National Council members (directly-elected)

Twenty candidates for fifteen places

Len Arthur

Nominated by Wales branch and Andrew Burgin

Comrades,

We are still paying for the financial crisis which we had no hand in creating: as Lenin said somewhere ‘capitalism will survive so long as the working class can be persuaded to pay the cost’. The international rightward shift in politics is about trying to make sure we do pay.

It is the job of a socialist party like Left Unity to speak out and reveal these dangerous trends. More than that, the party should be prepared to support and help organise a fightback offering an alternative in every way possible – through direct action and elections.

I’m committed to helping build Left Unity into the socialist party we need in Wales and the UK.

In Wales I’ve worked closely with comrades to help bring Left Unity Wales into being, providing a democratic and accountable way for all members to take an active part and for us to work in complete public openness: http://chwithunedigcymru.blogspot.co.uk/. As a current elected member of the NC I’ve contributed to all the main debates and helped bring our membership of the European Left to fruition.

I’d appreciate your support for National Council. Being secretary of LU Wales I can help ensure that Wales is represented and continue to report back regularly. As a retired person I have a little more time than most to keep up the bureaucratic bit together with the freedom from fear that a pension brings. I’ve a long history of being a socialist activist in Wales in the community, trade unions and politics. I hope this will be a help to the party.

Ann Bennett

Nominated by Wales branch

I am absolutely committed to the aims and objectives as stated in our manifesto. having been a labour party member and a shop steward for decades, I have fought for socialism for the last 50 years. I can not stand by and watch all the gains we have made as a class, just washed away by villains , crooks and ruthless profit seeking global leaders, at home or abroad , we have to fight back. I will represent Wales as part of my commitment to world socialism ,and to work to prevent barbarism.

Anna Bluston

Nominated by Brighton and Hove branch and Pip Tindall

I am standing for re-election as a nationally elected rep for NC. I am a committed member of the party, I have attended nearly every National Council meeting over the past few years I have been elected, and, as the Secretary of Brighton and Hove branch, have attended most branch meetings, though I have moved to another town.

I have been a dedicated activist for social justice for many years in a variety of groups and campaigns, though Left Unity is the only political party I have ever joined. I am an active member of Worthing People’s Assembly Against Austerity, and I am a member of Global Justice Now (formally World Development Movement) and am involved regularly in local meetings and campaigns for this. I have regularly attended conferences, meetings and demonstrations on many issues that urgently need struggle, and I currently work for the NHS and am active in trying to stop its privatisation: I am a member of Unison.

A lot of change has happened during the past year, not for the better, and it is easy to despair, and a lot of members have left our party to join Labour, but I think it is more important than ever to champion the ideas and values of Left Unity and be proud to promote our ideals of Socialism, Feminism, Environmentalism and Internationalism: the world is in crisis and Capitalism will never make it better.

More than ever we need to appeal to work to unite all who are suffering under Capitalism and put forward real alternatives: I would like to continue do all I can to contribute to our shared vision of socialism and equality.

Anna

Felicity Dowling

Nominated by Jim Hollinshead

I would like to stand for election to National Council of Left Unity. We need to speak for the most vulnerable in society as in I Daniel Blake” and to agitate for solidarity, socialism, internationalism, feminism, anti-racism, lgbt rights and the defence of the environment.

We need to build Left Unity, recruiting those fresh to the struggle and seasoned campaigners. We need

  • stalls outside job centres,
  • campaigns around hospitals, libraries, schools, and services for our elders,
  • on migrant rights,
  • against fracking,

all with other campaigners, in a spirit of solidarity.

The struggles still to come in the workplace, both unionised and yet to be unionised, will change our world.

We also need discussions, nationally and internationally on how to

  • defeat Trump,
  • oppose war,
  • defend against threats from brexit.

LU needs to reflect the soul sucking poverty of many in Britain, and yet be aware of the wider world, of the righteous rage of French youth and the struggle against murderous religious extremism in Pakistan, international outrage of young women seeing fundamental rights at risk.

