Left Unity’s ‘modest flutter’: a response

thatcherDoncaster activist Louise Harrison challenges Labour to put up a fight.

Interesting. This argument for me encapsulates everything I’ve heard over the last two years from Labour Party Unite members who argue that the Labour Party is like it is because people like me aren’t in it pulling it to the left. In reality it’s the same argument I’ve heard for years. What people don’t ask is , if you were ever in the Labour Party in the past and what was your experience? I did start off in the Labour Party at 16, after the miners’ strike lost. My dad was a miner, but my mum was the activist, involved in women against pit closures. I walked in the meeting and saw posters supporting the steel strike on the wall from 4 years ago, not one poster supporting the miners. Pits surrounded the local Labour Party. I questioned it, but it wasn’t until the young socialists were disbanded by Doncaster party hierarchy for being too militant, that it dawned on me what was going on. This was 1986, and after that I have watched the Labour Party abandon towns like Doncaster, year after year after year and they are still doing it. So what do we do?

The article’s right, New Labour hasn’t disappeared; the Labour Party are paralysed from stopping any of the heartbreaking cuts in our area. We have lost thousands of public sector jobs, services and 14 libraries; all our public swimming baths have been taken over, prices have rocketed and youth unemployment is sky high. WE HAVE THE HIGHEST RATES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -18 PHONE CALLS TO THE POLICE EVERY DAY – ON AVERAGE A WOMAN IS HIT 35 TIMES BEFORE SHE REPORTS IT. We have the highest child abuse cases for all of Yorkshire and alcoholism. And this situation can only worsen with how deep the cuts are coming.

Anyone who knows the activists in Donny, like Dot Gibson, Bob Crow and Tony Benn, know we are ordinary people, completely a part of the working class; we work, we lose jobs, our kids go to state schools that have all been taken over and turned in to academies. Our sixth form centres are offering less courses and young people regularly get their benefits cut. We struggle to pay bills, we worry about the future, we worry about our neighbours future. People’s lives are changing for the worst on a daily basis. We have no option to do something. We have the right to do something. The Tories are leaving us no room to move, we have no choices, we are knackered.

I want to ask the person who wrote this article, what choice do you think we have? People like me, my family and friends.
Many of them are trade unionists, in UNISON. Many of them are thinking why do they pay their subs!!!! Does the Labour Party say anything to them, when their child’s school is academised, NO, why because Labour is for academisation. Does Labour say anything to them when they go on strike for their pension. No, because Ed believes we should work longer!!! What do the unions do? Well, let’s look at the NUT, the union that doesn’t pay to Labour, but you would think they did! No action when teachers vote for it??? Why do you think that is, waiting for a Labour government, I’d bet my life on it.

In Doncaster we have started to rebuild the left, it has been extremely successful. Many people are involved from many organisations, interestingly the only people who have a problem with decisions made by the broad left are the few who are in the Labour Party.
When push comes to shove, membership of the party and allegiance to it overrides anti-cuts work and moves them to the right, often acting in a sectarian and bullying manner; we see this in unions all the time, if you’re not in the Labour Party you won’t get on, your campaign to save a library will be scuppered, you’ll be forced out of a union position. We all know it’s true and it’s crippling the movement and fight back in towns like Doncaster.

What people have gone through has been a complete eye opener in our town, we are totally alienated from the Labour Party. Why do you think we got the first English democrat mayor? Labour has only scraped in this time due to the Tories, it’s not because of their policies.

I’ll make a deal with you, you come back to me or us by the next election. Let’s see what a Labour mayor and majority Labour cabinet had done for us in Donny. Will one library be re-opened? Will our baths be publicly controlled again? If Labour puts up a fight in our town and around the country, I’ll think of leaving Left Unity.



27 responses to “Left Unity’s ‘modest flutter’: a response”

  1. Jonno says:

    Can we have more of these working class voices on LU, no offence to others but to me they just seem to ring true…

  2. Ben McCall says:

    Louise, you are right, Labour are utterly bankrupt and useless in Doncaster and most other places. The problem is, those annoying ‘working class’ people keep voting for them and not for the ‘left’ candidates, admittedly in smaller and smaller numbers.

