Left unity

Unity: from wishing to do

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

Socialist Worker on 14 October called for unity on the left. The two articles in SW, one an editorial and one a comment by Alex Callinicos, suggested that the call was really aimed at Scotland.

The SWP hopes to reknit the fragments of the old Scottish Socialist Party split apart by Tommy Sheridan (with the SWP's support!) in the row over his libel case.

But how to move from a wish to appear as people who want unity, to actual progress?

Left-of-Labour candidates now rarely present themselves as boldly socialist, or much more than “anti-cuts”, and yet they get much poorer votes than in 2001-3.

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Open letter for revolutionary regroupment, September 1974

Open letter for revolutionary socialist regroupment produced in September 1974 by Workers' Fight, a forerunner of the AWL.

Open letter for revolutionary socialist regroupment produced in September 1974 by Workers' Fight, a forerunner of the AWL.

Click here to download pdf.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Left candidates in May elections

Rhodri Evans (Solidarity 323) is wrong to simply say: “That socialists will have to vote Labour and step up the fight in the unions”. That might have been sufficient in 1991 but it hardly deals with the complexities of the situation we now face.

Debating support for left-of-Labour candidates in the local elections.

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For a Trotskyist regroupment (1967)

This appeal for revolutionary socialist regroupment, based on unity in action and debate on differences, was one of the first public political statements of our tendency, in 1967.

This appeal for revolutionary socialist regroupment, based on unity in action and debate on differences, was one of the first public political statements of our tendency, in 1967.The RSL referred to would come to be better known as Militant, now the Socialist Party and Socialist Appeal. The SLL would become the Workers Revolutionary Party. IS would become the Socialist Workers Party.

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The Origins and Rise of the SWP

How did the Trotskyist left in Britain come to be scattered and divided into hostile and competing groups? At the root the divisions are a product of the repeated defeats and the continuing marginalisation of revolutionary socialism.

Abridged introduction to a pamphlet, "A tragedy of the left", published in December 1991 to mark the 20th anniversary of the separation of what is now called AWL and the SWP, and now out of print.

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Left Unity: the tortoise and the hare

An interview with Nick Wrack about the Left Unity project.

The Left Unity group, launched in late 2012 by Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson after they quit Respect, and given a boost in early 2013 by support from film-maker Ken Loach, plans a conference on 30 November to constitute itself as an organisation and adopt a political platform.

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Left Unity and the People's Assembly meet

Left Unity held its first National Coordinating Group meeting in Doncaster on Saturday 15 June. The meeting was attended by representatives from 36 local groups, as well as the 10 members who were directly elected at the 11 May national meeting.

Left Unity and the People's Assembly hold their first national meetings.

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Left unity: reach out, don't just huddle

You are absolutely right to conclude that a whittled-down consensus will not inspire people to political activity (“How to make Left Unity”, Solidarity 284). If any of the groups on the left had an inspiring and coherent strategy they would be doing very much better and we would not be despairing at the state of the left.

The left as a whole is weak and disorientated or in some cases stubbornly confident of success in the far-off future.

How can we get left unity?

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The left must debate its “big” differences

Many of the people who left the SWP recently, and some others who quit SWP longer ago, have formed an “International Socialist Network”.

ISN said it was interested in left unity and broad discussion on the left, and many local ISNers are genuinely open-minded, so AWL wrote to ISN proposing discussions.

ISN secretary Tim Nelson wrote back on 30 April:

Many of the people who left the SWP recently say they are interested in left unity and broad discussion on the left and many are genuinely open-minded so we proposed discussions.

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