Our demands

  • a million council houses built by trade union labour.
  • socially and environmentally useful jobs at decent rates of pay.
  • An end to cuts and sanctions
  • Defence of free movement.

Left Unity must be there, speaking truth to power. We must implacably oppose the implementation of life threatening cuts, migrant or claimant blaming. We should implacably defend the rights migrants, of free movement and rights threatened by Brexit. We share many aims with Corbyn and will continue to offer support to those campaigning for socialism in the labour party,

A fundamentally different world is needed. There is no decent future in capitalism.

Within the party we need to continue to build

  • the safeguarding of children
  • democracy
  • participation
  • culture that gives respect to all members.
  • international links.

Richard Farnos

Nominated by Joseph Healy, Mathew Hurry, Steve Freeman and South London Branch

I have in and out of radical politics since my youth. I was involving the Labour Party and the Militant tendency as a youth. I then got involved in LGBT politics first through Trade Unions Against Section 28 and then later early developments of LGBT Trade unionists including being National Secretary of the CPSA Lesbian and Gay Rights Group and Chair of the (unofficial) Lesbian and Gay TUC. I left the Labour party in the 1990s to join the Socialist Labour Party becoming for a short while the nominal convenor of the LGBT Section, before being expelled. More recently I have been involved in the anti cuts movement including being Convenor of Queers Against the Cuts.

Work wise I was for many years a civil servant working in a Job Centre. After returning to university I have largely been in the voluntary sector first in Polari, an organisation working to improve services for older LGBT people and more recently as manager of Age UK Lambeth Information and Advice Service. Currently I work for Transport for All a London based group that campaign for accessible transport for older and disabled people.

I am strongly committed to Left Unity. It is unique to politics in British Left in that it open democratic and not dominate by individual ego or sect. I have been on the National committee for three years first as a rep from the LGBT caucus and for the last as part of the national slate. I feel I have constructively contributed on the National Committee including initiating the development of IT membership system which will help organise our membership at a national and local levels.

Neil Faulkner

Nominated by Kate Hudson

The British Left is in crisis. Corbyn is in an embrace of death inside the Labour Party, and Momentum is being pulled apart by the contradictory pressures. The far-left groups are very small, ever more divided, and fast degenerating into theoretical incoherence in relation to Brexit, the central issue in mainstream politics.

A revolutionary socialist activist of long-standing, my recent political biography is embedded in the breakup of the post-1968 Left. I suspect that we have reached a turning-point in the development of the British Left – a 1956 moment – and that there is an urgent need to group radical socialists in a democratic party, where different traditions are represented, where wide-ranging, open-ended debate is possible, and where new perspectives and strategies for the Left can be developed.

This cannot be done inside the Labour Party, which sucks left activists into internal machine politics, and nor can it be done in the sects, with their top-down ‘democratic-centralist’ way of working. My conclusion is that we need to build Left Unity as a framework for socialist theory and practice.

Furthermore, given that we face a tidal wave of racism and reaction, and given that much of the Left seems to be capitulating, in one way or another, to aspects of this, we need a socialist grouping that is resolutely and uncompromisingly internationalist and European – a group, that is, that is part of a wider network of sister parties – because only thus can we remain politically solid against the Far Right.

I would like to play a more active role in building Left Unity, and I see the Stop Trump movement as our immediate priority.

Steve Freeman

Nominated by South London branch, Joseph Healy, Richard Farnos and Matthew Hurry

Comrades,

The 1984-5 miners’ strike, the 2003 Iraq war and the 2016 vote to leave the EU were events of such major significance as to change the course of politics and class struggle. So-called ‘Brexit’ has been a major victory for Tory right wing nationalism. This is a major threat to workers rights and unity of the working class.

Left Unity must become a militant campaigner against Tory anti-working class Brexit. The Tories are taking the UK out of the EU even though Northern Ireland and Scotland voted remain. It is now time for Scotland to leave the UK and Ireland to be reunited.

Millions of people are disillusioned with Westminster politics. The political system is corrupt and discredited. Its list of failures ever expanding – the Hillsborough cover up, the anti-union laws, the privatisations of the railways, the Iraq war, and the destruction of the NHS – to mention but a few examples.

