One of the two far-left events taking place in London today is the Left Unity founding Conference. From the video link provided it appears that around 400 comrades turned up to the event led by Liz Davies a former member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee.
Also in attendance were most of the Trotskyist sects you can think of, other than those who think they can still make it alone (that's the Socialist Party and the SWP). Counterfire was notably absent (from what I could see) but most of them (and they have only 90 or so members) would have been supporting their gurus Lyndsey German and John Rees at the "rival" Stop the War Campaign" rally being held elsewhere.
This latest attempt at uniting the various conflicting currents on the far left (along with more than a few individuals who had previously remained independent) was marred from the start by the attempt of each of the Trot sects to establish "Platforms" (which in plain English means Factions) caused a considerable amount of per-conference jitters. This plainly affected the debate as seen by Richard from Southwark's sectarian attempt to reject the final constitution after losing the argument over mixed versus "democratic" control over the economy.
By "democratic" he means the "centralisation of the means of production" Leninist style. Richard ended his final intervention by calling for "a struggle against the anti-socialist constitution" of the new organisation. So much for "left unity".
From the bits of their bash that I managed to watch, the whole affair was quite amateurish and the decision of one delegate to sing part of her contribution was frankly embarrassing.
Despite persuading the Guardian to publicise this event with an number of ropey sponsors, (I hope Zita Holbourne refrained from treating delegates to her "Vogon" style poetry that she oft claims to perform at PCS Conference) the LU Conference seems no different to the Socialist Alliance that grew and fell apart (under the weight of factional intrigue led by the SWP and SP).
Such factionalism was clearly evident in the run up to today's event. The Communist Party of Great Britain published the following advice to attendees:
Left Unity: How to vote at conference (CPGB Provisional Central Committee recommendations)
So much for an open mind, let alone open debate, eh comrades. I'm sure the other various sects attending had their own plans. Jack Conrad (the CPGB "guru") made it quite clear to the assembled ranks of lefties that the CPGB would organise, plan in private and argue about all and everything as they saw fit regardless of how they might feel about such matters and then complained about the clause in the new constitution that allowed for the proscribing of groups from Left Unity.
That told 'em Jack! I'm sure everyone was so keen on attending your meeting on Bordiga after your little outburst. Not.
And for those interested in more arcane matters, they voted to call themselves Left Unity. There's a surprise. Doubt it will last long or have any kind of impact, but it will be something else for inveterate "Trot-spotters" to watch for the moment.
Wait for all the reports in the left press and on-line. Should be interesting how this is all spun. John Mc Dermott at the Financial Times writes a warning (shades of Krondstat) here (£)
Meanwhile something completely different......