This is an important interview for TUSC supporters for several respects. Left Unity’s representative made several positive references to TUSC. Clearly not all of his colleagues will be happy with this, but at the very least he has helped create more space for the less sectarian members of his organization.
Secondly, having given his interviewer an incentive to ask who TUSC is, he now has an incentive to learn the truth from the horse’s mouth. Why not invite Dave Nellist on to Going Underground, so he can explain why there are two UKIPs of the left, and why Dave is as enthusiastic as Salman to have fraternal relations between the two groups to the extent that fusion is not possible, at least not yet.
Salman has answered questions in a way that poses key tactical and strategic questions for the left that won’t be how many of his colleagues would answer them. Indeed I think his view is probably an overwhelmingly minority one. Possibly the problem is he was unprepared to answer, given that there has been an inadequate debate within Left Unity on these questions. That is what I believe. It is also one of the reasons I have low expectations of the potential of Left Unity. There are far too many activists who think it is a great idea to stamp on debate. But the questions that are ruled out of order will be posed by the broadcasters. Left Unity’s spokespersons cannot run away from this forever. Debate is the testing ground for spokespersons. Remove the debate and you flounder when the broadcasters turn their spotlight on you.
It is important for me to acknowledge that the tactical and strategic questions that are posed by what Salman said here are not ones where many people agree with me. Most TUSC and Left Unity members probably share an attitude towards some of these questions that I find frustratingly ultra-left. There is a sense in which I am closer to Salman than to these individuals. Having said that, Salman’s alternative is not clearly posed. In the process of debate, our differences would become much more apparent. But a debate between TUSC and Left Unity at all levels would prepare both for strengthening the left and mass civil disobedience to what the parties of capitalism are doing to all of us. This debate is long overdue. And RT.COM is clearly the only part of the broadcast media available to British voters that might allow all of us to address these questions of principle, strategy and tactics.