The next open meeting of Tyne and Wear Left Unity is on Thursday. This initiative emerged out of a major meeting of 60 people in Newcastle back in July. The impetus comes partly from a desire for electoral co-operation, but it - I believe correctly - isn't limited to the electoral sphere. It is largely accepted that in the coming months the prospects aren't great for left-wing electoral challenges - though the longer view may be different - and the focus is as much on promoting and connecting various campaigns.
I attended the last meeting, a few weeks ago, and it is still too dependent on the existing Left (and too male-dominated), while short of many younger activists. There needs to be a conscious effort to reach out and involve wider layers, drawn from climate change, anti-war and other campaigns.
I believe the unifying focus needs to be the left's urgent need to shape a political response to the crisis of capitalism. This encompasses a range of campaigning issues and raises them to a higher political level. It may later find an electoral expression, but more immediately it means public meetings and protests being utilised to raise concerete challenges to the priorities of free market capitalism.
The statement agreed previously declares: 'We are a coalition of individuals, activists and groups who oppose the present economic system that causes poverty, war, racism, unemployment, destruction of the environment, and a lot more. We believe in working for a society based on human need not private profit. Together we are stronger, we can coordinate our actions, share our knowledge and experiences, learn from discussion, debate and even disagreement to make our fight against capitalism even stronger, our voice louder and our supporters greater.'
Tyne and Wear Left Unity - Open Meeting
Thursday 3 December, 7pm
St John's Church Hall, Grainger Street, near Central Station, Newcastle
All welcome - tea/coffee available