Ken Loach’s appeal for the left to get together was loudly applauded on Question Time. Eight thousand socialists have signed a petition echoing this call. Alas, we have been conned, or so it would appear.
A self-selecting leadership have passed a set of decisions when a mere 12.5% of that eight thousand received any representation. And those delegated from the other 1,000 were given precious little opportunity to discuss with the rest of the local membership. I signed the petition quite early, but I never would have bothered had Kate Hudson made it clear she wanted to drag Left Unity away from unity with the SWP, Socialist Party and the rest of the left.
Decisions taken at yesterday’s meeting have not been taken in my name. Those who took these decisions have zero mandate to exclude the SWP, SP etc, all of whom have been given no option but to stand candidates against Left Unity. What is wrong with Ken Loach if he doesn’t get the stupidity of that decision?
On the Left Unity website, on twitter, on Facebook and elsewhere, some Left Unity members genuinely believe that all that is being proposed is that there will be no affiliation of political groups. If that was the problem tackled yesterday, I personally would have no problem with that and would be happy to work with comrades to convince others that this can be made to work.
However, while some of these comrades are, I believe, absolutely genuine, others are clearly anything but. These trolls in cyberspace and in the real world never miss an opportunity to revel in sectarian insults against the SWP, SP, and every member of the Marxist left. One of them has, on Left Unity’s website today implied there is no difference between Rosa Luxemburg and Stalin. Pass the sick-bag, please.
I cannot believe that Ken Loach is happy about this situation. But if he is he has exhausted any goodwill the left has towards him. Left Unity would, in such circumstances, prove just one more vanity project for a group of sectarians. And it has far less potential to stick around than, for example, TUSC, Respect and the Socialist Labour Party.
The fact that Left Unity is now posting articles that dismisses every one of the giants of Marxism, and also dismissing trade unions as just one more special interest group demonstrates how shaky the foundations of the project is at this stage, proving how vital it is to recruit the likes of the SWP and Socialist Party.
The refusal to allow Dave Nellist so much as observer status (even after he had been invited to attend) is beyond worrying. It is patently obvious that a section of Left Unity’s self selecting leadership is scared of having their debates, their disagreements, their sectarianism, made public via respected figures on the left such as Dave Nellist. What do these people have to hide? Judging from what I have read in cyberspace, the answer would appear to be quite a lot.
Sectarianism towards the left, the trade unions and a rubbishing of scientific socialism (Marxism) appears to be a cornerstone of a substantial section of those who have usurped the Left Unity franchise from the eight thousand signatories.
Thirst for genuine unity on the left is as palpable today as it was in 1933. Thankfully, we have only seen the rise of Golden Dawn, not their actually taking state power, and while UKIP are a worrying index of the growth of xenophobia in the UK, they are not exactly a fascist party and they can be fought and defeated, but only by a genuine unity of the left.
I wish I could say that Left Unity is destined to play a key role in bringing the unity of the left about in Britain. I really wish I could still say that.