access for women, last year I also coordinated a pro-choice student conference held at the University of London Union. Abortion Rights were a founder organisation to establish the Women’s Assembly Against Austerity, as a result of the ground breaking People’s Assembly in 2013. I was part of the organising committee for this and we held a successful conference in February of 300 women. I am an active trade unionist. I’ve been a workplace rep for GMB and work for TSSA, a transport trade union. I believe the current threat is from the cuts being carried out by the Tory-led government, but we will also be faced with similar policies by a future Labour administration. We will be an important voice calling for investment not cuts, working with and outside the Party. I support anti-imperialist, progressive world politics and have been involved with Venezuela Solidarity Campaign since it started, I am currently Chair of the North London group. I’m a member of Stop The War Campaign and was outside Downing Street to campaign against the war in Libya and bombing Syria recently. A huge challenge endangering the world comes from climate change and the current world elite’s inability to resolve this crisis facing the environment. I believe we should join forces with all those campaigning on this to push for investment in green jobs and a robust debate in the media.
Nominated by Grenwich and Lewisham, Southwark
I have been a socialist for as long as I can remember. I am an active member of the University and Colleges Union at Goldsmiths, University of London where I am a Lecturer in Modern European History and am my branch’s delegate to Lewisham Trades Council. I was a Labour Party member from 1975 until 1994 when I left over Tony Blair and Clause IV. I was an enthusiastic supporter of the Socialist Alliance, standing for Lewisham Council under that label in both 1998 and 2002, as well as on the Socialist Alliance list for the GLA in 2000. Over the years I have been involved in other attempts to unite the left such as the Campaign for a New Workers Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition but now see Left Unity as by far the best means of building a democratic pluralist organisation to the left of the Labour Party. I have also stood for Lewisham Council as an Alliance for Green Socialism candidate in 2006 and for People Before Profit in 2010. I am on the National Committee of the Alliance for Green Socialism and would hope that if Left Unity adopts a more rounded and detailed environmental policy that I could win this 200 strong group to LU. I am a member of the Independent Socialist Network and a supporter of the Socialist Platform within Left Unity. Although I write regularly on Italian politics for the Weekly Worker, I am not now and never have been a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, even if were I living in Italy I would be a member of the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista which I still see as a model for what Left Unity should become. I believe that Left Unity should work as closely as possibly with European parties such as Syriza, the Linke, the Front de Gauche and the PRC and that British withdrawal from the EU would play into the hands of the racists, fascists and xenophobes and take us further away from the ultimate goal of a United Socialist States of Europe.
Nominated by M. Machover Robert Eagleton
There is a huge space for a party of the left in Britain. As a supporter of the Communist Platform, I am committed to building Left Unity as a socialist party that openly seeks to bring about the end of capitalism and its replacement by the rule of the working class.
If elected to the national committee, I would in particular campaign for all LU bodies to be thoroughly democratic, open and accountable. In my view, there should be an open exchange of the various ideas that exist in LU – not just open to LU members, but open to the whole working class, which we after all believe is capable of running society.
In my view it is not enough that LU focuses simply on existing local or single issue campaigns – it must become an organisation that actively takes radical positions on the big, national and international questions and on how to remake society. For example, in my view LU should become a champion of republican democracy and actively campaign for the abolition of the monarchy, for annual elections, open borders and the end of the secret state apparatus.
If elected to the national committee, I would campaign to rework the overly complex and unworkable constitution of LU and to replace the various drafts of the bureaucratic safe space policy with a far simpler code of conduct – after all, we should start from a place of trusting each other.
I live in Sheffield, work as a journalist and am also a member of Die Linke in Germany.
Nominated by Crouch End
I have been active in the anti-capitalist, anti-war and student movements since 2006. I was an executive member of Essex Students Union for three years and an Executive member of the National Union of Students for two years. Prior to joining Left Unity I had been a SWP member and organiser.
The reason I joined Left Unity and am standing for its National Council is that I believe that we need to rebuild working class institutions in Britain. Left Unity offers left-wing activists the opportunity to project themselves beyond their groupuscule and create a left-wing alternative to both the Labour Party and neoliberalism.
I believe that my international and European networks can help Left Unity in the years to come and increase its attractiveness to British activists who look to these movements. I hope to make a a lasting contribution to Left Unity in months and years to come.
Nominated by Crouch End
I am very pleased to have been nominated for this position inside Left Unity.
I have been involved in the Left Unity project since its inception. I am a member of the relatively new Leeds North and East branch, where I hope to continue to play a positive role in the development of our politics.
