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Socialists against child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a sickening aspect of our society. Another stone has been unturned in Newcastle this week

Child sexual exploitation is fundamentally an abuse of power. There have been cases across the country in just about every area of society, from every area in the country,

From the Church of England, to posh schools, to celebrities like Saville, from football coaches, to music schools, to the organised abuse in children’s homes by the elite of our society abuse riddles 21st century capitalism

The craziness of the enquiry set up by Teresa May shows how hard it is to break the ranks of protection around these practices. The protection is systemic. The publicity to the working class rapists draws attention away from the abuse at the top of society. Doubtless one day soon, a trial will collapse and there will be calls of how disgraceful it is that these poor men have been found guilty, as we have heard about the elite abusers.

It is hard for survivors to organise but there are many survivors groups who must be listened to.

Girls and boys have been abused. Abuse goes on in families as well as by random people, mainly men, and in organised gangs. It spreads like a virus in society, once a group of people think they can do this with impunity. It is not a form of sexual pleasure. It is abuse.

Sarah Champion MP is wrong to say abuse is mainly  done Pakistani men. Her work on child sexual exploitation has been brave in the past.  Some men from every community are abusers. Organised abuse is an assertion of power and brutality. Whatever race or class the abuser comes from they must be challenged. However, whilst the most powerful escape conviction it is not likely to be tackled thoroughly anywhere. But socialists can make sure we do our best to defend the children, defend women, gay and Tran’s people facing sexual violence

Wherever misogyny rules, neither women nor children, not gays nor Trans are safe. Our media is truly damaging to attempts to keep women and children safe.

What can and should the socialist movement do about it?

Austerity, social stress, poverty and lack of opportunity affect working class children in a truly terrible way in 2017. Affluence, though, has not been a protection against child sexual exploitation. This is not a problem coming from poor ineffective families. Some mums spent months and years following their abused children around trying to rescue them. This is not a Benefit Street problem

We need to oppose austerity, stress, anxiety, neglect and lack of mental health care for all children and demand a life for them, where they can follow their dreams in art, music, sport and education and in their sex lives. The communities in which they live need decent jobs, decent environments, and decent health care including mental health care.

I am writing as an socialist, an activist, a retired teacher and trade unionist.

We need to

  • Make it absolutely clear all children and young people are entitled to manage their own bodies; children are allowed to say “NO”
  • Parents and children are entitled to full sex education including education on what assault and exploitation are. Some brilliant work is done in schools but the pressure on schools makes it harder to allocate money and time to this. Many still see explicit sex education as disgusting and academies and church schools can be amongst the worst. How can you complain if you cannot even name your body parts? Children need to be taught about good relationships and bad ones.
  • Explicit and difficult topics need to be raised from the start with children, in age appropriate ways
  • Sex education needs to be female friendly. Girls need not to think what a boy might want but what the girls themselves want. To teach girls that they are sexual beings too and they always have the right to say NO or Stop, and to enjoy what they do
  • Schools need to be of a size and effectiveness that pupils know their teachers and can trust them. Teachers need to be able to learn about this and have time to talk about it. Rushed after school training is not enough
  • Boys need to be taught that sex is not pornography but a real relationship where they carry responsibilities and where they too can say NO.
  • Everyone needs to understand that children are not available to him or her for sex. Children can play with each other but Adults must keep out.
  • Violence against women and domestic violence need to be tackled. These services must be fully funded. Years ago, we won the case that domestic violence is a trade union issue. Now we need to make child sexual exploitation a trade union issue.
  • Youth work, especially outreach work must be funded; In the Rotherham case report the only people working effectively with the victims were the outreach workers and the schools. These professionals need to need listened to when they speak out. They need very strong unions. Sometimes people working with children are told they need a strong union to defend them against accusations made by the children. The unions should be strong to let the workers defend the children. Austerity though means many such services have closed.
  • Union officers must be trained to support whistle blowers in these cases. Too often members are forced to sign end of employment agreements that silence them Historic agreements must be opened up. The unions must take this issue up.
  • Unions and socialist groups should support groups like White Flowers
  • Prison interventions need to be funded and regularly reviewed.
  • Young people need good social opportunities and facilities. They can have sexual relations if that’s what they choose, if it is consenting
  • Drugs and alcohol can damage our children. Drugs are pushed by networks of criminals whose trading reaches into many parts of society and has powerful support. Alcohol is one of the biggest businesses. Probably the best defence against misuse of such substances is to reduce the levels of anxiety and stress in society.
  • Men who feel entitled to abuse children must know society condemns this. Talk and action should be responded to as we respond to fascism. We have to support people in challenging this.
  • The rights of children must feature in socialist demands, as do the rights of women and other oppressed sections of society. We must fight the pressure from society not to discuss children or to consider them somehow only important to their families. We must talk but also listen to children, to whistle blowers to survivors to campaigners.



