Men and women of the Left, we face a predicament. Our predicament is simple – we are divided. We are divided by parties, by gender, by class, by a million and one different things. That is why the right triumphs over us. And that is why we continue to lose the battles against the dominant elites that plague our media and suppress our cause.
I’m sick to death of fighting over which party we should join; sick to death of the endless bitching and infighting that goes between those who fight the same cause as us; sick to death of the long endless discussion we have over which cause matters more: gender or class?
Our greatest strength is our numbers – that we represent the majority that has been crushed by those in power. We need to mobilise together, stand our ground under one banner. We fight for democracy not oligarchy, equality not competition (and the falsehood that is ‘social mobility’), and for people not profit.
We need to make Cameron responsible. We need to ask him about his ‘social responsibility’ to make government about protecting its citizens not victimising the poorest. We need to be angry, but win the battle with our words and that fact that we know we are right.
We need to learn not to listen to their spin and their excuses. We need to keep strong and keep our aim to create a better world in focus. Forget the spin machine. Forget the party line. It’s all of us against the elite – and we will terrify them.
Afterall, we are The People. And The People shall always win.
6 thoughts on “Lefties – unite!”
1) Why no mention of the Socialist Party? We’re bigger than the AWL and more active than Greens/Labour.
2) SWP are part of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (as are we) AWL and Greens were asked to be in but didn’t want to be.
3) Labour are not a party of the left, they are pale shadows of Tories. How on earth could the left unite with a pro-capitalist pro-cuts party that would rather bash the sick and disabled on benefits than stand up to the Tories?
You are advocating a Popular Front – every popular front in history has failed. The SP, the SWP and Socialist Resistance are trying to build a United Front in TUSC – that is a coalition based on democracy and shared objectives. I don’t wish to be rude but we need to do a HELL of a lot more than “make Cameron responsible” and “ask him about his ‘social responsibility”.
One last point: I wouldn’t ask Labour to help you fight dominant elites since they are part of the dominant elite.
Interesting post Nishma, agree with the sentiments and I doubt you’ll find many on the left who disagree, but what practical solutions can you offer to further your call?
I think you’re going to hit a rock in the road early on here just by picking a divisive title.. but you’ll never please or include everyone!
Sam, I see where you’re coming from then you throw it all away criticising the proposal for alliances, contradicting yourself by citing TUSC as a workable solution when it is obvious from my experience (as a TUSC candidate in the general election) it was far from perfect, and certainly needs to learn a few things about unity and democracy. Decisions were made from a ‘top-down’ cabal of individuals from a central committee with little communication or support to local campaigners. The ‘member organisations’ were pre-picked and the dominant force is the Socialist Party with the odd SWP person here and there, and they are not content with it generally.
You claim the AWL and the Greens were asked to join TUSC??
That is not true. The Green Party were never approached and I’m certain would have at least considered talks. AWL claim they were actually ‘shut-out’ and decided to stand their own candidate in Camberwell. Workers Power reported the same experience with TUSC, and despite requests were not allowed to join – they too stood their own candidate under the banner of Anti Capitalists in Vauxhall.
When you consider the SP’s last electoral project (NO2EU) running in the European Elections and fully backed by an actual trade union (RMT – but TUSC failed to win the same support) the unity was not repeated. Member orgs of NO2U and the Socialist Alliance (another failed front) including the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), Alliance for Green Socialism and The Liberal Party (all had candidates standing as NO2EU in 2009) all report they were “not invited” and given no clear reasons as to why.
Socialist Resistance have expressed numerous concerns about their treatment as a member of TUSC and have actually withdrawn last time I read (check their website).
Then there’s Respect (formerly the Unity Coalition) They too were ‘not invited’. Respect recently had a good relationship with the Greens and various arrangements to support candidates and not oppose each other in key elections. Respect stood down their slate in the North West for the Euros (in the end they didn’t run at all anywhere) as the Greens had a 0.4%chance of gaining a seat here, but the SP refused to acknowledged this – and the bigger danger of doing so was realised – Nick Griffin was elected. (thanks for that!)
Thankfully these divisions depend where you live.
In Salford we pulled these factions together, as a Green Party member I stood proudly as a Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition candidate. Our campaign was run on a shoe-string (Respect donated £500 and the RMT donated £500). Workers Power sent their activists out over two weekends for intensive leafleting, SWP had people out canvassing on the door-stop, Socialist Party joined them and organised meetings and the Greens did a bit of everything. This wasn’t an easy ride and at first there were a lot of unkind and selfish critics on all sides who really did themselves a great disservice. TUSC was formed as an ‘electoral pact’ to contest elections, it only becomes active at elections, it has so far not succeeded in winning any election and the perception is that it exists as a vehicle for the SP.
Those who put their sectarian differences aside and united include activists from all of the groups I’ve named above (and more). I hope people do take in Nishma’s sentiments and join us to unite again – so we can’t oust Griffin for good this time in 2014, as we cannot afford divisions.
Labour are not a party of the left. I totally agree with all your points there Sam. Unite with them (at least election-wise) and we’ll be eaten up into the belly of the beast.
You only need to look a how Labour MPs voted on last weeks’s disgusting and devastating Welfare Reform Bill. Just 12 of them voted against this far-right draconian act. Propping up the show-piece of the new Tory Economic Agenda.
There certainly is a place for a strong genuinely socialist, green-left force in Britain without convincing ourselves the Labour Party need to be central to it, but there is little space for anything else.
I certainly agree that TUSC is not perfect and is nowhere near what it needs to be, I merely wanted to point out it is a step in the right direction.
I have heard AWL claim that TUSC is ‘top-down’, but not that they were shut out. I hadn’t heard at all that Workers Power had asked to be involved. (Would love a link though)
RE Trade Union involvement: at this stage TU’s are affiliating branch by branch, rather than nationally. Matt Wrack and Bob Crow are on board, and we’re beginning to generate concrete PCS support.
I’m surprised to hear as a Green Party member you stood as TUSC (but pleased!). I’m being lazy with my point on the Greens, they have refused on previous projects.
With regard to North West: Respect was doomed to failure from the start; evidenced by defections to Lib/Lab/Cons, and now the non-SWP rump is about to dissolve itself into Labour. I see no reason why No2EU shouldn’t have stood against them, and although obviously it’s sickening Griffin was elected, the BNP can only be defeated by A) a working class alternative or B) Themselves (see recent implosion) so I wouldn’t worry about it.
I understood Socialist Alliance and Alliance for Green Socialism to be defunct? I was disappointed by CPGB as would have provided a non-trot element, but they initially called for a Labour vote and were critical of TUSC, then 2 weeks before general election last year they asked if they could join in, so their fault rather than ours.
I’m very sad to hear SR have withdrawn, that is a shame.
Finally though, any organisation can affiliate and be democratically involved. See you at TUSC conference in July?
I checked and SR haven’t left. Also Walsall DLP are working with us too 🙂
I’ve been thinking about writing something on “Why we need a fragmented left”. I’ll get back to you after SG 😉
Probably the best way for a united left front to demonstrate itself would be if we could have regular, preferably directly citizen-initiated and binding, referenda on specific issues. Being able to vote meaningfully against the right on issues which unite us, rather than be distracted by the issues that make up the “whole package” of political parties and groupings that divide us.
What are the various parties’ positions on such citizen-initiated referenda?