Three candidates for two places
Nominated by Andrew Burgin
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, so I am putting myself forward for election as one of Left Unity’s Principal Speakers. I see the Stop Trump movement as our immediate priority.
Nominated by Kate Hudson, Andrew Burgin, Steven Hall, Nick Jones, Ali Treacher, South London Branch, Wigan branch and Wales branch
I have been the Principal Speaker for the last year. During that time I have spoken at several branch meetings in London and Brighton and also at London region. I spoke at several Migrant Rights demonstrations and also at the anti-Trident demonstration outside parliament. I am also the Chair of the South London branch. I am an LGBT activist and member of the LGBT Caucus. I am an equalities rep for UNITE at my workplace and former Vice Chair of UNITE LGBT Committee for London & Eastern region. I am also Chair of the London Irish LGBT Network. I am disabled and work for a disability organisation in London and have been involved in disability rights campaigns.
I formerly served for a year on the National Council representing London and prior to that was a member of the Disputes Committee. This experience in the party allowed me to understand issues and make contacts with people outside London. Also as an Irish citizen and EU migrant I have a good understanding of the issues facing these people under Brexit and have been active in the international side of the party representing LU at two conferences in Denmark and building links with sister parties. I am a committed socialist, European and internationalist and see Left Unity as part of the New Left being constructed in the UK. I see the combating of racism, the Far Right and xenophobia as being one of the main concerns of LU in the year ahead. The other vital campaign is saving the NHS. Please re-elect me.
Nominated by Stephen Hall, Leeds Branch, South London branch and Wigan branch
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
Equality for all
One candidate for two places (we will soon reopen nominations)
Nominated by Andrew Burgin, Darren McCourt, Felicity Dowling and Mike Tucker
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.
One candidate for one place
Nominated by LU Wales branch, South London branch and Felicity Dowling
I have been doing this for a year and am very willing to carry on and I still support the policies of Left Unity.
Two candidates for one place
Nominated by Wigan branch
I am a founder member of Left Unity with a proud record of trades union activism going back to the 1970s. I am currently President of GMATUC, Chair of Unite Greater Manchester Area Activists, member of the NWTUC Regional Exec, Bolton TUC and NW Trades Councils’ rep on the TUCJCC nationally.
If elected, my aim will be to help develop and better co-ordinate our work in the unions, and on local trades councils, where we continue to punch way beyond our weight, and as a consequence, are not without influence on events in many big towns and cities.
This influence in key areas, ability to unite and work with others on specific issues, and use of the unions and local trades councils as a ‘lever’ to generate action, way beyond what we ourselves would otherwise be capable of doing independently, is an approach we need to continue with and build on. It can only assist, as events unfold, in enhancing our reputation as consistent, principled fighters for the working class and oppressed everywhere.
In order to better progress our work in the unions, however, it is vital that local branches also step up their game in terms of their own relationships with, and work in their local union branches, TUCs, etc. Additionally, are prepared to liaise and co-operate with the new Trades Union Officer, in establishing where we do have members active in the unions, and local TUCs; which ones they are, and to what extent. The same goes for party members who are unattached to a LU branch, but who are active in a union.
This will better enable us to exert influence in the unions, and to better co-ordinate and promote those campaigns, motions, demos, etc, we believe should be supported within the unions and more widely.
Nominated by Margaret McAdam, Aimi Molloy, Alison Teacher, John Pearson
40 years trade union experience
Build union support for international initiatives eg. “One Day Without Us”; international general strike 8 March International Women’s Day – being discussed across 15 countries.
Involvement in community and union campaigns: fighting all austerity measures – with union branches and anti-cuts groups.
Part of leadership group that successfully campaigned to keep Liverpool libraries open; defeated public space restrictions on gatherings; campaign with Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
With others we proposed a class struggle trade union programme for Left Unity to increase the discussion on how to face the depth of problems facing the working class, the need for class independence from capitalism and the bureaucracy, and for internationalism. A specific example of such problems is between the TUC and RMT, RMT calling the recent agreement over DOO with employers a “historic betrayal” of the TUC.
Also a member of: Old Swan Against Cuts, International Socialist League.
One candidate for one place
Nominated by West London branch
I have undertaken this post before, when LU was contesting elections. Although we are not currently standing in elections, to function as a political party we need a named Nominating officer for the Electoral Society rules.
One candidate for one place
Nominated by Wales branch, South London branch, Felicity Dowling and Andrew Burgin
I have now completed the maximum three year term as National Secretary of our party. I would like to thank everyone for the support and trust they have shown over this time, since the foundation of Left Unity. Over these three years we have faced many political challenges: punitive government austerity policies, devastation of our NHS, the rise of the far right, racism and xenophobia. We have also seen a big fight back across Europe with the strengthening of radical left parties in some countries – and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as an expression of that same radical anti-austerity wave here in Britain.
