Left Unity’s ‘modest flutter’

solidarity5In the first section of a two-part article, a senior figure from the labour and trade union movement joins the debate about Left Unity

Left unity is the motherhood-and-apple-pie of socialists.  The unspoken (and sometimes spoken) assumption is that if only the left could crack the unity problem – the Rubik’s Cube of political intervention – then anything is possible, up to and including the relevance that has long eluded most of the left for many years.

As a result, there is from time to time a modest flutter around the issue, and this is one of those times.  The reasons for this renewed interest in Left Unity include the reasonable and the nonsensical.  In the former category comes the agonising but inescapable fact that, five years into an enormous capitalist crisis, the left in Britain has made negligible political impact.  This is allied to a widespread and understandable disgust at Labour’s record during its 13 years in government until 2010, and at its continued hesitancy in moving away from New Labour positions, most obviously in relation to issues like welfare and privatisation, on which the old Blairite positioning still predominates.  There is an argument that Labour no longer represents the broad progressive coalition that it once did to at least a limited extent, having become both less democratic and more bourgeois over the last generation.  That is not an argument that should be dismissed.

Among the bad reasons we would have to place all the over-excitement generated by the incremental implosion of the Socialist Workers Party, a group with small and shrinking influence on the course of events whose recent travails have surely by-passed most of the world at large.  Nevertheless, whether it is grappling with New Labour or picking up the pieces of the SWP, left unity is now presented as the answer.

Here it will be argued that this project – not so much “left unity” per se, but founding yet another new Left Party to fight elections – is founded on a flawed analysis, is misguided, and, to whatever extent it makes progress, in any case irrelevant to the actual political situation and what the left should be focussing on. A more fruitful course of action for socialists will be suggested.  Our “text” is the most recent proposal advanced by the founders of the Left Unity website, Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson, by Nick Wrack of the “independent socialist network” and by the film director Ken Loach – their founding document and various articles written in support of their proposal.    These are far from the least capable comrades to embark on this road, and for that reason – as well as the fact that theirs is the variation on “left unity” presently on the table – it is worth unpacking their proposals.

The idea that the time is now ripe for socialists to prioritise another unity project, leading to the creation of a new party to the left of Labour, rests on three connected propositions.  First, that the experience of New Labour has vacated a considerable political space on the left which no-one is filling and that many voters feel deprived of any party expressing their views and values in society in general or on election day in particular.  Second, there is a European-wide revival of such a left, which Britain is missing out on – we should not, in the words of the Left Unity draft statement, “remain outside… the political developments in Europe and beyond.”  Finally, the continuing economic crisis demands a fresh, and united, left response since existing political responses have been inadequate.

We should consider each of these in turn, bearing in mind that together they form a political package.  Before doing so, we need only note two things.  First that the proposal is, for the launch of a new political party, a modest one:  There is no grand vision, or call for revolution, or even broad realignment.  Essentially, it is about bringing together those people who want more done to challenge austerity and feel politically homeless at present.  Second, there is no explicit recognition of the fact that several such Left electoral parties already exist in Britain today – Respect, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and the Socialist Labour Party on the electoral side of things; with Solidarity and the Scottish Socialist Party in Scotland, as well as a variety of other far left parties, and not forgetting the Green Party which many people would certainly regard as “left”.  So this is not a call for an occupation of presently empty territory.


Political Space

It is beyond dispute that the main working-class political parties internationally have moved well to the right over the last generation.  The mass social-democratic parties have embraced neo-liberalism, and none more luridly than the Labour Party in Britain, to the extent that classical social democracy could be said to scarcely exist as a major political force.  Communist Parties have disappeared or been reduced to the margins (with a few exceptions) and, in the case of many of the former ruling parties, openly converted to social-democracy and, hence, variants of neo-liberalism.

