Call for a discussion about the possibilities for creating a significant new radical left party in Britain

Time is of the essence. The climate crisis is upon us and already devastating huge populations across the world. The economic crisis of capitalism is deepening. Wars rage in the Ukraine and other parts of the world. Militarisation and the danger of nuclear war are increasing. The pandemic is still with us.

The rise of far-right governments across Europe continues, with recent gains in Sweden and Italy. In Britain the Tory government is weak, but still has a parliamentary majority. They are intent on escalating authoritarian attacks on working class living standards, more anti-trade union legislation, repression of protest, deregulation of capital controls, privatisation of the NHS and attacks on migrants.

The Labour party has returned entirely to the pro-capitalist, neoliberal camp portraying itself as a more competent manager for business interests than the Tories, rather than a political alternative. It has ditched most of the left social democratic 2019 manifesto.

Objectively there is already the space for a mass radical left party, to the left of Labour.

Hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members have left the party or been expelled and have found no political home. The Labour left is quiescent and (with very few exceptions) fearful of opposing the leadership lest more of them be expelled. There is no realistic possibility for the left to regain the leadership of the party within any foreseeable timescale.

The organised working class has begun to fight back on the industrial front and many, many unions and hundreds of thousands of workers will be taking strike action over this winter.

Earlier this year 70,000 people signed up to Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice Project. By the end of September 800,000 people had signed up to the Enough is Enough campaign which organised demonstrations to coincide with strike action in over 50 cities on 1 October.

The key question this growing resistance outside the Labour Party poses is the need for new political organisation and representation for the working class. The strikes, the numbers responding to Enough is Enough and the lack of a mass new home for those who responded to the Corbyn led Labour program all demonstrate the objective possibility now for a new mass socialist party. But none of these or other figures or organisations who might have the weight to create a new party are yet prepared to break with Labour and do so.

The first past the post electoral system reinforces this reluctance and is a real (and deliberate) obstacle to electoral success for small parties. The next general election is likely to be an anti-Tory election with large scale tactical voting to defeat Tory candidates. In this context, the immediate electoral prospects at national level for a radical socialist party are minimal. However, the roots for such a party need to be laid now. If Labour leads the next government, it will pursue a neoliberal policy agenda, and attacks on the working class will continue. The need and possibility for a mass democratic ecosocialist party setting out an alternative will remain whichever of the major parties (or coalition of them) is in power. Left Unity or other smaller left parties on their own have little possibility to create such a truly mass new party which will depend on major events in the class and its existing organisations (mainly the trade unions).

But we believe we cannot just sit and wait for others to act. The conditions exist now to build a significant new organisation that can lay the groundwork and build arguments for a new left party. We believe we need an urgent discussion on the left about how a significant new radical left party can be built. We are inviting contributions to this discussion from other parties and individuals who broadly share this view.

We have already been working with some other parties, networks and individual socialists: within People’s Alliance of the Left (PAL), with the Breakthrough Party, in anti-austerity & health campaigns, in the radical independence movements in Scotland and Wales, with the People’s Assembly Wales etc. We believe the political context means this joint work and discussion must urgently be stepped up and expanded to include others to create greater unity ‘under one banner’ where possible.

We in Left Unity believe our aim should be a new radical ecosocialist internationalist, feminist, free movement party which gives full allegiance to and is deeply involved in the organised working class and our communities in Britain; whilst recognising that such a radical left party will have to develop autonomously within Scotland and Wales.

But we do not think, by any means, that we have all the answers. we want to hear from others about what you think is needed or is possible; with the view to breaking the logjam and developing practical proposals to move towards the creation of a significant new radical left party.

We are offering the space in the discussion section of our website and on our social media for an open and wide-ranging discussion on these issues.

If you would like to contribute to this discussion please send your articles, contributions and suggestions to info@leftunity.org

If you are contributing on behalf of a party or organisation, please say that; if as an individual please say a little about yourself.


4 comments

4 responses to “Call for a discussion about the possibilities for creating a significant new radical left party in Britain”

  1. Kevin Dooher says:

    A welcome development which may help overcome some of the fragmented responses to the capitalist crisis. I look forward honest open discussion which will progress the interests of the working class

  2. Phil Pope says:

    This is a very positive initiative and I think your assessment of the current situation is correct. The way forward is to identify the key issues that we know Labour will not deliver on and campaign around those. The key issues are:
    1) proportional representation
    2) nationalisation of energy, transport, mail, water
    3) repeal of anti-TU and anti-protest laws
    these are the changes needed to enable any future left government to do anything positive. Trying to add more than this to the mix is unnecessary at this stage and will just lead to endless debate and introspection.
    Because there is no chance of another Tory government, we can stand in Labour target seats and say we will only stand aside for Labour candidates who back all three policies.

  3. Arantxa Gaba says:

    We need to unite and leave the infighting for now, left the Labour Party in despair

  4. Chris Haslam says:

    Drug reform. Something no political group should fear.

    Cross Party group, Home Office Drug Policy Committee, “The war on drugs does not work”, “9/10 are social users. Not addicts”, “We’ve tried advising several times”

    YouGov, 59% Labour voters want cannabis reform. 13% Don’t know. Only 28% believe the law is as it should be.

    Asked about the proposals, Sir Keir said:
    “On the drugs legislation, I’ve said a
    number of times and I will say again: I’m
    not in favour of us changing the law or
    decriminalisation. I’m very clear about that”

    Real Criminals don’t want change. Left wing voters do.

    Progressive, forward thinking. Starmer is not the same.

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