We really do need a new left party. We’ve been failed by a Labour Party that has adapted to neo-liberalism, and we’ve been failed by the small revolutionary groups. In between these two dead-ends there are a lot of people crying out for a politics that represents their hopes for a better, fairer and more just society. Socialism has been the tradition that has carried these hopes and we must stick with the goal of getting rid of capitalism, but we have to find new ways of expressing our socialism in alliance with people who have different ideas and experiences.
We need to be pluralistic, we need to be feminist, we need to be environmentalist, we need to be against capitalism, we need to remember that we live in a cruel class society that is getting worse every day. The party we need has to be involved in all relevant campaigns, including union struggles, and has to sink roots in communities and has to be capable of fighting elections.
There is a long way to go before we will have created such a party, but I want to be part of the process. I’ve had a lot of experience in attempting to build such projects, including the Socialist Alliance, the Coalition of Resistance and the People’s Assembly. I have not been a member of any platform inside Left Unity, but am eager to work with anyone who genuinely wants to build a new and inclusive party of the Left.
Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
As a supporter of the Communist Platform, I am standing for the national council in order to form Left Unity as a socialist party, a party that seeks to bring about the end of capitalism and its replacement by the rule of the working class. For me socialism will see the means of production pass back into common ownership. My ultimate aim is a society based on the principle of ‘From each according to their abilities; to each according to their needs’. A moneyless, classless, stateless society within which each individual can develop their fullest individuality.
I believe that the rule of the working class requires a state to defend itself , but a state that is withering away, a partial-state.
Socialism and democracy are inseparable. Democracy is not just about casting votes. It is a process of the constant forming of ideas, and taking and carrying out decisions. Hence the need for the entire population to exercise control over every sphere of social life: the state and politics, work and the economy, international relations, etc. Without open discussion as a norm and the right to form platforms and oppositions democracy can only be formal.
I reject the idea that the undemocratic regimes that existed in the former Soviet Union and other countries were socialist, or represented either the political rule of the working class or some kind of step on the road to socialism.
For me socialism is international or it is nothing. The victory of socialism in one or more country is only partial until the balance of forces has decisively tilted against capitalism. That means socialism must triumph in a tranche of advanced countries if it is not to suffer deformation and counterrevolution in one form or another. National revolutions are therefore best coordinated and where possible synchronised.
Nominated by Greenwich and Lewisham
I am a marxist and have been in Left Unity since the very beginning. I am convenor in Greenwich & Lewisham branch.
At the moment I work part-time in a kitchen and I am attending a course on children with special needs as I intend to work as a teaching assistant in primary schools.
In Italy, after gaining a degree and a PhD in Philosophy I worked as a history and philosophy teacher.
Following a Masters in Family and Social Mediation of Conflicts I worked in Juvenile Courts and for Socials Services.
I never joined a party in my country as they were, in my view, social democratic or sectarian.
I have joined Left Unity Women’s Caucus and recently the Economic Policy Commission. I have also been active in the Foreign Policy Commission
I am involved in different local, national and international campaigns (among them Lewisham Defend Council Housing, Radical Housing Network, Spanish Women for Abortion, Free West Papua) and support workers’ strike actions.
Nominated by Crouch End
I have been a fervent supporter of the Left Unity project since I was first invited to be part of the steering group that got it off the ground. Having been a deeply political and left-wing disabled person all my life I became disgusted with Labour’s failure to defend us and their willingness to accept austerity, so the concept of a broad new party of the left appealed instantly.
As a disabled woman who is also the mother of mixed heritage children, I am passionate about the need for Left Unity to be truly inclusive. I was one of the 10 members directly elected at the first national meeting in May last year and was also elected to be the Access Officer on the Transitional National Council. Whilst I was proud of the numbers of disabled people present at the founding conference, we didn’t get everything right and still have a long way to go. We have even more work to do to make Left Unity a welcoming and listening space for people of colour and those from cultures other than mainstream English and I would like to play my part in that. I believe there is also a lot that needs to be done to make it the best possible environment for working class people – indeed all those who have not felt welcome in politics previously.
The attacks on the welfare system in general and disabled people in particular are my greatest concern. I would like to see Left Unity campaigning vigorously alongside groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle. It is vital that we rapidly see the end of the Work Capability Assessment and the Personal Independence Payment assessment. Both were devised on a model developed by an insurance company only interested in privatization and increasing their profits: the worst face of capitalism, resulting in far too many deaths and for those who do survive it, deteriorating physical and mental health.