All this is true, but it only of itself creates “political space” if one takes an entirely mechanical view of politics, in which opinion is ranged on a left-to-right spectrum in more-or-less non-variable quantities and in which, therefore, a shift to the right by a large party must automatically leave a compensating space to the left unrepresented.  Clearly, this is a perspective which could only hold true if nothing else were changing in the world, if classes were not rising, falling, recomposing and decomposing; if ideological propositions were not being tested, adopted and discarded by the masses in the light of their experience; if capitalist society were an endless assembly line which might break down but never develop or mutate.

In relation to Britain, this misjudgement was first given a public viewing courtesy of the Socialist Labour Party, which assumed that Tony Blair’s abandonment of Clause Four would mean masses of socialists, their Party snatched from them, would flock to the old standard.  All the SLP proved was that even the greatest working-class leaders, in whose number Arthur Scargill should surely be counted, can mistake their own views for being the mood of the masses, which at the time would have regarded any Labour government as a relief, and were living through a “post-socialist”/”end of history” phase.

Nearly twenty years later, the same show is being played, to an even thinner audience, by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which fails to attract more than the smallest number of either to its standard, never mind appeal to the class itself.  Its existence is predicated on the belief that such is the disgust with New Labour, even in opposition, that the working-class will rally to stentorian champions of a sort of Old Labour-Plus.  No amount of raspberries blown by the voters have shaken this belief so far, and perhaps they never will, since those who argue the case for an electoral alternative have adequately immured themselves behind arguments through which reality cannot penetrate.  Essentially, the masses are being offered what they need, and if they are rejecting it, it can only be for some contingent reason or other.

If that sounds too harsh, read the rationalisations for poor election results offered by, say, the Socialist Party throughout its post-Militant years.  If they fail to breakthrough (in spite of, naturally, tremendous electoral campaigns) when Labour is in office, it is because at the last moment working-class voters are seized by an unexpected determination not to let the Tories back in.  When results do not improve under a Tory or Tory-led government, it is because the same voters believe their interests are served by voting to get the Tories out and hence vote Labour.  Clearly, the beauty of this argument is it covers all contingencies, and can be used on each isolated occasion until one considers the slightly longer duree and joins the dots.

It is not that comrades do not reflect on these experiences and analyse them (although the present project is definitely light on self-reflection), it is that they draw the wrong conclusions.  This was expressed by Ken Loach at a meeting recently.  He announced that “we all bear the scars of previous attempts” and must learn the lessons of past abortive efforts.  Of these there were two, apparently – don’t let a single group dominate, and beware charismatic leaders.

So far, so good for the new Left Unity campaign it could be said (although inevitably some far-left fragments are already sniffing around the project).  But Loach’s warnings seem perverse.  Any party needs committed activists, and the idea of “left unity” seems to presuppose bringing together people who are at present likely to be in existing organisations.  And charismatic leaders are generally a political asset, although not the be-all and end-all.  The problem is that where left initiatives have had any charismatic leaders, they have only had one, which is clearly a position fraught with difficulties.  Having several would be very helpful for drawing masses of people to its side, as well as averting any tendency towards a monopoly of political authority.  Respect with George Galloway has fallen short of an electoral breakthrough on a significant scale, but Respect without Galloway would not detain anyone’s attention for a minute.

However, it is true that neither the adhesion of existing groups, nor charismatic leaders, nor even the leadership of a trade union the size of RMT (in the case of TUSC), impart any significant social ballast to an electoral initiative.  That point seems incontestable in the light of experience, and it cannot be overcome by rallying calls, appeals to goodwill, nor even the online adhesion of thousands of the well-meaning.  The Left Party has a fine mass leader among its protagonists in Kate Hudson, rightly highly-regarded.  But the reluctance of the NUM to follow Arthur Scargill into the Socialist Labour Party in 1995 or subsequently – not to mention the long experience of Communist Party members whose overwhelming support from workers in the factories evaporated when they stood in local or parliamentary elections – shows that having such individuals in membership, or even leadership, is not sufficient to turn base political material into electoral gold.

Social weight – deep roots in society – is the missing element which has sunk every previous initiative of its kind (SLP, Socialist Alliance, SSP, Respect, TUSC) generally sooner rather than later, and which Left Unity does not address.  The fact is that despite these varied appeals over the last twenty-odd years to desert Labour at the ballot box,  the masses and their organisations have not moved, and have held true to their previous engagements, even with a diminished enthusiasm reflected in an increasing rate of electoral abstention. 

Actual political space does not necessarily continue to exist simply because it was once clearly populated.  It is brought into being by factors quite other than the wishes of potential occupiers of it.  And it is always in flux.  It is determined above all by the emergence or disappearance of classes as and other social formations as political actors.  Its scope and duration can be shaped by purposeful intervention, but it cannot be invented by propaganda.  For example, the war against Iraq launched by a Labour government and the vast scale of the mass movement against it clearly opened up a “political space” which Respect was temporarily and partially able to fill more successfully than any other left electoral initiative (although the Liberal Democrats were the major beneficiary overall), electing an MP and several councillors in east London and Birmingham.  However, even Respect did not endure as a serious electoral force outside, presently, Bradford. To state the obvious, Respect would not have come into being without the mass anti-war movement, and no comparable movement exists today.  It could further be argued that the anti-war movement created a “space” which was itself not capable of being filled, absent the durable support of any actual class-based organisations which could underpin an electoral intervention once the immediate war crisis receded.

Political space is ultimately generated by social weight, the sort of thing that comes from the adhesion of mass organisations or mass movements rooted in important social classes. Social weight does not step into a declared political space by kind external invitation from its self-anointed gate-keepers.  Electorally, the space to the left of Labour is presently filled by…the Labour Party.  The elephant in the Left Unity parlour is the fact that many people whose views are to the left of the Labour leadership still vote for the Labour Party.  That was true when the Labour leader was Tony Blair, and it is also true when it is Ed Miliband, about whom people on the left generally feel a good deal more comfortable, his having apologised for the Iraq war and moved on in some measure from the bewitched-by-bankers economic strategy of Brown.  The obvious question is:  if that “space” could not be filled by a left alternative under the most ideal circumstances imaginable – a widely reviled war-mongering Labour government under a discredited leader – why on earth should it be expected to do any better today, when those circumstances no longer apply, when most people on the left see the enemy as the Tory-led government, and view the possibility of a Miliband-led Labour government with moderate optimism?

Naturally, that does not exhaust a discussion about the Labour Party today – but that is the discussion that is needed.  It would encompass a realistic assessment as to the roots sunk by the “New Labour” clique in the Party, the extent to which the changes wrought by Blair and Brown are irreversible, or to what extent they were contingent on the neo-liberal “Edwardian summer” which ended in 2008; the remaining importance of trade union involvement in the Party, and the possibilities of their influence being extended and deepened; the direction of the Miliband leadership and so on.  These are not just questions for debate, they are questions of the class struggle today.  One can certainly argue a view that the Labour Party on its own will never secure a socialist society; likewise one can certainly argue that the Blair-Brown government was a government of imperialism and the City of London.  It is another thing to simply seek to bypass or ignore a Party which is evidently the only alternative government to the Con-Dems at present, which retains the affiliation of the main working-class organisations in Britain today, which includes more socialists than all those grouped in the parties further to the left aggregated, which controls (with variable results) many local authorities, and whose level of electoral support runs at perhaps forty times that of the further-left.  To in effect dismiss all that with the observation (quoting the Loach/Hudson/Achcar article on the Guardian  website) that “its achievements are in the past” is scarcely serious.  All achievements of which we can be certain are in the past, and no achievements in the future will be secured by ruminating on electoral fantasies as opposed to addressing the difficult tasks of the present.

syriza flagsEuropean Dimension

As already noted, much of the case for a new Left Party seems to rest on the observation that we are in the midst of a continent-wide economic crisis which is leading to similar parties existing and prospering elsewhere.  Clearly, there is nothing wrong with learning from abroad and, indeed, an international perspective is not an add-on but a starting point for socialist politics. However, the envious gaze cast at the left in other European countries needs to be tempered with realism. What is there to be envious of?

