The People’s Assembly: the fight-back begins?

People's Assembly PhotoThe gathering of over 4,000 people at the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in London on Saturday 22nd June was truly inspirational, reports John Keeley. To be together with so many who regard profit as a dirty word & who want a world based upon more humane values, such as equality, solidarity & dignity, it’s hard not to believe that there will be a fight-back. But as useful as it is to raise spirits, an objective analysis of what the People’s Assembly offers is needed.

Will the People’s Assembly stop austerity? To do this it would need to bring down the Con-Dem coalition & reclaim the Labour Party as a party fighting for the class interest of the workers. The first part is relatively easy compared to the second. Indeed, the fact that Labour haven’t stood up for the workers is the main reason why the coalition has had a relatively easy time of it to date. Although there are still many good people in Labour, the leadership & the vast majority of MP’s care first & foremost about their careers. They want power & from their rationale this means not upsetting corporate interests. Hence on the same day as the People’s Assembly, Miliband gives a speech saying he won’t reverse the cuts. How much more evidence do you need of the pro-business nature of the Labour Party?

Labour is lost in history. Just as capitalism faces potential collapse & the case for socialism needs to be made more than ever, Labour are found missing. Labour only offer a vision of revitalised capitalism providing tax revenue for public-private initiatives financing public-private provided services. The promise of better healthcare & education funded by a buoyant capitalism that somehow produces ‘social entrepreneurs’ who have a social conscious, once of course they have made their millions. It’s the ideology of liberals who want to be remembered as ‘good individuals’. Blair, Brown, Miliband, they are all the same.

So can Labour be reclaimed? An optimistic scenario would have the People’s Assembly amassing support from a large section of the population & scoring victories over the coalition so that it falls & the new Labour government, in their gratitude to the unions, giving them a bit of say & launching a Keynesian fiscal stimulus – more investment, more jobs, more union members. A new boom then boosts the coffers in the Treasury enabling a confident, more self-assured Labour to renationalise the railways & the public utilities, as well as investing in the NHS & a fully state-controlled comprehensive education system. A return to the hope of 1945 & the parliamentary road to socialism.

Rather than optimistic, this is delusional. Only those who have no understanding of the nature of capitalism today can entertain such a possibility. Unfortunately, that’s the vast majority in the unions & the Labour Party. The problem is the confusion between the vast wealth created by capitalism & the fact that capitalism only produces for a profit. On top of that is the nature of debt & how it artificially supports profit rates. These are not easy subjects. This is why it is essential for those of us who have studied capitalism & the nature of its crises to engage with the leaders of the People’s Assembly to show them that social democracy – capitalism with a strong welfare state – is not a realistic possibility.

There is no Keynesian solution. Capitalism cannot be reformed. For there to be true democracy where the people are both legislature & executive, requires not just the common, social ownership of the means of production, but a whole new approach to politics. It requires embracing participatory forms of organising – something that is happening increasingly. Political parties & parliament are not democracy. New institutions, such as local Peoples’ Assemblies, are required to enable equality in decision-making. An alternative to austerity necessitates an alternative system. A new mode of production & a new form of politics. Can the People’s Assembly rise to this historical challenge?


17 comments

17 responses to “The People’s Assembly: the fight-back begins?”

  1. Micky D says:

    PA is a panic move by the liberal establishment , never trust a top down ‘ movement ‘

  2. maria shana says:

    very interesting piece

  3. CRITIQUE OF THE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY AND THE FORMATION OF A NEW PARTY:

    I’m sick of hearing about “there is an alternative” from movements like the People’s Assembly. I did not attend the PA conference on 22 June, but through youtube clips and reading online, I can see that there were some great speakers at that event. But don’t tell me there’s an alternative AND THEN FAIL TO TELL ME WHAT THE ALTERNATIVE IS?! Was there a Q&A at this event and did anyone ask Mark Steel or Francesca Martinez what that alternative looks like in their view? I’m genuinely asking – the question is not rhetorical.

