Saturday, 28 November 2009

Left unity

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


  1. This is useful Alex.

    A little bit of additional background and clarification

    The initial meeting in July which was loosely initiated by individuals from different groups and none involved in the Tyneside Socialist Forum.

    It was a response to a set of circumstances:
    - the No2EU electoral initiative that as the SP have said was launched just weeks before the euro elections and got just about 1% slightly less than scargill's SLP. But had not really been discussed or agreed in the North East, many of us thought we should not allow this level of disunity to happen again
    - the BNP vote especially in NW and Yorkshire, but also in our region dwarfed the left vote and showed how the far right was organising and uniting to win votes in our working class communities, while we stood by in disunity
    - the response from both the local left and nationally saying, we should unite, not just around elections but now, and is this means in elections all the better, these calls came from SWP in an open letter, my own organisation Allliance for Workers Liberty and also from the Socialist Party, who in their letter in response to calls, say they are always willing to support open, genuine, democratic left unity.

    So this coaliton is open, no one group dominates it, is democratic, has a statement as you have shown above.

    I hope all on the left take it seriously and help us build a pole of attraction for new activists and those angered by the attacks our class is facing and will face as the ruling class attempt to make us pay for their failed economic system.

    We have to start somewhere and this is a believe a small but important step

  2. Ed:

    Are the Socialist Party and SWP involved in this grouping?

  3. Mark

    Its a good question.
    To allow for openess and not rush any groups into formally joining a consituted group, we have not asked individuals to formally join.
    I think that by working together and seeing that it can be productive that people will agree to something more formal.
    But the SWP have had members at all the 4 open meetings so far and taken part in the discussion about the name? So it would be odd to have input into the statement and the name and then claim to not be "involved". But they have not sent all there comrades and i believe are just seeing how things go and what happens nationally? SP have sent a member to a couple of meetings, but oddly seem to be less interested - again there comrades have said they are waiting to see what happens nationally.. locally i think we cannot just wait to see what comes from London, though i understand we cannot just pretend this won't be an important factor around elections. But I think we should do more than just unite at election time.
    If you havent been to a meeting before Mark come along, you'd be very welcome.