Left Unity in Britain

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Notes for a talk at a Socialist Resistance meeting surveying the class struggle left's readiness for the 2010 General Election

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Left Unity in Britain

  1. 1. British situation <ul><li>Contrast with Portugal, Germany, Greece, France </li></ul><ul><li>Series of misfires </li></ul><ul><li>2010 election compares unfavourably to 2001 and 98 Socialist Alliance candidates </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Disastrous situation for left after elections for the European Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Conference a chance to discuss the possibility of a common framework for the left in the general election </li></ul><ul><li>Having modest growth in pockets </li></ul>Respect
  3. 3. Profile <ul><li>Respect has poor profile on the issue of the economic crisis and the defence of jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient for an election campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Absent from many areas </li></ul>
  4. 4. Chances <ul><li>Respect only party on left with a chance of a Westminster seat </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on East London and South Birmingham </li></ul><ul><li>Little to benefit by Respect going into any new formation if it loses electoral gains </li></ul>
  5. 5. Son of No 2 EU <ul><li>“ Help build the campaign for a socialist alternative and for a trade union based electoral challenge to cuts and unemployment.” Socialist Party </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks RMT support </li></ul><ul><li>CPB voted to take no further part. </li></ul><ul><li>Will stand own candidates and support Labour </li></ul>
  6. 6. RMT conference <ul><li>November 7 on ‘The crisis in working class representation’. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The conference will be non-binding and non-resolution-based to discuss with like-minded socialists and trade unionists how best to defend and promote working class interests.” </li></ul><ul><li>Just like last year. </li></ul>
  7. 7. SWP appeal <ul><li>“ Urgent need” for “a political alternative to Labour that can unite the left” </li></ul><ul><li>Limited response </li></ul><ul><li>Not clear why </li></ul>
  8. 8. People’s Charter <ul><li>Supported by most currents on the political left and by trade unions including the RMT </li></ul><ul><li>Has enough content to annoy bureaucrats who reject any real challenge to Brown and New Labour. </li></ul><ul><li>A basis on which Labour’s left MPs could work with some union leaders and activists </li></ul><ul><li>Supporters in large affiliated unions could take up fight to break the stranglehold of the link to Labour </li></ul>
  9. 9. Slow and uncertain <ul><li>Recent history makes unity slow and uncertain. </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to be arrangement allowing organisations to stand under own name </li></ul><ul><li>Will be necessary to vote Labour in some areas if no clear anti-war, pro-working class candidate </li></ul>
  10. 10. Outlook <ul><li>Tory victory or very weak Labour government. </li></ul><ul><li>Support credible pro-working class candidates where standing. </li></ul><ul><li>Support Labour where none available </li></ul>

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