Internal elections 2018 – national officers statements

National Secretary

One candidate for one place

Felicity Dowling
Nominated by Nick Jones and Kate Hudson

I would like to stand for the post of Secretary of Left Unity. Nick Jones has agreed to propose me.

Life in our communities is tough, poverty is growing yet another world is possible. The 1% get richer. Struggles have developed but not yet a fully-fledged resistance. Resistance must be a mass movement, going deep into our communities. Without resistance, poverty, xenophobia, wars and environmental degradation will become the experience of this and the next generation.

“2008-2015 UK real wages fell by 1% a year”, the longest decline yet in real wages. The NHS is at risk, conditions of work worsen, fracking grows. Even Labour councils implement cuts that kill. This is deeper than the policies of one nasty government.

Our politics are internationalist, anti-imperialist and committed to the ending of capitalism. We work with the European Left Party and oppose Brexit. We are concerned about Syria, Yemen, Congo, Turkey, Palestine, and more. Where we can, we offer practical solidarity. Trump is dangerous, and we support resistance in the US. Our opposition to war, nuclear weapons and imperialism is crucial.

Our politics are feminist. Real wages for women still do not equal men’s, women’s pensions are cut, the ‘mother penalty’ in wages grows. 86% of Austerity hits women. Men kill two women a week, yet domestic violence shelters are closed. Violence and abuse against women and girls is a global reality.

Child poverty, unhappiness, destruction of services, and sexual exploitation hurt children. Vicious policies on illness and disability creates suffering. People die sleeping on the streets. Immigration policies are appalling. Grenfell happened. Racism and Islamophobia are real dangers, Free movement is at risk. Yet young people find these policies abhorrent.

This is a tough time for Left Unity, nevertheless we persist! We take up issues, work with other socialists, including socialists working in Labour, and with people coming fresh into action. Ideas must be defended and action taken.

Principal Speakers Male

Two candidates for two places

Nick Jones
Nominated by Felicity Dowling, Marc Renwick

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, education and LGBT+.

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

Joseph Healy
Nominated by Kate Hudson, Richard Farnos, South London Branch

I have been one of the Principal Speakers for the last two years and am standing for re-election. During that time I believe that I have carried out the tasks well despite it being a difficult time for Left Unity. In my first year I spoke to a number of branches on a variety of issues. Because of a lack of media coverage, I have also had less opportunities to give interviews etc but have continued to issue statements on a variety of issues, the latest being on the Jeremy Corbyn speech on Brexit which have gone on our website.
I have also represented Left Unity at a variety of European conferences, including a meeting of the European Party Executive last autumn. I am also the representative of LU on the committee of Another Europe is Possible.
I have played an active role locally as Chair of the South London branch, where we are involved in a number of local campaigns ranging from housing issues and cuts in Lambeth and Southwark to being involved in the local elections in London. I am also a member of UNITE and an equalities rep at my workplace. As a gay man I am also active in LGBTQ campaigns and am currently Chair of the London Irish LGBT Network.

I want to continue to speak at public meetings and branch meetings for Left Unity and also to issue statements on current political developments. I would also hope to appear more in the media representing Left Unity and I have recently been asked to write an article on Brexit for Red Pepper magazine. I also want to continue to play an active role at national level in the party and to continue to try and gain a higher profile for Left Unity.

Principal Speakers Female

One candidate for two places (we will soon reopen nominations)

Sharon McCourt
Nominated by Bob Whitehead, Darren McCourt, Kate Hudson

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 and 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 and fights for our children’s futures. I have never wavered in my belief in building this party never believing that the Corbyn surge in the Labour party can offer what we need which is a truly socialist alternative. The pace of change in politics is not letting up, we are on the verge of going off the cliff of Brexit. Our NHS is on the verge of destruction, social care is being ripped to shreds. We need an alternative and while Jeremy may offer some hope he is not going to be able to do all that needs to be done. We need to build a voice for those who cannot be heard.

I do 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.

Left Unity needs to change we all know we cannot be what we envisaged we would be by now, however our organisation is relevant, it is needed and it needs to grow. We are literally seeing people freeze to death on our streets. What will become of our children?