    So now, the PA is calling for protest at the Tory conference on Sep 29 and civil disobedience on Nov 5. All well and good – but this is just reactionary. We are being asked to do little more than beg the Con-Dem government to change ways, beg them to please end austerity or plead with Labour to come back and do the work for us, despite Milliband clearly outlining that Labour’s economic policy will be little different from that of the Con-Dem government. More of the same drudgery, misery, and everlasting helplessness.

    What are we so afraid of? These anti-austerity meetings are a waste of time unless they are being held for the purposes of organizing a mass party. I’m sick of being lectured to in an attempt to “inspire” me, give me “hope” or make me realize that there is “an alternative”. Surely by now, we don’t need to gather in the thousands to hear the same story reeled out by speaker after speaker. We need clear direction, we need strong leaders, open ears and innovative ideas about how WE can take control of the mess and organize. Unless meetings are being held to discuss how to politically organize – what is the point??

    Instead we are being asked to beg our politicians to make the changes for us – the same ones – Conservative or Labour – who put us here in the first place. PA are planning events and initiatives until spring 2014. Do you know how many people will have been bankrupted, suicidal, helpless and defeated by spring 2014? I refuse to enter into a protest of begging. I am however open to talking about clear political strategies and a party we build from scratch. We need to organize NOW and stop being reactionary. If these people think they can reform “capitalism” they are misguided. If they are trying to sell me more capitalism – they are cheating me. For it is this same capitalism that they uphold that has brought us to our knees. Bankers work as a part of the capitalism system but it is capitalism, and its system of winners and losers that has afforded for this crises in the first place.

    So offer me something I don’t know or help me clarify my ideas and give me a direction to pursue. If you can’t – let me tell you what I propose, instead of continuing to lecture me as I have been lectured to all my life by bankers, politicians, experts, economists, historians, professors, theorists etc. I am sick of being told as a worker that my ideas are not valid or that I lack theory and understanding. If anything, PA is a clear-cut example of FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS – they want to continue to work within the matrix of capitalism and the current system we have instead of proposing a whole new modus operandi.

    This however doesn’t mean we need a political campaign that is purely “anti-capitalist” – in fact I don’t even think we need to discuss the fall of capitalism and being anti-capitalist as a part of our party’s strategy. Because for most people, including most people attending PA, anti-capitalism = fear. People lack the education and understanding of how capitalism operates and why capitalism is the root of EVERYTHING we bemoan on this forum and in these articles. Let us not make the mistake of trying to shove our ideas down people’s throats and it is here I agree with the “issue by issue” basis way of moving forward. If we run a campaign that is anti-capitalist we will get nowhere. If we run a campaign that is centred around a set of issues and is just clearly left wing – we will triumph.

    Right now, our aim is not to educate people about theory or about the necessary demise of capitalism. Call me populist, but our aim is just simply to have a party by the people for the people and get into power – this in itself will be the greatest achievement ever established on the left in contemporary British history. Then we can start to enact the policies we want and really start to dismantle the system we hate and work towards a new political paradigm. In fact we need not be anti-capitalist, but rather pro-whatcomesaftercapitalism. Everything evolves, changes, improves including political theory. We cannot keep using the iPhone 5 forever yet that is exactly what we are being asked to do, despite knowing that it has a limited battery life, the screen is rubbish, the storage could be greater etc. So let’s stop talking about being anti anything and start talking about being pro whatever the new solution is.

    More importantly the move from, say capitalism into communism, as Marx stated is not to be achieved overnight and we must [1] seize the right time [2] definitively move from capitalism into communism at the will and desire of the people. Such actions cannot be forced and this is why there has never been a communist state to date, only authoritarianism regimes or those with communist ideals. As much as I would love a party that “educated” the masses on what Marxism is, and why they have an extremely misinformed view of communism, what we need right now is just a mass part by the people for the people. Capitalism must fall, but this doesn’t mean we need to explicitly discuss this with the masses. Each individual must have his/her/hir /their own enlightenment when it comes to how capitalism is eating them alive and openly robbing and raping them of their right to the means of production. I do not use these adjectives lightly; I have literally been raped by this system of my right to the means of production living my life as a slave to wage labour.

