Left Unity and back-to-front politics

June 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm (elections, ex-SWP, fantasy, labour party, left, political groups, RMT, socialism, Socialist Party)

Left Unity

Comrade DK writes:

Ted:  Shouldn’t we wait until Eddie Van Halen joins the band before shooting the video?
Bill:  This video will make Eddie Van Halen want to join the band
There is an article (linked below) on the Left Unity website which sums up much of the back to front politics and fantasy that increasingly dominates it http://leftunity.org/24746/
The author asks whether the mass working class party should be formed by fusing with TUSC or can only be built separately at first and then TUSC and the RMT will join later.
There seems no doubt in the author’s mind that a mass party can be achieved. But then again if his definition of mass party doing well is a limited relationship with one medium sized union and getting 3-5% of the vote in the places it stands then it probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
The labour movement already has a 6 million trade unionists, the Labour Party has about 200,000 members and gets the vote of between 8 to 9 million voters at its lowest ebb. Surely the question the left needs to ask is what needs to be done to win over these masses to class struggle and the fight for working class power? Organisational questions flow from this. There is a debate to be had about how socialists use elections, how we achieve workers’ representation and the need for left unity.  But that debate is not being had by many members of Left Unity which presupposes the working class will flock to a tiny broad left party if they build it.
Dream on, comrades.


  1. Mike Killingworth said,

    All DK has to do is explain why the Labour Party isn’t a socialist Party already.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Might have something to do with the existing consciousness of the working class, Mike.

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        Indeed it might.

  2. Mark said,

    Inside Left Unity, most of the people I’ve spoken to would emphasise the need for working class participation from the very beginning. I haven’t heard many people say “the working class will flock” once a broad left party has been built. It is precisely that ‘back-to-front’ approach that would see Left Unity fail. There is clearly an active discussion within the movement trying to make sure that any policies or decisions are made through a bottom-up process.

  3. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    All true but as Kipling put it:

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    We now have a history of left unity projects as old as the Labour Party itself and which in over 100 years has achieved nothing except to place a brace of Stalinist apparatchiks and the odd careerist charlatan (Galloway and Grayson) briefly into Parliament.

    Broken as the Labour Party is a weapon of class warfare there is nothing else.

  4. Sue r said,

    Ha, ‘The Gods of the Copybook Headings’. A poem I have always loved. Certainly the case that our current masters make their ‘prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place’. ‘As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn/The Gods of the Copy Book Headings with terror and violence return.’. As a matter of interest, what’s the relation between Left Unity and the Peoples’ Assembly?

    • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      Always loved that when Kipling was cremated the ceremony followed immediately after that of Shapurji Sakalatvala the Communist MP (and about as near to The Anti-Kipling as imaginable) so that Stanley Baldwin and the other great and good had to wait outside while the Commies lustily sang the Internationale – and Kipling’s coffin was carried in past hammer and sickle floral tributes and red flags that hadn’t been cleared away yet.

      AFAICT The People’s Assembly is a Counterfire front and Left Unity is so insignificant that it’s nobody in particular’s front.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: