Last Thursday’s well attended meeting of the Left Unity project in London, at which a number of Socialist Resistance comrades were present, reflected the huge development of the project reports Alan Thornett. Ken Loach made his appeal for a new left party around the launch of his new filmThe Spirit of 45’. In fact the pace this is moving at is remarkable. Over 6,000 people have now signed up and 50 local groups have been established most of them in the course of a few days. People are signing up and groups being formed faster than they can be administered. There are tens of thousands of hits on the website.
It is clear that as Labour moves to the right and panders to anti-immigrant racism and the coalition pushes through the cuts there is a groundswell of people looking for an alternative in the form of a new party which is anti-austerity, broad, pluralist, left of Labour and not dominated undemocratically by a far-left organisation.
The meeting, which was trying to catch up with all this, was very positive and more united in its approach to the project of a new party than the previous meetings of Left Unity, which had been more diverse. The Workers International had pulled out because they are now opposed to standing against Labour at the next meeting and Red Pepper were not present (possibly because they don’t support the idea of a new party). On the other hand there were a lot of new people including three from the new ex-SWP International Socialist Network, who were extremely positive.
There was a common view that moves towards the establishment of a new party (and the majority clearly want it to be a party) would now need to take place quite quickly in order to maintain the momentum, although views differed as to whether it should be July or September or even later in the year. Another proposal was for a possible two-stage process with the first taking place as a national meeting (rather than a conference) in July.
There was also a common view that a new party will have to be based on individual membership, rather than a federal structure, which we fully support. A number of people in the discussion (apart from ourselves) stressed that a new party has to embrace ecological and feminist issues as well taking the lead in fighting austerity.
Despite reservations expressed as to the ability of the left to squander such opportunities it is clear that short of unforeseen developments there will be a new broad party emerging out of this initiative before the end of the year.
An interim organising committee was set up to administer these development support local groups and to make proposals in relation to a national meeting or a launch conference. It will do this in consultation with the local groups and will hold joint meetings with reps from the local groups.
see the local groups that are mushrooming here and sign up to get involved in your area