Unite to Survive: The Case For a New Party Of The Left

XR’s ‘Unite To Survive’ poster

Fig. 1 – XR’s call to: ‘Unite To Survive’

Allan Todd writes:

Only recently, XR’s ‘The Big One’ had the slogan ‘Unite To Survive’ – reflecting a growing recognition of the fact that we are currently facing a multitude of serious and intersecting crises: the ‘Cost of Living’ Crisis, Climate and Ecological Breakdown, a crisis of democracy, and a renewed threat of war – including the use of nuclear weapons. While unemployment levels are not those of the Great Depression, millions are ‘employed’ on insecure, no-rights and low-paid ‘zero-hours’ contracts. We are now obviously living in very dangerous times.

Yet, while the Tories continue to super-charge all these crises, the mainstream centre-left parties are failing to provide any meaningful political alternative. Starmer’s ‘New’ Labour 2.0 is fudging on the refugee/asylum seekers’ issue, has failed to support those striking for a decent wage, has backtracked on abolishing student fees, and is now even saying they will not repeal the Tories’ increasing erosion of the democratic right to peaceful protest. Even on the climate, Starmer has informed Labour CLPs that they cannot affiliate to the Campaign Against Climate Change Trades Union Group!

Fig. 2 – Starmer takes Labour further away from socialism

While the Green Party – seen by some disillusioned Labour members/ex-members/voters as a radical alternative political ‘home’ – failed to officially support ‘The Big One’, and has now become a supporter of

NATO and, effectively, of its second-use of nuclear weapons! No doubt these stances are intended to make the Greens more acceptable to ‘soft Tory voters’ and their preferred neoliberal partner, the LibDems.

The Tories – as pointed out so aptly by Gary Lineker and Michael Rosen – are currently making statements and implementing policies “not dissimilar” from those prevalent in 1930s’ Germany. Three of the most obvious are:

  • ‘Culture Wars’ (advocated by, among others, the Tories’ Deputy Chair) – “not dissimilar” to the Nazis’ ‘Kulturkrieg’
  • ‘Cultural Marxism’ (a term used by the Home Secretary) – “not dissimilar” from the Nazis’ ‘Kulturbolschewismus’
  • The ‘Rwanda Plan’ for refugees – “not dissimilar” from the Nazis’ ‘Madagaskarplan’ (a 1930s attempt to make all Jewish people in Germany ‘re-locate’ to the African island of Madagascar)

We are thus arguably in the most extreme combined crisis since the 1930s, with neo-fascist groups exploiting people’s genuine concerns over the ‘Cost of Living’ Crisis in order to build up support. To make the current situation even more worrying, this is happening whilst the government continues to severely restrict democratic rights as regards peaceful protest. A recent article in The Times pointed out that civic freedoms have been so eroded by this increasingly-authoritarian government that the UK is now “on a par with El Salvador.” While a recent international report on fundamental freedoms downgraded the UK to ‘obstructed’ – the same as the “illiberal democracies” of Hungary and Poland. And all that was before the new Public Order Act came on stream – and was used by the police to prevent any form of protest by Republic during the coronation: https://www.republic.org.uk/arrests_of_peaceful_protesters_republic_s_response

Photo of Graham Smith, CEO of Republic, being arrested before the coronation

Fig. 3 – Arrest of Graham Smith, CEO of Republic, before the coronation

As well as victimising refugees, the Tories have also begun to use their ‘anti-woke’ agenda to target LGBTQ+ communities and trans people –

and to drive what’s best described as ‘creeping fascism’. As history has shown, authoritarian regimes always begin by victimising minorities – before moving on to wider society. Minority groups have always had to struggle for the right to live as they want, and it’s important for all of us to speak out and act in support of groups we don’t necessarily belong to – if we wish to live in a more equal and free society. This was a lesson Pastor Niemoller learned, painfully and almost too late, after being sent by the Nazis to Dachau concentration camp. His experience led him to write the following:

“First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak for me.”

Today, this list could well be extended to LGBTQ+ communities and trans people – the former being one of the first groups to be persecuted by the Nazis. Thus all these political trends and dangers need to be vigorously opposed – now. They can be stopped – but we need to act now, before it’s too late.

But, to do so – effectively – we need a strong united front, particularly of the working class movement. Clearly, this is not going to be promoted by Starmer’s Labour Party. To push for what’s needed, we clearly need a radical left party that recognises the gravity of all the dangers we currently face AND is prepared to work for that united front we so desperately need. That party will need to democratic, ecosocialist, feminist, anti-war – and firmly opposed to racism, xenophobia, fascism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia.

The setting up of the People’s Alliance of the Left (PAL) has been a positive step in that direction – as was the Joint Statement of support for ‘the Big One’ that Left Unity and Breakthrough Party issued.

But we now need a new radical left party that is able, amongst other things, to offer a strong pole of attraction for the left, and democrats more generally – and to offer a clear electoral alternative to Labour and the Greens. And we need all that quickly.


Allan Todd is a member of Left Unity’s National Council, and an ecosocialist/environmental and anti-fascist activist. He is the author of Revolutions 1789-1917 and Trotsky: The Passionate Revolutionary – and the forthcoming Che Guevara: The Romantic Revolutionary

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1 comment

One response to “Unite to Survive: The Case For a New Party Of The Left”

  1. I have been life long Trades Unionist dis-enfranchised by our electoral system. With that stated: whilst -say- TUSC would seem to b a natural home. Nevertheless I feel that a Socialist party in competition with The Greens would be a bad move.
    For the young, the TU movement is old hat. Belongs to a time of a job for life. Incompatible with modern employment. Say a professional game tester with a YouTube following. Trades unions and socialism is just inappropriate for the coming Industrial Revolution. We have to be smart. Smarter. And give ground in order to win it back. The Green movement has traction. By the end of this year and certainly by the end of the next. The climate crisis will impinge to such an extent that nobody -barring paid shills for Big Oil- can deny. The time to form a Broad Left Party is AFTER we have PR. I therefore suggest an expedient alliance with the Greens and advance a Green agenda that outshines that of neuNewLab under Starmer. Appeal to the young. Rather than old anarchists like me. Help them in the coming election.Hang parliament, ally with the SNP and get a PR proposal in writing in advance. Nailed. Down. Tight. Let that be a quiet bone of contention until the electioneering starts and announce it at the right juncture. A done deal. A sensible solution. Part of any coalition.
    Synthesis HELP THE GREENS DEFEAT THE RED TORYS. Green is good. Red is for danger. Simples.

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