Equally I will be pushing for vociferous campaigning against all benefit sanctions, which I consider to be an unprecedented evil forcing innocent people into destitution.
Nominated by Crouch End, Hackney
I have been a socialist and feminist all my life. I was a member of the Labour Party (1979 – 2001). I was a Labour Councillor on Islington Council (1990 and 1998) and chaired the Council’s Women’s Committee. In 1995, I was selected by Leeds North East Labour Party as their Parliamentary candidate, but refused endorsement by the Party’s National Executive Committee because of my politics. I was subsequently elected twice by Labour Party members to represent them on the National Executive Committee: 1998 – 2001. I left the Labour Party in 2001, because of the ideological and structural changes under Tony Blair’s leadership. I joined the Socialist Alliance which I left in 2002. I have not been a member of any political party since then until I joined Left Unity.
I co-chaired Left Unity’s founding conference and was pleased by the democratic process and the positions adopted. The public declaration that Left Unity is socialist, feminist and environmentalist, and is committed to democracy, transparency, diversity and internationalism is hugely important.
Socialists cannot neglect the electoral process. Elections remain the occasion when most people exercise a political choice. At the same time, any socialist party offering a radical, socialist alternative to the current neo-liberal consensus cannot solely concentrate on elections. It must also have a track record of campaigning for public services, to redistribute wealth, against oppression and discrimination, and for effective measures against climate change.
I am a legal aid housing lawyer. The left must be part of a campaign against poverty and austerity. That means high-profile political campaigning, and also practical work in local communities against poverty and its effects, including direct action. Whether or not I am elected, I want to help to draw up a socialist housing and anti-poverty policy.
I did not support any of the Platforms. I was pleased with the Conference decision to adopt the Left Party Platform, with some amendments.
Left Unity has the potential to become a party that starts to represent those whom the Labour Party has abandoned. We can be proud of our socialist, feminist and environmentalist politics.
Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
I am standing for the National Council as a signatory of theCommunist Tendency, a supporter of the former Socialist Platform, and an independent Marxist. I have been active as a Marxist since 1979, and have been actively involved in all of the serious attempts to challenge Labour over its support for neo-liberalism at the ballot box since the early 1990s: SLP, Socialist Alliance and Respect.
The root cause of the failure of all these projects, in my view, is their attempt to answer neo-liberalism with some variety of ‘Old Labour’ reformist politics (whose failure led to this situation in the first place) and the self-censorship of those with revolutionary ideas within them. To me this is a mirror image of the sect-warfare than goes on at the far leftfringe. Both of these dead-ends accept themarginalisation of socialist ideas.
We should repudiate the patronising assumption that workingclass people are fearful of and alienated by openly left-wing or socialist ideas, put about by those who have absorbed at least part ofThatcher’s maxim that ‘there is no alternative’ to the currently dominant ideology. We need the widest possible open discussion of such ideas, as part of solving the difficult political problems that stand in way of working class political resistance to austerity and the entirety of the prolonged ruling class offensive that is still going strong.
What we need is an open party where the most fundamental questions of reform or revolution, anti-imperialism, the fight against environmental catastrophe, racism, gender and sexual oppression and all otherquestions of programme and policy can be fearlessly debated out in front of the working class public. As a Marxist I am confident that genuine socialist/communist ideas would win out both by the force of logic and by offering solutions to concrete problems facing our class.
Many angry but currently despairing working class people wouldin time be inspired to join a genuinely open socialist-communist party with such a culture of open political debate. Vote for the Communist Tendency’s candidates in the Left Unity NC elections!
Nominated by Liverpool LU
As one of the 10 elected at the first national meeting, I have worked to build Left Unity. We have worked together from many different traditions and with people new to any struggle; learning, discussing (and laughing) together. We need each new member.
Thatcher pales against the enemy today, who steals the NHS, marketises our schools, restricts what is taught, drives down living standards, takes our pensions, pauperises those who cannot work, strips away union representation and burns fossil fuel as though climate change was a myth. There is hope though. The bedroom tax, ATOS/DPAC and benefit sanctions and anti-fracking campaigns show the power of self-organisation and answer the lie “There’s nothing you can do about it anyway”.
I am proud to call myself a socialist, an internationalist, a fighter for the rights of women and children, a teacher trade unionist, an anti-fascist, and an environmentalist. In the 80s, I was one of the Liverpool 47 surcharged councillors whose slogan was “better to break the law than to break the poor”.
