What is the Left Unity’s attitude to factions?

Someone by the name of PhilW has left a comment on my blog. This name is familiar to me, but I forget who he is. Comments in cyberspace should be about communication. That is improved immensely when we are not tilting at windmills, are not speaking at cross-purposes, successfully reading between the lines to address key points, no barking up the wrong tree. Context helps us a lot when addressing each others questions. What you, comrade PhilW,  are saying here contains much ambiguity. Let’s see if I can help you clarify your position, making genuine left unity between us and the majority of both TUSC and Left Unity possible.

It would be helpful if you could spell out who you are, where you are coming from. Just a brief indication of how you have fought for genuine left unity in the past. Until you do that I guess I will have to make assumptions that may or may not be correct.

PhilW, you explain that you don’t want Left Unity to be an exclusively electoral formation and that it is not going to be that. Good. I don’t want that either. Is TUSC such an exclusively electoral organisation? Alas, thus far, it pretty much is. And I see that as a serious weakness that is responsible for the emergence of yet another split on the left. TUSC has to fix this, asap. And if it can do so while marching alongside Ken Loach and thousands of socialists attracted by his appeal for Left Unity, I for one am absolutely delighted about that.

What you say about joint membership could not be less clear. You won’t let the SWP join Left Unity but will let their members join? That strikes me as potentially the same ultimatist approach that Trotsky criticised when the German Stalinists said they wanted a united front from below. They had no problem with united fronts with members of the SPD, but would not allow their leaders to participate?

Exactly how many members of the SWP will be allowed to join? Will they be allowed to caucus within Left Unity with SWP members who haven’t joined Left Unity? Will they be allowed to exclude from their factions within Left Unity all those who refuse to abide by majority decisions of their factions? If not, why not? Will all democratic centralist factions within Left Unity be banned? In other words, do you support Neil Kinnock’s ‘party within a party’ rhetoric, and will you support a witch hunt of all those who group together to form factions in secret if they are denied their democratic rights to do so openly, which is precisely what I will advocate?

What is your attitude to members of other parties who stand candidates in elections? I can’t tell what you think on that. Labour Party members are joining Left Unity. That strikes me as particularly bizarre? How can they expect to stand candidates against Ed Miliband’s official candidate without being purged? And if this doesn’t strike you as a problem, then what is your attitude to SWP members joining Left Unity while backing a TUSC candidate against a very right-wing official Left Unity candidate who is just a tad to the left of the official Ed Miliband clone?

Many of those with articles on the Left Unity blog are making rather idiotic proposals. For instance, does Left Unity intend to make capitalism work, or are they, as all genuine socialists are, in favour of the replacement of an economic system that sucks the wage slaves dry, forcing them to organise to resist the rate of exploitation and defend those benefits we have won over generations of class struggle?

Exactly how many Left Unity members think that the way to win friends and influence the working class voters alienated by Labour’s capitulation to the priorities of a bankrupt system of profiteering parasites is to call for ‘honesty, justice and fairness’? Does Left Unity seriously think that such meaningless platitudes will differentiate it from anyone? How? This is motherhood and apple pie.

What Left Unity needs is a class perspective that exposes the reality behind what is going on in the real world, and concrete proposals for how it can be fixed. Far too many of the supporters of Left Unity seem to share the same politics as the other parties: business as usual, hopefully tapping into the alienation with the other parties but offering nothing new, just capitalism, capitalism and yet more capitalism.

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