First of all, there is the generic nature of these parties.  One must generalise, acknowledging that not all points apply to all European left parties with equal force. The euro-Left parties stand to the left of contemporary social democracy in advocating more radical measures, in varying degrees, to tackle the economic crisis. They are, on the other hand, constitutional and electoral parties – they do not aim at revolution.  Their measure is electoral support which they seek to secure through advocating pro-welfare and egalitarian policies which broadly mitigate the effects of the slump on the working-class. Their ultimate aim may be a socialist society (although this is not always clear), but it is to be attained primarily by parliamentary means.  Broadly they disown the record of socialism and revolutionary politics in the twentieth century.  To some extent, they could be described as “two-and-a-half parties” in the manner of the left parties which positioned themselves between the second and third internationals, between revolution and counter-revolution within the workers’ movement after World War One, before speedily retreating back to the embrace of social democracy.

The present-day two-and-a-half parties make no claim, as the centrists of 1919-21 did, to stand for revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.  They are explicitly reformist. Their attraction as a new left model derives from the absence of a revolutionary international and major revolutionary parties in almost all European countries.  Two-and-a-half looks sweet when there is no Three. But that does not make it necessarily the answer to the crisis of working-class political representation. In practice (with the exception of the Greek situation, which will be considered shortly) the summit of the ambitions of the Left parties Europe-wide at present is to secure enough parliamentary seats to be considered a coalition partner in a government which would be dominated by the “old” social democratic parties, perhaps with the addition of Greens, or of centre-ground bourgeois parties.  As the Left Unity Draft Statement accurately notes, these parties challenge “the capitulation of social democracy to neo-liberalism”.  Implicit in this formulation is the demand – make social democracy social-democratic again!  The spirit of 2013 is to be the “spirit of 45” indeed.

That project is most advanced in the catastrophic situation pertaining in Greece, where Syriza, originally an amalgam of left factions of varying ideological provenance, has effectively displaced PASOK as the main party of the left (also apparently securing votes from the communist KKE).  The scale of the economic calamity in Greece, of a different order (so far) to almost anywhere else, and the fact of PASOK’s deep and corrupt implication in the management of it, have conditioned this development.  Syriza has not merely won over many voters from mainstream social-democracy, it has also acquired chunks of the erstwhile PASOK apparatus, as the latter party crumbles.  Syriza secured a huge increase in its votes in the two general elections of 2012, but in neither did it secure anything like the support won by PASOK in its prime, and in neither did it secure enough parliamentary seats, even if those won by Democratic Left and the KKE were added, to form a government.  Nor does it begin to match the influence of the KKE (or PASOK for that matter) in the trade union movement in Greece.

It is possible that Syriza could do better next time the opinion of Greek voters is sought (which may not be for three years).  Indeed, under Greek electoral procedures, if Syriza were to secure the greatest share of the vote in a future election it would possibly be able to govern in its own right.  Then the essential contradiction in its politics – opposition to austerity while supporting Greece’s continued membership of the EU and the single currency will move centre-stage.  There is limited value in speculating as to what may happen then, beyond noting the studied ambiguity of Tsipras, the Syriza leader, as to whether he stands for socialism or a “non-austerity” capitalism.  The KKE says that the situation in Greece demands a “systemic rupture” – that is the overthrow of capitalism and an exit from its imperialist international alliances.  That sounds far from unreasonable, since Greece is a country in which the decomposition of capitalism and its conventional methods of rule are most advanced, but that is not to say it is actually possible with the present correlation of forces.  If politics ultimately polarises between Syriza and the neo-nazi Golden Dawn, which is no more than a possibility but which cannot be dismissed, it should not be assumed that the entire Greek and European bourgeoisie will line up behind the fascists.

At any event, what does this mean for the British left (beyond the obvious necessity of solidarity with Greek working people in their struggle)?  Some will be enthused at the prospect of British Eurocommunists, Trotskyists and Maoists joining together in a similar common electoral front.  Others would rather spend a week at the dentists.  An obvious conclusion is that the British working-class will support a British Syriza when they regard the British Labour Party in the same way as the Greek working-class regards PASOK.  That is far from where we are at present.

