20 July, 2013 — Left Unity
[My pre-amble: There are three competing, as it were, ‘platforms’ for the paradoxically-named Left Unity Party. This is the first. I’ve also made the other two available here and here for your perusal and comparison, should you be so inclined. WB]
In the run-up to Left Unity’s founding conference in November, it’s clear that we need the fullest possible debate and discussion about what kind of party it is that we all want to establish. At its meeting in June, Left Unity’s National Coordinating Group decided that platforms of ten or more people can put resolutions to the founding conference on the same basis as local groups.
Following that decision, a number of Left Unity supporters have drafted and agreed a short statement and longer background document to establish a Left Party Platform, clarifying and establishing a common position arguing for a broadly-based new party of the left as we move towards the founding conference.
The Platform and its documents are a contribution to Left Unity’s ongoing discussion about the nature of a new party and we welcome comments on our perspectives over the coming months. The Platform welcomes new supporters who share our vision of a broadly-based new left party – if you are interested please contact us at: Leftpartyplatform@gmail.com
We look forward to the contributions and views that all local groups, other platforms and supporters of Left Unity will put forward before joining together to found the new party on a democratic basis in November.
The following is a statement proposed by the Left Party platform in conjunction with the supporting document ‘Towards a New Left Party’.
Left Party Platform statement
Since the near-collapse of the global financial system in 2008, capitalism has plunged deeper and deeper into crisis. Governments, led by the Troika of European institutions, have pursued austerity policies, ostensibly to reduce government deficits. In reality these policies have been designed to destroy the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades, reducing wages and obliterating welfare states. The economic crisis has increasingly become a social and political crisis as people face poverty, hunger and even death, as a result of the catastrophic and government-imposed failure of health systems and social services. The environmental crisis driven particularly by climate change caused by the unending search for profit is wreaking devastation too, particularly in the Global South
People are fighting back – in the streets and squares, workplaces, social and political institutions – striking, occupying and refusing to collaborate with state brutality and repression. In Greece, France, Germany and elsewhere, new political parties have developed, drawing together a range of left forces, posing political, social and economic alternatives. They are anti-capitalist parties that stand against neo-liberalism and the destruction of welfare states – whether at the hands of the right or of social democracy – and fight for alternative social, economic and political policies. Here in Britain we face the savage onslaught of the coalition government, destroying our hard-won gains, but the Labour Party backs the cuts, accepts the coalition’s narrative of attack on the most oppressed in society, and refuses to pose an economic alternative or represent the interests and needs of ordinary people.
As yet we have no viable political alternative to the left of Labour, yet we urgently need a new political party which rejects austerity and war, which will defend and restore the gains of the past, fighting to take back into public ownership those industries and utilities privatised over the last three decades, but will also move forward with a vision of a transformed society: a party which advocates and fights for the democratisation of our society, economy, state and political institutions, transforming these arenas in the interests of the majority.
Many agree that we need a new left party which will present an alternative set of values of equality and justice: socialist, feminist, environmentalist and against all forms of discrimination. Its politics and policies will stand against capitalism, imperialism, war, racism and fascism. Its immediate tasks will be to oppose austerity and the scapegoating which accompanies it, defend the welfare state and those worst affected by the onslaught, fight to restore workers’ rights and advance alternative social and economic policies, redistributing wealth to the working class.
Its political practice will be democratic, diverse and inclusive, organising amongst working class communities with no interests apart from theirs, committed to open dialogue and new ways of working; to the mutual respect and tolerance of differences of analysis; to the rejection of the corruption of conventional political structures and their reproduction of the gender domination of capitalist society. It will recognise that economic transformation does not automatically bring an end to discrimination and injustice and that these sites of struggle must be developed and won, openly and together.
It will recognise that international solidarity is fundamental to the success of any resistance and the achievement of any political progress; that the problems we face in Britain are systemic problems that cannot be resolved in Britain alone and which require an international response and an international alternative. A new left party will work with other left organisations and movements in Europe and internationally such as Syriza and Front de Gauche, to build coordination, strategic links and common actions to advance that struggle. The rise of the far right across Europe is a stark warning of what may come to pass if the left in Europe fails to be effective and combat the barbarism of capitalism and fascism.
This Left Party Platform seeks support to found and build a new left party on this basis.
Richard Abendorff, Gilbert Achcar, Anam Ahmed, Len Arthur, Aidan Barlow, Andrew Bebbington, Jay Blackwood, Pamela Bowhill, Jack Brindelli, Andrew Burgin, Katie Buse, Duncan Chapel, Andrew Collingwood, John Connolly, Lesley Connors, Terry Conway, Gioia Coppola, Merry Cross, Kieran Crowe, Anne Marie Cryer-Whitehead, Mark Cryer-Whitehead, Anya-Nicola Darr, John Dickie, Felicity Dowling, Pippa Dowswell, Sheila Dunsby, Flo Jo Durrant, Jon Duveen, Maria Esperanza Sanchez, Sam Feeney, Mark Findlay, Eleanor Firman, Nick Foster, Ed Fredenburgh, Suzanne Gannon, Suzy Gillett, Nik Gorecki, Liz Gray, Winmarie Greenland, Lynn Gregory, Joe Hallet, Guy Harper, Louise Harrison, Phil Hearse, Mally Henry, Joy Holland, Laney Holland, Jade Hope, Kate Hudson, Chris Hurley, Stuart Inman, Nick Jones, Philip Kane, Dave Kellaway, Jane Kelly, Jim Kelly, Rosalie Kelly, Elizabeth Keen, Joe Kisolo-Ssonko, David Lane, Martin Leonard, Fred Leplat, John Lister, Joe Lo, Nick Long, Alison Lord, Kathy Lowe, Mike Marqusee, Rob Marsden, Sharon McCourt, Chris McKenzie, Stephen Miller, Sheila Mosley, Piers Mostyn, Ben Neal, Oliver New, Valerie O’Riordan, Ian Parker, Steven Parry, Susan Pashkoff, Peter Pinkney, Stewart Pluck, Roland Rance, Marc Renwick, Andy Richards, Adam Roden, Ed Rooksby, Jenny Ross, Penny Schenk, Gemma Schneider, Barbara Segal, Richard Seymour, Salman Shaheen, Steven Shakespeare, Jenny Slaughter, Andy Smith, Ciara Squires, Paul Stygal, Sean Thompson, Alan Thornett, Doug Thorpe, Bianca Todd, Jasmin Todd, Jean Todd, Peter Todd, Simone Todd, Mike Tucker, Eve Turner, Chris Vincent, Tom Walker, Tony Walker, Stuart Watkins, Godfrey Webster, Roger Welch, Jake Whitby, Bob Whitehead, Sam Williams, Bob Williams-Findlay, Richard Willmsen, Julian Wilson, Roland Wood, Lynn Wright.