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SA NEC discusses its attitude to Left Unity and developments within TUSC

REPORT FROM SA NEC SUN JUNE 9th

After hearing reports about finance, the SA web site, and from the Alliance for Green Socialism, the meeting moved on to the main discussion: TUSC ISN, TUSC National Steering Committee, and the emergence of Left Unity – and how the SA should relate to these developments.

Pete McLaren reported that the Steering Committee had fully discussed the recent Council elections where

  • 120 TUSC candidates had stood in 20 Councils – 5% of the seats available, an increase on 2012. TUSC averaged 2.5% this year
  • In Rugby, TUSC averaged 2.9%, with a number of candidates in the ‘top 25’of TUSC results nationally. County Council elections, being in largely rural areas, were not traditionally good terrain for socialists
  • UKIP had done well locally and nationally, being seen as a party of protest which was of concern to us

He went on to outline the lengthy discussions the TUSC SC had held about Left Unity, welcoming it and asking for talks about collaboration. There here had also been discussions about the 2014 Euro Elections ahead of the meeting called by the RMT for June 10 with all five TUSC partners, the CPB and AGS. There had been a general feeling that, if we stand, it must be on a socialist basis an in opposition to UKIP. Capitalism must be blamed for the crisis, not immigrants. It appeared the majority view was for withdrawal from the capitalist EU on a socialist basis. It was hoped TUSC would be the umbrella for both Euro and Council elections in 2014. Organisationally, he had been elected TUSC’s Local Group Development Officer

He described how Left Unity had developed since March, and reported from its first national meeting where he felt the positives had outweighed the negatives – there was a unanimous desire for a new, open and democratic left party, to be launched in November, but there was also a lot of bourgeois ‘wooly’ thinking, and a significant minority were hostile to left groups.

He outlined how the ISN had decided to engage fully with Left Unity (LU) whilst remaining an active component of TUSC, and had agreed to help form a socialist platform within LU. He suggested the SA retained a structure to enable it to intervene in the ISN and LU whilst keeping the registered SA electoral title and web site.

The following were amongst points made during a lengthy discussion:

  • The left has mostly, historically, been opposed to the EU
  • LU has registered ‘Left Party’, perhaps initially to stand in the Euro elections
  • Local LU groups varied in size, many meetings being small, but they did include new faces
  • Not that many of the 8,000 who had signed up to LU had attended local LU meetings
  • It was not clear whether LU would adopt socialist or social democratic policies
  • LU is already committed to OMOV, and now needs to find a way of involving left groups
  • It would be premature to suggest merging the SA into the ISN and/or LU, but we could agree to do so further down the line, becoming a faction within both
  • Standing in the EU elections has the danger of pandering to the UKIP vote
  • Many workers still support the Labour view that they can do little to oppose the cuts – we must counter that view
  • The SA needs to retain its electoral title and web site – one annual meeting could achieve that
  • TUSC may claim to be developing branches, but in reality it is the SP with another hat
  • LU needs to consider affiliations from trade union branches, community and tenants groups

Following the discussion, it was agreed to recommend to the 2013 AGM that, for the next period whilst we assess developments, the SA meets annually with an AGM and NEC meeting consecutively on the same day as a ‘holding operation’, with email discussion in-between. Pete McLaren to draft the appropriate constitutional amendment. The 2013 AGM was agreed for Sunday December 15th, after the LU November Conference to asses its decisions alongside TUSC developments, 3pm at the Lucas Arms

Pete McLaren 09/06/13

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