    In Doncaster, they have a ‘constitutional majority’ of over 66%. Before last Friday, because of the anti-democratic elected Mayoral system (which also, those pesky working class people voted to keep last year, the blighters! – partly in response to Labour’s Red Ed supporting the system, against Labour locally who opposed it; actually some were in favour of it – and the English Democrat Mayor – as it kept Labour out of power, because they hate their own comrades: it has always been so in Labour, the lovely ‘broad church’) despite this overwhelming majority, Labour were not in power!

    Yes, Labour just scraped back in with a majority of 600 or so; but they got well over 25,000 votes, to (the totally boring) TUSC’s 1,916 and (the self-appointed) Save Your Services, Doug’s 786. The English Democrats, with an unknown candidate, polled a very respectable 4,615 and National Front 1,066 – despite our hard work with Hope not Hate, to persuade people to give them a wide berth. I am not one for focusing on numbers. I think the left is so completely knackered, as you say. We need a very long term struggle to put us in anything like the position some people write as if we were in today, or the jolly “just round the corner” fantasy. However, as I explained to you and other comrades before the election, I was not prepared to see another four years of a right wing fool and for the first time in my life, voted Labour. A bit like (gawd help me) the choice between Romney and Obama.

    The pitifully low turnout of 28% is the main thing we should consider our opportunity. Grillo and other far nastier opportunists, have filled such a vacuum before in history. We should use this nadir in the history of the left in England, to build for the long term. Lots of LU people are understandably, but stupidly, saying things like “people are suffering TODAY, we can’t wait around we need to DO SOMETHING!” This is, as was called in dem good old days, ‘petit bourgeois frustration’ and, at the extreme, gave birth to horribleness like the Red Army Faction.

    There is no shortcut to patiently building a mass movement of people who have to work to live – by hand or by brain. The trouble is that a lot of us have been trying to do that for a long, long time. Either what we believe: peace, equality, common ownership and sustainability (at least that’s what I believe in!) is wrong and we need to wake up; or we have been doing the wrong things, in the wrong way, to persuade people that our ideas are right and the dominant ideas (or ‘common sense’): war, violence, inequality, competition, private property and gender/racial/religious, etc. supremacy, are wrong. I prefer to believe it is the latter and therefore we need a major rethink of the way we act, the language we use, the methods we employ and the culture of our movement.

    You have observed that a good majority of people debating on this site are men. I agree that this is a problem. Others don’t think so and in ideologically justified machismo, drone on and on the same old shite that we have all heard many times before.

    Getting to the point. I would recommend that you and any others read comments by two people who have impressed me – and hopefully others – greatly on this site. Coming from different experiences, genders and ages, to me they encapsulate the hope for the future of LU: Ray G (Building left unity: where to begin? Post on April 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm and others) and Jasmin Al Hadaq (What would a UKIP of the Left look like? Post on May 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm).

    • louise125 says:

      i dont quite agree with you ben.
      i know you voted labour and many of us in the established anti cuts group went with the anti cuts candidates. I personally think that was right, At sometime, someone has to say enough is enough, between them they got 2 and half thousand votes and as many in second votes if not more ive been told. Those votes are important, because they can be added to the alternative voice in Doncaster that says no!
      I dont blame working class people at all for voting labour, i don’t feel separate from the people who voted labour last week. I don’t have any complaint that there aren’t bulging anti cuts groups across the country. Why? Because it’s the fault utterly and completely of the established labour movement for following kinnock and blair and not fighting them. We couldn’t be in any worse a place if they had. In Doncaster the voice to tell us to not rock the as come all the time from labour, and it is streamed through the unions.
      There is already left unity in donny and it’s growing, i hope we can continue this success, linking with scunny, hull, leeds and ponti. :-))

      • Ben McCall says:

        We already know that we will agree to differ on a lot, as we go forward in Left Unity, Louise. The important thing is at this early stage is, as you say, that there is a lot of positive feeling on the left in Donny – and it certainly helps that you, me and Warren like and trust each other, even though we come from very different currents of the left. I agree, so far so good and look forward to our meeting tomorrow at 5, in our gaff, for the first Doncaster LU gathering – see you all there. Ben

  3. Dave Proudlove says:

    Encapsulates what many are feeling brilliantly. Labour underestimate what is happening at their peril. So be it. This is a call to arms. Who’s side are you on?

    • John Penney says:

      I agree Dave, Louise has cut through all the overblown rhetoric of the “modest flutter” articles , with the harsh reality of Labour’s utter betrayal of the working class and its political bankrupcy (and in Doncaster’s case , a generation or more of deep rooted corruption in Labour administrations — aka the “Donnygate” scandals).

