Eric Chester (RCN) takes a critical look at the proposed Left Unity Party.
The Crisis of Capitalism has led to a polarisation of political viewpoints, as a widening segment of the working class feels the devastating impact of the downturn in decreasing wages and benefits, and the rapid deterioration of social services. The Labour party has failed to meaningfully respond to the crisis, having become yet another electoral machine, tacking and manoeuvering with no goal beyond taking power, and distributing patronage. As the disillusionment with the Labour Party deepens, a substantial number of working people are ready for an alternative to mainstream politics.
The right wing has already gained support, as can be seen in terms of a sharp rise in the UKIP vote with its populist appeal to nationalism and xenophobia. In this context it is understandable that there has been a push toward left unity. The most salient case in point, the creation of Left Unity, sparked by Ken Loach’s nostalgic documentary chronicling the welfare state of the late 1940′s. Left Unity does not claim to be a Socialist organisation. Its claim is to reform capitalism by reviving the welfare state, a goal to be attained by pressuring the establishment. In many respects, left Unity is a throw back to the early days of the Labour Party. In the 1890′s, the Independent Labour Party made the conscious decision to submerge their perspective of a gradual road to socialism into a broader party, promoting Social reform, one that would not be socialist, but would have links to the trade unions.