Beyond Greece, what is the record of these parties of the European left?  It would be wearisome to examine every European country in turn, so I will limit the review to the three largest, most decisive states in the EU, which are that respect are most comparable to Britain. A reality check is in order.

In France, despite the optimism attending the powerful presidential candidacy of Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Front polls less than half of the vote secured a generation or so ago by the PCF, on whose shrunken but tenacious local electoral base it still largely rests. And of course Melenchon himself was convincingly beaten for a parliamentary seat in an industrial constituency by the leader of France’s far right, a sober indication that the left’s hegemony over the working-class vote in France cannot be taken for granted.  The Left Front scarcely appears to be exercising a big influence over President Hollande’s administration.  The PCF has recently decided to abandon the hammer-and-sickle from its membership cards, no doubt in pursuit of more votes.  And the once-feted Nouvelle Partie Anticapitaliste has shrivelled to near-vanishing point.

In Italy, Rifondazione Communista, much celebrated throughout the euro-left a decade ago, has disappeared from the lower house of parliament (a process triggered by its embrace of the NATO Afghan occupation) and the left – in a country where the Italian Communist Party secured more than thirty per cent of the vote less than thirty years ago – has disappeared from parliament.  The left’s franchise is now divided between the tired post-social democratic Democrats (notably lacking a charismatic leader) and the MS5 movement of Pepe Grillo.

As for Germany Die Linke rests, for electoral purposes, mainly on the legacy of the former SED in the eastern part of the country.  Its main hope (government it clearly not on the cards) seems to be to keep ahead of the five per cent threshold which determines representation in the Bundestag, and the largest threat to that modest ambition is a new Party of Pirates.  It has been riven by divisions in recent years, in part consequential of its ambivalent role in local and state government.

On the basis of this short summary, we can say that the euro-left is hardly decisive outside Greece, that it polls less in general than when it was explicitly Communist in times gone by, and that it risks being outflanked both by the far right and by a gallimaufry of clowns and “pirates” whose advance signifies the contemporary decay of both bourgeois politics and of the labour movement.  And all these are parties which have arisen on the basis of either the influence of a pre-existing mass Communist party, or a serious split in social-democracy, or a prolonged regroupment of far-left organisations, or some combination of all three.  None have arisen as a consequence of a Facebook appeal, so if the new Left Party succeeds, it will certainly represent a sociological first.

If this all seems a bit post-modern, it is because it is, and it strikes to the consideration at the heart of the contemporary situation and, indeed, the speculations about “political space”.  That is the decline of the working-class movement in Europe along almost every axis over the last generation, to the point where its constitution on a new basis is the only question which need really detain anyone serious about creating an alternative to capitalism which exists anywhere outside blogs and leaflets alone.  This is both at the core of a critique of the existing left, unity initiatives included, and the heart of a positive programme of work for socialists.

In this space, we can address this in relation to the situation in Britain alone, for the most part, although the problem is clearly international.  A full survey of the world situation is beyond our scope here, and setting out tasks for the left in overcoming this common problem in each particular country would be of very limited value.  We should only note that the differences over the last century – mass Communist parties (France/Italy/Greece); a socialist regime over part of the country introduced via the entirely unforeseen medium of cataclysmic military defeat (Germany); partisan and resistance struggles (Italy/France/Greece); a crushed revolution (Germany); civil war (Greece); fascist dictatorship (Italy/Germany/Greece) divided trade union movements (France/Italy/Greece);  the lack of a full-throated Anglo-Saxon  neo-liberal offensive (all four) – mean that any perspective overly-based on events in those countries is likely to be flawed. It is an error to take the Brussels assumption of a very high degree of pan-European political homogeneity at its own valuation.