    Furthermore, I want to hear from people who have some political grasp and understanding of Marxism, socialism, fascism, reactionary ideas, propaganda etc who can offer us clear explanations and solutions that are politically driven – not comedians, celebrities and waste of space public figures. They need to be able to talk about the good and the bad. They need to be able to learn from the victories and the losses, the rights and wrongs of former leaders and regimes from Hitler to Lenin, Stalin to Mussolini, Thatcher to Blair. We need people providing analysis who understand the intricacies of the workings of politics who are leading. That doesn’t mean I want to sit back helplessly, that doesn’t mean I am stupid or lazy, that doesn’t mean I see myself as inadequate. It’s called finding the right individual(s) for the job, as long as they are from the PROLETARIAT and are rightfully elected. By my admitting that I am not the one of that job and that this role needs to be filled, I am helping and not hindering this movement. Just please stop giving me “career politicians” and just give me real people who can represent me.

    Indeed the PA may be taking a top down approach, it certainly seems that way. However can I please make the point that we can have a bottom-up movement in its entirety that has some top-down elements to it – such as the actual formation of the movement or the founding or an organization. Can we please not confuse top-down approaches with strong leadership and the possibility for a bottom-up approach that utilizes leadership and structure. I want to be led by a strong group of people, who are dedicating their time and effort to resolving these issues. May I remind you that I have a job to go to and children to raise. I can campaign, I can protest, but my desire for strong leadership and the fruition of a relationship with leaders who are my mentors more than leaders, and those willing to sacrifice their lives on behalf of the causes we discuss, IS NOT authoritarianism or top-down approaches. If you want to learn more about Mentor-Disciple relationships please read Daisaku Ikeda from who I have learnt a lot. We live in a society where everybody is obsessed with power and ego and less concerned with finding the beauty in leadership where my leaders and my politicians are from my own ranks and who I can turn to, who can guide me and support me and who work on my behalf. I am by no means an anarchist. I don’t want leaders, I need leaders to work for me, on my behalf and represent my interests. Who and how WE have employed individuals (working as a collective) to mentor us, lead us, guide us, is the question. We need clear cut structure, leadership etc in order to succeed. The democracy here comes in the ‘Demos’ being in charge; in charge of and appointing that determining the structure – leaders who come from OUR ranks and who are under our control. The most humbling thing is to step back and allow somebody to lead. We must stop fighting selfishly for individual recognition and outing ego first and be willing to recognize talented individuals who can drive the movement forward. All successful political drives MUST have a strong and valid leader/group of leaders who are supported by the people. We cannot all lead, but we can all be in charge simply by our ability to vote on issues. That’s the difference in understanding and implementing structure and organization.

    Thus, I think we may get further if we actually set up the party first, and then mould it and shape it as we go along. I am sick of hearing about how we need to reach consensus on exactly how the party should look, feel, smell, taste etc. This is not an interior decorating challenge – we are talking here about the formation of something organic, which grows and changes in time and which WILL NOT BE PERFECT from the outset and will probably never be perfect – which is why is will be a thing in CONTSTANT REVOLUTION. So let’s get realistic and stop trying to achieve something that panders to and tries to please everybody. There are some basic things we all agree on so we could start a party tomorrow based on the following tenants: unity, equality, anti-racism, anti-prejudice, pro LGBTQ, anti-austerity, rights to the means of production, supporting the 99% of working people and financially crushing the 1% of rich elites. The rest we can fill in once we actually have a damn organization. We don’t even need to be a “political party” right now but we need to be out on the road, speaking, uniting, sharing, talking about what we stand for and trying to increase membership every single day.

    Back to the PA – I’m sorry but who is Owen Jones and on what platform does he speak? Why are we continuing to be offered “expert” opinions by individuals who claim to be speaking up for the poor and working class just because they have written a book or two, hosted a show or three or appeared on Question Time.

