Islamic State: John Tummon wanted Left Unity to “distance itself” from use of “intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’
One of the delights of Britain’s left is the ongoing squabbles. In the deepest recesses, or the bowels of the left, trying to emerge.
The Weekly Worker is rightly prized as significant hebdomadal (a quotidian word daily on Richard Seymour’s lips) reading in this respect.
On the elections for the leadership of Left Unity it is, we can safely say, without competitors.
The latest issue contains this ‘questionnaire’ to candidates.
Amongst them is this:
2. Do you oppose the idea of forming some kind of bloc within Left Unity that includes the social-imperialist Alliance for Workers’ Liberty? Should those who support the pro-Nato government of Petro Poroshenko, who refuse to condemn the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the possibility of an Israeli nuclear strike against Iran, be considered legitimate bloc partners?
Readers of the august journal might ask about the Weekly Worker/CPGB (Provisional Committee) and its own lengthy unity negotiation with said ‘social-imperialist’ Alliance for Workers’ Liberty – an episode sadly neglected in the present pages of the paper.
This began around 2000 with the declaration, “The AWL is a small organisation of serious revolutionaries.” “what distinguishes the AWL from that which often falsely passes itself off as Trotskyism is its culture of comparative openness and a willingness to think.” (9.3.2000)
Such as this, on the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’s annual weekend school, Ideas for Freedom (17.7.2002)
The school was an excellent event and CPGB comrades learned a great deal from participation in both its formal sessions and in more off-the-cuff exchanges. Given our common commitment to open educational events such as this and the forthcoming Communist University, we should explore more imaginatively the possibilities of further joint schools and forums. Mark Fischer.
The honeymoon did not last. A few weeks later we see this:
“In more recent times, we have been able to collaborate with the CPGB/WW on many issues in and around the Socialist Alliance. Lately problems have arisen in AWL-CPGB relations.” AWL October 2002.
Future historians will no doubt unravel what happened in those fraught times, so crucial to the development of the international left.
But what interests the Tendance now is the bid by ‘Caliphate’ John Tummon for leadership of Left Unity.
John Tummon (NC, North-West) replies to two of the Weekly Worker’s exam questions as follows (Weekly Worker):
5. Do you disassociate yourself from those who resort to violence or threats of violence within the left? Will you insist that anyone found guilty of making such threats issue a public apology, no matter how belatedly?
6. Do you think Left Unity should draw a clear red line between the socialist politics of the working class and the petty bourgeois politics of the Green Party?
5. No – some behaviour is so bad that it provokes violence either of the word or deed and everything must be assessed by its context. I am not for absolute rules and detest the concept of zero tolerance.
6. No – the Greens have very similar policies to LU; both are broad parties, but LU is far smaller. The Greens are progressive.
This is from Tummon’s (defeated) Caliphate motion, at Left Unity’s last year Conference.
To show solidarity with the people of the Middle East by supporting the end of the structure of the divided nation states imposed by the Versailles settlement and their replacement by a Caliphate type polity in which diversity and autonomy are protected and nurtured and the mass of people can effectively control executive authority’. Left Unity distances itself specifically from the use of intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’, etc in discussion about the Middle East; these terms are deployed by people and forces seeking not to understand or analyse, but to demonise in order to dominate, and they have no place within socialist discourse. ft Unity Resolution.
“We also distance ourselves from the Eurocentric brand of secularism that believes that the peoples of the Middle East must accept western terms of reference by consigning their religious faith to a separate part of their lives from their political aspirations, if they are to develop progressive societies.”
They certainly ‘ave ‘em in Left Unity…
This election will be by Single Transferable Vote – just like the do in god’s Caliphate.