“Why should Britain go without?” a blog comment on the Socialist Unity website asked, debating this issue.  If the appropriate reply is not “go without what exactly?” then it must be because Britain has also “gone without” so many of the phenomena listed above, from a divided TUC to partisan warfare.  This is not meant in any spirit of self-satisfied isolation.  The traditions of the British labour movement are in many respects worse than those in the countries listed.  That can be debated, but they are unarguably enormously different.

Part two of this article can also be found on the Left Unity website



12 responses to “Left Unity’s ‘modest flutter’”

  1. Anya-Nicola Darr says:

    I hope Left Unity will respond to this article. Its very negative and one sided. It may be well argued but I disagree with a lot of the suppositions and I know from experience that people are feeling a tremendous vacuum on the Left vacated by Labour. I know this from ordinary people who say this to me every day. They are just not voting because they feel there is no one representing their views. They are not going to run off and join Respect, the Green party or the SWP for example or they would have done that already. They want a down to earth sensible solutions of the Left with practical policies not based on political dogma but on real life needs and hopes. Things Labour never got around to delivering or looking like they are going to NOW either! Like a housing policy that provides decent affordable housing to buy and to rent, not just a Living Wage but a differential wage were the top never gets more than 15 times the lowest paid worker, life long learning and training oportunities (these have all but disappeared), reasonable fuel and food prices and the re-nationalisation of our essential services, affordable childcare, decent pensions, welfare recipients not demonised and punished for falling on hard times, people and corporations to pay their taxes and that’s just to start! No mainstream party is saying this now? Are you telling me these wouldn’t be popular policies? Where do they exist in the above argument. who will at least attempt to deliver them if not a new Left wing Party?

    • John Penney says:

      Well put points Anya-Nicola. I couldn’t agree more. Many more replies and comments to this two part article are to be found at the end of the second part.

  2. All Annex 2 parties to the UNFCCC of which the UK&NI is one must reduce emissions of Greenhouse Gases to zero by 2020. G77 and China will enter into legally binding reductions in 2020 but before that Annex 2 countries must have done what is required of them due to their historic responsibility. Instead of lamenting the decline of the working class what is lamentable is the disgusting imperialistic perspective that ends at Europe’s borders, when actually 80% of Europe’s raw materials are imported and barely a few percent of UK&NI workers are doing the only right thing viz working in agriculture and forests. Unless WESTERN MARXIST, SOCIALIST ECOLOGIST LABOUR let alone CONSERVATIVE parties address this overriding geo-political necessity the country may face blow back from G77 and China in the period before 2020 let alone after the like of which it has never seen. Present policies are provocations to war on a gigantic scale. The ‘core of a critique of the existing left, unity initiatives included, and the heart of a positive programme of work for socialists’is for the oldest imperialist colonialist and racist nation which is nothing other than a parasite on the labour of the world let alone on the common atmospheric resource, is to abandon Western Marxism, Western Socialism Western Ecologism and their common economic-imperialist dependence and militaristic Lebensraum- standard-of-living-fascism, and begin a new era of energy trapping via manual labour unmediated by machines. UK&NI is nothing but a vassal state of the USA but if it wants some identity of its own it could conceivably think along these lines.

    • John Penney says:

      Hmmmm. I don’t think that a programme of ” we all need to return to manual labour working the soil” is going to hit a big chord amongst the UK population Anandi.Sharon. Your economically naive extreme views are certainly a strand of the “Green” movement though – and just one of the reasons why a socialist party can only go so far along the “environmental agenda” road. Do you “work the soil” and live a subsistance lifestyle on a smallholding yourself , with no use of machinery ? Your computer will have to go for a start.

  3. Dear John Punny:

    I am presuming you are the author of this article: so I can be more specific.

    Rural proletarianisation will not end with a world population of 10 billion like the IPCC makes out. With doubling of world population happening within decades, and no population control programmes, and antibiotics readily available, 50 billion humans is a more realistic figure.

    The history of philosophy is embedded in the ecological and religious conditions in which philosophers found themselves. Knowledge is virtue.