    This event seems to have offered forward the usual “leftist” candidates and I say that as a woman in her 20s who is not affiliated with any left-wing cause. I’m only on this forum and following these events because I am so desperate, and thus, it is my responsibility as an educated woman in her twenties to become the change I want to see. To look for the political alternatives or create them if they don’t exist because I am struggling to survive.
    This event even has Labour MPs present and speaking – surely this is a joke?! If they think Labour is the way forward I won’t even entertain their solutions. Call me extremist but I have friends who are single mothers who are being strangled by this system, gay and lesbian friends who are in dire straits, disabled people facing extreme benefit cuts. We face discrimination, hate, prejudice, poverty. We are living in fear of growing fascism, the EDL and attacks on our mosques in our communities. We worry about the education our children are receiving, our medical care and losing our jobs. We are scared about what kind of a future will be left for our children when we are gone. Neither Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem have offered me any different and therefore if my demands and my open rejection of the main parties (my demands for peace, prosperity equality and enough money to just get by, pay rent, pay bills, take my child on one holiday a year, have a job I love and that does not control me) are extreme, than I must be an extremist. As has been previously stated, if indeed Ken Roach was not given a prime spot to speak at the PA because of his anti-labour stance – we need to rethink supporting a movement that seems to me like a Labour supported, Labour led initiative to get more votes for 2015. Not on my time and not with my money. To many of you this may sound trivial but I cannot afford the £10 or the lower rate of £4 to go to the PA. You want more money from me when I have none. Look at the videos – nice podiums, microphones, fancy websites. If you want to really engage with the poor about issues affecting the poor come hold a meeting for 4000 people in my local Asda car park where I can actually afford to attend and where we actually are. Don’t try and sell me a ticket to an event where you are helping me decide my own future and make my own fate.

    If you want to hear about budgeting, how we are being affected by cuts and a sob story built on hopes and dreams I can find you a black, impoverished single mother right now to speak to. I can also organize a mass meeting of poor people in my area right now who can offer up bemoaning about how we are suffering. What makes us strong is not that we moan all the time, because I am tired of people thinking we are benefit seekers, and all we do is moan and seek pity. We are actively seeking a solution. So we won’t be attending any event that acts as a pity arenas and points fingers at the Con-Dem government WITHOUT SOLUTIONS.

    Maybe for some of these hard hit white men speaking at PA, or white men who enjoy theorizing at such events, this is the first time they are engaging in such debate. Maybe they don’t get to air such views openly very often and they need a platform on which to do so. But where I live and amongst my friends and neighbours we are always getting together, always discussing, debating and sharing our struggles. It’s called community. But we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don’t need to pay a ticket to a conference to do the same thing I can do on my doorstep.

    What I can’t find you are many black single mothers who are impoverished and have laid out a political manifesto as to where we should go next and how we should form a party. Give me that – and I will come to any conference or any meeting. We all will. Let US speak for ourselves not about hope and dreams but about what a true political alternative looks like instead of expecting us to protest and beg when we have no clear cut agenda. If we live in a “democracy” and voting is the key component to change, surely we should be focusing on what happens at the ballot box. Surely we should be finding a way to win an election when it seems that the majority agrees with our stand on a whole range of issues. Many of you will say: why are you not organizing then? Why are you not being the change you want to see by setting up the party? Well the reason my friends, neighbours and I are not is because right now we want to contribute to a movement that already exists; Left Unity. However a few months down the line, if this doesn’t come into fruition and we have no clear way to move forward out of poverty and desperation, we will have no choice but to look to forming a party and just trying to get as many people as possible to join because at least then we will have an actual organization. However, right now it’s not about that, it’s about trying to work with as many people as possible within the movement we already have in place, instead of trying to splinter off and fight for power or control. We want to work with you, we want to contribute and we want to be a part of the change we ALL want to see. What we don’t want to do is stand outside a TORY CONFERENCE ON SEPT 29 and beg Mr Cameron, or run riot on Nov 5. The PA is trying to mobilize the poor once again to do the dirty work by an organization that is being run and organized by Labour MPs. How can i not feel like I am being asked to do the dirty work of Labour, with MPs Katy Clark, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell at the helm. How can we not feel like we are being used by Labour and Labour supporters to do their work by boycotting and protesting essentially for them on Sep 29. Because they also probably see us as the rich mans bait and its us they want to throw to the dogs. Because on Nov 5, when they call for civil disobedience, its US who are going to be arrested, detained and persecuted by the state police and NOT Owen Jones. It’s us that will face the same wrath that has been unleashed on protestors in Brazil and Turkey. And what protection will I have then? Where will MP Katy Clark be then to defend me and my rights? Who will speak up for me then or bail me out of jail? Who is going to look after my child? Who is going to go to my job? And what will I turn around and say my political agenda is when I have a flashlight in my face or I’m behind bars for the night which is could very well come to. I will be simply be labelled a rioter, a looter, a social monster by the government, receive a police warning and be written about in The Sun. So, if you think I am going to do that just on the back of anti-austerity and for the sake of begging Mr Cameron to please stop torturing me – think again. I will only engage in civil disobedience when it stands for something I believe in and it represents my aims and interests because we are FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING TANGIBLE and not the whimsical ideal of “anti-austerity.” So I am excited to see Owen Jones, MP Katy Clark and MP Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of these speakers on Sep 29 and Nov 5, because I will be looking to see their faces in the crowd.

