REPORT FROM LEFT UNITY EXTENDED EC/NC JUNE 10th 2017

There were 18 members present.

DISCUSSION ON THE GENERAL ELECTION (GE)

My train was cancelled and I missed the first hour of the discussion on the General Election. As I arrived, the discussion was in full flow. Andrew Burgin had introduced the discussion. It soon became clear that there had been debate about whether Left Unity should withdraw its registration with the Electoral Commission, and whether or not Left Unity should retain its independent existence given the relative success of the Labour Party in the general election standing on a socialist manifesto. Comments made in the discussion included:

§ We should demand that the Government and Theresa May resign

§ The support for the Union of GB in Scotland helped the Tories there

§ It is important to engage with young people: their support for Corbyn was highly significant

§ LU did little as LU during the GE campaign, and now needs to do something distinctive to show it still has an independent existence

§ LU should stand up to 10 candidates in a General Election which is likely within 12 months to demonstrate its independent existence

§ Any Tory alliance with the DUP will throw up issues on a range of social policies including LGBTIQ rights and abortion

§ We should build relations with Sein Fein

§ We need to avoid any links with sectarian organisations

§ A hard Brexit may now be more difficult as the DUP want open borders with the south

§ The General election was a victory for remainers

§ We still need a party to the left of Labour: Labour will always be reformist, despite a temporary move towards socialism. It is structurally incapable of bringing about socialism

§ We need to campaign against benefit cuts: this was not a Labour Manifesto commitment

§ Labour Councils and councillors are busy implementing cuts: we must oppose that

§ LU is a good example of how to organise democratically. LU is non-sectarian

§ The Labour manifesto was a breath of fresh air, the most radical since 1945

§ LU and TUSC members have been welcomed by the Labour party to help in the General Election

§ There is no way LU should plan to stand in elections at present, including any General Election

§ LU should retain an independent existence and not de-register

§ LU should enter discussions with other left groups about the possibility of forming independent socialist factions within the Labour party, maybe through affiliation

§ LU could do what Momentum has failed to do inside the Labour party

§ LU is struggling: we should do less and do it better

§ The ruling class is in crisis, and there is massive enthusiasm for Corbyn and the movement around him

§ LU needs to find a path, working with other left groups, to the thousands who feel disenfranchised, especially youth

§ LU can de-register with the Electoral Commission without disbanding

Following the lengthy and positive discussion, which spanned the lunch break, it was agreed that the varying positions being suggested should be put to Conference by the resolutions deadline of June 14

EUROPE

In an interesting discussion about the role of Left Unity within the European left, the following were amongst points made:

§ LU must retain its internationalist perspective, and this can be pursued within the European left

§ LU needs to relate to the discussion within the European left about social democracy

§ We need to intervene in Europe around issues including women’s and gay rights and Islamophobia

§ We must reach out to the thousands of young people who are angry about Toryism and feel very European – LU could be a transmission belt

§ We should meet with the editors of Transform and buy copies – www.prruk.org

It was agreed to attend the Marseilles Forum and present our international work at conference

LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE JUNE 24/25, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square

Kate Hudson outlined the arrangements so far. It was hoped motions could be composited where appropriate. It was agreed to continue with the Access Fund to assist those needing support, and to operate a pooled fare system

DISPUTES COMMITTEE

Felicity Dowling reported that only two members had been elected to this body, one of whom was ill. Those on it could not be NC members. It was agreed to hold fresh elections to the Committee immediately after Conference. In its absence, it was agreed that any urgent actions would be taken by the EC in accordance with point 13a of the constitution. The EC agreed to suspend, for three months, Stockport members John Pearson and Ashley Walker, LU candidate and agent, for using the Left Unity logo despite standing under a different party label in a recent council by-election contrary to EC decision not to endorse a candidate. It separately agreed to suspend the membership of a Birmingham member for three months pending consideration of accusations of bullying and bringing the party into disrepute. It was further agreed that both decisions be put to conference for ratification.

FUTURE EC and NC MEETINGS

The following were agreed:

LU NC – July 15th (subsequently postponed); September 16th

LU extended EC/NC – August 12th

Pete McLaren 27/06/17

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