I am seeking your vote for the national council to help develop and build Left Unity into a party committed to the fight for democracy at work, in local communities, in our unions and for a popular democratic revolution. As a party we must stand for the sovereignty of the people, the right of recall, the self determination of nations and the aim of a social republic in which we, the people, can govern ourselves.

Left Unity must become recognised as the party of democratic revolution. This perspective must be heard at national level even if not everybody agrees with it. We must take our inspiration from the democratic and republican struggles of the Levellers, Diggers, Tom Paine, the Chartists and Suffragettes. We need to mobilise our democratic past to win our post-Brexit future.

Steve Freeman

Nick Jones

Nominated by LU Wales branch and Andrew Burgin

I am a founder member of Left Unity in Leeds and have helped maintain branch activity and ensure that we are involved in supporting local strikes, campaigns against cuts, racism, for the NHS, Stop Trump.

I am an active Trade Unionist and have been a school representative and local officer for the National Union of Teachers for over sixteen years. I am currently representative LGBT+ members at Regional level. I am a Trade Council delegate.

As a founding member of Keep Our NHS Public Leeds, local treasurer, and have been instrumental in organising numerous marches, street protests and involved in supporting local strikes across the region to defend the NHS.

I am keen that we continue to support Jeremy Corbyn and the work of those in Momentum and the Labour Party who are trying to democratise Labour and campaign against austerity.

Although the Labour party has attracted some new enthusiastic supporters it is still important that we have an independent party based upon socialist principles that opposes cuts in services, defend trades unions, oppose wars and campaigns vigorously for the welfare state: free health, education and housing for all. Sadly many Labour Councils are still implementing cuts. It is important that we work alongside those in Labour but also with those outside labour party too and challenge cuts.
I would like to share my experience with Left Unity nationally and help focus Left Unity focus on key campaigns post Brexit ensuring that we are rooted locally with a view to standing in future elections where necessary:

Defend Free Movement
Defend the NHS- no cuts, privatisation
Defend the Welfare State- against attacks on benefits, housing and social care
No war- oppose Trident
Free Education
Equality for all

Fred Leplat

Nominated by Andrew Burgin and Susan Pashkoff

I have been a member of Left Unity since its launch. I am active in the Barnet Alliance for Public Services, The People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Stop Trump.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party provides the best opportunity we have seen for decades for the election of a radical government in Britain and to defeat austerity. Left Unity needs to situate itself as an organisation that is part of the movement in defence of Corbyn. That is why I argued for Left Unity to affiliate to the Labour Party to be part of that movement while also maintaining our independence.

It was very important that Left Unity called for a vote in the referendum to “Remain” to oppose xenophobia. Brexit and Trump are part of the same shift to the right in politics. We have to now mobilise against racism and nationalism and for international solidarity. Left Unity’s backing of the women’s march and the Stop Trump campaign, and our link with the European Left Party, are important contributions in that fight. We need to build on that.

Darren McCourt

Nominated by Andrew Burgin, and Sharon McCourt

I am a member of Birmingham branch, a founding member and have been on the NC last year as the representative of the West Midlands. I wish to continue representing my region on the NC. Left Unity is the only party I have ever been a member of, not being involved in politics before. We need a party that will represent the ordinary people who need a party that offers an alternative to the right wing propaganda being offered by UKIP and Brexit.

I understand the danger of the times we are living in and believe whole heartedly that we have to continue to build Left Unity. I would like the chance to carry on doing this as part of the NC as I do believe that I contribute at national level alongside doing all I can here in Birmingham.

Sharon McCourt

Nominated by Darren McCourt

I am Sharon McCourt from Birmingham. I am chair of Birmingham and am currently one of the Principal speakers, I have been a directly elected NC member and briefly on temporary disputes. I am a founder member of LU.

