The steering committee of Communist Platform wishes to publicly make clear its position on recent problems occurring with internal elections in Left Unity. Specifically, one of our candidates, Tina Becker – placed third on our recommended list for the 15 directly elected national council seats, and therefore a comrade we hold in some high esteem – had her candidacy disallowed. This was announced by Chris Hurley, a member of the disputes committee, just before the two-week voting period finally closed.
The reason she gave might appear to be a minor technical infringement – comrade Becker included a nomination by Sheffield Left Unity in her election statement. But, after a letter of complaint had been received, she readily admitted that there had been no properly constituted meeting of the branch. What had actually happened was that a group of comrades – ie, those who normally attend branch meetings – got together, informally, and agreed to nominate her.
Given the irresponsible boycott by a rightwing minority of Sheffield Left Unity, this informality is perhaps understandable. But, of course, especially when it comes to elections, proper procedures should, wherever possible, be fully adhered to.
It should be further added that Communist Platform comrades in Sheffield Left Unity have pledged themselves to renew efforts to fully engage all members with the work of the branch.
Till late March the steering committee of the Communist Platform knew nothing about how our comrades in Sheffield went about nominating comrade Becker. If we had, there would have been the strongest objections. Comrade Becker was properly nominated by two fellow Left Unity members. However, she was not properly nominated by Sheffield Left Unity. We would, if we had known, advised her to remove any mention of a Sheffield branch nomination from her election statement.
We therefore fully accept comrade Hurley’s ruling – no matter how late in the day – to disqualify our candidate.
Though the result on the Yorkshire and Humberside list would almost certainly have seen comrade Becker elected, this would have been by default. She was one of two female candidates. We have no liking for quotas, tokenism or identity politics. The Communist Platform wants a radically different constitution for Left Unity. We put politics first. Nevertheless, there was the ‘Reopen nominations’ option. In other words, the election result had a degree of uncertainty. But the point remains. Our candidate presented herself as being nominated by Sheffield Left Unity. A running ahead of the facts.
Comrade Becker was, unanimously, endorsed by the Sheffield branch AGM on March 11. Nevertheless, given our democratic principles, our commitment to telling the truth, we have to say that our comrades in Sheffield, albeit without any ill-intent, made a political mistake,
The Communist Platform pledges itself to ensure that nothing of the like ever happens again.
Communist Platform steering committee