Internationalism has to be real and practical. The new global working class is huge and potentially powerful, with women workers there in huge numbers. Women across the world defend land and common goods. I campaign whenever I can against violence against women, and against sexual violence nationally and internationally. With others, I have worked to produce our Safe Spaces policy.
I firmly believe that every human should have an income as a right. No-one’s income should depend on a sexual relationship as in today’s benefits system.
The earth is rich enough for all of us to eat, to be educated, to have work, and to have medical care; its the inequalities and iniquities of capitalism that stand in our way. A better world is possible.
Nominated by Crouch End
I was a supporter of the Left Party Platform, a member of Socialist Resistance and a member of Cambridge Left Unity.
I have been an active member of the National Union of Teachers since 1972 and am at present the secretary for the Cambridgeshire Association of the NUT and a member of the Socialist Teachers Alliance.
The formation of Left Unity represents a break with the past both in terms of a break from the political domination of the Labour Party and with the mostly sectarian politics of the groups to the left of the Labour Party. We have the chance to construct a new party that is based on socialism and an awareness of, and a willingness to fight, the ecological crisis that the world faces. We need to be an active ecosocialist party.
The strength of Left Unity is in its ability to bring together not only existing political currents but also a wide range of individuals disillusioned with the politics of the Labour Party. This is also one of our biggest challenges. We have to mould this disparate grouping into a political party that can fight the politics of the existing political parties by putting forward, and organising around, political positions that people in their trade unions, campaign groups, tenants groups etc, can see as an alternative to the austerity politics of the Tories, Lib Dems and the LP.
The political platform put forward by the Left Party Platform at the Founding Conference defined Left Unity as a democratic, socialist, internationalist, feminist and environmentalist party that campaigns against all forms of oppression. I believe that this is the best way we can build Left Unity and build our support for our policies to fight inequality and social exclusion in the campaigns, trade unions etc that we are all involved in.
Nominated by Moshe Machover and Maciej Zurowski
If elected to the National Council I will draw upon skills I gained whilst serving on the Young Greens National Executive Committee to ensure Left Unity is ran in a professional and accountable fashion. I will also utilise the other organisational skills, which are necessary pre-requisite to become a successful National Councillor, I have amassed from being- the Chairman of a local Green Party branch, the organiser for Preston Left Unity, and the Sustain Officer for my Students’ Union. Aside from the practical qualities I can bring to the National Council I also possess profound political views which would benefit the party enormourly if adopted.
The broad party model, which Left Unity currently operates by, is ineffectual with previous attempts to form a successful broad party ending in disaster. The political lash-ups of the, Respect and Unity Coalition, the Socialist Alliance, and the Socialist Labour Party have all ended in failure because they could only unite around a vague “cuts are bad” sentiment, which invariably led to a weak organisation, rather than something more meaningful like a Marxist programme.
I want to see Left Unity unite around an explicitly Marxist programme. This does not mean membership of Left Unity would be restricted to those who agree with every dot and comma of such a programme; we would advocate maximum revolutionary unity where there is agreement and maximum dialogue where there is disagreement. However; those wishing to join Left Unity should accept (not agree) basic revolutionary principles. Without this condition to become a member, Left Unity will become another political failure. We already have a broad left party in the Britain, it’s called the Labour Party, what we lack in Britain is a united far left.
My vision for Left Unity is both inspirational and ambitious.
Left Unity needs to go beyond the simply defensive economistic politics of “no cuts” and adopt the higher politics of calling for a different mode of social organisation and the Global rule of the Working Class.
If you would like to find out more about my politics please visit- http://communistplatform.org.uk/?p=30
Mark Anthony France
Nominated by Worcestershire
Active in the Labour Movement since 1974, I come from a family of industrial workers, active trade unionists of Irish and Welsh heritage based in south Birmingham. Inspired by the School Student Uprising in SOWETO in June 1976 I became a committed socialist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist activist and champion of the self organisation of the oppressed.
Over the past 4 decades I have played a role in building:Troops Out Movement, YouthCND and Anti-Apartheid, solidarity with the NUM during the Great Strike of ’84/’85, Palestine Solidarity and StopTheWar. In 2009 I led the mass campaign in Bromsgrove that successfully forced the resignation of the Tory MP Julie Kirkbride. I have suffered victimisation and blacklisting by employers as a result of my trade union and campaigning activities, experiencing the poverty and social exclusion that has affected so many activists in recent years.