      Working class militants like Louise need a fighting radical Left Party to link up and build their grass roots struggles, and broaden the local into the national and international struggles of working people against the worldwide austerity offensive.

  4. Charlotte Stoyles says:

    I agree! The Labour Party are a total disgrace. We really need to get the Unions to fight them. Why are they funding them at all? I have dumbfounded about it for at least a decade now. I’m really hoping that they will move to Left Unity, praying for it!

  5. Jim Kelly says:

    Louise Harrison gives a great responce to the Labour Party members knocking articles. A working class women from a working class town tells it how it is. The Labour Party, I am sorry to say has abandoned working class communities and no longer represents working people. We have to make a success of Left Unity and turn it into an effective democatic fighting organisation run its members.

  6. Tom says:

    Left Unity is right to stand candidates against Labour. However, it is wrong to dismiss all Labour members as the same, and all as bad as the Tories. Owen Jones is not Tony Blair. John McDonnell is not John Reid. If Left Unity is to get votes it has to relate to the socialists who are our natural constituency and most of them exaggerate the difference between Labour and the other parties for several related reasons. Firstly, the likes of Owen Jones participation misleads them as to the prospects of the left capturing Labour, lock, stock and barrel. Secondly, they look to the history of the Labour Party, a mythologized version of that history, and in particular they stress the continued relationship it has with the core organisations of the working class: the trade unions. This is key. Whey are the trade unions still subsidising Ed Miliband’s party? Firstly, it is right for the trade unions to seek a political voice. Secondly, there is nothing else as far as the trade unions are concerned that is a viable alternative. Leaping onto the bandwagon of all the parties of the capitalist class to call for the breaking of Labour’s union link regardless of a positive alternative is reactionary. Furthermore, it will undermine the electoral attractiveness of any so-called left party that argues such a position. The umbilical chord stretching from Ed Miliband’s PLP to the rank and file trade unionist creates an incentive on the part of all their politicians to tack to the left when their left flank is exposed in the electoral arena. In other words, to the extent that Left Unity succeeds in piling on votes, Labour MPs will engage in the sincerest form of flattery, if only to stop their votes leaching to Left Unity. This is a dialectical relationship, and it is far from annoying from the point of view of all of us who want not just the unity of the so-called left activist parties, but of our class. Every attempt by Labour MPs to echo and amplify the rhetoric and demands of Left Unity creates a far more favorable political climate within which our class will successfully challenge the capitalist agenda of Lib Dems, Tories and UKIP, and the Blairites too, and BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News. This will shift the political terrain in a way that makes further successes by Left Unity more likely. Left Unity can start to pile up successes long before we win a single seat in parliament by doing what UKIP has done from the point of view of the 99%, and the working class.

  7. Sean Thompson says:

    Michael’s article was a fairly orthodox rehash of the argument for limiting the activities of socialists to the safe confines of the Labour Party. When I first joined, over fifty years ago, the argument had a certain validity; the party really was the home of virtually all socialists apart from the shrinking numbers in the Communist Party (which, anyway, saw its main role as a pressure group acting on the Labour Party rather than as an independent force). And consequently the party really was a ‘broad church’ containing within itself all sorts of political views, from the mildest Crossmanite social democrats, through Christian Socialists to trotskyists and CP fellow travellers. That is not the case today.

    Michael argues that it is significant that “almost no individual socialists presently in the Labour Party (still far greater than the number outside)…are prepared to sign on for the Left Party”. Unless he has privileged access to the personal political histories of all 8000 plus signatories of Ken’s appeal he is in no position to make that claim – and from what I can tell of those signatories I have come across so far (hardly reliable but I suspect more so than than Michael’s ‘knowledge’) a very large percentage of signatories are recent members or supporters of the Labour Party. His second claim – that most socialists in Britain are members of the Labour Party – is simply laughable.

    However, Michael makes one important point; he suggests that a new popular socialist party to the left of Labour is unlikely to get off the ground unless it is proceeded by a significant split in Labour. I think that he may well be at least partly right in this, but while there has been no organised split, the party is today less than half the size it was in 1998 – and it is largely the socialist left that has walked away. There has been a de facto slow motion split of major proportions. There is a huge reservoir of former Labour members and supporters who were sickened by Blair’s war crimes and enthusiastic embrace of authoritarianism and neo-liberalism and it is largely they who have been signing up.

