Left unity

A letter to Labour Transformed

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 10:06

Martin Thomas

Click here to get text as pdf

Dear Labour Transformed:

Your mailing on 21 December, after your first gathering on 14 December, told us: “The next meeting will take place on January 25… [it] will not be open to members of pre-existing democratic-centralist revolutionary organisations”.

In plain English: you want to ban AWL members from the discussion.

Leave aside for now exactly how to define “democratic centralist”. Stalinist abuse of that term has complicated debate.

Some of you have defined what you want LT to be as “democratic centralist”. So it’s not the very idea of an all-weathers, all

NEC slate debates

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2018 - 18:58

Will Sefton

The decision of the Labour Representation Committee, Grassroots Black Left and Red Labour to challenge the official Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate for Labour’s National Executive is a tactical mistake.

We agree with these comrades that the method selection for the CLGA slate has been opaque for some time. It is unclear how groups are able to be involved and level of control they then have over the agreed candidates once in office.
The decision of Momentum to unilaterally declare their full slate and push that through the CLGA is also unwelcome. However, with only a short time left to

Unity: real steps, or “rebranding”?

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2014 - 18:43

Colin Foster

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has made another call for left unity (21 November). Sadly, it seems that the SWP aims more to “brand” itself as pro-unity than to get any actual unity.

Exits from the SWP in the last couple of years have taken maybe half its previous active membership and made it seem more of an expert on how to get splits than on unity. However, the new call makes no offer to recent splinters from the SWP — Counterfire, ISG, RS21, ISN — of terms on which they could reunite.

Understandably, the SWP wants to ease the isolation it has faced since its recent splits and scandals.

Unity: from wishing to do

Published on: Wed, 05/11/2014 - 11:07

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?

One SW article says that what's missing is “a strong voice challenging neoliberalism [in] the electoral field”. A strong voice is possible, it says, because

Left candidates in May elections

Published on: Tue, 13/05/2014 - 18:03

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.

Workers’ Liberty has analysed the Blairite restructuring of the Labour Party and increasingly recognised the diminished scope for party members and union members to affect policy. Indeed from 1999-2010 we stood candidates against Labour, sometimes in alliance with other socialists, sometimes alone. In 2010 it was argued that we could reckon upon some

"Why we joined IS" (November 1968)

Published on: Wed, 07/05/2014 - 21:28

Why we joined IS (November 1968)

The statement below was produced by the Workers' Fight group (forerunners of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty) on taking up a unity appeal made in 1968 by the International Socialism group (IS: now called the SWP).

The group merged with IS on the basis of an explicit agreement that its members would have the right to organise within IS as a "tendency" it was called the "Trotskyist Tendency") to argue for their basic views where those differed from IS doctrine.

The Trotskyist Tendency remained within IS until it was expelled in December 1971. That expulsion was

For a Trotskyist regroupment (1967)

Published on: Sun, 04/05/2014 - 19:57

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.

The need for a healthy revolutionary socialist Trotskyist movement in Britain has rarely been more obvious. Not for a decade and a half has there been such an opportunity as now to advance revolutionary politics.

A tragedy of the left: Socialist Worker and its splits

Published on: Tue, 03/09/2013 - 01:11

Click here to download pamphlet as pdf.

Abridged introduction

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.

Small groups - and the biggest of the groups in Britain, the SWP, is still a small group - groups without implantation in the working class, have little power of cohesion when strong political divisions emerge. When members of a small organisation whose raison d'etre is propaganda for certain ideas

Left Unity: the tortoise and the hare

Published on: Wed, 07/08/2013 - 16:13

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.

Burgin and Hudson are promoting a draft called the Left Party Platform. Its supporters include the Socialist Resistance group. Tom Walker, a former Socialist Worker journalist who quit early in 2013 and is now prominent in the SWP-splinter International Socialist Network (ISNers), writes, in support: “The Left Party

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