- “We spoke about getting local groups on board and also what Left Unity should stand for (The writer David Issac encapsulated this by saying ‘Honesty, fairness and justice’.)” [From Left Unity’s report on its first meeting in Manchester]
So this is Left Unity’s USP, is it? This is what is going to galvanize all those voters betrayed by Ed Miliband’s party, set us apart from all those other parties marching behind the banner of “dishonesty, unfairness and injustice”?
Is this really the new approach to the voters Left Unity is boasting about? Sounds like the same old politics to me. This is exactly the kind of thing that has lead to so much alienation from the political classes. Motherhood and apple pie, meaningless platitudes devoid of all content.
Different classes have very different definitions of words like ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’, Thatcher using them to support “working miners” crossing picket lines, the miners and their supporters during the Great Strike of 1984-85, using the exact same terms to defend their strike with mass pickets set up to stop the scabs ‘right’ to ignore the majority.
If Left Unity is to mean anything at all, we need to differentiate the left from those supporters of the system of profit, an economic system currently in chaos on a global scale, a system that is determined to impose intolerable austerity on the 99% to protect the privileges of the parasitic 1%.
Left Unity has to locate the forces necessary to lead the defense of all the exploited and oppressed. We need to appeal to the big batallions of the organised working class: the trade unions.
Left Unity also has to be crystal clear that the People’s Assembly that seems to want to dodge the question of an electoral challenge to capitalism is impeding the kind of Left Unity that we need.
Left Unity must not be downgraded to a mere transmission belt into the Labour Party via well-meaning lefties such as Owen Jones, nor for the Greens’ electoral ambitions, neither, no matter how essential it is to form united fronts with such people.
Both Labour and the Greens have to be challenged at the ballot box. And they have to be challenged with a programme that, while moderating demands to win votes, has to be open about its ambitions to establish public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.