Candidates’ statements for elections to Left Unity National Committee

Four members of the Communist Platform are standing in elections for regional seats on the National Committee, the leadership body of Left Unity. Most of these seats went unfilled in the elections prior to conference after not enough candidates stood.

Ballot papers have been distributed via email- if you are a member of LU and have not received yours, email Voting closes at midnight on Monday 5 May 2014.

Click our candidates’ name to skip to their election statement.

Tina Becker – Yorkshire & Humberside (1 place- must be a woman)

Laurie McCauley – North West (4 places)

Emily Chaplin – London (3 places- must be women)

Sarah McDonald – London (3 places- must be women)


Tina Becker

Yorkshire & Humberside (1 place- must be a woman)

I am standing because:

  • Other parts of the region should be represented (the other two reps are from West Yorkshire).
  • There should be a better flow of information. I would produce detailed minutes of meetings.

I hope Left Unity will become:

  • a pole of attraction for new layers of the working class.
  • a mass socialist party that openly seeks to bring about the end of capitalism and its replacement by the rule of the working class.
  • an organisation that helps to unite the existing left, as our division is weakening our forces and many people are put off from joining yet “another sect”.
  • an organisation where different views are welcome and openly debated and where we don’t split up branches along political lines (as happened in Leeds).

If elected to the national committee, I would in particular campaign for:

  • All LU bodies to be thoroughly democratic and accountable. The open exchange of the various ideas in front of the working class.
  • In order for the working class to take over the running of society, we need extreme democracy: annual elections, the abolition of the monarchy, the House of Lords, the secret state apparatus etc.
  • As an immigrant myself (who’s spent most of her adult life in Britain), I believe LU should actively campaign for everybody to have the right to live and work wherever they choose and participate fully on all levels of society.
  • The reworking of the complex and contradictory constitution and the replacement of the proposed safe space policy with a simpler code of conduct.

About me:

  • I live in Sheffield, work as a journalist and have an 8 months old daughter (probably the youngest person at both LU conferences!).
  • I am a founder member of Hands Off the People of Iran, which campaigns against war and sanctions and is in solidarity with the people of Iran, against the theocracy.
  • I am a member of the NUJ and and DIE LINKE party and a supporter of the Communist Platform in Left Unity.


Laurie McCauley

North West (4 places)

As a member of the CPGB and Left Unity’s Communist Platform, I believe Left Unity really should aim to unite the fragments of the far left in Britain. As opposed to reheated Labourism, which faces stiff competition, it is the inspirational, and thoroughly realistic ideas of Marxism which have the capability of creating a new mass party of the working class. Left Unity must take a principled stand in terms of internationalism and opposition to British constitutionalism, and champion far-reaching democratic demands.

I oppose the proposed ‘safe spaces’ policy. The whole safe spaces concept is infantilising and will leave members disarmed when it comes to debates in the wider world. It can also quickly lead to its opposite, being used as a cover for politically motivated witch-hunts. LU should have a short code of conduct, and strive for a comradely and democratic culture. But frank and sometimes sharp debates are a necessary part of such a democratic culture, and may on occasion involve hurt feelings. Being able to strongly disagree – without splitting away in a huff, or invoking legislation on politeness – has to become ingrained in LU’s culture.

I am a strong supporter of Left Unity standing its own candidates in elections and have some experience in this area. The growth of reaction will only be undercut if the left puts forward a positive alternative. We should look to develop comrades politically- emphasising all-round development, not just sending people into hyper-leafletting mode. LU should be looking to grow, but to do so sustainably. After a rushed and hectic conference, I would push strongly for more political debate in LU at both branch, and open public meetings. When bourgeois politicians openly criticise their party leaderships in the press, it looks increasingly ludicrous when the left avoids, or at worst clamps down on, the open expression of differences. It is crucial that LU examines the failures of the left in the 20th century if it is to avoid a repetition.

