Communist Platform supporters Jack Conrad and Yassamine Mather proposed the following motion to the Left Unity National Council meeting in Birmingham on February 20. It was overwhelmingly defeated, having received only their votes. On this basis comrades Conrad and Mather announced the dissolution of Communist Platform and our withdrawal from LU.
The CPGB, and Communist Platform supporters, have always thought that the idea dominant in Left Unity that there was a large political space to the left of Labour for a ‘broad party’ on a broadly left-Labourite platform and organisational principles was illusory. Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election blew up this illusion. Under the circumstances, the only possible future for Left Unity would be to build itself as an instrument of Marxist regroupment, on political and organisational principles which represent a clear alternative to Labourism; and to pose in relation to Labour the question of breaking the system of bans and proscriptions, in order to turn the Labour Party into a united front of the whole workers’ movement.
Since Corbyn’s victory a part of Left Unity’s members, including leading comrades, have ‘voted with their feet to leave LU and join Labour ’. Those who remain have been unwilling to address seriously the complete falsification of their perspective by the events in the Labour Party. It has become increasingly clear that they will never be willing to do so. The rejection of our motion by the NC – in the absence of any alternative proposal for serious rethinking – shows this clearly.
We remain of the view that what is needed is the struggle for a real communist party; and that simply joining Labour as Corbyn supporters or “entryism” is not a sufficient perspective. But the idea that Left Unity can hang on and at some point in the future sweep up disillusioned ex-Corbynistas is nonsense. By its refusal to rethink its perspective when its political analysis was flatly falsified, Left Unity has condemned itself to permanent irrelevance.
for discussion at the LU national council June 14 2015
Laurie McCauley is a member of Left Unity and the Communist Platform. He was suspended by Manchester branch nearly a year ago. Though there have been vague accusations of “persistently disruptive behaviour” the fact of the matter is that he was suspended because he wrote a critical article in the pages of the Weekly Worker (see ‘What “safe spaces” lead to’ May 15 2014). Continue reading
Many Left Unity members will be aware of the woefully apolitical campaign that is currently being conducted against the party’s principle speaker, Bianca Todd. As in the case of Manchester LU comrade Laurie McCauley, who has been suspended from the branch for writing a sharply critical report, the witch-hunters in this instance also pose as victims. Continue reading
Voting: can be made into a powerful weapon
Elements within Left Unity have argued against ‘electoralism’, with the implication that standing in elections necessarily means becoming corrupted by the establishment; LU should instead focus all its energies on bread-and-butter campaigning if it is not to fall into a reformist approach.
This economistic attitude to elections and the state is the polar opposite of the approach adopted by the Marxists who made the Russian revolution, argues ComPlat supporter Mike Macnair. His fascinating review of two books by August Nimtz on the Bolshevik’s electoral strategy also takes in the contemporary debate within Left Unity, and is of interest to all comrades in LU. Continue reading
Two more articles by ComPlat supporters in recent weeks on the necessity of transparency and open debate to any meaningful and lasting unity;
In ‘Confidentiality is a bosses’ tool’, Paul Demarty argues vigorously against the Left Unity Dispute Committee’s decision to conduct disputes in private:
‘Bolshevism was not a safe space for opportunism'; Mark Fischer reminds us that it was the open clash of ideas which forged the Bolsheviki.
Speak no evil
Though there are real problems to be tackled in terms of ensuring accessibility and fair treatment for members of oppressed groups, the proposed ‘safe spaces’ policy is over-elaborate, non-transparent, and open to abuse. So argues ComPlat supporter Mike Macnair in the article below, in which he also proposes an alternative code of conduct:
The Communist Platform has already enjoyed five minutes of fame, with our motion on the right to bear arms predictably being used by Andrew Neil – host of the Daily Politics – as an indication of the ‘mad’ politics of those involved in LU during his interview with principal speaker Salman Shaheen.
It should be needless to say that the motion does not call for Left Unity to immediately begin handing out AK47’s to all and sundry. Rather, it points to the eventual necessity of a ‘popular militia under democratic control’, to replace the standing army and other armed wings of the state in a socialist transformation of society.
But self-described ‘moderate’ Salman distances himself from the motion, and claims that the majority of those in LU do not hold such politics. We’re not so sure- though many might say that one certainly doesn’t talk about such demands publicly, thus putting themselves essentially in agreement with our Salman.
ComPlat supporter Jack Conrad addresses the whole issue in greater depth in the current issue of the Weekly Worker:
Like the founding conference last November, the upcoming policy conference of Left Unity has an agenda stuffed to the gills with motions. Combine this with a reluctance to make firm political choices, and you have a recipe for ‘Indecision and irrationality’, argues Mike Macnair in the Weekly Worker: