Dave Hill of Brighton Left Unity argues Left Unity and TUSC need to have an organisational relationship, not simply an electoral relationship.
Well done to all TUSC candidates standing in the local elections, with more than 68,000 votes gained last week, and well done to Left Unity candidates also. I am speaking as a keen TUSC supporter (and candidate in various local and Parliamentary elections) and a member of Left Unity.
A key task for the socialist Left is to work out a way of coming together for future elections. But more than this, to come together organisationally. Both TUSC and Left Unity have strengths. The first embraces the main parties of the Marxist left, plus a radical trade union, plus various trade union `tops’/ leaders. Left Unity has the vibrancy of a new organisation plus democratic one-member on vote intra-party decision-making.
I am talking here of the need for Left Unity and TUSC to work out a modus operandi. In my view it should go beyond an electoral pact. This will be anathema to many in both Left Unity and to many in TUSC, but it’s got to happen. Otherwise, in cities and town up and down the country we will see at the next local elections (and even possibly at the general election) TUSC and LU candidates standing against each other. And at local elections, in cities such as mine, Brighton, at the local elections, some candidates standing for TUSC, others for Left Unity. Even if (as is quite probable) there might be electoral pacts at local government level for the two not to stand against each other.
Now it is hugely probable that both TUSC and LU will both say to the other, `well, you can join us’, TUSC might say LU can affiliate at its federal (and local federal) structure level, and LU could say, `well, individual TUSC members can join LU’.
But it’s got to be more. TUSC and LU have to join in some organisational way – as I say, anathema to many on both sides.
I am a member of both. I happen to prefer the policies of TUSC and the involvement they organise of a leading trade union, plus (with very different degrees of enthusiasm) the three leading Trotskyist Marxist parties active in Britain… Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party, and Socialist Resistance, with the Socialist Party dominating.
But I prefer the individual membership bottom-up organisation of LU, even if not some of its `Broader left’ policies (as opposed to socialist Left – within LU I am a supporter of the Socialist Platform).
I have no solutions. But LU and TUSC have got to come together, even if loosely, and present joint slates/candidates nationally and locally.
I don’t underestimate the difficulties of bringing Left Unity and TUSC together. There is, within both organisations, considerable hostility to, and sectarianism on the part of some members. But I also do not underestimate the desire for a unified socialist formation, socialist, left of Labour, wishing to replace capitalism rather than manage it. TUSC includes the major Marxist parties (the SWP and SP probably comprise around 5,000 activists), Left Unity is a growing (2,000 plus members) party supported by a number of Marxist and anti-capitalist grouplets (SR, ACI).
In common with this latter group – `Unity on the Socialist Left’, I urge both TUSC and LU to consider and discuss moving towards an electoral coalition with a permanent and ongoing presence and identity with a future development as a united party with distinct platforms.
Models of Party Organisation
There are a number of possibilities, including the following:
1. Fratricide/electoral combat between the two left of Labour avowedly socialist organisations.
2. Local Electoral Agreements, with a carve-up of parliamentary constituencies and local elections seats between LU and TUSC. In Brighton this could mean, for example, TUSC and LU fighting 10 or 11 wards each out of Brighton and Hove’s 21 electoral wards. Both organisations having completely separate existences (other than meeting(s) to decide which organisations stand where).
3. An electoral coalition: TUSC and LU fighting under a joint electoral name (eg `Left Party’) but remaining separate organisations. An example would be the Front de Gauche in France of the PCF-French Communist Party, the Parti de Gauche of Jean-Luc Melenchon, plus various other tiny parties. All parties kept their own organisation and identities. Exactly like TUSC, where the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Resistance, the Independent Socialist Network, the RMT union maintain totally separate organisations and identities, but come together as an electoral coalition. Other than a few isolated attempts, such as in Rugby, Lewes, Brighton, for periods of time, TUSC has operated nationally and locally solely at election times.
4. An electoral coalition with a permanent and ongoing presence and identity. Examples are Antarsya in Greece, until recently Syriza in Greece, in Turkey the HDP (Peoples Democracy Party). All of these (Syriza until around a year ago) are permanent coalitions, their banners evident on marches and demonstrations. They each include a number of parties which retain their own organisations and identities. Thus there were banners and leaflets on marches and demonstrations both for the Coalition (Syriza) but also for its constituent parties.
