Left Unity of TUSC and Owen Jones against Nigel Farage’s UKIP:

  • Tom
  • May 5, 2013 at 5:49 am
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  • Jen Ross says the next big Left Unity event should be somewhere in England and Wales. What’s wrong with Scotland? Jen wants major party backers? He who pays the piper calls the tune. Why not fund Left Unity from members’ donations and dues? Why not get affiliations from workers organizations, like the trade unions?
  • Jen’s summary of the attitude of the meeting to Labour is anti-dialectical. Is Labour redeemable? I don’t think it ever was. Having said that, it is clearly different from the Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP etc. There is no equivalent of Owen Jones, for example, in these other parties. Nor do millions of trade unionists subsidize the Tories, etc. Nor do Tory or Lib Dem MPs feel forced to pay at least lip service to policies passed by trade union conferences, or squirm when they see the potential loss of money and votes from the trade unions.
  • Left Unity has to work with socialists in the Labour Party, their councilors free to come to our meetings, whereas UKIP councilors should be told to fuck off. And we have to accept that an inevitable by-product of any electoral successes of Left Unity will be a re-invigoration of whatever is left of the Labour left. This will happen in the PLP and elsewhere.
  • Recognition of this inter-relationship between socialists exposing Ed Miliband’s left flank in the electoral arena on the one hand and an inevitable growth in the Labour left on the other is key to socialists actually piling on votes. Failure to recognise this patently obvious fact has been a massive problem for TUSC and all the other left projects, including the SLP and Respect. These organisations have all treated the Labour left as unwelcome competitors, obstacles who have to be crushed to make any progress. This is counterproductive ultra-leftism. It is guaranteed to repel precisely the kinds of working class Labour voter who would otherwise be openly voting for TUSC, Left Unity etc. They are looking for opportunities to do this simply to give Ed Miliband a kick up the arse. They know instinctively that a left-wing protest vote can make the Labour leadership actually sit up and pay attention to them. Is that a problem for TUSC, Left Unity, etc? It really shouldn’t be. The reason for this is that any shift leftwards by Ed Miliband and his MPs in response to a healthy vote for TUSC, Left Unity etc is the sincerest form of flattery. Regardless of how hypocritical the concessions made by Miliband simply to win back disenchanted voters, every move leftwards helps create a more favorable political climate within which workers can fight back against the bosses, both of their parties in government, and UKIP waiting in the wings with even more nasty Thatcherite ‘medicine’.
  • Jen is not acting in the spirit of genuine ‘left unity’ by adopting this sectarian attitude towards our fellow travelers and potential recruits in Labour, those of them who don’t choose to abandon the Labour Party quite yet. Many of them (including the likes of Owen Jones) can be persuaded to simply sit on their hands when asked to canvass for Ed Miliband’s official Blairite puppet while Left Unity (or TUSC) stands a genuine working class activist. Jen is being no less sectarian in his dismissal of TUSC.
  • TUSC and Left Unity need each other. Both organisations need, as a matter of extreme urgency, to negotiate the terms of their fusion. Jen appears not to want that. Not only is he happy to dismiss differences between Labour Party socialists and the rest of the capitalist candidates when it comes to elections, he wants to perpetuate the Judean People’s Front split when it comes to TUSC. Not good enough, comrade.
  • TUSC has made mistakes. An ultra-left orientation towards Labour Party socialists has been one of them, but this is one that Jen himself is still making. Failure to embrace a membership component has been a second problem. That is a problem that has lead directly to the mushrooming of Left Unity. However, Jen’s justification for wanting to stand candidates against TUSC makes no absolutely sense. Jen accepts that Left Unity has no democratically elected leadership. He says Left Unity is a membership organization. Really? So, how many members does it have exactly? Is this ‘membership’ synonymous with those who have signed an on-line petition calling for the setting up of a new party of the left? If that is all the ‘commitment’ that is required, then it is no wonder that Jen feels the need to appeal for for big donors.
  • Left Unity and TUSC has to sit down at a table and negotiate terms for fusion. We want more trade unions. All genuine advocates of ‘left unity’ want all SWP and SP members to work together with the rest of the socialist left in the selection of candidates. Thursday’s local elections, and the rise of UKIP from nothing to second place in a high-profile by-election exposes both the problems and opportunities for the left.
  • UKIP’s successes pose a problem for all of us wanting to drag the political landscape leftwards. But the rise of UKIP betrays a lack of scrutiny by the working class of this new receptacle for the protest vote. These ultra Thatcherites are vulnerable. But only provided TUSC, Left Unity and the Owen Jones wing of the Labour Party don’t degenerate yet again into the mire of the People’s Front of Judea. United we stand; divided we fall.

[comment left on Left Unity’s website: http://leftunity.org/manchester-left-unity-the-latest-news/]

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