Unite Executive election: vote for the serious left!

March 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm (elections, Johnny Lewis, Unite the union, workers)

Unite the Union Logo 

Ballot papers are now going out for the Unite Executive Council elections. This will be the first time that Unite has elected its Executive as a a single, united union (as opposed to an amalgam of the old T&G and the old Amicus): it is vital that the serious left, grouped around the United Left, win a healthy majority to back the new left-wing general secretary, Len McCluskey, and as and when necessary, keep him in line.

The United Left slate is here.

This is not to say that McCluskey and the United Left are perfect: they’re most certainly not. McCluskey is a bureaucrat – an honest left bureaucrat, but a bureaucrat nonetheless.  The United left is essentially an electoral machine and not a campaigning rank-and-file organisation.  Their politics are an amalgam of Tribunite/LRC left-reformism and (worse) ‘Morning Star’-style soft-Stalinism. They’re all too willing to go along, unthinkingly,  with the worst nonsense of the Stop The War Coalition, the PSC and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.  But the entire serious left within Unite is grouped within the United Left, which (these days) is a relatively open and democratic organisation. There has recently been an attempt to establish a new “grass roots left” based around the increasingly egotistical figure of Jerry Hicks and his petty-bourgeois followers, presently taking the union to the Certification Officer. For all their “left” posturing these people are unfit to lead the union and unworthy of any socialist’s vote.

It is essential that the  Unite Executive  gets a serious Left majority. But that’s just a start: the real job is to build in the workplaces and establish a properly functioning structure of accountable industrial committees.

Vote United Left! Then hold them to account!


  1. Geoff Collier said,

    I don’t know if Johnny Lewis is in the AWL or not – if not then this is being asked of the wrong person. On the other hand, Jim Denham will be able to answer (I presume its not one of his pseudonyms). Anyway, I if you take this approach in Unite, why does it seem so different in the PCS? The AWL supports the Independent Left there against the Left Unity group (which dominates the leadership) and their general secretary who learned his politics in the AWL.. So what’s so different between PCS and Unite?

  2. jim denham said,

    Geoff: I simply don’t know enougjn about the PCS to be able to answer that question. I have discussed the matter with PCS comrades, but to be honest I can’t now remember the details of our discussions. What I think is clear is that the Independent Left have taken a much more principled position to that of Serwotka and Left Unity on a number of issues (notably the pensions dispute) whereas in Unite, Hicks has no coherent programmatic alternative to the United Left, and his differences are either secondary matters (election of officials) or simply wrong (full rights for retired members and self-employed).

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