Left Unity's second conference

Submitted by Matthew on 19 November, 2014 - 11:27 Author: Sacha Ismail

About 300 people attended the conference on 15-16 November of the Left Unity group set up by Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson in late 2012.

Varied left-wing views on a wide range of issues were debated and voted on in a reasonably comradely way.

However, the conference was smaller than the previous one, and there were very few young or even youngish people there. The document and motions discussed were mostly of the “policies for an ideal government” type. Left Unity has almost nothing in terms of trade union or student work.

A sort of left-social democratic viewpoint, as advocated by national secretary Kate Hudson, is in control. There were some votes at the weekend which suggested a desire for a clearer socialist position, but for now there is no well-organised class-struggle socialist pole within the organisation.

The far left was most visible at the conference in pushing a wild variety of positions on international issues. Workers Power desperately tried to get their pro-Russia stance on Ukraine passed, but it fell off the agenda. A quarter of the conference voted for something like the AWL's position on Kurdistan, while a narrow majority supported solidarity with the Kurds but also voted for a flat “anti-intervention” position from the CPGB/Weekly Worker. A pro-ISIS position got only two votes.

On Sunday the conference discussed “safe spaces” and “codes of conduct”, but rejected all the proposals on the table because of reasonable concerns about such policies being used to shut down political debate.

The conference rejected an alliance with the Greens for the 2015 elections, and voted to allow local groups to come to arrangements with TUSC (a grouping run by the Socialist Party and leaders of the RMT rail union).

A motion calling for support for Labour where there are no viable left candidates was not heard for lack of time.