Corbyn’s election drew some support away from our party but I shared the view of the majority of members that a clear expression of our socialist, feminist and environmental politics, against all forms of discrimination, is essential on the British political spectrum. This has proved to be the case in a number of areas particularly around issues like anti-cuts, anti-war, anti-NATO, anti-Trident, unequivocally pro-immigration and free movement, fighting every step of the way on the terms of Brexit. And we are not alone in this political perspective – we are now part of the European Left Party, working in solidarity against our shared problems in the era of Trumpism.
I would like to continue to contribute to the advance of our politics at this crucial time – support is increasing again and we need a strong presence in our communities and getting our case over in the national, regional and local media. I have a good range of media experience through my work in a number of campaigns and I hope you will support me for the post of Media Officer. Thank you very much.
One candidate for one place
Nominated by Wales branch, South London branch, Felicity Dowling and Kate Hudson
I accept nomination for a second term as Membership and Communication officer. Left Unity’s great achievement over the last year is its continued existence and the strength of its politics.
Despite the massive victories and great enthusiasm on the left for the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn we have managed to trace a fine line by supporting Jeremy’s leadership whilst maintaining Left Unity as a separate radical socialist party.
We have helped initiate important campaigns: around the referendum – Another Europe is Possible, and in Liverpool we are at the heart of the defence of the Women’s hospital, in Wigan in the anti-fracking campaign, and our comrades are taking a lead in important health and anti-austerity work elsewhere.
The party has deepened its European and international work. We are producing regular newsletter updates and impressive campaigning materials. We have helped launch two recent initiatives – the Stop Trump Coalition and the Alliance for Free Movement. Our membership of the European Left Party (ELP) has been confirmed and I am helping to arrange a tour of four cities with representatives from the ELP.
I have visited branches in Bristol, Norwich, Cambridge, London, Brighton and Birmingham. In the next month I will be going to both Leeds and Manchester.
The membership is now stabilising and the branches are beginning to become more active again, making good use of our strikingly designed materials – with powerful political messaging . In the coming year a key task must be to encourage a new layer of young people into the party. I hope you will give me your support to continue this work.
Two candidates for one place
Nominated by Kate Hudson, Amie Molloy, Julie Morrow, Alice Kilroy, Adele Andrews, Bianca Todd and Wales branch
I would like to stand for election as National Secretary 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
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
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.
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
Nominated by Susan Pashkoff, Alison Treacher, Joseph Healy, Matthew Hurry, Steve Freeman, South London branch, LGBT caucus
“The trouble with socialism is that it takes too many evenings.” Oscar Wilde observed. And one of the most off-putting things about the Left is the habit in falling into hyper-activity. Spurred by the wave after wave of attacks, the urge develops to march on every demo, attend every meeting and respond to every offensive. For a small party, such as Left Unity this can be ruinous.
Firstly there is a danger of the our party in developing what the eminent Feminist Jo Freeman called a ‘Star system’ of high committed individuals; and secondly we can end up just reacting to events , and without strategy, failing to build the party let alone win any victories.
No one is to blame for this, once recognised, however, it needs to be tackled.
We need to take inspiration in the peace movement of the early eighties where all were involved from the young activist sleeping in her beanie at a peace camp to her grandfather staffing a telephone tree. The party needsto grounded on lots of people doing little than a few doing everything. In terms of strategy we need to think before we engage, work out whether this is best use of our efforts and to do less, better.
I am no star, I don’t have the time, energy of inclination. What I can offer is over 30 years of experience of involvement in radical politics, largely as a foot soldier, and 14 years of community development work in the voluntary sector. I have a collaborative approach, planning and resource management skills, and a strategic thinker – all essential in the role of National Secretary.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.
Saturday 25th November
Trump: Nuclear Apocalypse or New Cold War?
Leeds Swarthmore Centre at 2pm with Kate Hudson, General Secretary, CND. The threat of nuclear war is at its highest level since the Cold War. What can socialists do to stop it? facebook here
Saturday 25th November
Discussing Catalan self-determination
South London Left Unity discussion, also talking about the future of the left outside the Labour Party: 1- 4pm, Camberwell Library, Camberwell Green London SE5 7AL. All welcome.
Saturday 2 December
Latin America Conference 2017
TUC Congress House London at 9.15am: With countries across Latin America facing a resurgent right and the threat of intervention from Trump, this year’s Latin America Conference will be the most crucial yet. More info here
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