5. A united party with distinct platforms. This is what Syriza has decided to do in Greece at its 2013 party conference. Syriza was, was until fairly then, a coalition, as in Model 4 above. Now it is a party. On a much smaller scale, it is also the Mandelite tradition within the Fourth International.
6. A monolithic party with no established platforms allowed (except during a pre-conference period), like the Socialist Workers Party in Britain.
Dave Hill is a former Labour Group Leader and Parliamentary candidate; former TUSC and NO2EU candidate, member of the ISN (Independent Socialist Network) within TUSC, member of Left Unity (and of its Socialist Platform), and member of OKDE-Spartakos, the Greek Section of the Fourth International, and thereby of Antarsya. He has fought 12 elections in Brighton at local, Parliamentary and European levels. He has written/edited 22 books on education, politics, neoliberalism, Marxism and Education, and is Research Professor of Education at Anglia Ruskin University.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
About Left Unity
Read our manifesto
Left Unity is a member of the European Left Party.
Read the European Left Manifesto
Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.
Just Stop Oil – Slow Marches
Slow marches are still legal (so LOW RISK of arrest), and are extremely effective. The plan is to keep up the pressure on this ecocidal government to stop all new fossil fuel licences.
Wed 31 May, 19.00
Trade Union Struggles in France & Britain – Left Unity Public Meeting
Millions of workers in France and Britain are in struggle against austerity -join us for a discussion with: Francoise Baran – CGT & PCF (France) Jim Hollinshead – UCU & Left Unity (Britain)
Sign up to the Left Unity email newsletter.
Get the latest Left Unity resources.
This is an utterly cynical article.TUSC is not an organisation in any way similar to the individual membership based Left Unity PARTY – it is an electoral front for the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW), and the SWP. The derisory vote TUSC got in the recent local elections demonstrates the futility of this elections-only pop-up type of entity – incapable of building any solid presence in any locality.
The entire purpose of TUSC is as a recruitment funnel for the sponsoring Trot, revolutonery socialist, SPEW and SWP far Left parties. Left Unity is a political Party, a radical Left, NOT a revolutionery party- with the aim of building a long term presence across Britain in communities and workplaces/unions.
The current attempts to merge or link the non membership based front organisation, TUSC, with Left Unity, is a purely cynical attempt by the Socialit Party, and SWP, to get access to the membership of Left Unity , for recruitment purposes. That is the standard methodology for Trot sponsored front organisations.
I agree TUSC and Unity shouldn’t stand in the same seats/wards.
But apart from that I’m 100pc with Mr Penney. “Trotskyisit Marxist” parties. Yeah that is going to sweep us all to power. *rolleyes* The SWP? Seriously?
68,000 votes from what, 550ish candidates? 123 votes each. Actually 122 as hopefully the candidate voted for him or herself.
The RMT are wasting their dosh.
Just been looking on the TUSC website at their election results. I know that some comrades are members of both LU and TUSC and stood in the local elections; but most of the results were pretty awful, many double figures and some even single figures. If LU is going to consider any electoral pacts let it be an organisation with credibility.
As a party with policies broadly similar to LU the Greens would appear to fit that bill. Certainly most of the Green party members consider themselves to be socialists well to the left of Labour.
Locally I supported a Green candidate where there was as local issue which LU would surely have supported. A good socialist, in the Green party, increased her vote from 250 to nearly 700.
I should have put in: ” most of the Green party members I know, consider themselves to be socialists well to the left of Labour.”
Whoa, what a sectarian two responses to an article that is taking a conciliatory approach about how to build a working class and socialist movement to make a more egalitarian society. However, it is quite clear the responders have not read Comrade Hill’s commentary properly.
Despite John Penney making this wild assertion without any basis of back up “The current attempts to merge or link the non membership based front organisation, TUSC, with Left Unity, is a purely cynical attempt by the Socialit Party, and SWP, to get access to the membership of Left Unity , for recruitment purposes.”; however Comrade Hill quite categorically states that “TUSC and LU have to join in some organisational way – as I say, anathema to many on both sides. I am a member of both. I happen to prefer the policies of TUSC and the involvement they organise of a leading trade union, plus (with very different degrees of enthusiasm) the three leading Trotskyist Marxist parties active in Britain… Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party, and Socialist Resistance, with the Socialist Party dominating. But I prefer the individual membership bottom-up organisation of LU, even if not some of its `Broader left’ policies (as opposed to socialist Left – within LU I am a supporter of the Socialist Platform).”