We are in difficult and dangerous times politically there is no doubt that we are witnessing a rise in the far right. Never more have we needed a party which stands for free movement and defends the rights of immigrants and refugees. I have never wavered in my belief in building this party not believing that the Corbyn surge could offer what we need which is a truly socialist alternative. The pace of change this year in politics has been brake neck and we are seeing the start of a new movement Left Unity needs to be right there with them opposing hard Brexit and Trump.

While a lot of focus has been on Westminster this year I have being doing my best to represent LU wherever I can speaking at demos, meetings and radio. I also feel I have grown in confidence in the role and wish to continue this year. There is rumour they will send Trump to Birmingham and I wish to be at the front for LU telling him he is not welcome!

I had no political experience before LU coming in from anti-cuts groups. I now feel I can speak confidently about politics learning much from comrades within LU, however I do believe I sometimes bring a grounded approach having lived benefit sanctions, still in a precarious position one pay day away from homelessness. I understand how my inner city estate has embraced UKIP and the work we have ahead of us to continue to build this party.

I believe In LU I want to do all I can to build it.

Pete McLaren

Nominated by Marian Wakelin, Liz Peck and Dave Landau

MY ROLE IN LU

  • I am an independent socialist who has been committed to Left Unity since its birth, founding the branch in Rugby.
  • I have been a member of the LU NC throughout, attending virtually every meeting.
  • I regularly report on line from NC meetings and, if elected, will continue to do so.

    FIGHTING FOR UNITY ON THE LEFT

  • My political work since expulsion from the Labour party in 1992 has been to try and build unity across the left as part of the process of building a new, mass, open, democratic socialist party. LU can play a vital role in that.
  • I moved the successful resolution at 2014 Conference committing LU to open discussions with other left parties to avoid electoral clashes and form pacts.
  • As an officer of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, I was subsequently in an ideal position to help broker the deal enabling LU branches to stand as LU-TUSC: the majority of LU General Election candidates stood on that joint ticket.

    LU and LABOUR

  • The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn is very significant, but it hasn’t changed the nature of the Labour Party which remains split, undemocratic and will, once again, be cutting local services.
  • We must oppose that whilst building unity with the Labour Left.
  • It is vital that we demonstrate there is an alternative to austerity – Labour Councils will implement massive cuts without a fight, despite Jeremy’s victory. The working class needs a united voice.

The jury is out on how Labour will develop. We need a new socialist party which opposes austerity, privatisation, war and all forms of discrimination and bigotry. Let’s help build that, with, or without, support from Labour.

Julie Morrow

Nominated by Andrew Burgin

I have recently retired from a career in public service as a teacher and leader of schools and children’s centres. I live in Ayr, Scotland where I work part time for Barnardo’s and volunteer at the local foodbank. I am an active member of RISE in Scotland.If my nomination is accepted I will:

  • seek to develop mutually beneficial links between RISE and LU
  • campaign for better ways to support those who are most vulnerable, in particular to support the further development of Universal Basic Income
  • lead and support campaigns against racism and fascism
  • support the campaign for another referendum on  autonomy in Scotland
  • explore ways to support the development of the left and attract young people to join a movement against the crushing and cruel policies of the Tory Government

    Julie Morrow

Susan Pashkoff

Nominated by Andrew Burgin, Alison Treacher, Bob Williams-Findlay and Wales branch

I am standing for the National Council of Left Unity.

In my time in Left Unity, I have worked to help build the Waltham Forest Left Unity Branch in London, helped to develop the LU Women’s Caucus and have participated in LU Disabled Members Caucus. I have also worked in the Economics Policy Caucus and along with others, I am helping to pull the Social Security and Social Care Policy Caucus. I have been asked to participate on the editorial board of the new Transform Magazine which is linked to the European Left Party of which LU is a member.

I have participated in both the NC and EC of Left Unity as a representative from the Women’s Caucus. At the last election, I won a directly elected seat where I have contributed by helping build our presence at the London Women’s March by writing and also by presenting a discussion on Trump and Women. I have been active in the anti-Trump activity of Left Unity by writing, participating in demos and leafleting. My participation is broad and I strongly believe that comrades should participate in whatever way they are able to.