    There is no guarantee that this initiative will be successful – would that there was – but equally, there is no basis for Michael’s well worn argument that such an initiative will always and inevitably be doomed to failure.

  8. Philip Ward says:

    One of the things missing in the “modest flutter” article, is a consideration of the lack of democracy in the Labour Party and most of the far-left.

    For the former, it is now impossible to have an impact on the policy of the party using the means of political debate. This closes off any possibility of “changing the party from within”.

    The “modest flutter” articles have absolutely nothing to say about this issue, or indeed the connection between democratic working class organisation and the struggle for socialism, or the lessons learned from history. Hopefully, Saturday’s meeting will show Mr/Ms Modest Flutter that new, more democratic methods of functioning are possible on the left.

  9. julie forshaw says:

    Thank you for your response Louise. It highlights brilliantly the thoughts of many of us in our small towns. Everything is being shut down where I live, it is being taken away from us and our community centres are disappearing.
    We had to fight so that my son’s school was not turned into yet another academy. Labour doesn’t represent us, I’d be very glad if it did.
    The labour party like all the parties are removed from the world that we ordinary folk inhabit. As you said it will never overturn one single act of the coalition once in power. They all just carry on the same policies of privatization, long work hours and attacks on our COMMUNITIES and on the Welfare System. We have a truly uncaring Parliament. We are right to give our support to Left Unity.

  10. Jonno says:

    I’m not sure what political history Louise has, but for me this could be one of the joys of the L/U approach, throwing up genuinely organic ‘leaders’
    I have said before that for me one of the key barometers of LU’s democratic audit, as it were, will be if the people who are now leading it aren’t necessarily those who are in the future, that is leaving aside the question of ‘leadership’ in general.

  11. John says:

    What would the Labour Party offer to Louise? The opportunity to pass some motions, elect someone a little left wing to a committee, keep hoping for the election of a Labour Government that might, just might, be a little better than the previous Labour Governments?
    I have just been made redundant because of Blair’s policies, enthusiastically developed by the Tories. I am disabled and unwell – the NHS staff who care for me stress about budgets and are vilified in the right wing press. Again, because of policies that orignated with Blair/ Brown. ATOS thought that I could get a job despite the opinion of my Doctors. I might have missed something but I dont see the Labour Party manning the barricades against ATOS.
    As someone once said about the Labour Party ‘Let it bleed.’ Of course that doesnt mean cutting yourself off from LP activists who actively fight for the interests of the working class, it means having a dialogue with them. But it doesn’t mean pinning your hopes on left social democracy leading a fight back outside of parliament – when have they ever? Louise talks about Doncaster and there are many other Northern cities that Labour has deserted.
    And, fair point, it doesn’t mean devoting youself to life in an undemocratic sect, it means doing something new like left unity and working hard to make it better.
    Ben, looking at working people suffering and wanting to do something isn’t petit bourgeois frustration , its socialist principles and spirit.
    Louise, it was a pleasure to read your post and sense your spirit!

    • Alison L says:

      ‘Louise, it was a pleasure to read your post and sense your spirit!’ Absolutely right john, and I completely agree with your response to the article and Ben’s comment.

    • Ben McCall says:

      Its obvious I didn’t mean wanting to do something or feeling angry, etc. is pb, but that ‘SHOUTING’ in print and ineffective activism may make us feel better, but – as many people have said already on this site – gets us nowhere. If we should know that and still do it, not learning from past mistakes/self-delusion, we really do deserve to be ignored and/or stared at in bemusement by working and not working people.

      I was unemployed for the whole of the 1980s, apart from a few schemes, and only thrived through this because i was a left activist and the mainly psychological solidarity i received from comrades. I also witnessed some hideous ‘mistakes’ and wasted political opportunities, such as the miners strike and Liverpool’s Militant period.

      Getting angry, being passionate and doing stuff “NOW – as the oppressed can’t wait!” is useless – and yes, stupid (in no way am I accusing Louise of this by the way!) – unless we know how to build and sustain a mass movement. As you say: “doing something new like left unity and working hard to make it better” = and so say all of us!

    • louise125 says:

      i agree john, labour was responsible for closing down remploy factories and they did virtually nothing to stop them from closing this time round.