Organisationally, I have been a member of: Labour Party, Big Flame, Revolution Youth, International Marxist Group, Socialist Action, Socialist Labour Party, RESPECT and the Green Party. I have experiences of bureaucratic exclusion at the hands of undemocratic cliques having been ‘expelled’ from the Labour Party [on 3 separate occasions!],Socialist Action and the Green Party. I have lived and worked in Birmingham, Belfast, London, Havana, Huddersfield and Bromsgrove and continue to enjoy speaking truth to power.
Today I am a Unite Community Activist and Branch Organiser of Left Unity in Worcestershire. I work as a Pizza Delivery Driver I am married with 3 kids, 2 grandkids we keep rabbits and chickens in our garden. I am a supporter of the Left Unity Republican Socialist Tendency.
As a member of the National Council of Left Unity I will make a positive contribution to building a new radical party of the Working Class and to help ensure that it become a safe, democratic and inclusive home for many thousands of people from diverse backgrounds. I hope to be able to share the lessons of 4 decades of experience with my sisters and brothers on the National Council and contribute to the growth and success of Left Unity in the future.
Nominated by Phil Vellender and Mark France
Sisters and brothers, comrades and friends, I am standing for one of the fifteen directly elected national council members to represent a republican socialist perspective for Left Unity. I am in the Southwark branch of Left Unity. I am an active trade unionist in UCU. I am also a member of the Republican Socialist Alliance and the International Socialist Network.
In September the Scottish referendum presents a major danger for the British ruling class. Hence the leaders of all three major parties are united in favour of a ‘No’ vote. Cameron and Co. are currently mobilising all their economic and political forces and threatening financial sanctions, ejection from the EU and flight of capital if Scotland does not vote the ‘right’ way.
If there is a ‘Yes’ majority the Tories will face a crisis. The credibility of the Prime Minister ‘who lost Scotland’ will diminish, perhaps fatally, not least in the City. We cannot predict whether Cameron would resign, or the Coalition break up, or an early general election be called. But it will give a real boost to all those resisting the City-driven austerity policies of this Tory government.
The crisis of democracy is imminent in the crisis of capitalism. People are battling against austerity policies, Some turn in desperation to right wing parties and authoritarian leaders. The organised working class is in the forefront of resisting austerity. But working people need more than simply defending themselves. They are hungry for a real democracy which gives them the power to change the future. If Scotland takes one step in that direction it is for us in England and Wales to take two or three.
Therefore I am standing to advance these ideas, which with your support will shape the direction of Left Unity in 2014-15. I have solid contacts with the Scottish left. Republican socialists are still a minority. But it is a minority that should have a voice on the national committee. For all the above reasons I am asking for your support and vote, in tune with the democratic spirit of the age.
Nominated by Loughborough
I have long and varied experience of left political work : In 1966, as a student, I joined the Communist Party of Great Britain because I decided that it had a realistic programme for achieving Socialism in British conditions. In retrospect, I take the view that, instead of trying to reconcile internal divisions which were, in reality, irreconcilable, the party should have done then what Left Unity is trying to do now – it should have turned itself into a broad left party. I stuck with that party until its final Congress in 1991. In 1993, I joined the Labour Party, and was a Labour borough councillor from 1999 to 2011. I was close to leaving the Labour Party over Iraq and over education policy. I decided to stay in because the resignation of a councillor would have caused embarrassment. But the final straws were the appointment of a privately-educated person as education spokesperson and the clear signals that Labour would go with the Tories’ quasi-privatisation of publicly-funded education – so I resigned in late 2013, so facilitating work in Left Unity.
Since starting work in 1969 teaching in comprehensive schools, I have been an active member of the National Union of Teachers. I was given early retirement from teaching in 2000. Since then, I have continued to teach part-time, and currently work for the Open University. I am still very active in the Leicestershire NUT association . I represent the association on the Leicester and District Trades Union Council and the Union’s Midlands regional council and go from there to Midlands TUC.
I have always taken the view that the struggle for a better democracy and for socialism are closely bound together. Therefore, I am an active member of the Leicester group of Unlock Democracy and a member of the Electoral Reform Society. I have also been an active participant in the left pressure group Compass. Although I have no intention of dropping those activities, I now wish to put more emphasis on working both locally and nationally to build and make a success of the Left Unity project.