This is a personal political manifesto of comrade Hill’s and not a formal approach by any of the organisations that Comrade Hill names. And that is the problem with the sectarianism of individuals in small organisation, it blinds them to see what is actually written by individuals whether it is political or not. I do not see it as a cynical article but someone trying to articulate a way out of the fog of political confusion of the radical/left sorority in this epoch of capitalist crisis. Something I do not have myself by the way.
However, as someone who has been a long-time advocate of a new workers’ party and firmly in the camp of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition I do not necessary agree with all the points that Comrade Hill raises but is that not the purpose of the article to try and arrange talking points to see if there can be areas of discussion. Rather than sectarianley state your organisation is the best and no other can touch us. Which is what I comprehend from the responses produced; something I keep being told by the Left Unity organisation they are not about. Also just as an aside and just as a point of organisational information for the uninformed about TUSC: other organisations’ rights are protected by the federal, ‘umbrella’ character of TUSC so no other left group would get the membership of Left Unity. So I do not see why organisationally Left Unity cannot be part of the Coalition.
This is a welcome contribution from Dave Hill. Whether we like it or not relations between Left UNITY and TUSC is the elephant in the room. I would like to see Left Unity stand numerous candidates next year in both the local elections and the general election. However, that begs the question – unless TUSC disappears we will *have* to come to an arrangement with them.
I stood as Left Unity candidate in the Newtown ward in Exeter. The Exeter branch discussed ensuring we had a non-aggression pact with TUSC back in January but we also proposed that it might be of mutual benefit to actually go beyond this. Just to clarify one point Left Unity nationally will not endorse candidates standing against other socialist candidates and I and the other Left Unity candidates were quite rightly asked for an assurance that this was the case.
In Exeter there were 8 TUSC candidates one of whom was also a Left Unity activist who choose to stand as TUSC this time. The two organisations helped each other with leafleting – so Socialist Party members helped us deliver Left Unity leaflets and Left Unity members helped deliver TUSC leaflets. We also had some joint planning meetings. All candidates received a letter from Fawcett Devon about support for services effecting women in terms of funding for things like the Devon Rape Crisis Services. A joint letter was sent in reply agreed by both TUSC and Exeter Left Unity headed with the logos of both organisations.
I should emphasise that this relationship was discussed at all Exeter Left Unity meetings and was agreed to without any opposition. I suspect this might seem odd to some in other parts of the country but perhaps this is because Exeter is a small town and the Left is small which tends to concentrate minds on overcoming sectarianism and working together. Now I understand why some do not trust or are even hostile to the old Left groups. Ten years on from my role in trying to help get independents together in the Socialist Alliance (I set up the IndieSA email forum) I’m frankly still angry at the way that organisation was smashed up – ten wasted years as far as I’m concerned. However, we need to be clear headed about what we do. For example John Penney may denounce TUSC and the SP/SWP etc as stridently as he likes but it won’t make them go away! So do we ignore them, do we settle for non-aggression but essentially on non-speaking terms or can we do better than that and actually see where we can collaborate?
Personally, I think we must insist on standing as Left Unity as we are a new party trying to build support and our profile and as such it would be crazy to stand in elections under a different label. However, as the recent Exeter experience shows we can still go well beyond a non-aggression pact. We could produce joint press statements and leaflets if it suits both parties and we can produce material separately and independently and help each other.
In terms of the general election this really does have to be addressed. I think we should avoid being to proscriptive and bureaucratic about it but how do we choose a single candidate in towns where both organisations are active? Condemning TUSC and hoping they go away won’t solve it. I’m inclined to suggest open hustings to select an anti-cuts/socialist candidate to be ratified later by both respective organisations. Clearly this will break down if one side feels it has been cheated by the other packing the meeting – it can only work on good will. We need to think about this!
