Saturday, 7 March 2015

Problems for the Socialist Party in Unite the Union

The decision of the Socialist Party to stand candidates, particularly in marginal seats where Labour could lose on  the basis of a small number of votes has attracted the ire of a number of leading activists in the United Left inside the Unite union.

The Socialist Party have responded in their usual sectarian manner and try to claim that it's "not just them" and quote the rise of the pro-Putin Syrzia as an example of why they should continue with their project despite the derisory votes the TUSC obtains.

The United Left write:

Open letter to Socialist Party supporters in Unite


This Coalition government has been responsible for attacks on our class that go far beyond anything Thatcher would have dreamed of. Their austerity policies have been targeted on the poor and vulnerable in our society. They have lined the pockets of their Hedge Fund backers and speculators in the City with billions of public money. They have been responsible for attacks on the organised labour movement and have been open in their support for even more draconian legislation if re-elected. New proposed laws which would make effective trade union action virtually illegal - The Tories are not campaigning in this election as the Hug-A-Hoodie, party that can be trusted with the NHS, they are back as The Nasty Party fighting on a class war programme.

While Unite policy is to support Labour, in fact to do all we can to elect a Labour Government, your organisation has decided to stand candidates in the forthcoming general election. Of course that is your right; we are a trade union not a political party, we do not have any disciplinary means to force you to support union policy and rightly so.

Within the UL there is then a clear political difference; on the one hand the majority, working for a Labour victory who are also intent on developing the left within the Party and your goal, of standing candidates in the election as part of becoming the political alternative to Labour. In our view a big claim for some 1,000 -2,000 people, whose track record in elections is derisory.

While we know we can't dissuade you from standing candidates we consider you have crossed a line by standing candidates in marginals. We would ask you to withdraw your candidates from the 100 Labour must win marginals. In our view standing in these seats is a breach in a working class front against the Tories.

You are not a rival to Labour. While Labour are standing to win every seat and form a Government, you know very well you will not win one seat let alone form a government. Rather your goal is to recruit to, and make propaganda for your organisation.

By standing in marginals you are not just 'building the party' you are also taking votes from Labour - those who vote for you, and those you influence not to vote Labour. While the numbers you convince will be small, in such a tight election where every vote counts you must realise it may mean Labour losing seats, in effect allowing seats to be won by the Tories or their partners in crime the Lib Dems.

The logic of your position goes further; it is to argue, where there is no SP candidate, workers should abstain. If of course we have misunderstood your position then why are you fielding candidates in marginals Labour can win?

The only rationale for this cavalier attitude is because you believe there is no difference between Labour and the other capitalist parties. This is blind sectarianism, yet Labour is supported by nearly every union, and unions are the mass organisations of workers, do the unions not count for anything?

We urge you then as fellow UL members to reconsider standing in marginals and so not breaking the front against the Tories.

Tony Woodhouse UL, Chair Unite Executive Council

Mark Lyons UL, Vice Chair Unite Executive Council

Martin Mayer Chair Unite UL

Terry Abbott UL, Chair North-West Regional Committee

Dick Banks UL, Chair North-East Regional Committee

Liam Gallagher UL, Chair Unite Ireland

Mike Jenkins UL, Chair Unite Wales

Jim Kelly UL, Chair London & Eastern Regional Committee

Gordon Lean UL, Chair South-East Regional Committee

Kev Terry UL, Chair South-West Regional Committee

However the Socialist Party have made it clear they are "not for turning" as Mrs Thatcher might have put it.

Members in other unions where the Socialist Party has numbers of activists like the PCS, should use the remaining time in the run up to the general election to dissuade the "comrades" from their sectarianism.

Yeah I know, little hope of that.

With the election wide open and small numbers of votes making a difference as to whether the Tories get back in we cannot afford the intransigence of far-left political activists putting themselves before the interests of trade unionists.

The very survival of trade unions may depend on the outcome of the election.

The Socialist Party and it's TUSC will only help the Tories.

No comments:

Post a Comment