Left Party Platform dissolves


934146_364746756979885_1795043796_nThe Left Party Platform was founded in July following a decision by Left Unity’s National Coordinating Group to allow platforms of ten or more members to openly argue for shared political positions.

The Left Party Platform produced an initial statement and background document which it publicised widely, seeking to promote its vision of a broad party of the left – socialist, feminist and environmentalist. In the run up to the founding conference, the Platform produced a revised statement combining elements of both its documents, strengthened by feedback from supporters. This revised statement was submitted to the pre-conference discussion as a proposed Aims section for the constitution.

At the founding conference, the Left Party Platform statement was debated along with other platform statements. Following amendment, the Left Party Platform statement was accepted, along with the Hackney/Tower Hamlets statement, as our first party policy documents – rather than the party’s Aims section – for the new party, by 295 votes in favour, 101 against and 12 abstentions.

As this vision of a broad party of the left has now become party policy, the Left Party Platform has taken the decision to dissolve itself. All our energies are focused on building the new party and taking its policies forward into our communities, campaigns and into the wider struggle.

We thank those who signed their support for the Platform – over 150 Left Unity members – and all those who decided to vote for the amended Platform statement at the founding conference.


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11 responses to “Left Party Platform dissolves”

  1. Joseph Healy says:

    It is, of course, up to the members of the Left Party Platform as to whether they wish to dissolve the Platform, but I must take issue with the definition of what happened regarding the Platforms at the conference last Saturday, which I attended.

    It was made absolutely clear that the Aims of the party were separate from the Platforms – this was overwhelmingly carried. Also it was not debated in the section of the conference dealing with the Constitution – which had a completely different session. The platform debate was taken completely separately.

    I am not contesting that the Left Platform gained the most votes but now to claim that: “As this vision of a broad party of the left has now become party policy, the Left Party Platform has taken the decision to dissolve itself” is disingenuous. It was accepted as support for the Platform – not as a policy statement.

    My understanding is that policy will be debated at the March conference. So please let us not try and cause confusion by stating that this is the policy of the new party – it is not.

    • John Collingwood says:


      Many thanks for this clarification. I read the article above, and began to wonder whether I could have fallen asleep for a long section of the conference. Your version is what I remember. Hopefully we will get an ‘official’ version on the website soon.

    • Ray G says:

      You are quite correct that this platform is not in the constitution. Most policies of any party are not in their constitution. The Aims are a permanent statement of the ethos of the party, not to be revised every five minutes.

      However, if a political document is supported by almost two thirds of the delegates at a founding conference, how can this NOT be a statement of our party’s policy. Of course it is, alongside the statement from Tower Hamlets and Hackney, which were also passed and which do not conflict with the LPP platform (as crucially amended by Camden). To pretend otherwise flies in the face of basic democratic principles.

      By the way, the Aims section of the constitution and the platforms were discussed together in the same section of the conference.

  2. Jacob Richter says:

    Although not clear enough on the socialism question, not even taking the moniker “socialism of the 21st century,” from what I heard there was an amendment that passed which made it a principle to oppose participation in capitalist governments. That’s an open step forward, something not seen in so many past broad-left projects.

  3. Ian Townson says:

    It was clear to me at the founding conference that the issues discussed were chiefly amendments to the constitution and the aims of the new party and that this is what we were called upon to vote. We did not vote on any issues of policy in relation to the different platforms. Clearly there was a lot of discussion around all the platforms and the Left Party platform was given a huge vote of confidence over the others. However this was not an endorsement of Left Unity’s ‘vision of a broad party of the Left’ as a fait accompli with all the other platforms disappearing into the wood work. If that was the case then why bother with the policy conference in March? Pre-empting further democratic debate on policy in the euphoria of wishful thinking isn’t the way forward for a united party.

    • Ray G says:

      I am sorry Ian, but when one political platform or statement is passed and another is defeated – that is called democracy.

      The Left Party Platform and the Statement from Hackney and Tower Hamlets are the only policies we have until the next policy conference.

      If new policies are then agreed in March that either flesh out or indeed replace the decisions of the founding conference – that is also democracy.

      The conference also voted to allow platforms to exist on a permanent basis, so the other platforms do not have to (and, of course, will not) “disappear into the woodwork”. It is their right to campaign for changes of policy.

      The Left Party Platform has simply unilaterally decided to disband. That is their right.

      The aims section of the constitution can be amended in future by a simple majority vote, as decided at the founding conference.

