Pulling together the left after 6 May

Submitted by martin on 28 April, 2010 - 5:41 Author: Pete Firmin

Pete Firmin is a Communication Workers Union activist and joint secretary of the Labour Representation Committee. He talked to Solidarity about the conference. "After the Election, Join the Resistance", which has been planned by LRC for 15 May (from 10:30 at ULU, Malet St, London), and is co-sponsored by the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists and other groups.

We're hoping the conference brings together activists from the unions, from within the Labour Party, from other struggles, against the war in Afghanistan and so on.

We'll be in a new political situation after the election - whatever that is - and people will want to discuss the implications of that, whether it's a Lib-Lab coalition, whether it's a Tory government, whatever.

We know that whoever is in government is going to bring in big public sector cuts.

We need to discuss among the left how we are going to respond to that, what campaigns we can build, what we can do in different unions, how we can link up with community campaigns.

Hopefully we can have a day when the left puts forward positive ideas on how we can do those things together.

The left inside the Labour Party is very weak, there's no disputing that, but it certainly exists. After the election, that left is going to be rather crucial - either arguing against a Lib-Lab coalition, and/or getting a left voice heard in a new Labour leadership election.

We'll be saying to other people who are wary of dealing with the Labour Party that those issues are happening, and they will determine much more than life inside the Labour Party. We need those people to get involved.

As for the LRC itself - if there is a leadership election the Labour Party, the LRC will certainly be in the forefront of a left challenge on that. It will be raising the issue within the affiliated unions as well as within the constituency Labour Parties. The LRC is really the only organisation in a position to do that.

In terms of the arguments against a coalition, against cuts, and so on, the LRC crosses the border between the unions and the Labour Party and also has local groups which, with their links with the unions and Trades Councils and so on, can be a useful part of battles against the cuts and of linking them into a national campaign. We will probably see many important local campaigns against the cuts, and there's a job to be done to make the cuts a national issue.

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