REPORT FROM LEFT UNITY NATIONAL COUNCIL DECEMBER 10th 2016

There were 18 members present.

GUEST SPEAKER

Farooq Tariq, from the Awami Workers Party, Pakistan addressed delegates. He outlined the state of left politics in the country and the difficulties faced by workers and peasants. Peasants were having land forcibly taken from them, often by Islamic fundamentalists. Political activists were being persecuted by the State, with a number in prison and evidence of some being burnt alive. The right wing was in the ascendancy, especially after Trump’s election.

US ELECTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

Susan Pashkoff led the discussion. She described Trump’s victory as a shift to the far right, supported by fascists including the KKK, but non-fascists also. The working class had largely not voted. There had been a rise in racism and anti-semitism since the vote. Those who opposed womens’ equality had felt empowered by the result – the government team Trump had put together included racists, anti-abortionists, and those opposed to reproductive health care and free birth control.

The following were amongst points made in the excellent discussion that followed:

§ Some on the left saw positives in the anti-establishment vote

· The working class isn’t always correct

· This is a new period with Brexit, racism, rise of the far right across Europe as well as USA. There are low levels of struggle

· MOMENTUM

Joseph Healy introduced the discussion by describing how Momentum was imploding. Owen Jones had written suggesting Labour party entrants like Nick Wrack were “scum”, with accusations of Trotskyists trying to split Momentum and get hold of its membership lists to form a new party. The rivalries had become increasingly vicious on social media. Points made in the discussion included:

§ We should regret the divisions but not take a position

§ This will impact badly on Corbyn

§ The Labour party hasn’t changed, and Momentum is mirroring that

§ We support many of Corbyn’s policies – the left should respect his socialism

§ If Momentum split, would a new left party be more likely?

INTERNATIONAL ‘PLAN B’ CONFERENCE REPORT

Joseph Healy introduced the discussion, explaining that two statements came out of conference, one supporting the Kurdish Workers Party. There would be another conference in Rome in March. The official conference statement circulated by the organisers was produced without consultation. There was almost unanimous opposition to the Eurozone amongst the European left.

During the NC discussion, it was reported that the Euro Left had the support of 33 left Euro parties in 23 different countries. It was suggested we need to argue for a new union in Europe involving all left European parties. There was an objection to the term ‘social dumping’ in the circulated documents.

It was unanimously agreed not to sign the statement, and agreed with one vote against and four abstentions to continue attending Plan B European conferences, and revive the LU International Commission

TRADE UNION REPORT

A paper from TU Officer Oliver New was circulated. It contained a number of proposals, but as there were some concerns about the wording, including whether all LU members should have to be in a trade union, or whether that should simply be encouraged, it was agreed to circulate to all members. A motion from West London on supporting the NHS demo on 4th March 2017 was amended to read: ‘Left Unity will formally support, will help fund publicity material and promote the NHS demonstration to take place on 4th March 2017.’ It was noted that the NHS campaign is a huge issue around the dreadful Sustainability Transformation Plans (STPs), which heralded massive cuts, and it was reported some Labour party members were arguing that STP’s were not that bad. It was agreed to build full support for the demo. SPRING CONFERENCE TIMELINE

Kate Hudson suggested the guidelines should be the maximum policy discussion including on reports from Commissions; that the new leadership and a Standing Orders Committee were in place before conference, and time allocated to look at the LU constitution. The timeline was agreed, with Conference on May 21/22. It was noted that Kate Hudson was now acting Nominating Officer

SCOTLAND REPORT – It was agreed to explore possible areas of cooperation with RISE.

YOUTH CAUCUS – It was agreed to investigate why the Caucus wasn’t really operating

CONCLUSION

Attendance remains low, but once again the standard of political discussion was relatively high, especially on the impact of the US elections and Momentum.

Pete McLaren 04/02/17

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