    • Ben McCall says:

      Jasmin, you are my shero. More later …

    • Ben McCall says:

      Like the proverbial bus, I’ve waited over a month for more from Jasmin and now comes a fleet of words and ideas.

      There is a lot I’m not sure about and would like to question / debate, but that is not the point. I think Jasmin is saying what I, and I’m sure many others, have been saying and/or feeling for a long time: why is the left so irrelevant to the lives of most people – even those of us who consider ourselves of the left?

      Why are we always reacting to the elite’s agenda, eg. fighting the cuts, and not defining where we want to be, winning people to our cause in a down-to-earth, determined, effective way?

      Why are ‘we’ suddenly against austerity, when some people in the UK (let alone elsewhere) have been living austerely for all of their lives? Surely we are not just against austerity because some people who have not been poor have recently been made so? What about all through New Labour: many people were poor right through the ‘boom’ – why was this not a bigger issue then? It is so inconsistent and contradictory – not what we expect from “left leaders”, or is it?

      Why do we have to sit through meeting after meeting, article after article, contribution after contribution to this site (with honourable exceptions) telling us how bad things are – what we already know – without saying practically how we have learned from the track record of failure of the left since the 1970s; how and what we are going to do different, to be much more effective in the future and actually start achieving our objectives, instead of failing to stop the right achieving theirs.

      I was at the Peoples’ Ass. The only things that were not dismal and depressing about it were the great people who did not conform to the sad cliché of left irrelevance, eg. those who did not rise in standing ovation (and maybe those who did, as they were swept-up in the Nuremburg-like fever of the final plenary – and actually like affluent men shouting at them – but cringed later) to the likes of McClusky, Sewotka and (gawd help us) Rees. The LU glossy tabloid leaflet, specially printed for the day and that I dutifully distributed – only reading it later in despair – was woeful.

      So no John, the PA was not “truly inspirational” – quite the opposite; but as Jasmin says, rather than deterring us, this is a challenge for LU to be much, much better.

      • jonno says:

        Absolutely, the track record of the Left in the U.K in the last thirty years is basically one of failure, (except maybe the Poll Tax, though anarchism played a big part in that.) Its important that people feel they can be part of something and tbf I don’t think a festival of miserabilism saying all things are crap would have been better, but the more I read about the PA, it seems it was just Reesite triumphalism, neither earned or deserved.

        We must go back to first principles and the hard work of being there for people: outside jobcentres, on the estates, outside the workplaces on strike, working with down to earth organisationss like Unite Community, maybe even setting up food banks, etc. The PA and indeed L/U has to gain the trust of the people it wants to get support/ the votes from:, those who now detest N/L, those who are dabbling with UKIP because they feel abandoned, there may be a place for mass rallies in far away and expensive places like London, but ony when the hard work is done.

      • Ben McCall says:

        Agreed Johnno, but “a festival of miserabilism” is exactly how I felt realising how far we are from addressing some of Jasmin’s points – and then read Left Unity’s broadsheet.