  12. Wonderful “from the heart” post – would love Louise to write more (please). Such a positive antidote to the over intellectualisation of the need for a Socialist Party that we have now seen so much off. I am going to repost in on our Milton Keynes Left Unity web site.

  13. Jonno says:

    “Is Cameron’s Britain what we fought for in the war?

    At 90 I’m too old to fight those who seek to wreck the civilisation we shed blood, sweat, and tears for in the second world war

    Every year, the spring rains fall hard and heavy to a parched and hungry earth. Life is reborn from the long slumber of winter. For me the beauty in this annual transformation stings as if I caught my finger on a thorn from a rose. These lengthening days remind me of another time, when I was a young man. Back then the sun’s rays were just as warm and sensuous but the splendour of nature being reborn was tainted with death. It was 1945, and Europe was still caught in the dying grasps of a cruel and unforgiving world war.”


    Btw, Harry Leslie Smith has made it to the Guardian and its another beautifully written defence of the welfare state.

  14. Max says:

    The problem confronting the radical left is that while we may feel entirely justified in condemning and dismissing the Labour Party as ‘completely bankrupt’, that is not a view shared by most the those the left aspire to represent.

    In developing analysis, strategy and tactics it is important not to confuse our anger and disgust with that of the broader working class – the support of which is vital to any credible socialist politics.

    It seems to me the key point missed by many of those who have been critical of the ‘modest flutter’ article is that the reason why the Labour Party is in a parlous state as a vehicle for any kind of substantive left politics is the same reason why the far left has remained a marginal political force in recent years (despite nominally favourable conditions): the cumulative impact of three decades of political and industrial defeat and demobilisation.

    In short, there is not a ‘vacuuum on the left’ (as some argue) – there is a political wasteland where the left was slaughtered in battle during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Not surprisingly very few workers regard the cluster of far left groups that continue to roam this wasteland as remotely relevant to their immediate concerns and electoral choices.

    ‘Come join us’ the left groups say. Not surprisingly most workers say ‘thanks but no thanks’.

    So for most workers the Labour Party remains the only game in town in terms of credible non-Conservative politics. That the left inside the Party is so weak and ineffective is not the result of an inevitable and irreversible structural shift that means it is now lost forever to any form of credible left politics – it is the result of defeat after defeat after defeat. It may prove to be the case at some future point that the Party has become so insulated from all expressions of class politics that any radicalisation that does take place will completely sweep the Party to one side as workers join or form other organisations. We have to see.

    But that is a process we have yet to experience and a hypothesis that has yet to be proven.

    At this stage, however, with the radical left as divided, tiny and bereft of influence as it is, it is folly to imagine that merely re-organising under a new banner will somehow tap into a well of support for socialist politics that has in truth been running dry for over 20 years.

    • Neil says:

      “The problem confronting the radical left is that while we may feel entirely justified in condemning and dismissing the Labour Party as ‘completely bankrupt’, that is not a view shared by most the those the left aspire to represent. […]

      It seems to me the key point missed by many of those who have been critical of the ‘modest flutter’ article is that the reason why the Labour Party is in a parlous state as a vehicle for any kind of substantive left politics is the same reason why the far left has remained a marginal political force in recent years (despite nominally favourable conditions): the cumulative impact of three decades of political and industrial defeat and demobilisation.”

      I’m sorry to say but basically I agree with ‘Max’. Although I don’t agree with ‘modest flutter’s’ conclusions because I believe the LP is beyond redemption, I cannot fault the gist of his analysis, particularly as it pertains to the consciousness of the working class. There is a real problem here and we need to to admit it and not sweep it under the carpet with wishful thinking.

      I would go further back and deeper than ‘Max’ however and argue that it is not the cumulative impact of WC demobilisation and defeat over just the last three decades: the wrong turn was taken a long time before that. I think the basic problem we have is that the political establishment (including the PLP) incorporated the WC into a paternalistic state and political system in a way that encouraged a split to develop between an active trade union consciousness and a largely passive political consciousness; the former being the domain of the trade union movement and the latter the PLP with the connection between the two being managed through the trade union hierarchy. When even radical trade union consciousness became too much of a problem for the system to cope with the trade union hierarchy was pushed *and pulled* to accept the weakening of trade union democracy and demobilisation of an activist, organising mode. With that the conditions for an almost unlimited oligarchisation of the PLP and, to some extent, trade union movement were created.