I also am a member of East London Unite Community and have helped in eviction resistance, opposition to benefit sanctions and in campaigns in the Union and am the temporary chair in that Branch. I additionally have been able to address issues that are pertinent to economic discussions (such as UBI) that are being debated in the general union movement.

I strongly support Left Unity and I think we still have quite a lot of do and that there is space for us in the current political climate. We are a part of the struggle against a strengthened right-wing in the US and Europe and can help beat the right back and win others to the struggle.

Roland Rance

Nominated by Ali Treacher and Garth Frankland

In the Brexit/Trump world, there is a pressing need for a broad socialist, internationalist, feminist and environmentalist party like Left Unity. At the same time, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has dramatically changed the context in which we are working in Britain.

Now is not the time for us to give up! Left Unity needs to remain part of the movement in defence of migrants and all the socially and economically oppressed in our society, against war and austerity, in solidarity with liberation struggles worldwide, and in defence of the environment of our planet, threatened with terminal devastation by the forces of unbridled capitalism.

We need to be fighting for all of these today, as well as helping to bring about the swiftest possible removal of the unelected May government and the election of an alternative, committed to many of the values we share. And then we need to be there fighting to hold such a government to its promises, and to defend it against the inevitable delegitimation and attacks which it will face.

I am standing for election to National Council to help further this project. I was a founder member of LU, I have been the organiser of Waltham Forest Branch and an active member of the London Regional Committee, as well as serving two terms on the Standing Orders Committee.

As well as Left Unity, I am a member of Socialist Resistance and the Fourth International. I have a long record of political in many political campaigns. In particular, for the past forty years I have been active – in Bradford, Jerusalem and London – in Palestine solidarity campaigning, and I am currently working with the Free Speech on Israel campaign.

Barbara Segal

Nominated by Andrew Burgin

I have been involved in Left Unity since its beginnings, and was an active member of the Bristol branch while it was functioning. When LU became a political party I took on the task of compiling the national membership list and have subsequently managed membership and payment records, working with the help of comrades to improve our procedures and systems with minimal resources. I think this has helped us to retain and support members, though it is still a work in progress! I have served one term as a nationally elected member of the National Council, and one term as a regional rep for the South West. After a year out from the NC I have decided to stand again as a nationally-elected member, as I think that this will enable me to focus more closely on national issues, particularly those involved with recruiting, retaining and involving members. I would continue to collaborate with active comrades in the South West and would hope to help with setting up a workable regional structure.

Personally I am at the libertarian end of the LU political spectrum with a background in feminist and anarchist politics. Before joining Left Unity I have never been a member of a political party and while supporting Jeremy Corbyn and many of his policies I do not think a renewed Labour Party is the way forward for the Left. But I have always been willing to work with comrades from different political traditions, as demonstrated by my involvement in LU to date. As an active trades unionist I have variously been department and site rep, local negotiator, national council delegate, womens’ rep, case worker etc., most recently in AUT/UCU, of which I am now a retired member. I currently represent the UCU South West retired branch on Bristol Trades Council.

Doug Thorpe

Nominated by Andrew Burgin

I am the Haringey/North London LU Branch organiser and have been involved in building LU since its beginning.

I am currently a nationally elected member of the outgoing National Council and a member of the Executive committee.

I have an interest in Housing and am actively involved in Housing campaigns (Defend Council Housing, Radical Housing Network, Kill the Housing Bill Campaign) at a branch, regional and national level.

I believe I can continue to make a useful contribution to Left Unity as a member of the National Council.

Bianca Todd

Nominated by Felicity Dowling and Andrew Burgin

I am a founding member of Left Unity and have played a pro-active role during my time within the officer team. I totally believe that today, more than ever there is an important place for Left Unity within the political landscape and the party can play an important role in fighting for a fairer world for ordinary people on a local, regional, national and international platform. I am committed to the principles of social justice, equality and fairness which areintrinsic to the aims and values of Left Unity. My skills lie around using a co-creative approach to collective solutions to weld communities together, securing social change with a grassroots, action and words approach. I would welcome the opportunity to play an active role in the national committee and support the development of Left Unity.