        One of the only great things about the day was meeting up with one of the people I’ve corresponded with on this site: Ray G, a real diamond geezer. We come from very different currents of the left, but agree on 95%, plus an acknowledgement that it is so serious now, we really need to get on with it.

        Human contacts like this, coupled with genuine learning from past experience and a solid commitment to a much better politics in the future (not the cliche crap of the LU sheet) is one answer to Jasmin’s challenge.

    • M Harris says:

      Spot on and quite simply brilliant. Thank you.

    • Jason says:

      One thing I do agree with – where are the practical, down to earth plans for an alternative? I do not pretend to have the brains to create these myself. Hopefully, others do have the brains. If they only have what I’ve got then we are in a lot of trouble.

      I would urge avoidance of generalist terms and philosophical labels. To gain support from the great mass of people, you need concrete, workable ideas that appeal to people, not frighten them off or anger them because they feel supercilious zealots are talking down to them.

  4. jonno says:

    Firstly, I am aware that some people in L/U sadly see robust debate and yes, argument as destructive and unecessary,(possibly even a male trait) I have to disagree, as long as they are civil and discuss issues relevant to people and not abstract notions, then its fine.

    In the Guardian today, John Harris is writing about the growing conservatism or in many cases right libertarianism of much of todays youth, while his assertion more young people are voting tory is challenged, his central argument that young people are becoming less supportive and in some cases hostile to the welfare state rings true.

    Imo, the Peoples Assembly and yes Left Unity should see defending the welfare state and opposing these cuts as its key priority. Yet, from what i could see, the three most popular sesssions at the event were the holy trinity of ‘antiwar, environment, and racism/islamophobia’, all important but wasn’t this meant to be a conference primarily about austerity? The session ‘at the sharp end’ which was about those who are being hit the hardest by benefit cuts, etc, was in a marquee in the rain, difficult to access and not well attended. Imo, people who are up against it should have had central stage, but with travel costs, etc it was just too prohibitive for many, so no, I don’t think the PA represented those who are suffering most.

    Not only that, while some of the sesssions seemed productive, (the democracy one seemed very robust and engaging), much of it was the usual top table triumphalism as pioneered by Rees and co when they were in the SWP, (btw, who elected John Rees to run the PA?), it seems another lash up and more people are likely to lose their lives or their homes as the cuts deepen

    On Friday, in my home town they began the court cases against 100‘s of those in bedroom tax arrears, you would have thought this would have been a priority for the left and its supporters, yet there were only about ten people supporting these unfortunate victims(no LU) , when the EDL came to town , there was over a thousand including lots of LU, (though it was a Saturday.) One can surmise that maybe if working class people saw they were being defended outside the court, they may be less likely to consider supporting the far right, etc.

    Imo, the left needs to have a long hard look at itself, see why it is failing, why especially young people are not getting involved(even UK uncut is basically a small core group of people)and also people from the poorer parts of society. Last night, Monday, ITV1 broadcast a programme about the horrors of the workhouse, I see it as a warning from history, they could indeed come back in some form, inequality and poverty must be our priorities working with people up against it now and shaping wider public opinion on such issues where possible.

  5. Eleanor Firman says:

    If PA can build and spread widely the understanding that austerity is ideological and hurts the poor not the rich, and gives those who have yet to be involved an opportunity to act, then I think this can ultimately only be positive. There is so much ignorance and alienation in society that all efforts are needed.

    PA won’t take over other movements/parties/radical unions activity if we get involved without staking everything on it, but consciously support the most robust action. Of course PA is top-down and LP oriented. Let’s not waste energy expecting it to be anything else, but we should take part and, amongst other things, explain how it could be organised better.

    I think we have a different historical role to PA and we should have faith in that.

  6. Jack Milton says:

    I don’t think a revolutionary anti-imperialist movement will emerge from the British left at all, but from somewhere else entirely- alienated youth totally unconnected to existing political formations, left and right.

  7. steve says:

    Jasmin – great post!