Emily Chaplin

London (3 places- must be women)

As a member of the Communist Platform in Left Unity, I propose we adopt a minimum – maximum programme, which is twofold in its attack. Firstly it maps out a practical and realistic set of demands for the working class under capitalism in order to achieve a level of consciousness that is needed to challenge the oppressing classes successfully. This includes supporting and championing all oppressed sections of the class, and raising living standards far beyond what the EU promises. It also means unity of the class, and the abolition of national borders with the aim of the creating a united socialist Europe. Secondly, the programme provides a vision of a new society that could exist if capitalism is abolished, a society created by the majority class, which is vital if we are to remain focused on our collective goal. Ultimately this class would abolish itself, leading to a truly equal society.

I see Left Unity’s role in this battle as crucial, for if we are to achieve these demands, the left must establish a coherent counterargument to the neoliberal consensus which exists in Britain’s ruling class today. This must be based on a truly democratically formed programme that is anti-bureaucratic, clear in its message and revolutionary in its aims.

I am a member of Lambeth Left Unity, and of the Communist Platform. I have been active in revolutionary politics from a young age, written for various left-wing publications, and currently work for a radical publishing house in Highgate. I live in Streatham.

Sarah McDonald

London (3 places- must be women)

Having been active of the left for over 15 years, in Scotland and in London, I have consistently fought for working class unity across Britain as part of the struggle for the greatest voluntary unity of people, in Europe and beyond. As an internationalist, I oppose all immigration controls and am for the free movement of people. As a Marxist, I oppose all imperialist wars and recognise that war is a product of class society; war and the potential for war will only end with the end of class society itself, therefore have no illusions in bodies such as the United Nations delivering peace. I believe that human liberation can only be achieved through a society based on the principle of ‘From each according to their abilities; to each according to their needs’. It is not our job to manage capitalism but to fight for its overthrow.

2 thoughts on “Candidates’ statements for elections to Left Unity National Committee

  1. Thanks to the Communist Platform’s steering committee for recommending a vote for me (as #2 below Laurie McCauley who is in my branch and I nominated) – see The following is my statement:

    I’m a revolutionary socialist because reformism doesn’t work. Reforms in the interest of the masses that can be afforded under capitalism during booms are unaffordable and reversed during recessions and slumps.

    Although it’s unlikely that Left Unity will come to power electorally, I don’t believe that violence is a necessary aspect of a revolution. I favour mass strikes from below (as argued for by Rosa Luxemburg) and demands that trade union leaders call general strikes from above, as part of the strategy for changing society. Indeed, I proposed such an amendment to the Left Party Platform statement of aims and it was agreed at the founding conference.

    Another amendment of mine, to cap compensation for shareholders, at a certain level when nationalising a company so rich shareholders lose most of their investments, was inserted into the economics commission document presented and accepted at the Manchester policy-making conference.

    I first got seriously involved in politics during the mass non-payment campaign against the poll tax. I went on the huge demonstration on 31 March 1990, and the People’s March Against The Poll Tax from Liverpool to London. Over 18 million people hadn’t paid a penny or were in arrears at the campaign’s height, hence the Tories ditching Thatcher and Major admitting the tax was “uncollectable” when justifying its abolition.

    When the Militant Tendency was proving itself serious in largely leading that campaign, I joined thinking it could also lead a revolution. I left in 1998, mainly due to the organisation (renamed the Socialist Party) being more sectarian, particularly due to it opposing establishing the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).

    I’ve joined other left unity initiatives (including the Socialist Alliance, Respect and SSP) but Left Unity is far better since it’s a broad socialist party with quite a good balance between reformist and revolutionary politics.

    I’m in the Greater Manchester Community branch of Unite.

    Read more of my views about LU, and about campaigns I’m involved in(including opposing the bedroom tax, council tax demands for the poor, fracking, police corruption/brutality/murder and the surveillance state) at

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