      I hope that clarifies this (rather puzzling) apparent confusion.

      • John Collingwood says:


        It seems that many of those who, like myself, came into Left Unity with no previous experience of left party matters, found the rules and mechanisms of the Founding Conference quite strange – like stepping into an alien game in which most people appear to accept the rules but do not see any need to explain them up front, let alone allow them to be questioned by newcomers.

        To use the reply ‘that is called democracy’ illustrates the point: it is undoubtedly true in that you are calling it democracy, but that does not mean that democracy is confined to operating in this particular mode alone. Skimped adversarial debates + simple majority voting on a host of detailed modifications to complicated issues, is not everyone’s idea of how to conduct a broad discussion and make the best use of the ideas and experience that people bring to the occasion.

        Maybe a previous conference last spring (which I missed) had set the ground rules in a democratic fashion, but I got the impression at the Conference (and beforehand, in the wrangling necessary to prevent the SOC from strangulating Platform 9 3/4) that Left Unity was simply adopting the methods of previous parties, without considering whether they were still fit for purpose in the context of a new organisation, which needs to attract members from outside the traditional left.

        The success of a mass democratic movement depends crucially on its members’ sense of belonging to an organisation that understands their concerns. The November 30th gathering achieved a remarkable amount in spite of a punishing agenda, but it also left many of us scratching our heads about exactly what it was that we were being asked to vote on, and even the chair was at times confused about the implications of the Byzantine network of linkages between the various motions under consideration. Surely now would be a good time to be seeking consensus rather than telling people ‘how it is’?

  4. Ray G says:

    Just to clarify – the 9 3/4 platform only moved a four point resolution. The first point asked for the debate on platforms not to be held (as I recall) and was therefore called as an amendment to the procedures of the conference. Points 2 and 3 called for a friendly debate etc and were moved at the conference. Point 4 was about buying a cake for Ken Loach every year and was ruled out of order as it was trivial (on a very busy day) and also committed LU to open ended expenditure (petty – but there you are).

    The Standing Orders Committee did try to get the whole motion withdrawn before the conference as we regarded it as a joke motion which, while amusing, would eat up valuable time at a conference that everyone accepts was very crowded.

    In the event it was actually moved but then withdrawn by the movers before any vote was taken. In fact it turned out to be a bit of harmless fun and was amusing, but I hope members can appreciate SOC’s motives in trying to reduce the numbers of resolutions discussed.

    • John Collingwood says:

      Further clarification: Platform 9 3/4’s first point was an appeal to refrain from voting any single Platform’s text straight into the ‘aims’ section of the LU constitution. The grounds for this were that it was potentially divisive, and that there was still scope for generating a better consensus through synthesis of the best bits from all of the discussions. At no point did Platform 9 3/4 seek to limit discussion – quite the reverse.

      In fact it was point 1 that was spoken to at the conference – by Mike Wayne – not points 2 and 3. The final version of the proposal was that the aims put forward by the internal democracy commission could remain as interim aims until we complete the process of drawing up our aims in a more democratic manner in the next scheduled conference (ie early 2014).

      As things turned out, this point was made largely redundant by the related Lambeth proposal (adopted earlier in the proceedings) that the platforms should be taken as platforms of the organisation but not as the aims of the organisation. And the more general questions as to the wisdom of setting up competing platforms had already been considered by Ken Loach.

  5. Pete b says:

    Yes, seemed to be some triumphalism in birmingham. But we have some good proposals about launcing a youth (and student) initiative, coordinating trade unionists in the branch and heavy engagement in campaigning against a savage council cuts budget proposed by the labour council.
    With around 90 members and a healthy number of friends on facebook page we have a lot to do to bring people together.
    I dont really see the lpp vote as surprising, im a little concernef that the aims part of constitution is more reformist friendly than the lpp which responded to preassure. Im pleased we have allowed groups to organise and form platforms. Id like to see us make a ststement on thr swp conference and invite people leaving to join left unity.
    It will be a loss if those comrades become inactive and I would like to see them and others working with us in left unity.
    I know that many of the diffrrent groups in left unity will say these things. But I think it would be good if the new party could do this. I thimk the composition of left unity will change as it grows both through recruiting individuaks and attracting other groups into left unity. The faction fefeated at swp conference and from which many are leaving should know that left unity is becoming a useful place to be as it contains socialists who have decided to work together to build something new. They have a role to play in left unity.
    Pete b

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