We said that we would give you a more considered response to the decision of your Politics conference to call for a wider regroupment involving Workers Power, Plan C and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) which would conclude with a regroupment conference in the spring. This effectively replaced the existing three way process between ourselves, yourselves and the Anti Capitalist Initiative (ACI) comrades.
A similar approach has now been adopted by the ACI conference in Manchester last Saturday – with the additional proviso that the spring conference would only be an interim step towards a regroupment conference which would take place at a later date.
After your conference we gave you an initial response to the effect that, whilst we are strongly committed to the regroupment process, your new proposal was more contentious since it proposes to include organisations (Worker Power in particular) which have a very different view as to the kind of new organisation which we should aspire to build. We said that as a result of this we would need to discuss your new proposal in more detail at our National Committee (NC), which was due to be held on December 7th.
We have now had a discussion at our NC. We can confirm that we do indeed want to be fully involved in the new process and will do everything we can to bring it to a successful conclusion. We remain of the view that this is an historic opportunity to build something new on the revolutionary left that we should not miss.
We made a positive balance sheet of the convergence process which has taken place to date. The three organisations have a shared vision of what a new revolutionary party would look like – particularly in terms of pluralism, openness and internal democracy. This was reflected in the joint statement we produced on the regroupment process in the summer.
We have a shared approach to the crisis of the SWP regarding its failure to defend women comrades and the need to re-establish and reassert the principles of feminism and self organisation in nay new organisation we build.
We have also been able to carry out some good joint work during the process of regroupment. We have jointly held a joint public meeting and produced a statement on the Syrian conflict, an issue over which there are many divisions on the left. The development of Exchange has been particularly important testing ground for the collaboration and has gone very well. The current edition on regroupment is very good and the production team worked well.
We have also worked well together in Left Unity and have been able to play at least some part in the success of its founding conference. This is because we share a strategic view as to the important of building such parties, in the present period, both in terms of the space which had opened as Labour has moved to the right and the need for a political dimension to the anti-austerity struggle.
Such an approach to Left Unity, and alongside that to the Peoples Assembly, is particularly important when it comes to what the practice and priorities of a new party would be – since it is not just a matter of getting a new party off the ground but of afterwards making it useful to the wider workers’ movement.
We think that this is all good preparation for moving towards a single organisation, which if we do it right, could be an attractive proposition for many who are currently not members of any of the organisations involved.
By far the best road to success, in our view, would be a regroupment between our three organisations, which have been involved from the start, along with any new groupings which might come out of the SWP after its conference if they share this kind of perspective. In fact if such groupings did emerge involving them in this process would be an important priority.
So what about Workers Power?
To put it bluntly, we think that Workers Power would be a pressure towards exactly the kind of narrow dogmatic organisation that we are trying to avoid, and would therefore hamper the whole process. We are not, however, making any kind of precondition of this. We are ready to commit ourselves fully to the process and we will argue our corner on this as the discussion develops.
Finally we think that time is of the essence. Such opportunities do not happen very often and they do not last for very long. If the process goes on to long or lacks momentum there is a danger of fragmentation. In our view, therefore, we should continue to aim for a regroupment in the spring of 2014 rather than the longer timescale as proposed by the ACI comrades.
SR NC 11.12.13