Looking forward Dave Hill points out Left Unity has around 2000 member currently. If we can, say, treble that membership size we have nothing to fear from the old Left groups because they would be incapable of dominating us anymore. As I see it the logic of the Left Unity project is that we are in the process of creating a new mass workers party – this is what TUSC say they want as well. As I see it we could look at it as a twin track approach that could converge in the future. I think it way too early for us to be organizationally unified, it won’t work yet, but if Left Unity is successful then this unity will happen at some point and it is to be welcomed. In the meantime I think we should offer to work with the rest of the Left on a non-sectarian basis. I do understand that not everywhere is like Exeter –and that overcoming long term hostile sectarian differences may be very difficult but we still have to address the issue.
I agree wholeheartedly with what Dave has written here – I was the Left Unity member in Exeter who stood as TUSC in the ward next door to Dave’s, Polsloe. I did so as a pragmatic choice to be part of TUSC’s drive to stand 625 candidates and thereby boost media coverage. I knew that there was no ideological difficulty in doing so as the policy platforms of both organisations are 99% compatible. Next time I could stand as either TUSC or LU – or both – but before I turn 30 I want to be a candidate and activist for a united, mass socialist party.
I got a low vote. I knew I would get a low vote. I worked my arse off anyway, in order to register that low vote in the annals of electoral history and give people what I see as their right – the right to vote for socialism, and moreover to vote for a worker’s representative [and on a worker’s wage if only councillors were paid!]
TUSC are now on their way to mounting a serious electoral challenge in 2015 – with less than a year to go, I have seen no such preparation within Left Unity. Extensive collaboration on the left cannot solve all our problems – but it is the minimum precondition of common sense which will enable us to mount the strongest and most united possible challenge at the general election.
I and others who think similarly will be addressing these issues in articles and branch resolutions over the coming days and weeks, and building support for our position in Left Unity and TUSC – I encourage all those who agree with us to drop me a line at email@example.com and let us know how you see the route to unity unfolding in your area.
the question is was it right to set up left unity in the first place if you want to look at joint candidates with tusc, wouldnt campaigning for a new constuition for tusc have been a better bet.or just simply crtical support? if left unity was the right thing to do then people should be trying to make it bigger than tusc if it was not then people should be trying to work with in it throught its indepenedent group and as individual supporters. i take no position on which is the right course of action.
As a Brighton and Hove Left Unity member, I can assure you that we are already aiming to build good relations with our local comrades in TUSC. Many of us have worked together in trades union, anti-cuts and other campaigns over recent years, and have great respect for each other.
This does not alter the fact that TUSC itself is a undemocratic non-membership organisation, an electoral chimera which is effectively controlled by one small party and one union. There is no comparison with Left Unity, and I believe that trying to rush into anything more than a good working relationship will be detrimental to both.
Many of the people joining Left Unity have come from other left organisations and to some of them this is a burning issue, but an increasing proportion have not. I would suggest that most Left Unity members join precisely because the party shows signs of breaking not only the mould of party politics, but escaping from the partisanship of so many existing left groups.
In addition we need to ensure that Left Unity does not fall into the trap of obsession with elections. Just getting people elected under the current broken system will not bring about the change we need, but should be part of a wider programme including action in workplaces, on the streets and in our community campaigns.
Our comrades in TUSC represent just one small part of this. Many of us already fight alongside activists from many parties and none, including anarchists who are opposed to standing in elections at all. What matters is that we are united in struggle.
Brighton and Hove Left Unity branch secretary
I am glad Pip wrote this. I had been pondering on writing a witty article called ‘Only an Elephant Needs a TUSC’ but I probably don’t need to. My main point is that as someone newish to all this, I just do not understand how a group which is not a political party, without a membership or policies that ordinary people can sign up to, is even allowed to put up candidates in elections. How is it legal? What has it got to do with a democratic system? People ‘on the street’ are completely confused by TUSC and I certainly cannot give them an explanation which makes any sense at all unless you have been on the inside of Lefty Politics for many years and know the history. It is obvious to me that we need to concentrate on building a new party which is felt to be a representative voice for everyone who wants to see a better economic system which works for people and our beautiful planet. I especially think people in LU should stand for LU in elections and no other party. Andrew Burgin told me to leave the labour party if I wanted to be a leader in LU, and I did, because he was right. One rule for all I say.