Alison Treacher

Nominated by Kate Hudson, Joseph Healy and Ian Parker

Left Unity has faced a difficult year with the election of Corbyn but our contribution to the movement has been an important one. We communicated the correct line on Brexit and with the election of Trump and the triggering of Article 50 looming our work is more crucial than ever. We need to continue to be principled and focused on standing in solidarity with migrants and coherently putting forward the arguments for free movement of people. We also need to be effective in highlighting when Labour and the union leaders fudge these issues.

I have been an active member of Left Unity since the founding conference. I was the Stockport branch’s chair for two years where we campaigned against mental health cuts, the closure of our local wellbeing centre and led a three month picket of the local job centre drawing attention to benefit sanctions. I was also a founding member of Stockport United Against Austerity have been active in their campaigns against council cuts.

I have recently been organising in Manchester and we have hosted meetings exploring the relationship between our mental health and capitalism and Trump’s election.

I am a branch secretary for Unite and have recently been elected to the NW Regional Committee. Our branch is currently campaigning for the closure of detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood and against recent changes in immigration law negatively affecting those seeking the right to remain. 

I am a mental health community worker and am involved with Manchester’s Radical Mental Health Forum.

I hope to be re-elected for the National Council and continue working hard for the party.

Bob Williams-Findlay

Nominated by Bob Whitehead, Mike Turner and Susan Pashkoff

For those who dont know me I’m a UNISON member with thirty six years engagement inside West Midlands’ politics with a background in campaigning and a career within the development of anti-oppressive strategies, I was a co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts and the LU Disabled Members Caucus.

My activism has included holding a variety of leadership roles at local, regional and national levels. Currently, I’m vice-chair of Birmingham Left Unity branch, joint co-ordinator of Disabled People Against Cuts West Midlands and Chair of the Black Country People’s Assembly.

Using my experience and analytical skills I believe I brought a fresh perspective to the National Council through my contributions both verbal and written. I am keen to continue to influence LU’s development and see the current political climate as extremely challenging. During my time on the NC I have sought to raise important policy issues such as Independent Living and Social Care. Through social media I have pushed LU’s position on Europe, Freedom of Movement and the threats from the Far Right.

My experience spans time inside the Labour Party with Labour Briefing and far Left groupings which means I’m critical of how some view Entryism and the historical role of left social democracy. The hit LU took with the election of Corbyn impacted upon all sections of the organisation as we know, but it particularly undermined the work of the LU Disabled Members Caucus and I am determined to see this turned around. Another area of concern I have is the marginalisation of representatives of oppressed groups within Left politics in general and I would like to champion greater social inclusivity through my involvement with the National Council. As an older disabled person well known in my communities I believe I can assist LU to go forward.


Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.

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ACTIVIST CALENDAR

Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.

Sat 1st July
Not One Day More: National Demonstration

Not One Day More #ToriesOUT
Assemble 12 noon, Saturday 1 July 2017
BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
March to Parliament Square

INVITE YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSPORT / COACHES TO THE DEMO

Saturday 24 June
March for Homes

Join the movement preparing for this demo: private, council, housing association and co-op tenants, unions and housing campaigners

To get involved email info@axethehousingact.org.uk or call 07432 098440

Weds 12 July, 19:30
Who’s beating back ISIS in Syria?

Learn more with Rahila Gupta, freelance journalist, writer & activist, who visited Rojava in 2016.

David’s Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3DE. £3 entry.

www.davids-bookshops.co.uk  Organised by the North Herts Friends of Rojava. Contact nhfor@outlook.com

Weds 19 – Sun 23 July
European Left Summer University

This year, the European Left/Transform Summer University will be held in Budapest, Hungary, from 19-23 of July. For programme details click here. For registration click here.

Sun 23 – Sat 29 July
International Youth Camp, Otranto, Italy

The Fourth International’s annual youth camp – find out more about socialism, feminism and environmentalism.

For more information email contact@socialistresistance.org

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