Left Unity: New Website Launched

Europe is plunging deeper and deeper into crisis. Its governments are continuing with their failed austerity policies which are destroying the social and economic gains working people have made over many decades.

The economic crisis has increasingly become a social and political crisis as people face poverty, hunger and even death, as a result of the catastrophic and government-imposed failure of health systems and social services.

However the people of Europe are fighting back. On November 14th millions took to the streets to oppose these policies and throughout southern Europe there were general strikes. The task of the hour is to give adequate political expression to this new movement. In Greece, France, Germany and elsewhere, new political formations have emerged, drawing together a range of left forces, challenging the capitulation of social democracy to neo-liberalism. Here in Britain, a successful response to the rightwards move of Labour has not yet taken place, yet we have equal need of a new political formation which rejects austerity and war, advocates a greater democratisation of our society and institutions, and poses a new way of organising everyday life.

The need for cooperation amongst those forces which seek to bring change to our society is vital, to enable us to overcome the obstacles of the first-past-the-post electoral system. The need for unity is paramount as attacks on the living and working conditions of ordinary people intensify, and the very fabric of our welfare state is being destroyed. We need to open a dialogue of the left, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that we do not remain outside of these developments.

A coalition for change is necessary. We call on all those willing to tread this path to support this Appeal, so that this essential discussion can begin.

The task is urgent and the time short.

A group of comrades from the Communist, Trotskyist, Anarchist and Green movements and some who come from none of these have set up a new website, Left Unity. The site hopes to be a contribution to the urgent debates and action that need to happen, and is run by people who just want to see a discussion for a new left. The launch features articles by Jim Jepps, Alan Gibbons and others on the type of left we need. Everyone is welcome to contribute. If you’ve got something to say, please email the team.

25 comments on “Left Unity: New Website Launched

  1. Manzil on said:

    Probably not the most important thing, but damn is that site’s font hard on the eyes.

    Outside of that, good initiative.

  2. james? on said:

    its not at all clear to me what the purpose of this new website is. i will probably check ocasionally as i like one of the writers involved in it. i am burnt out with the idea of left unity though there aint no unity on the right and they run almost everything. so why do we need it? important to remember that we are not at war with each other though and should be aware of each others views and dont undermine each other. also if you try and achieve anything in our society you are instantly morally compromised. if we were all pure things would be alot worse than they are. if none of us were pure then things would never move on

  3. james?,

    I suspect we need left unity, “james?”, because the individual parties and organisations aren’t making enough of an impact electorally or within the communities to make the attainment of a progressive government, or even a European-style anti austerity resistance, viable. I hope this initiative bears some fruit.

  4. I have contacted Andrew Burgin who is involved and he tells me there is going to be an open forum and comments. It is the first week of this initiative.

  5. Karl Stewart on said:

    But why not set up a “Left Unity” faction within “Socialist Unity” instead of splitting off and forming a new website?

  6. Karl Stewart: But why not set up a “Left Unity” faction within “Socialist Unity” instead of splitting off and forming a new website?

    I suspect:

    i) the people behind this initiative don’t see their aim as similar to SU
    ii) I agree with them

  7. I highly recommend this new site. I have been trying for eight years single handed to run a similar blog “United Left” calling for Left Unity so its great to see a another site that will assist in this urgent task. Alan Gibbons article was excellent and one i agree with 100% – its also repoeted on my United Left blog.

  8. Andrew Burgin on said:

    The new site has been put together by a number of groups and individuals including myself ,Kate Hudson, Guy Harper, James Youd, Babs Segal and several others – the groups involved can speak for themselves. We are initiating a discussion about the future of the left – at this point nothing more. We are looking for reports and debate pieces, historical articles and contributions from across Europe. There are several people from Europe and the USA involved to. It is a modest project but just to annoy Andy further – the task is urgent and the time short [ at least my time is short]

  9. This seems to me to be a really worthwhile initiative and I wish it well. I’m sorry that Andy and Michael R seem so ready to carp before the site has really got going.

  10. ‘carp’ – you mean asking to know who is calling for unity? That’s ‘carping’? I’m sorry that you’re sorry that you think me asking for openness is carping. Might you just think for a moment that being around the left for 67 years might make a person just that little bit cautious?

  11. Karl Stewart on said:

    Sean Thompson: This seems to me to be a really worthwhile initiative and I wish it well. I’m sorry that Andy and Michael R seem so ready to carp before the site has really got going.

    I’m with the carpists too!

  12. Michael Rosen: Might you just think for a moment that being around the left for 67 years might make a person just that little bit cautious?

    Probably excessively, counter-productively so.

    Bloody hell people, it’s just a website.

  13. Personally I hope the site goes well and makes a contribution – that’s all it needs to do to be worth doing in my view.

    It’s clear that the theme of the site is that Syriza’s model is a good one and the people behind the site are taking inspiration from that. Obviously that’s a different objective to this site – no harm in honest differences I’d have thought.

  14. I wish the new formation well but won’t be holding my breath. We have seen these types of initiatives numerous times before and some of the cliches are painful – Andy is absolutely spot on in #5.

    The problem with what passes for “discussion” on the Left is that much of it consists of repeated statements of entrenched positions. There is little scope for any of the participants changing their minds (or even being able to, given party loyalties and discipline). Allied to this is the ability of many simultaneously to claim a need for discussion, while believing the answers to be axiomatic.

    If we accept the Left is in sustained crisis and that discussion is needed to map out a way forward, it is completely pointless to have decided the outcome of such discussion in advance: “obviously we need left unity, we all agree the task is…” etc etc

    One small contribution to real discussion is being made by the Communist Corresponding Society, which was founded just over four years ago. During that time, the Oxford branch has been putting on public meetings which allow people to come along and engage in a genuine exchange of views without feeling there is a pre-existing party line the meeting has been organized to promote. Our meetings are regularly attended by members of (a surprising number of) mutually hostile Left groups but we’ve created an environment where they manage to come and discuss political questions in a very fraternal and comradely spirit. I won’t mention examples to avoid embarrassing them, but I do think that’s a significant achievement.

    Last Thursday, Oxford C.C.S. put on its 99th public meeting – a quite extraordinary feat for any local branch of any Left organization, let alone one so small.

    Which means tomorrow we will be putting on our hundredth public meeting, a minor milestone. If anybody wants to come along and mark the occasion, there will be a speaker from Birmingham C.C.S., and the title is “Socialist science and scientific socialism”. It’s from 7.30pm to 9.00pm in the Mitre (corner of High St and Turl St) in the centre of Oxford.

    Just for the record:

    The 99th meeting was “The doublespeak of bourgeois political economy”.

    The 101st will be “No saviour from on high: the search for extraterrestrial intelligence”.