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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 February 2009

Successful launch for United Left

Over 250 Unite members attended the launch rally of 'United Left'. In numbers, therefore, this was a successful start. It showed the enthusiasm to build the left amongst large sections of Unite and to discuss socialist policies.

Kevin Parslow

Joint general secretary Tony Woodley, who opened the rally, called on the Labour government to use the 'n-word' - nationalisation - although when he explained he was in negotiations regarding the threatened closure of a car plant, he just urged the government "to do the right thing" - whatever that was.

John McDonnell, a left Labour MP also addressed the rally and declared that he wasn't a Keynesian but a Marxist, and put a radical programme forward to deal with the crisis. But in reality, there is no chance of New Labour carrying this out.

Rob Williams, convenor at Linamar Swansea and a Socialist Party member, pointed out in a rousing contribution that this was a programme for a new party not New Labour! Unfortunately, John ducked this point saying the issue of a party was not the main question at the moment.

Several members also raised the dangers of a rise in racism and the BNP in the current economic crisis, particularly following their by-election victory in Swanley. Paul Astbury, one of the Liverpool 47 disqualified councillors and a building worker, urged a mass mobilisation for a counter-demonstration to the BNP in Liverpool as a practical step to fight the racists. (Subsequently the march was called off.)

Despite the left leaders' attempts to build consensus, there will be political differences in the new organisation. Supporters of Derek Simpson were in the audience, as were Jerry Hicks, who is standing against Simpson for general secretary, and many of his supporters.

This reflects the difference within the left between those who favour a largely electoral machine resting on the bureaucracy and those who want a fighting left organisation. That will be the key debate in United Left in the months to come.

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In The Socialist 25 February 2009:


No Job Cuts

Organise to defend jobs

Car industry in crisis: Death of jobs by a thousand cuts

Jobs protest continues

Workers march for jobs in Cardiff

Fight to save Royal Mail


Campaign for a New Workers Party

What do union members get from Labour link?


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: workers say 'We won't pay for your crisis'

General strike movement grips island of Guadeloupe

Kashmir: Health workers take strike action


Marxist analysis: history

Iran 1979: A revolution that was taken from the working class


Sport

ECB suffers Stanford hangover


Socialist Party campaigns

Defend Yahya Al Faifi campaign

BNP bigots retreat under pressure

Greenwich: "Hands off my school"

Look at the gravy train!

Devon residents against incinerators


Socialist Party workplace news

Leeds journalists strike against job cuts

Successful launch for United Left

Manchester Unison: Good vote for left

Protest at the Unison witch-hunt - date change


 

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