Nominated by M. Machover and Robert Eagleton
I am a supporter of the Communist Platform, the communist tendency in Left Unity, and I am standing on an authentic Marxist programme for the party. That entails rejecting the idea that Left Unity should be a permanent united front with reformism, an orientation that has failed over and over again in the last two decades. Previous attempts, from Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, to the Socialist Alliance and Respect, have all in their various ways concealed their real politics in favour of creating some kind of watered down version of ‘Old-Labour’, often failing to reach even that political level in practice.
It did replicate the bureaucracy of Labourism, however. Scargill had 6000 block votes in his back pocket in the SLP to impose his will. In the SA it was the combined block vote of the SWP and the SPEW that kept Marxism off the agenda. In Respect it was the same, with John Rees leading SWPers to vote down items from their own ‘what we stand for column’ which the CPGB proposed. There is a danger that Left Unity repeats the errors of the past.
We in the Communist Platform are extreme democrats. We believe that Left Unity needs to offer a radical alternative to today’s Labour Party, and to Labourism. This requires an open, democratic, no-holds-barred debate about political direction of the organisation with the different trends and groupings openly declaring what they stand for and how it will be achieved. We believe that there was no real opportunity at the last conference to properly discuss the complex bureaucratic constitution we have lumbered ourselves with. We should be in less of a hurry, and revisit the basic politics that Left Unity stands on.
Nominated by Leiecester
I am not, and have never been, a member of any ‘tendency’ and have previously never been a member of any political party, though I am a long-time member of CND. My politics are Green/feminist/socialist and I believe strongly the Left Unity needs to live up to its name and be both Left and united if it is to provide an effective opposition to the status quo. I have strengths in building consensus and seeing other points of view and will always aim to work towards consensus rather than pushing a particular point of view.
I am a writer and poet and I feel that the arts have an important contribution to make to the debate, particularly as left Unity was sparked off by a film. I teach and practise yoga and peace is an important part of my life. Dogma leaves me cold: my vision is of a society where people care for one another and no-one is left out.
Nominated by Huddersfield
I am secretary of Huddersfield LU branch and have been involved in LU since the first national meeting in May 2013. I am involved in Keep Our NHS Public. I am an active NUT rep and have held NUT branch officer positions and spoken at conference. I understand the need to build support for more extensive strike action in support of education. I have been involved in the LU Education Policy Commission and have represented Huddersfield on the National Coordinating Group on a rotational basis.
I am not a member of any other political party or group (although I have been a member of several in the past!) and did not sign up to any of the platforms presented to the last conference.
I am a socialist but I understand the need to break away from the elitist idea of the vanguard party. We need to discuss and convince people of the need for socialist ideas in accessible language without diluting our principles. We need realistic, radical reformist policies that can win popular support.
I support the aims of Left Unity as agreed at the November conference. I joined Left Unity because I want to be involved in an organisation that is committed to developing a fairer society based on the ideals of cooperation and not competition. A party whose aims are to fight austerity and big business, renationalise, democratise, protect the environment and redistribute the wealth. Ultimately I would like to see LU develop into a mass party that will challenge capitalism and offer people a real alternative to the pro big business main parties.
Nominated by Wigan, Liverpool
Since I was a teenager, I have been involved in countless campaigns and struggles from fighting against youth unemployment, racism, and war, to the epic miners’ strike of 1984-85. Most recently, these would include the fight to defend the NHS, as well as the fight against fracking.
As a result of this I have gained a wealth of experience, and political insight which, if elected, I believe will be useful to the development our new party.
Additionally, in the recent past I have also helped to establish and build up the now annual Wigan Diggers’ Festival. The festival celebrates the life and ideas of locally born Gerrard Winstanley and the 17th century Diggers movement – a movement described by Tony Benn as “the first true socialists” and which still has a strong resonance even today.
The festival is now the largest event of its kind in the North West, attracting broad support from across the Left as a whole, and in the last two years, crowds of over 2,000. It is on the basis of the success of the festival, and the approach we have taken to achieve that, that the Wigan branch have attracted the support and built up the wider political influence they currently have in the area, as well as farther afield.
My involvement in the above, and the lessons members of our branch have learned in the process, will also I believe, be of benefit to the development of Left Unity nationally.
In recognition of my work and my record as an activist over the years, I have not only previously served as President of my local Trades Council, but am currently chair of Leigh Unite the Union, and have recently been re-elected President of the Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils.
My holding the latter post has already proved invaluable in helping to carry forward a whole series of campaigns and other initiatives in Britain’s second largest conurbation, and as a consequence, if elected, is something else I can also contribute to the development of the party’s work nationally in the next period.
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