This is beginning to look like a takeover of this thread by Exeter(!) – However, everyone is free to post comments…
Many thanks to Dave Hill for sharing his thinking on this topic, therefore providing a platform for discussion.
My personal experience of the collaborative election campaign of TUSC and LU in Exeter has been extremely positive and I support Dave Parks’ and Edmund Potts’ responses above fully. Far from being a cynical attempt at gaining access to LU’s membership list, it has been an open and free coalition of Socialists working together door-to-door to offer the city’s voters a real, Socialist and anti-austerity alternative – the only one in fact.
What started out as merely a non-aggression pact locally here, finished up on a much more positive footing with the proposal now on the table to make TUSC/LU in Exeter an ongoing electoral coalition with a permanent existence (certainly at least for the next 12-months leading up to the election) – akin to Dave Hill’s option number 4 – although this raises the question of a name for such a coalition.
It is certainly way too early to attempt comrade Hill’s option number 5 (as I suspect he realises) but beginning to build up trust between left groups, finding common ground and ways to collaborate positively for the common good surely has to be the direction a party under the banner “Left Unity” would wish to travel? Of course we all want to have our strategies and tactics correct too. Meanwhile the capitalist machine munches onwards.
As the general election approaches, I believe this discussion is only going to increase in importance and a working solution will have to be found if electoral momentum is not to be lost. Better to have the discussion now.
Comrade schmomrade. Speaking like you come from the 1950s and thinking the SWP are going to get anyone elected anywhere are both positions of pure fantasy.
That whole movement has had its go. It has failed. Not only that but have a look at the recent scandals in the SWP. Grim as…
Associating with them is toxic.
Left Unity was formed became of the lack of a broad based party to the left of Labour as an inclusive party. TUSC is a failed experiment. I’m not surprised that Keith Moorell chose to fight and win Coxford, Southampton as an Independent. Does anyone seriously think he would have won as a TUSC candidate? It is the past. There is no need for TUSC with Left Unity now established. Get over TUSC, hopefully LU is the future.
Conference is sovereign in Left Unity and we have Conference policy on electoral co-operation with other left groups, coalitions and parties, in the form of the successful resolution moved at our 29 March policy conference by Pete McLaren and Dave Landau :
“Left Unity should open discussions with other left groups, coalitions and parties to avoid electoral clashes and move towards electoral pacts – with the initial aim of creating the largest ever left challenge in the 2015 General Election”
This is the mandate which the LU National Council has to work within. We need to ensure, through our regional NC representatives, that we get the fullest report back and opportunity to discuss the progress of those discussions.
Left Unity should be very cautious in its relationship with the SP/ TUSC. The votes for TUSC were very poor and seem to be declining, along with their Little Engander No2EU project. Those on the progressive left in Britain are fully aware of the history of the Militant inside the Labour Party and many will have encountered them and this was not always a positive experience.
Our experience with the SP in Lewisham PBP as an organisation has been mixed. Locally they have some great class militant but as an orgaisation when they were unable to control LBP they walked out. They played no part in building PBP and only turned up to try and get one of their comrades selected. Since their departure PBP has gone from strength to strength and the perception that LPBP was a front for the SP has been lifted.
Only in very few areas of the country do the SP/TUSC have any social base, just like Left Unity at this stage. Members of the SP should be welcome into Left Unity as individuals and they would be free to organise their own current within the party, especially as the wheels have come of their TUSC and No2EU initative.
At this stage in our development Left Unity should only have a very limited intervention in next year’s local elections and general election so it should not be difficult to avoid a clash.
I am a Socialist Party member and TUSC supporter, living in Leicester. In 2010, we appealed to left groups across the city to build a common “no-cuts” platform and stood in the mayoral elections and in 13 council seats across the city, in combination with The Indian Workers’ Association, the Socialist Party and anti-cuts campaigners. In 2015, we are looking to build on this, and want to stand a no-cuts candidate in every seat in the city. I agree largely with Dave Hill’s post. It would be nice to see Left Unity living up to its name, by seeking to unite the left, rather than indulge in petty squabbling, like some of the comments above. Contrast this with TUSC’s serious approach to a united left challenge in elections – an offer to Left Unity, Socialist Labour Party, Respect, Communist Party members to stand, under their own banner and own electoral name if they wish, and with full rights to distribute and campaign for their own parties, whilst at the same time remaining under the TUSC umbrella. TUSC’s aim is to stand as widely as possible again in 2015, putting down a marker as an alternative to all cuts and a simple “no to austerity” message, which will resonate with voters tired of the main parties, all of which offer only more cuts, job losses and privatisation. The aims of both Left Unity and TUSC are the same – a mass, democratic party of the left in which we can argue for socialist ideas. We need to work together as far as possible to achieve this.