    The wars for Lebensraum fought by landless male foot-soldiers of kingdoms and empires and nations since cuneiform writing was invented in Babylonian times and Isrealites were expelled, created certain class-freedoms for certain women at certain times and some female philosophers emerged who at certain points influenced politicians.

    But on the whole politics, war and economics remain the preserve of men who have property rights created after conquests and thefts. These men have internalised the common sense hierarchies of their society and don’t mind raising their voice to assert their private property to the footpath to park their car and go to their political, business and military meetings before coming back home to their domestic fiefdom.

    Once the women in the families of these men become freed from domestic labour by fossil fuels and the enslavement of working class manual labourers through wages and bondage, women politicians, business women, professionals and other female non-agricultural and non-forestry workers in the service and construction and commerce sectors become like the male counterparts in their class, and have no compunction in claiming private rights to exercise their public, but more often their purely private, interests.

    This is illustrated by the fact that there are millions of Westerns who colonise the world thanks to the surplus time and space created by past and present colonisation.

    In the present age when consciousness is commoditised and everyone is told to produce a book or anything else to make money – to be consumed by a public and politicians that have no interest at all in working in agriculture and forests and therefore read contemporary philosophy and consume the services and products sold to them purely for their private amusement – women philosophers make as little headway as their male counterparts in their attempts to create a better society.

    Having become good and wise human beings, neither female or male philosophers wish to write books for the private amusement of a leisured reading public.

    They always go back into society in the hope of encouraging politicians, businessmen and army soldiers to do the right thing.

    And they encourage the dispossessed to act on the conviction that ‘if the real is rational then the rational is real’.

    They work to encourage each community to keep their faith in the ecological and religious reality that shapes his or her life’s energy field.

    But the privatised interests of the beneficiaries of past and on-going conquests are generally not amenable to giving space to such communities.

    Conscious communities are always suppressed and made to bow to wage slavery and to the commoditisation of their products for the purpose of the nation state and the international system.

    This and more is a state of affairs for which Western Nationalism, Imperialism, Socialism, pseudo-Marxism, Zionism, pseudo-Ecologism, pseudo-Buddhism including left and left unity in the UK&NI are exclusively to blame, all of which serve to preserve the private class, family and nation privilege of certain Western class groups.

    In this context the struggle for preservation of ecology and religion, land and community, – community interests and not private interests – is entering a totally new and exciting era.

    By sheer force of numbers the struggle for eliminating fossil fuels and world trade and world economy is bound to succeed: because associations of illiterate agricultural and forest producers have a humanity, reality, rationality and philosophical truth on their side that cannot ever be permanently erased by written words, abstract commodity, technology or money.

    And, in the true spirit of the dialectic where the opposite is also real, there are some nations with fire power that can defend this consciousness in order that conscious communities win and and a new world free of private property is created.

    This is the war between G77&China&Russia&Syria on the one hand and Annex 2 countries on the other hand, a war over the sahring of the atmopsheric commons being played out in Syria today. If Syria defeats Israel then the USA and NATO and Annex 2 countries are defeated, and conscious communities will have a chance in this world.

    A certain realism with respect to agricultural and forest workers who happen to comprise the largest part of present and future humanity is in order.

    They will no longer be ruled by the USA nor its vassal states. For Annex 2 countries to fulfil a benign role their manual labour will have to be applied not only for growing their own food, but for drawing down carbon from the atmosphere to get back to pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide in the atmopshere in the long run. This destiny suits the majority of human beings who are agricultural and forest workers so it may as well suit the Annex 2 cuontries too who created the problem in the first place and thus must contribute to getting humanity out of it.