      The WC has thus allowed itself to become a largely passive subject over a long period of time because it put its trust in its TU and LP representatives to represent its interests while it could by and large sit back and enjoy the fruits of gradual rising material success and ‘progress’. Once the oligarchies which the WC handed over its political agency to, are no longer bothered to primarily represent its i.e the WC’s interests the WC in general has been left with little or no capacity to act on its own behalf, or even the ability to understand the very idea of – or need for – doing so. Hence, the massive decline in voting and trade union membership and activity.

      It *is* I agree deluded to believe that ‘merely re-organising under a new banner’ will tap into this reservoir of passivity – or sway the minds of those still bothering to support the LP. I don’t agree however that the conclusion is that it is necessary to keep on supporting the LP, trying to push it to the left, and entryism. LU does though need a strategy that recognises the weakness of WC consciousness and organisation *and* also the weakness of support for the PLP and trade union movement. This strategy needs to build the former from the grass-roots up and thereby attract wavering sections of the latter. At some point if LU could precipitate desertions and splits in the PLP and TUC then this could give great impetus to the movement. We need to prepare the ground carefully being aware of the magnitude and difficulty of the task.

    • Joseph Kisolo - ssonko says:

      it’s certainly true that we shouldn’t confuse our focused angry for a wider phenomenon but I think your wrong to think that the people left unity might attract look to Labour – most of them look no where, they currently don’t engage in any political party. I can’t really see how anyone thinks that an inspiring home and space to nurture activism can be built within the Labour party.

  15. Bazza says:

    Good to hear a w class voice Louise and I have made my points from a socialist working class perspective at the end of the first ‘flutter” piece.
    The best thing that we all bring to the table is critical thinking.
    Yours in solidarity!

  16. John says:

    Some interesting points in this discussion about what we should do – I think we all agree that whatever it is ,it’s going to be hard. But we can’t do nothing. Yes Max, the radical left wander a wasteland and some of it is their own making. I recall a story where six working class men ( not being sexist, thats what they were)were invited to attend a ‘ left wing social ‘ after the pubs closed – cue for long silences. The left has been very insular, to sectarian and to willing to regard obtuse points of theory as being of the utmost importance. I remember the key issue being (once) whether Russia was state capitalist or a degenerated workers state – I argued it constantly but not sure if I understood it and even more unsure of its relevance! Meanwhile, the Right became dominant and working and middle class people are seeing their living standards, their cultural capital and their hope being eroded.
    The good thing about LU to me is freshness, honesty and spirit. How do we build on it by getting more and more people involved?
    Louise mentions linking with other towns – spot on. She also mentions in her article DV, abuse and alcholism. Lets offer hope not platitudes to people affected by these symptoms of austerity.
    We should campaign for a cultural life for everyone – retaining libraries,keeping schools in public not quasi private, grants to the Arts, keeping nurseries open, facilities for young people.
    If theres a campaign / issue that we can support on a principled basis lets do it.
    lets support and raise awareness of whats happening in other countries
    Lets use social media to organise.
    For every ‘idea’ and policy of the Govt, lets have a reasoned and evidenced alternative to put forward.
    When we meet people through the above, lets try and convince them of these ideas.
    Lets use our freshness, honesty, spirit, belief in something better to sustain our hopes for something better, particuarly when the going gets tough ( as if its not tough now!)
    The above is just to think about! I hope it makes some sense.

    • Ray G says:

      Well said ( you old state-cap you !!).

      Great to be on the same side, now. Its a good feeling and I hope that idealism can see us through this dangerous early period.

    • Hi John wev’e just had our first lu meeting in donny today, and that was one of our resolutions to campaign to get our libraries re opened that were cut by the last mayor.

  17. Boris Clover says:

    Good to see this kind of debate taking place;it certainly needs to happen. It may well be that LU will not be the final vehicle of the Left,but a start has to be made somewhere,and this provides a forum. I am ex=labour party and have been in other left organisations from Big Flame through to the WRP. I think they all had something to contribute,but fell apart due to their own internal contradictions and on the coattails of many of the defeats that other commentators have mentioned. I have a gut feeling that reformism in all its forms is politically bankrupt as it is trying to remedy the ills of a bankrupt economic,social and political system. The LU is bound to reflect and embody both the reformist and revolutionary traditions of the british Left. That poses dangers,but it also seems to me that the tension between the two could produce a thoroughly healthy dynamic. Am I right? time will tell.

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