  8. mico says:

    Jasmin, who is Owen Jones? exactly. I think you’ll find that he is an Oxbridge educated, media careerist, much loved by his university chums who now work for BBC’s Question Time.
    The reason the People’s Assembly aren’t too keen on actually changing anything is that if capitalism and the whole stinking system fell tomorrow the career lefties would all be out of a job. It serves their interests that things remain the same. The expensive websites, glossy brochures, big days out in London with celeb speakers etc are the trappings of a growth industry. And like all growth industries it isn’t feeling the pinch of austerity in any way at all.
    Sick and tired of being sick and tired? well don’t expect any answers from the same old same old.

  9. incubusblog says:

    I want to hear more from people like Jasmin, not from those who cast themselves as the champions of an abstrct working class- it seems increasingly clear that the PA is nothing but an electoral front for Blu-Labour and in doing so ultimately only support the new austere political hybrid of ‘Camerbandism’. If Left Unity accepts that a horizontal mode of organising, then it will attract more of our class, more than a clutch of union bureaucrats and priveliged liberal columnists ever will. We need a new social movement in this country, because real social change has never really been brought about by politcal methods, and we need to move beyond rejecting austerity and defending the welfare state. The best form of defence is to attack.

  10. Ray G says:

    Jasmin, I agree with so much of what you say.

    The People’s Assembly ‘movement’ however, although set up as a Labourite rallying point, need nol be one in every area. We should take the yearning for unity which was expressed at the Assembly and turn the PA in to a real local fighting organisation. If we work well, then Left Unity as a new party can gain large numbers of supporters through it, to challenge the Labour con-tricksters.

  11. Can i just say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has read what I wrote and reacted so positively. I am truly overwhelmed. sometimes i feel awfully inadequate to comment but i must remind myself i am a citizen, with a viewpoint, a voice and a BS filter and when things don’t add up or they frustrate me I must speak up.

    Ben – thanks for reaffirming my point about not being reactionary and actually being pro-active. also interesting to hear from someone who actually went to the event! p.s shero…? wow, i have never had that before… thank you, but i am not worthy!!

    Jason – workable, concrete ideas…yes!

    Mico – thanks for clearing up who Owen Jones is. hehe. You are absolutely right about career lefties and those who are center left who do not want to see a demise of capitalism. this entire system and their ability to try and find a middle ground and work within the confines of capitalism is done because capitalism is to their benefit. I for one am sick of seeing their commentaries, media interviews and continued pity as they ride on the back of the real poor and downtrodden.

    Ray G – interesting point about how we can work within the PA. However I am not convinced yet about whether we can work with the PA at all. Your idea is good, but I am worried in practice this just would not work. We need to be clear cut about who we work with and what we stand for and that should not be compromised in my viewpoint. We can participate yes, but this movement is not our initiative nor does it truly seem to serve our aims. I don’t think we should outrightly reject it but we should refute it, and instead continue to put forward our vision and ideas to those inside and outside of LU. We can get the same numbers that curently exist inside of the PA 4000+ by just a good rally, marching, speaking in local communities and creating a wave through politics just through the actions of the new party. we need to be economic with our time, efforts and manpower – all of which we have very little of it appears!

    I honestly think if today we just go about setting up the party/organization with the basic tenants I outlined above we can go forward from there. I know that a Nov 13′ meeting for LU is being held so I am awaiting news on how that pans out and what comes out of it. I appreciate that logistics are difficult and am grateful to everyone participating and organizing. However contesting anything or being visible in 2015 is seeming unlikely with everyday that goes by. Which means 5 more years of con/lab/libdem at this rate. That signals that our democratic abilities are still years away and I just cannot accept that. I physically, emotionally and financially cannot live like this anymore and this current form of “democracy” is not serving me well.


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ACTIVIST CALENDAR

Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.

13-15 Dec
European Left Party Congress

In Malaga

More info here

 

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CAMPAIGNING MATERIALS

Get the latest Left Unity resources.

Leaflet: Johnson is Down, Now Let’s Get Him Out

Broadsheet: Disaster Capitalism

Transform journal

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