  4. Bazza says:

    Good food for thought and I write as a left wing w class socialist who was the first in my family to go to University.
    Hope LU will be a w class led party (unlike Labour and the far left apart from SP who are just an uncritical thinking Trot cult).
    Hopefully LU will be anti Neo–liberal (unlike Labour).
    Hopefully LU will be non-sectarian – my influences Paulo Freire, Jonh Lennon, Paul Frolich’s,s biography Rosa Luxemburg – the best thing we all bring to the table is critical thinking.
    Hopefully LU will use simple language to communicate with the many and not the select few (like the far left).
    Hopefully LU will be honest and tell the truth and not ‘means justify the ends’ and exaggerates (like the m class far left and w class SP) – needs to base messages on fact and evidence.
    Need to stand by w class progressive campaigns like Axe the Bedroom Tax and not try to lead them like the far left seeking cadres who through their elite top down cental committee will the lead us to the promised land! Needs to be grassroots-led, bottom-up.
    Needs to stand by working people if they go on strike unlike Labour.
    Have a pay what you want / can afford membership fee – I.e 10p unwaged and £5 in work or more if in better jobs – you decide!
    Have individual membership.
    Appeal individual trade unionists.
    Offer a progresive alternative on neglected estates to BNP, UKIP.
    Don’t bad mouth Labour like m class far left and w class SP – Labour decentl human being, accept them as they are.
    Have fraternal links Labour Left.
    Have more ambition for w class people tham m class labour careerist who settle for crumbs.
    Offer hope and yes we all have much to learn.
    X & Peace.

  5. Dave Punshon says:

    A massive campaign to encourage Positive abstention might encourage people to re-engage with political process. In the UK and most of the “democratic” west representation is non existent having been hijacked by “professional” politicians who represent no one but themselves

  6. Applause says:

    Great article so far – asking all the right questions, against the grain of most Left Unity articles which usually function only to make us feel better about outselves (not to be scoffed at, it’s true). Going to read part 2 asap.

  7. Optomisticjoe says:

    Only 1 problem standing in the way of a new ‘left’ part……the electorate! I’ve returned to the UK 3 years ago & have found a country that is shockingly more right wing than when I left in the 90’s, more socially unintegrated, unequal, run down, politically divided…etc. Then there’s hope, talk of voting reform, here we go, proportional representation, it’s a no brained I thought, & what happened? OK, Cl egg sold us out, but it just proved that the majority of voters are either on the right already or dumb enough to swallow whatever the establishment tell them. I share the same values as LU, but simply calling it ‘LEFT’ plays into the divide & conquer strategy of the establishment, a big COMMY target painted in red on all of our bellies. Do I have an answer, no, but as bad as labour is it is the only option, get them in, change slowly, Ed has taken some small steps, bring in PR, engage the voters, achieve some equality & maybe, just maybe, this country may have some hope. It’s only when you’ve lived elsewhere that you realise how bankrupt this country is & not just financially.

    • Terry Crow says:

      From Wiki: //On the eve of the 2010 general election, Bragg announced that he would be voting for the Liberal Democrats because “they’ve got the best manifesto”.[28] He also backed the Lib Dems for tactical voting reasons. Bragg later expressed disappointment with the party, stating that “the Lib Dems had failed democracy “.[29]\\ I use this example, Optomisticjoe, not to show how the population has moved to the right, but to demonstrate the lack of a credible alternative on the Left, such that the likes of Billy Bragg are fooled.

      The Labour Party is filled out in Parliament with middle class MP’s who buy in to capitalism. The electorate is looking for an alternative, and if socialists cannot be heard, then seemingly the right wing will make gains. What we have is a crisis of leadership for the Left.

  8. Patrick D. says:

    This was a well written article with well thought out arguments. I don’t agree with the conclusions, but it is an important contribution nevertheless. When faced with such strong critique, but it would do LU a disservice not to stop, and reflex on it before jumping to attack the author. it is better to stop and think before jumping immediately to attack the author.

    I will reply fully in the follow up article, but I put my faith on independent activity at this stage in history.

    • Patrick D. says:

      This was a well written article with well thought out arguments. I don’t agree with the conclusions, but it is an important contribution nevertheless. When faced with such strong critique, but it would do LU a disservice not to stop, and reflex on it before jumping to attack the author. it is better to stop and think before jumping immediately to attack the author.

      I will reply fully in the follow up article, but I put my faith on independent activity at this stage in history.

      Ps.. well said Bazza :-)

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