The banned TUSC video is on my home page http://www.theswansnewparty.org.uk
I do not care if all the little socialist parties have different agendas, you have the same faith and should all merge. Learn from Podemos but even more from SY.RIZ.A.
The starving and dying of all ages in England and Wales cannot wait whilst egos keep socialists as small, warring little bands.
The reason TUSC (yes I know they are the socialist party, but I still voted for them in my local election, about a year ago (not current council election) despite having to research hard to find them) is not getting the vote, is because, like all socialist parties, you are not getting the media coverage.
If you, as one merged party, do not win the 2015 general election, then the old, young, disabled, chronic sick, working poor, zero hour contract, and those sanctioned off benefit who cannot access even 3 vouchers in a year from food banks, when in Europe the local councils feed the starving every day, 7 days a week, even during an anti-austerity strike.
It is perhaps time to ask SY.RIZ.A to come to England and bring our socialist parties together, to become as successful as SY.RIZ.A has become.
If you want to bring sitting Labour councillors and MPs, who are anti-austerity, into this merged socialist party, all the better, which is what TUSC is trying to do.
The rest of Labour may as well join the Tory party.
The old vote, the young don’t even sign on the electoral roll.
Women aged 60 are coming off the electoral roll as we have been morally stolen from.
Our state pension fund has been full for decades, not needing a top up from tax, despite all the hype about people living longer.
As the NI Fund is not a tax, it cannot be emptied to pay off the national debt nor to use for general government expenditure, including expenses for rich MPs. Even the Pensioners Convention believes the state pension fund has been emptied to pay towards national debt. This is not true and not legal.
The NI Fund has to be kept full to the level of 8 weeks cash in hand.
My petition gives socialism its best chance in 60 years
My petition grew out of this one, because the Flat Rate Pension and other changes leave poor at 60 without food and fuel money:
These are millions of voters, as there are 23 million people aged over 50 in the UK.
Us older folk are old Labour not New Labour now called Progress.
May my suggestion be to use all campaigning fund to merge all socialist parties (socialism is on the road to communism, but every communist nation on earth is partly capitalist but well regulated) and open up free cafes to feed poor pensioners, working poor and their kids who have lost benefit and those sanctioned off benefit.
As you know, those sanctioned off benefit or not on any benefit either by loss or long delay, cannot access vouchers (themselves only 3 in a year) to get food from Food Banks.
These are the people that have fallen completely out of the welfare state altogether.
So while you all argue about the finer points of what is the same political ideology and until a Mao or Lenin turns up, you might just care about the people you are asking to vote for you.
Left Unity is a party not a coalition or an electoral block. Therefore when we stand in elections it is part of the party’s campaign to build itself in the local communities and working class organisations, not to build someone else’s front. I think only in the short term can we allow Left Unity members to stand under other party banners, be it People Before Profit or TUSC. You join a party to build it not something else!
With TUSC there are also important political differences, not just its undemocratic nature, but the fact that LU has an internationalist position on Europe, TUSC has a “little Englander” one, we have an open borders position the SP the dominant force in TUSC thinks you should have “non-racist immigration controls”.
That said John Penney’s original contribution sounded horribly sectarian. There are good socialists in TUSC that we work with in campaigns, just as there are socialist Greens who we work with. But we should not confuse anti cuts or anti austerity united fronts with building a political party. If left unity succeeds in building a large socialist party, reflected in its electoral support these other groups will join us. if we don’t they wont.
TUSC has absolutely nothing that we need.
In particular we need to keep well away from the toxic SWP, even the merest hint of an association between us and that gang of rapists and rape-enablers would be catastrophic for L.U.
And let us not forget T.U.S.C. had the audacity to run Steve Hedley as a candidate!
