70 people attended the meeting on the way forward for the revolutionary left we held jointly with two other socialist groups, Red Flag and Mutiny, on 12 July. It was an interesting and useful, though very preliminary, discussion. We hope there will be more.
For Workers’ Liberty, Ruth Cashman argued for socialists who share important elements of a common perspective – on a class-struggle response to the crisis, on transforming and democratising the labour movement, on Brexit, internationalism and free movement – to pursue more united organising and campaigning and more organised discussion and debate, including on differences.
For Mutiny, Neil Faulkner vividly described the scale of the multiple crises that are looming and the need to unite and regear the socialist left to intervene in them. He argued that it is important not to concentrate on programmatic differences between the existing groups or to see building those groups as the fundamental solution to the difficulties we face.
For Red Flag, Kady Tait argued for the importance of political programme and getting clarity on it. He argued that some of the differences between groups are as important as the areas of agreement. In particular he emphasised the differences between Workers’ Liberty and Red Flag on national questions, particularly Israel-Palestine, and the nature of imperialism – on which there was then some back-and-forth in the meeting. Kady disagreed with Neil’s idea that there is some sort of shortcut around developing political programme and building the existing groups.
There was generic agreement on different revolutionary groups working together in the class struggle, but some differences and debate on what that means. In general, Neil and other Mutiny comrades seemed to argue that this is already happening and that the important thing is, somehow, to move beyond it to higher-level socialist organising. Kady argued for greater united activity, but some of this seemed to be based on quite abstract proposals with little relationship to where we are now or existing struggles.
Ruth and other Workers’ Liberty comrades argued that there is much more we can do to campaign together in existing campaigns and struggles – like the Labour Campaign for Free Movement – which will boost those struggles and create better spaces and platforms for discussing new initiatives.
We made the case for further discussions more generally, both more meetings and discussions in writing. Red Flag comrades in particular seemed somewhat ambivalent on whether this was a good idea, on the basis that the differences make a united organisation impossible. But whether or not a single organisation embracing these three groups is possible at the moment, discussion about both class-struggle activity and about wider ideas and program can still be productive and help take the socialist left forward.
Mutiny, on the other hand, seem somewhat reticent about programmatic discussion as such. We would like to know more from them about what they think it would be valuable to discuss.
• On Monday 20 July at 1.30pm we will release the recorded intro and concluding speeches from “Towards a new revolutionary left?” on YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram and Facebook