Left Unity is a radical left political party, founded in 2013, because the main parties all supported the policies they call ‘austerity’: deep cuts in public spending designed to destroy the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades. We critically supported the Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, in the hope that, in government, they might reverse this. However, with its change of leadership following the 2019 general election, the Labour Party is likely to revert to its previous positions. A political party championing radical policies in the interests of all our communities is vital. That is what we do.
With the coronavirus crisis and the economic catastrophe that comes with it, working people are not only paying the price with their lives and their health, they will also be made to pay the price unless we unite to say No. There can be no going back to the way things were before the crisis. We demand a new way of organising society and the economy.
We are still being forced to pay the costs of the 2008 economic crisis while the wealthiest 1% continue to rake in bonuses and fill their bank accounts in tax havens. The suffering of ordinary people over the last decade led to the vote to leave the European Union, as right-wing populists and disaster capitalists blamed immigration and EU rules for the hardship of working people.
Democracy is at our heart. We are committed to defending and expanding the welfare state, and defending all those worst affected by the pandemic crisis, the ensuing economic crash and climate catastrophe. We advance alternative social and economic policies based on supporting public services and redistributing wealth. At this time of many interlocking crises, our vision has never been more necessary.
There has been no economic recovery for the overwhelming majority of the population since the economic crash of 2008. By 2015, average real wages were still at least 6% below their level in 2008 with the average worker £1,500 a year worse off.
One in five working people is not paid a living wage, and the number of zero-hours contracts has shot up by 75% in two years. Many disabled people face up to six different benefit cuts, losing up to £5,000 a year. Cuts in the public sector continue, disproportionately hurting women, children, LGBTQ people, people from ethnic minorities and some of the poorest regions in the country.
We are suffering more widely from the consequences of over 30 years of what is known as ‘neoliberalism’ – the privatisation of publicly owned services and utilities, the deregulation of markets and a sustained onslaught on the gains won by the labour movement after 1945.
Radical measures are necessary to ensure a transformation in the economic structure and a reversal of this damage. Our goal is to transform society: to achieve the full democratisation of state and political institutions, society and the economy, by and for the people.
Left Unity stands for equality and justice. It is socialist, feminist, environmentalist, anti-racist and against all forms of discrimination.
We are socialist because our aim is to end capitalism. We will pursue a society where the meeting of human needs is paramount, not one which is driven by the quest for private profit and the enrichment of a few. We are in favour of a radical system where democratic control extends across the economy. The natural wealth, and the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned in common and democratically run by and for the people as a whole, rather than being owned and controlled by a small minority to enrich themselves.
We are feminist because our vision of society is one without the gender oppression and exploitation which blights the lives of women and girls and makes full human emancipation impossible.
We are environmentalist because we recognise that if humankind is to survive, it has to establish a sustainable relationship with the rest of the natural world – an economy based on achieving maximum profits in the shortest possible time is destroying our planet.
We are anti-racist and opposed to all forms of discrimination. The current economic onslaught disproportionately affects already disadvantaged groups and we oppose their persecution and oppression. No society is just and equal while some people remain without the support needed to achieve their full potential.
Our policies are made by our members. They are emerging from democratic debate and will develop further over the next few years.
• We are for policies to restore full employment, an immediate £10 an hour minimum wage and spending on public housing – we are against austerity, which makes us pay for a systemic crisis of capitalism.
• We are for free, publicly owned, democratic public services as well as the public ownership of utilities, transport and banks – we are against the creeping privatisation of the NHS and education.
• We are for a welfare system based on the principle of universal benefits, and cutting taxes for working class people while raising them on the richest people and corporations – we are for the abolition of sanctions, workfare and work capability assessments and against cuts in social security benefits.
• We are for an internationalist policy based on peace and equality, and for the right of people to determine their own future – we are against imperialist wars and military intervention.
• We are for a radical social transformation drawing on the best of the cooperative, radical democratic, feminist, green and socialist traditions – we are against a system whose benefits go disproportionately to 1% of the population.
Left Unity sometimes engages in elections to offer voters a left alternative, but we understand that elections are not the only arena or even the most important arena in which political struggles are fought.
We recognise that support for our party will only advance to the extent that it is genuinely representative of working class communities, and an organic part of the campaigns and movements they generate and support. If elected to public office we will not vote for cuts or compromise our principles by participating in coalitions with capitalist parties.
Elsewhere in Europe left parties are winning mass support for resistance to austerity. Left Unity is a member of the Party of The European Left. We hope you will support us and get involved.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Left Unity is a member of the European Left Party.
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