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.
We have to fight there has to be an alternative voice, we need to take the fight to the government not just sit about and hope that a change to a Labour government will build our houses or rebuild our NHS or build the future that our kids and grandkids need us to build.

Much is changing but so much needs to be done and we are going to have to fight to get it. I still believe In LU and I think we are needed now more than ever.

Membership and Communications Officer

One candidate for one place

Richard Farnos
Nominated by Joseph Healy, Steve Freeman, Mathew Hurry, Kate Hudson, South London Branch

I have involved in radical politics since my youth. I cut my teeth being involved in the peace movement. I was a member of the Militant Tendency, the Labour Party, and the Socialist Labour Party. I have been active in LGBT politics been involved in the anti-cut movement including being Convenor of Queers Against the Cuts.

I have been on the National Council of Left Unity for four years first as a rep from the LGBT caucus and for the last two years as part of the national slate. Currently I am Secretary of the South London Branch

Left Unity is unique to politics in British Left in that it open democratic and not dominate by individual ego or sect. This promise is I think part of the reason why, battling against the stream, we have managed to survive for another year. To rebuild we must consolidate what we have, build foundations and create a unique profile.

This is both political and organisational. We must continue to support the ‘bread and butter’ issues and offering a more radical agenda including promotion important but unfashionable issues that are in danger of being forgotten by the Corbynistas. This includes unilateral nuclear disarmament, freedom of movement in Europe and beyond, the environment, and Republicanism.

We need to get more organised, including reviewing our expenditure and financial systems. If elected as Branch and Communications Officer I would in collaboration with the NC :
• Work with the Treasurer to regularise the funding of branches
• Reorganises Membership management
• Review and reorganise the website
• Regularise reports to the EC and NC committee.
• Work with branch officer to review what support can centrally be given to branches
• Set up some speaking tours
• Encourage greater involvement of members, partially in non-branched areas
• Set some reasonable targets for growth

Media Officer

One candidate for one place

Kate Hudson
Nominated by Felicity Dowling

I accept nomination as Media Officer of Left Unity. I have served in this post over the last year and prior to that I served for three years as National Secretary. Over these four years since foundation we have faced many political challenges: punitive government austerity policies, devastation of our NHS, the rise of the far right, racism and xenophobia.

Jeremy Corbyn’s election has drawn support away from our party but I shared the view with others that a clear expression of our socialist, feminist and environmental politics, against all forms of discrimination, is essential in British politics. 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 – our radical socialist ideas are popular – even if we are not currently attracting large numbers to join. Contributing to the battle of ideas is crucial – young people in particular are hungry for discussion, as well as action. I have attempted to present our politics, including the European left perspective, via our website. We also need a strong grass roots campaigning presence in our communities, where advance is possible against right-wing Labour councils – notably the HDV campaign in Haringey in which we were active. I would like to continue to work for our politics to the best of my ability and I hope you will support me for this post. Thank you very much.


One candidate for one place

Andrew Burgin
Nominated by Kate Hudson

I accept nomination as Treasurer. Over the past two years I have been Membership Officer, but I also served as Treasurer prior to that. Over the last year Left Unity has continued to maintain an independent radical left voice in British politics, as well as increasing our work with our sister parties in the European Left. We remain strong supporters of the left developments in the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn while recognising that there is a distinct radical socialist politics to the left of Labour that needs expression and action.

We are active in key campaigns especially in support of free movement, such as Another Europe is Possible, and the Alliance for Free Movement, 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. I have participated in a number of European meetings, including the Marseille Forum in November 2017, and have written for European publications. I am also involved in the development and production of Transform, the journal of the radical left, which is part of the European Transform network, the political foundation of the European Left Party.
We have strong politics, essential if there is to be left progress in Britain. We have a clear voice against war, against NATO and against nuclear weapons. Our anti-imperialist and internationalist politics are crucial not just for Britain but for Europe and globally, and they are not getting the support they require within Labour. If I am elected I will work to secure our party’s financial stability in order to continue this vital political work. I hope you will give me your support.


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