Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Left Unity Conference: Leading Figures Leave, LU to Remain a Party, but not Stand Parliamentary Candidates.

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https://i1.wp.com/republicancommunist.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Steve-Freeman-Founding-Conference-Left-Unity.jpg

Influential Republican Socialists Predicted Split.

At its Conference Left Unity had decided to remain a party but for time being will not stand in any parliamentary elections, in order to support Jeremy Corbyn.

In the lead-up to the debates Steve Freeman, the leader of the important Republican Socialist tendency, argued, in his hebdomadal column in the Weekly Worker, that,

Left unionists and anti-unionists cannot be in the same party – that much is obvious. It is also clear that Labourites and republicans should not be in the same party. We have mixed and matched these politics in one organisation for a while. That time has now come to an end. Objectively it is time for a split. I do not see this happening at Left Unity conference. The most likely outcome is that the hard right will defeat the soft left and LU will agree to try to affiliate to the Labour Party. This will prove one more step on the road to dissolution. Better to have a clean break.

Steve Freeman
Left Unity, Rise and Old Southwark Against the Corn Laws.

On Friday the Morning Star reported.

A LEADING member of Left Unity has called for the party to be dissolved in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

Salman Shaheen, one of four principal speakers, has tabled a motion ahead of tomorrow’s party conference that would pull the plug just two years after it was founded with the support of director Ken Loach.

The motion calls for Left Unity to “dissolve itself as a political party which contests elections at any level” and form a network of activists that could include Labour members.

Mr Shaheen said: “We are committed to doing what we can to support the politics Jeremy Corbyn stands for, and that we have in common with him.

“The question is how best to do it and that is what we will be discussing.”

It is more likely though that Left Unity and CND general secretary Kate Hudson’s motion will be passed.

She suggests the national executive should “reassess” the party’s electoral strategy but continue as a party.

Morning Star.

On Slugger O’Toole, Barton Creeth comments on the Conference itself,

Despite an acknowledgement of common cause, Left Unity, the party that last year tabled a motion to recognise the “progressive potential” of ISIS, decides not to formally dissolve and join Labour.

Left Unity, a far-left political party set up with the help of filmmaker Ken Loach, debated today whether to dissolve and join Labour. The party, set up in 2013, stood candidates against Labour in May, but since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election victory, Left Unity has experienced mass resignations.

Noting similar aspirations and common cause, Motion 2A states that “We believe the movement that swept Jeremy Corbyn to victory has its manifestation both inside and outside the Labour Party and this will continue to be the case.” Some Labour Party activists on Twitter expressed support for Left Unity to join forces as part of Corbyn’s Labour. Despite this, only 10 Left Unity members voted today to dissolve the party, as reported by party secretary, Tom Armstrong on Twitter.

During the conference last year, members of Left Unity debated a motion recognising the “progressive potential” of Islamic State. The motion added that the Islamic State’s call for a pan-Islamic caliphate to replace other Muslim states was “an authentic expression of … anti-imperialist aspirations”. The motion, which noted that the Caliphate represented an alternative political vision to other “brutal regimes” in the region, argued “the European Left has to acknowledge and accept the widespread call for a Caliphate among Muslims as valid and an authentic expression of their emancipatory, anti-imperialist aspirations.” The motion was voted down.

The conference also saw a motion today calling for the dissolution of the army the the formation of popular militias. The motion reads, “Left Unity is against the standing army and for the armed people. This principle will never be realised voluntarily by the capitalist state. It has to be won, in the first place by the working class developing its own militia.”

As of writing, I’m not sure which direction the party has chosen take on this issue.

 

*******

Left Unity has attracted many respected and dedicated activists. It has had many important policies – including an internationalist approach to backing a transformed European Union and broader opposition to nationalism.

Their decision to work closely with Momentum raises a number of interesting questions.

If LU is not standing Parliamentary candidates against Labour, will it continue to stand council candidates against the Labour Party on a pick and choose basis? How will this help Momentum  win support inside the Party?

Perhaps the public threat of rival candidates will both increase its audience amongst the mainstream of the Party and win over wavering councillors to adopt LU’s opinions……

We await for the full report from Labour Party Marxists – in the Esperanto original – explaining the way out of this conundrum.

Update:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm

2 Responses

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  1. What would be identified as the ‘right-wing’, with their motion to turn LU into just a network, were quite outnumbered at conference and their motion well defeated. The Republican Socialist tendency was, in no way, “important”. Their notion (back to the Levellers, not 1945) got very little support. The other notable factions were the Independent Socialist Network and the Weekly Worker (CPGB – sic) who both may have had maybe 5% of the conference each but whose motions were defeated. Also present and organised was the ISG (generally with the leadership), Red Flag (new paper for Labour Party work) and a group unknown to me, Socialist Labour (they are not the SLP).

    There was perhaps the highest proportion of disabled people there that ever to be seen involved in a Left organisation and they made many contributions. he departure of Salman Shaheen left WW’s Yassamine Mather as possibly the only non-white person there.

    The conference was like a like a slowly deflating balloon. The main debate was how much we orientate to Labour with some still wanting to run at least local candidates. The end results can’t last – we either go into Labour or not (people will drop out with either outcome).

    I’m sticking around – an unlikely but not impossible hope is that Corbynistas will look for a new home when their guru chopped; although I fear many were just clickactivists who have now moved on to saving Patagonian Whales by now or they will be tuned into Momentum types – Bennites for now and who will be the Blunketts of tomorrow.

    The Slugger O Toole comment about ISIS is just Daily Mail type crap. Near anybody, on their own, could get anything in a motion to conference – no-one would support such there

  2. We not going to let Caliphate John Tummon ever forget his motion Southpaw!

    Anyway this at least is encouraging:

    Andrew Coates

    November 23, 2015 at 1:11 pm


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