Friday, 31 May 2013

My hopes for left unity

I have had various comments about my views towards left unity I seem more for it than a lot of my socialist party comrades maybe they have been through things more with the socialist alliance and seen it all before but for me maybe I’m being naive I think this is new and different and lets be honest exciting. The thought we could have a new left party is something is what we have needed for a long-time. I do hope at some point sooner rather than later TUSC and Left unity could have a proper comradely discussion and an agreement to work together be that a merger or a common mutual agreement to not tread on each others toes. After all surely there is more common ground between the two projects than disagreement? The question for me though is what sort of party it will be. We all know us in the socialist party campaign for a new workers party and TUSC is some sort of start towards that. But never mind my misgivings over TUSC I think left unity could fill that vacuum that labour has abandoned in pursuit of the market and big business. There is room for a new party of the left and I’d argue it should be a new workers party. I don’t buy into the idea the time isn’t right, When will it be right? Not just when the bureaucrats have given up on labour surely if that is the time then we will be waiting a very very long time maybe forever. I think a workers party can start to take shape today even if just in an early stage. But as Nick Wrack of The independent Socialist network wrote “Will it be a explicit socialist party, as Ken Loach clearly wants it to be, setting out its aim to create a new form of society based on the democratic, collective ownership of the wealth, natural resources and the means of production – factories, machinery, technology, transport? Or will it be some more vaguely defined ‘party of the left’, a social democratic party that limits its goals to fighting austerity and neo-liberalism but not fundamentally challenging capitalism, as others appear to want? Will it accept the private ownership of the means of production, with production for profit, or will it fight for a society in which we can all participate in drawing up a democratic plan of production for need? Now begins a serious period of debate and discussion, which is exactly what Ken Loach called for. So far, over 8,000 have responded to that call. Such a debate, carried out in a rigorous but comradely manner would show those watching that we are serious about challenging the political status quo. A serious debate on the nature of our society and how we want to change it would draw in many who are fed up with the existing way of things. Pointing the way forward to a society without exploitation, without rich and poor, in other words, without classes, could attract all those who want to fight for something different. What is the party for? Our new party cannot just be against things: against the cuts, against unemployment, against the destruction of the NHS, against tuition fees. It is very difficult to inspire people with a negative. It has to be for something. A new party starts out with inevitable difficulties. It is small, weak, unknown. It has no purchase in the minds of the nation’s citizens. To begin to change that, the new party will have to be bold and confident in its ideas. In the first instance it will have to organise those who want to build a party against the odds; those with a vision that this new party can become a mass party, with the adherence of millions. To inspire the pioneers, the party must have some clear guiding principles. Firstly, it must see its task as assisting the working-class in resisting the unprecedented attacks we see on every front. No other party is prepared to do this. Secondly, it must link the daily battles to the overall struggle for a new society, where there is no longer the need for such never-ending defensive battles. The need for a new party that fights on behalf of and alongside working-class people, who face attacks on every front, is obvious. None of the existing parties represent the interests of the working class. Labour has abandoned any attempt to defend its traditional supporters. The working class is ignored, forgotten or taken for granted. Perhaps the second point – the struggle for a new society – is less obvious. But so long as we have capitalism – the rule of the minority owning class – we will have exploitation and class division; we will have rich and poor, them and us. So long as we have capitalism we will have to defend what we have previously won. We will have to labour for others’ profit. That struggle will go on until we are able to change things fundamentally. So, those of us who have taken up the challenge have our work cut out. Our goal is nothing less than the transformation of the way the world is run. It will not be easy or quick. It will take patience and hard work. But the rewards will be wonderful. There is no short-term quick-fix. Our ideas may be a minority at the moment, but with confidence we can persuade a majority. By being involved in every aspect of working-class life and struggle – at work, in the community, at college, in retirement, in culture and sports – we can show that our party is worthy of support. Linking that daily struggle to the cause of socialism can only strengthen its appeal.” Lastly democracy must be at the heart of everything we do. Fighting for the most extreme form of democracy you may say not allowing things to be decided without the participation of all involved nothing less will do. We cannot create socialism within capitalism but we can start to uphold some important principles and tat is a basic grounding in workers democracy. Democracy as Trotsky once said is the oxygen of socialism without democracy socialism would die.

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