Platform 9 3/4

“Platforms have a crucial role in the culture and history of our movement. Was it not an anarchist platform that tripped a Tory MP to an early grave underneath Stephenson’s Rocket, a clear warning to that the Industrial Revolution would be built not only on the blood of the workers but of the Establishment too? []

Platorms can take us to so many places, so many possibilities, even magical destinations. Every journey must start somewhere, and platforms are uniquely qualified to signpost us wayfarers to our destinations. We may not even know where we are going until we get on to the station and see the platforms!

But some stations are not suited for us. Clearly, a station with one platform is either a guaranteed congested rush, designed to start work 30 feet underground or is located in the obscure, inaccessible countryside. We do not want this. Conversely, a station with an alluvial urban jungle of platforms but no trains is a nightmarish Waiting For Virgin Trains Beckett play in which two earnest lefties discuss the revolution and end up on the tracks waiting for a train that never arrives.

Some stations are just plain surreal. Can you imagine going to the station to find that platform 4 to Twickenham has been seperated into 5 seperate parallel tracks and that platform 6 has been relocated to Denmark? It might be funny as an April Fools’ joke but not as a day-to-day reality. Not all platforms and stations are appropriate for the journeys at hand.

We believe that the Platforms in Left Unity are useful as an indicator of our group’s beliefs and persuations. We note the serious nature of the other platforms, as if the a battle is being fought to death. We think the battle for the founding conference should not be a battle at all! Though the meeting will determine the nature of the party, we shouldn’t treat it as a ‘contest’ to be ‘won’. This encourages the idea that everyone who is unhappy with some aspect with our constitution should leave as a defeated, unwanted loser.

Platform 9 3/4 stands for a happy approach to the platform debate. We want people to be happy with the outcome whatever it is. How crap would it be if Ron and Hermione had a falling-out and demanded Hogwarts create a seperate railway line for half-bloods and ‘true’ wizards? Who will stand up today and say segregation is a good thing? Surely we have learnt that just because we might disagree on something we don’t have to go to war. Even Colonel Blimp didn’t advocate war with America because they don’t have a stiff-upper lip.

As Scatman John once said, how can someone win if winning means that someone loses? We must remember we are all on the same journey. Instead of making more parallel tracks, let’s improve the line and build bigger trains. The destination is important, but the journey will be the day-to-day reality in our long-term project.

Let’s enjoy the ride.

A victory for one is a loss for all.

10 Point Plan for Liberation and Happiness

1) No creation of seperate lines, even if the train is the wrong colour or someone said you smell.

2) Upgrade the line for all fellow-travellers!

3) No pushing! We don’t tolerate pushing at the swimming pool and we won’t here either.

4) Expect long journeys. Free water will be provided but you might need to chip in to keep the air con going.

5) Abolishment of second-class carriages. We’re all first-class!

6) Freedom for House Elves (suggested by Dobby).

7) Feel free to chat to the person next to you – even if they have headphones on.

8) Abolition of all talent agencies (to prevent the aristocrats).

9) No smoking, unless I can have a toke as well.

10) There ain’t no gettin’ off of this train we on!”

We are sorry to announce the 1921 train to Kronstadt has been cancelled.

Carlus Hudson, Andrew Duncan, Anya-Nicole Darr, Michael Wayne, Dave Parks,  Tim Powell, Chris Marsh, Eamonn Custance [Convenor], Kim Chenoweth, John Collingwood, Chris Vincent.

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15 responses to “Platform 9 3/4”

  1. peteb says:

    errrr, that was funny, humour is important. losing a vote isnt losing its about putting across your point of view. capitalist society preasures us to win, compete, achieve targets: we need to understand that the breakthrough we are looking for comes from the grass roots. it wont be a slick brochure that builds the left, it will happen if groups like left unity can inspire enough confidence for our class to stand up. if left unity can be a vehicle for those radicalisations and not another pompous, know all, meet the teachers experiance. like platform 9 3/4!

  2. Exactly right peteb. Mainstream politics is boring as hell, and one of the big problems with the left is that it can be so tediously dull. We don’t need to be boring or fanatical over every dot and comma, our party can be lulzworthy!

    Forwards to a socialist and funny society!

  3. Anya-Nicola Darr says:

    Hear Hear. I’ve already signe dup for the Left Party Platform but I did think at the time that having such platforms could end up being very divicive. A Rose by any other name etc.

  4. oskarsdrum says:

    heh heh excellent piece. We also need to find an answer to passangers getting off the platform and into the train before everyone’s finished alighting, it’s a nightmare problem.

  5. johnkeeley says:

    Very good.
    It reminds me of my uni days when people were so fed up with the pretentious ‘politicians’ wanting to be president of the union we voted for a chair. When told we couldn’t vote for inanimate objects we elected a gerbil.
    This echoes some of my concerns about LU – it still feels too much like another group of political wanna-be’s rather than emphasizing the need for participatory democracy.

    • Students nearly elected an inanimate carbon rod as NUS President this year on the platform that as an inanimate object it couldn’t sabotage the student movement and would be more useful than an NUS president. I say we elect Dumbledore for LU President! He wouldn’t put up with any kind of bollocks!

