Left Unity and ‘consensus’:

  • Tom
  • April 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm
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  • The website recommended at the end of this post advocates consensus as perferable to what we have inside the trade union movement. That won’t work if our project is a socialist one.
  • We live in a society divided by antagonistic classes. Many of those drawn to Left Unity don’t want to change that; others clearly do. Consensus between them is a non-starter. The first-past-the-post electoral system means that Left Unity has a real fight on its hands. Those who want to draw a veil over the exploitative capital/wage labour relationship are given time in the broadcast media: Tories, Lib Dems, Labour, UKIP, Greens, SNP, etc. Add to the first-past-the-post system the print and broadcast media’s censorship and the socialist left has no option but to be extremely radical.
  • Consensus is a barrier to that. Consensus means lowest common denominator politics. Socialists prefer majority decisions as the way of settling our differences. We will all lose votes. Accepting that earns us the right to continued participation in the project.
  • And what does Peter mean by saying there is general agreement about individual membership? Will groups be hounded out of Left Unity, a la Neil Kinnock’s “party within a party” sectarianism? Will there by no room for tendencies as was the case inside the RSDLP? That would not be a good idea. It would split the vote with TUSC.
  • Furthermore, new tendencies would form around Socialist Resistance, Workers Power, and supporters of the SWP, SP and others would would join as underground entryists if they can’t join openly. Others with no prior commitments would form ad hoc factions, and some of these would harden into fully fledged groups. Which of these groups would be permitted to exist in addition to individuals members?
  • What about trade unions, such as the RMT, PCS, FBU, and others? Would they all be told that Left Unity prefers them to continue to subsidize Ed Miliband’s war against the trade unions? Or does Peter think they should simply be denied the right to subsidize any MP, or candidate for MP, MSP, MEP, councilor etc, the position of the Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP and the ultra-Blairites?
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