Left Unity begins in earnest today:

I have just reposted a blog post of about six months ago: https://derekthomas2010.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/workers-united-owen-jones-and-the-trade-union-and-socialist-coalition/. In that article, I make the case for TUSC. I want to add to its message in the light of yesterday’s elections because it is clearly at least in part out of date.

One thing I would add is that TUSC must now reach an accommodation with Ken Loach’s Left Unity, a new group that is going places with or without TUSC. It is certainly true that Left Unity has attracted some very right-wing elements whose politics are hardly better than Neil Kinnock’s at the time he expelled Militant’s leadership. Additionally, it is attracting some of the sectarians chomping at the bit to drag our class into a series of new debilitating witch hunts against both the SWP and SP. These sectarians intend to squat in the space set free by Ken Loach. Unlike Ken, the sectarians are motivated first and foremost by a desire to irreparably damage TUSC’s electoral fortunes before it too cashes in on the alienation from the rest of the pro-capitalist austerity agenda. That is pretty much the limit of their ambitions. The SWP, SP and RMT have to help these sectarians to out themselves for what they are. TUSC can only achieve that by extending olive branches, and doing so in all sincerity. We have to fuse TUSC with the better elements of Left Unity.

The left of Labour organisation does need a federal component. This is essential to grant the RMT, PCS, FBU, UNITE and other trade unions participation, which is the only way to break the link between Labour and the trade unions. That source of money and votes will forever and a day leak to Ed Miliband’s Blairites unless there is somewhere else for the trade unions to go. Federalism in this sense is inevitable.

Having said that, the new left of Labour Party does equally need a membership component. We need that to give tens of thousands of political activists something to do other than resign themselves to the role of voting fodder and impotent cheer leaders for the SWP and SP candidates.

Comrades, we need a broad party within which factions can form and behave in the same kind of disciplined manner within the broader party as the SP’s former incarnation did inside Labour, and both the SP and SWP did in the SSP. The model has to be the pre-1912 RSDLP, or the German SPD prior to WWI, with TUSC’s core acting as one (or possibly two or more) disciplined Luxemburg wing(s).

Such a party can complete with the Owen Jones wing of the Labour Party. Left Unity and TUSC together can – alongside the trade unions – give socialists (including Owen himself) an alternative to that of propping up Ed Miliband’s One Nation Toryism. The Blairite fig leaf will have passed its sell by date if, but only if, Left Unity and TUSC start to get our act together.

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