      Left Unity has the potential to be a welcoming organisation of the left full of debate and action and fun. Wouldn’t that be lovely? A party is supposed to be fun after all!

      When we come to debate the platforms in November, we can discuss and debate, disagree and query, but in a pleasant manner without splitting or ‘us-and-them’ reactions to people we disagree with. Because if you disagree with your mother over what to have for dinner you don’t go to court to change your birth certificate, right? We’re family!

  6. Steve F says:

    Dear Fat Controller,

    Some of us want to get the train from Austerity via Democracy to Social Republic. We are not sure which platform is best. Can you direct us to the right one? We are not sure what time it is leaving, probably not for some time yet. It may not set off at all because under privatisation if there are only a few passengers it will be cancelled. Then we will have to catch the wrong train with all the carriages jam packed and it will probably break down. If we catch the wrong train can we come back and try again? Or is it better to wait around until the right arrives eventually?

    • Dear Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We have considered your question with equanimity and compassionate consideration.

      We note your name is a subtle reference to the Middle English word ‘steven’ meaning ‘constitution’, or ‘voice’. Platform 9 3/4 informs you that it is a pluralist platform platform platform, and you may therefore select the following response:

      1) We regret to inform you at the cancelled 1921 to Kronstadt has been derailed between St. James’s Park and Westminster.
      2) TFL is not responsible for how you choose to get around, you’ll have to do it yourself, whether by bike or otherwise.
      3) Platforms are for trains and not fighting. Please take fighting to the pub.
      4) Raise DEFCON to 1 and try Far East Strategy.

      Station Manager.

      • Steve F says:

        Dear Station Manager,

        I don’t think you have really answered my question and I might have to complain to customer services. I agree that the 19.17 socialist express was derailed at 19-21 only 4 minutes after setting off. Now we have some wanting to do it all again without having apologized for the first monumental fuck up. But I am not impressed with the 19-45 slow train to nowhere not least because the track has been completely dismantled and sold off by those currently in charge of the network. Trying to take that line is a non-starter although most passengers will not be deterred from having a go. It is a shame to get their hopes up only to have them dashed. You can’t take a train on a track with no rails.

        So I am still looking for something completely different – a train from Austerity via Democracy to Social Republic. I have been told it’s the 16-49 that used to run from Naesby via Putney to St George’s Hill. But that also got derailed. So we need something like that but thoroughly modernised. Looking at the station clock I can’t see it setting off at 20-13. But nobody wants to be stuck at Austerity so the sooner we set off for Democracy the sooner we arrive at Social Republic. That may not be far enough for some but it is a far better place than the current platform.

        So it is down to you station master. Try again, think more clearly and direct me to the rIght platform so we can get started.

  7. Dear Steve,

    I’m sorry to hear you found our reply insufficient. We can again only recommend the Far East strategy and hope that your SAM sites protect the US West Coast when Europe goes apeshit with their submarines. Platform 9 3/4 supports the use of ICBMs against Asia following our Risk Report which clearly shows it is impossible to win a land war there.

    You asked about the timings of various trains. Platform 9 3/4 is not responsible for the running of trains and likes to remind customers that they are given a key to the driver’s cabin upon entering the station. We also provide customers with a map to the various platforms and destinations, but it’s not really the concern of the station managers where you would like to go. We simply provide the railway and the Costas. If customers would like destination recommendations, the many tourist groups leafletting outside the station can give suggestions. Alternatively, the station squatting drum-circle can provide hand-exercises.

    If you are still unsatisfied with other passengers’ opinions on the late/early/non-running of a particular service, please shout as loudly as possible preferably with the word ‘rectum’, so that your complaint is listened to with the consideration it rightly deserves.

    S. Milligan.

    PS: You may think the Europe firing on the West Coast of the US is a mistake. This is because Europe’s targetting array can no longer fire left and must therefore circumnavigate the globe.

  8. dagmar says:

    The platform are not to be trusted. When they claim
    “As Scatman John once said, how can someone win if winning means that someone loses?”
    they are misquoting Mr. John.
    What he actually said, and I have video evidence of the fact, was namely:

    “I hear you ask all about the meaning of scat
    Well I’m the professor and all I can tell you
    Ski bi di bi di do bap do
    Do bam do
    Bada bwi ba ba bada bo
    Baba ba da bo
    Bwi ba ba ba do
    I’m the Scatman”

    The first two lines are a reference to Prof. Callinicos tending to “talk shit”.

  9. same old says:

    you and your tired train analogy took your time getting here. The tories have been here for 3 years… where were you? the same old same old.

    • Dear same old,

      Unfortunately Left Unity has only been around since March 2013. It was therefore difficult for us to do anything before March 2013. If you have any spare time machines we could borrow, we would be most grateful and would happily have organised before then.

      Station Manager
      Platform 9 3/4

  10. same old says:

    Around since March? It is now November. What you been waiting for? more discussions and articles? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz, same old same old

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