Read this, if you don;t know about him:
I wouldn’t touch TUSC with a 10′ barge-pole. In fact I doubt I could find a barge-poll long enough not to touch them with.
Exeter Left Unity passed a resolution on this subject unanimously at our AGM last week. You can read the text of the resolution and the ISN’s motivation for supporting it here http://www.independentsocialistnetwork.org/2014/06/for-a-united-socialist-electoral-challenge-suggested-branch-resolution/
As John Pearson said earlier conference is sovereign, but if Ed’s views became Left Unity policy I would fear for the future of Left Unity, as a serious party to the left of Labour similar to the parties that comprise the European Left, before it has really started.
You’ll need to explain why you think that, otherwise it will just look like scaremongering. What’s your alternative that will save Left Unity from this supposed cataclysm?
Perhaps its up to Edmund to explain why he thinks forming an alliance with rapists, rape-enablers and wife-beaters is a good idea?
Well Mark, I’m currently on holiday and recovering from a very nasty bout of flu, so I’m going to keep my responses few and far between for the next few days – apologies if your next expertly crafted attempt at a verbal put-down passes unnoticed into the ether.
In terms of the SWP (who I assume you are referring to as rapists and rape-enablers – if your comment had any informational motive it would have been worth the extra few sentences to explain this), their involvement with TUSC has always been basically non-existent. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of SWP members I have met during my involvement in politics; none of them are now still in the organisation. So to characterise working with TUSC as an alliance with the SWP is in practice completely disingenuous, and shows either ignorance or mendacity on your part. We were all appalled by what happened in the SWP. For you to suggest otherwise is incorrect and frankly, a bit sick.
In terms of the Steve Hedley affair (again, no context, so I have to assume this is what you’re getting at), I have my own view on that which may in fact be more in line with yours than you think. I will gladly discuss it with you properly, but I will certainly not try and fail to outline it succinctly while ill in response to an immature baiting comment.
Hi Ed, Thanks for your response, it was good of you to take the time.
Yes I was referring to the S.W.P. when referring to rapists and rape enablers. I thought that this was a given seeing as there have been ELEVEN accusations of rape against senior SWP personnel. I’m not aware of any other Socialist organizations that have been so accused, (unless you know something I don’t), so I didn’t feel the need to bore people by stating the obvious.
You say that I am being “disingenous” in characterising working with TUSC as being equivelent to going into coalition with the SWP. You say, and I have no reason to doubt you, that there are no longer any SWP members working in TUSC. Fair enough. But isn’t odd then that TUSC’s website lists a permanent position on its national committee as being reserved for an SWP member? Like it or not, the L.U. would be seen by many as forming an alliance with an organization that reserves a spot for rapists or rape-apologists on its national committee.
I have read your last paragraph on Stephen Hedley half a dozen times and I still have no clue what you are trying to say, but there again, as you correctly state I am both immature and a baiter. So maybe it’s just me.
So what will we get in exchange for never being able to talk with moral authority on women’s issues ever again? A coalition with a political organization that has failed quite spectacularly in achieving its stated goals, that’s what. Their one claimed election victory (Keith Morrell) actually ran as an independent. The 554 TUSC candidates received 68,152 between them, or an average of 123 each. David Nellis got 974 votes in Coventry and came second. Very good you might think, but that was in a ward where the S.P. once had all three councillors. The truth is the S.P. and TUSC are going nowhere fast.
In the 2013 Eastleigh by-election TUSC polled 62 votes. That was ten fewer than the ‘Elvis Loves Pets’ candidate, considerably fewer than half the Monster Raving Looney Party vote, and less than one third of the ‘Beer Baccy and Crumpet Party’s result. Good work.
It seems a little ironic for members of a group called Left Unity to take the attitude that their organisation is superior to all other parties and that if people are interested in unity should just join LU. That is not a comradely attitude but a sectarian one – something that I thought LU was aimed at breaking away from. We should always be ready to at least talk with other socialist organisations.
It is quite right to raise concerns about the SP and SWP given their past record in the SA and the several allegations of sexual misconduct. This should equally apply to the RMT of which Hedly is assistant general secretary – funny that people seem more ready to attack the SP which accepted his resignation rather than the RMT which has cleared him of any misconduct.