Motion for February 20 national council
Left Unity modelled itself on soft left anti-austerity organisations such as Die Linke, Syriza and Podemos. This went hand in hand with claims that the Labour Party was irreformable, had to all intents and purposes become just another capitalist party, etc. The operative conclusion being that there was a wide space on the left of the Labour Party for an organisation committed to the “spirit of 45”.
Because of the victory of Jeremy Corbyn, because of the decision of Momentum to emphasise internal battles and changing the Labour Party, because of the decision of Momentum to bar members of organisations which stand candidates against Labour, it is clear that Left Unity is now hopelessly adrift strategically.
Since the foundation of Left Unity national conferences have voted down motions sponsored by the Communist Platform that in their totality would have provided the vital elements of a Marxist programme. The last national conference roundly rejected the Communist Platform’s perspective of fighting for affiliation to the Labour Party and transforming the Labour Party, ie, into a permanent united front of the working class. The last national conference also soundly rejected moves to reorganise Left Unity so as to base it on the principles of democratic centralism.
At the last national council meeting we were informed that only national conference can alter Left Unity policy. That between conferences the national council exists merely to implement agreed policy (this was in the context of debating our attitude towards the EU referendum, ie, the call for an active boycott was in effect ruled out of order).
Hence, if Left Unity is to have any worthwhile future an emergency national conference must be called as a matter of extreme urgency. The emergency national conference must happen within one month. To ensure the maximum attendance of Left Unity members the emergency conference should be held in London.
There should be three main items on the agenda.
- Labour. The existing attitude towards the Labour Party and Momentum were always mistaken. Fudging on whether or not to stand candidates against Labour is no longer sustainable. Left Unity should join those calling for the Labour Party to change its rules so as to once again allow political parties of the working class to affiliate. Left Unity must commit itself to radically democratising the Labour Party and equipping it with a genuine socialist programme (not a revival of the old Clause 4 state capitalism).
- Organisation. Left Unity must be reorganised on the basis of the principles of democratic centralism: ie, unity in action, freedom of criticism. As part of that the direct election of principal speakers, media officer, national secretary, treasurer, etc, would be ended. National conference would elect the national council and the national council would appoint and replace officers as it sees fit.
- Programme. Left Unity must arm itself with a Marxist programme, ie, something along the lines of the classic minimum-maximum programmes of the German Social Democratic Party, French Workers’ Party, the Russian Social Democratic Party, etc.
On behalf of Communist Platform
Left Unity’s annual conference is looming (November 21/22, London), as is the deadline for conference motions (September 18 – full details here.) We urge LU comrades to submit Communist Platform’s model motion on the Jeremy Corbyn challenge to their branch. In addition, here is a Communist Platform motion to the NC on the organisation of conference – any support you can muster for this would be much appreciated given the tight deadlines:
“1. The National Council is concerned by the decisions of the Standing Orders Committee and Executive Committee to adopt for the November 2015 Conference of Left Unity
(a) A word limit of 500 words for resolutions proposed by branches and members, including proposed changes to the Constitution
(b) A “priorities ballot” of branches, which the website notice falsely asserts is provided for by the LU constitution.
2. The NC considers
(a) That while branches and the proposers of motions should be strongly advised to avoid writing long motions and in particular against long recitals of the evils of present-day society, the effect of imposing a word-limit on motions from branches and individuals, but not on those proposed by this committee or by commissions, is anti-democratic, by preventing alternative proposals to those formulated by the leadership.
(b) That whatever the general merits of a ‘priority ballot’ of branches, the present state of LU branches, the variable frequency of their meetings, and the necessary timetable of a priority ballot, means that a priority ballot for this conference cannot be organised in a way which will have a representative result and democratic legitimacy.
3. The NC therefore:
(i) Reverses the decision of the EC to support these arrangements for the organisation of the conference;
(ii) Strongly urges the Standing Orders Committee to reverse its decision to introduce these arrangements;
(iii) If the Standing Orders Committee does not reverse its decision, will recommend rejection of the Standing Orders Committee’s report on these matters when the Conference meets.
The campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as the next leader of the Labour Party has set the political landscape on fire.
We don’t have any illusions that the Labour Party can be transformed into a Communist Party or that it can be “reclaimed” (it was never ours to begin with). But it remains an important site of struggle for communists: “Overcoming Labourism is a central strategic task for communists in Britain”, as it says in the CPGB’s “Theses on the Labour Party”.
The campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn must be the start of the fight to transform Labour, writes Charles Gradnitzer of Labour Party Marxists in the Weekly Worker.
We urge NfA readers to move the following draft motion in their Left Unity branch/trade union branch (amend as necessary):
“[XY] branch of Left Unity welcomes Jeremy Corbyn’s success in securing a place on the ballot for a new Labour leader. We strongly support his campaign as it strengthens the left as a whole.
Left Unity needs a serious discussion on the Labour Party with a view to developing a long-term strategy.”
This motion was agreed by, amongst others, the LU regional committee of Yorkshire & Humberside
Communist Platform statement
1. Steve Freeman has announced that he is a parliamentary candidates in Bermondsey and Old Southwark for the May 7 general election. He is standing as a Republican Socialist. He is therefore opposing Kingsley Abrams, a candidate jointly backed by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Left Unity. Politically this amounts to sabotage. Continue reading
Sheffield Left Unity organised a meeting on the question of “Syriza’s victory and the implications for the left in Europe”. The meeting was addressed by Joana Ramiro, LU national council member and Morning Star journalist.
This report of the meeting first appeared in the Weekly Worker: Continue reading
On February 12 the national officers of Left Unity issued an unconstitutional ‘Appeal for an alliance against austerity’, which commits LU to “support any candidate, whether they are from the Greens, the Labour left or a smaller party committed to equality, who states clearly that they will never vote for austerity and whose record leads us to believe that they are sincere”. Continue reading
Who is to blame for the catastrophic situation in Kobanê?
In her latest article for the Weekly Worker, ‘The IS conundrum’, Left Unity National Council and Communist Platform member Yassamine Mather finds that the siege raises more question than it answers Continue reading
Iraq & imperialism: past, present and future
An open meeting to discuss the situation in Iraq and the region more generally. MPs have voted in favour of new bombings on Iraq. What is the alternative? What lessons can we draw from the past actions of imperialism in the region? All are welcome to come along and engage in discussion of these and many other questions.
Our guest speaker is Yassamine Mather, an exiled Iranian socialist and member of Left Unity’s national council (speaking in a personal capacity).
When: 7pm on Thursday October 16th
Where: Old Bath House community centre, Wolverton, Milton Keynes (next to Wolverton Tesco)
This meeting is organised by Milton Keynes branch of Left Unity.
Our meeting on Thursday, October 2 agreed to hold another one in a week’s time to debate conference motions, so mine on the federal republic wasn’t heard this week.
The reason was that a meeting on Ukraine had been arranged. I thought there would be a debate from comrades with opposing views, but those of Richard Brenner (of Workers Power) and Joseph Healy complemented each other. Continue reading
Comrade Steve Wallis, well known on the Manchester left and stalwart of the city’s Left Unity branch, died of a heart attack last week. Having first met Steve at an LU meeting only late last year, I cannot claim to have known him well. But Steve had a frank disposition – that rare type who really do wear their heart on their sleeve – and it did not take long to work out what motivated him. Continue reading