Raise our voices in deep anger.



We should raise our voices in deep anger against what has been uncovered in the child abuse reports, abuse involving the some of the very rich and very powerful. We pledge cold determination that children will never be treated as second class, non-people. We hope such cases are purely historic but will remain vigilant.

Children were being hurt, frightened and abused by wealthy men. Wealthy men conspired together to show their power and, by cruel contrast, their victims powerlessness. Using privilege and a sense of entitlement, backed up by political power, by the entertainment elites, by attitudes in the press and the prosecuting authorities, these pampered wealthy men chose to force themselves sexually onto children.

Child abuse is a real and present danger, for all children, even those of the elite. All teachers are trained in child protection issues to defend children. Grooming and trafficking are part of that horror.

The national crime agency report’s key findings showed that children in institutional settings are not only at risk from abusers but from adults who fail to notice abuse or, if they do, fail to report it.

Our children are at risk from child abuse because of the patriarchal structure of this society; but those removed from their families into institutions are at particular risk from the class structure of this society. This is an especial worry when the Tories intend to open the biggest ever children’s prison where even babies could be locked up. Frances Crook describes “A prison within a prison for children with children”

When Austerity is imposed, the needs of children are hit and especially those in state care. The denigration of the needs of children implicit in Austerity is dangerous to children in health, in nutrition, in safety and in happiness and wellbeing.

I believe though, that the examples of abuse where the very rich raped the children of the very poor, in children’s homes, demonstrate something that throws particular light on child abuse, amplifies the horror and shows its roots.

Reflect on those rich elite men. All of the opportunities of the world were open to these wealthy individuals, travel, sport, art, music, education; but they chose instead to organise and entertain themselves by abusing children. “Shall we go to see the Northern Lights? Dive to the bottom of the seas? Hear opera in Rome or Rock at Glastonbury? No let’s go and hurt kids! Working class poor kids! We have that power.”

Children were taken into “care”, already scarred by leaving home and family but then forced into an abuse circus, a circus that extended to Amsterdam brothels.  Our children in state care were taken to Amsterdam to be abused. These children were deprived by the state of their family and community support, stripped of their rights and given as playthings to these corrupt and rotten individuals,  individuals who, fresh from their conquests of captive children, go on to rule the country. Then the children were tossed aside, disbelieved and left to live in the hell that follows abuse.

Our anger stretches also to the minions of these rich abusers who organised to give the children to these creatures. People who were working for and in these homes, who were prepared to trade their human charges for money and the chance to bask in the reflection of power. Those brave staff who raised objections were dealt with in many ways but the most scandalous is the case of Bulic Forsythe whose mysterious death remains unsolved.

Kindness, care, time and nurture can  help heal many woes but none of this was given to these victims of the well-heeled, well dressed and powerful abusers. It has taken decades for the survivors to be believed. Then these abusers lied and lied and used the power of the state to cover up. Their circles of protection were powerful indeed. D notices which forbid publications were employed  in some cases, it is said

A dirty and malevolent belief lay at the core of this abuse: a belief that they, the elite, had rights quite different in nature from the rights of ordinary folk, and certainly different from the rights of the children of the poor.

The children of the poor were, available to the elite, available to them as part and parcel of their privilege. The rights of the children of the poor were utterly dismissed. Rich friends of the abusers who might have thought “it’s not on!” still thought it more important to cover up for them than to protect the children.

Jimmy Saville, Cyril Smith, Stuart Hall, Rolf Harris have all now been found guilty. The victims have been heard and been believed but the sickness at the heart of this is still there. The abuse of children in children’s homes is at the core.

Children are traditionally disbelieved. Thirteen little girls told the police the Soham murderer had assaulted them, but none were believed, so he was free to kill.

Dangerous, dismissive attitudes to the children of the poor are found today. Many hours of media time and much money has been spent developing hatred for the poor, the ‘chavs’, hatred of people with disabilities and the jobless. No one by this logic is more reviled than the children of the poor up to and including today.

Just as we need to listen to women, we need to listen to the voices of children

Children are open to abuse right now because the services in place are being dismantled by ‘austerity’, Children’s Centres across the country are closing.

The media, the police and others know that politicians have decided that the unborn babies of very poor mothers are no longer entitled to free NHS maternity care. They know this policy will kill but they keep quiet because these are the children of the poor, of the immigrant community.

An enquiry into this organised “historic” abuse to be headed by Mrs Butler-Sloss sister of Sir Michael Havers is in no way independent of the establishment.

Surely, some other organisations must be involved in an enquiry, organisations like the trade unions that have always stood up for children, organisations of care leavers, of the survivors of abuse?

On the Left, in the Unions, in women’s organisations and children’s support organisations, we raise campaigns for good childcare, decent wages for women, funded social services and an end to Austerity. We raise good points of discussion on how our “leaders” operate.

In talk of this scandal, though, our politics must go publically  to the need to remove the rule of a corrupt elite. They are a very efficient elite, efficient at gathering ever more of society’s wealth into their own pockets, efficient at delivering mass media hate campaigns, creating war out of peace and pollution of the land and water, delivering terrible inequality and championing an economic system good only for a tiny elite. By opposing the rule of the elite we begin to protect the children of the poor, the children of the working class and perhaps all children.

By raising the idea that the elite must go, we open up a chance to talk of how a different world is possible, a world where generations might thrive without the cancer of child abuse, without poverty, with more joy, and healthier happier and safer children. A future worth fighting for!



Why left Unity needs Safe Spaces

Left Unity urgently needs its safe spaces policy, its own practical and political safeguarding policy.
Each individual working within or with Left Unity is entitled to respect and safety, yet respect and safety cannot be taken for granted in this society. There is a need for a political commitment to make it happen. Not a commitment to a one off statement, but to an ongoing working procedure.
Like a family who make a house safe, like workers in a building who check the fabric, check the known hazards, check the fire escapes, extinguishers and alarms, who insist on fire drills, who organise to remove asbestos in order to keep the workplace safe, we in Left Unity need a safe spaces policy.
We need safety as a shared responsibility, like climbers who check each other’s ropes and divers who check each other’s equipment, safety should be is a common effort
We can be proud of the traditions of the Trade Union movement in fighting for equal pay, for rights for women and for recognising domestic abuse as a trade union issue, for recognising the rights of women to control their own fertility. Many in Left Unity come from such a tradition. We can be proud of the decent men who have worked so hard for equality and for women’s rights and against violence against women.
Left Unity is proud that many of its founding members cut their teeth on the struggles (still to be won) against attacks on people with disabilities.
We are proud also of the women who join us from women’s rights work, from the defence of women against rape and sexual and domestic violence, proud of those who joined us with long (and shorter) histories fighting for feminism.
We are proud of the LGBT comrades who have fought so hard for their rights so freshly won and still at risk.
We are proud of the youth who entered the struggle in the fight against the imposition of student fees, and from subsequent experiences, and bring their own versions of radical safe spaces work.
We are especially proud of those people who have joined Left Unity basically on their own; because they made a personal decision to do something to stop this government in its attack on the poor.
It would though, be crude and foolish to believe that reliance on such good will and such good traditions is in itself enough to create a safe space. For all who want to take part in the many struggles we face to change this society, and to flourish whilst campaigning, a conscious orientation towards common safety and respect and a deliberate effort is needed..
Women are massively under-represented in political life. We think this is, in part, because, if they challenge abuse or privilege, they are further abused, called “grass” or “scab” or have their mental health brought into question. As one in four of us experience mental health issues during our lives, so allowing such a “defence” is an abusers’ charter. Rather than face such humiliation, many retreat from politics and work in smaller community or women only groups. We want such women active in Left Unity
Along with a health and safety policy, each organisation needs its safeguarding policy. As a feminist and socialist organisation, committed to ending capitalism we have a special need of such a policy because our people will be at the forefront of challenging entrenched power. They will be in the campaigns, they will be in the front line challenging oppression and championing the rights of the oppressed, and so will attract heightened aggression.
Jimmy Saville, Elliot Roger, Stuart Hall, John Warboys, Lord Rennard, ‘Comrade Delta’ the litany of abusers rolls on remorselessly in 2014. Thousands of men are known to the police as a threat to their current or past partners. Each week in the UK two men kill their partners. Rape as a crime is under reported, under prosecuted and under convicted. The complaints against Saville are now in their hundreds; he was allowed to control hospitals, top security psychiatric hospitals and appears to have had a free run of the BBC. Young girls and women were given no protection.
Still in the UK and especially in the North of Ireland, women can be denied control over their bodies and denied abortion rights available elsewhere in the UK.
The abuse of children, girls and boys, in children’s homes by the rich and powerful, the grinding relentless unearthing of stories of abuse in the catholic church, the tales of grooming gangs across the country, these are all part of the backcloth against which we work. Thousands of these stories have still to be told. Many choose to shut the experience far from their mind and choose never to re visit it. Only the crude, arrogant boasting of Stuart Hall angered other victims enough to come forward with charges against him.
It is common practice now for all voluntary organisations to have safeguarding policies for all their employees and all service users. Left Unity too needs its safeguarding policy too.
One of our responsibilities is towards women. This is because of the attitudes to women held by sections of this society .Some in our society still believe that women are often to blame for the rape and abuse they experience if they drink, use drugs or are “flirty”.
Seventy-six percent of people believe at present, that those accused of rape should be given anonymity;
Women are one section of society at risk. Left Unity recognises other sections of society are also at risk. Hate crime based on race, religion, sexual orientation and physical or mental impairments are a significant and in some cases growing problem
Mencap receives reports from around the country of people who are verbally abused, physically attacked, raped and murdered, as many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability have been a victim of hate crime and bullying
Hate crime against Muslims has risen to become part of the fabric of politics, with women the main targets
Left Unity is an internationalist organisation recognising that our society is part of a world society
In India, rape is a common crime, causing outrage and huge demonstrations, but, so far counter struggles have resulted in little gain for women, though it is firmly on the political agenda.
But the plight of women and children in Africa’s war zones screams to the high heavens for justice. Wars for resources, organised by well-funded and militarised gangs, using the cover of religion or ethnic loyalty are pitiless in ubiquitous use of sexual and other violence against women and girls. “Bring our Girls Home” we demanded and still demand; but they still far from home, far from safe.
Even the UN recognises the problem
One in 3 women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. ”Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights”. According to a 2013 WHO global study, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner – see more at:
Harm to women in not though only in the personal sphere. Harm is there too in crude economics al. Austerity in UK and Europe is is a fundamental attack on all the gains women, LGBT people, and those living with disabilities have gained in 70 years or more. “Restructuring” forced on many countries in the Global South by the IMF and World Bank has a chilling connection to greater risks to the lives and health of women and children and to their experience of violence. I do not though accept this as a simple explanation of the phenomenon. A friend wrote” While capitalism and neoliberalism may be the cause of increasing poverty, unemployment and the destruction of social welfare infrastructure of every kind it does not explain why this would lead to an increase in gender based violence. Frustration and rage, feelings of hopelessness and despair may lead to increased violence – but this explanation goes nowhere to explain violence against women and children, the weak and the vulnerable it does not contribute anything to explain sexual violence against women and children “
Racism as a tool of reaction is rearing its ugly head ever more brazenly in these early years of the 21st century. Islamaphobia attempts to both whip up hate and violence yet hypocritically claims to defend women’s rights. Extreme right wing Islam claims the moral high ground, yet uses violence against women as a political and social weapon of control.
Left Unity will not recommend to women or other oppressed groups that they wait till the new society for the end to their issues. In fighting against these issues we build the foundations of a post capitalist world.
These are real and pressing problems for the world we live in. They are the fabric of politics. These are real and pressing political problems, problems for a political party. It is my strong contention that this back ground of abuse, violence and discrimination will influence our party. Left Unity must have the highest levels of probity and excellent political education. We also need good, effective procedures firmly based on challenging offensive behaviour, protection of victims and reconciliation where ever possible. We must not tolerate abuse of any kind, but we challenge the behaviour, not the person, at least in the first instance.
No socialist, no decent activist, we hope, would fail to condemn abuse. Yet, we know that wherever power is used it can be abused. Power can be held unwittingly, held by custom and unexpressed practice. People are influenced by the dominant ideas in their society. Women are often not believed. Left Unity from its inception has attempted to prevent the rise of entrenched power structures by limits on the time for which offices can be held. Power structures in older democratic centralist organisations were abused for sexual gain.
Men, too, are the victims, as well as the perpetrators of violence, especially male on male violence. We will have no truck with macho violence. However, women face a further hurdle in that they are frequently cast as ‘liars’. Anyone in situation where they would not be believed or would be shamed within society is vulnerable. The onslaught on women is an epidmic If a man tells you he was mugged, most often he is believed. If a woman says she was raped, then doubt is almost always expressed. “Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is concerned that singling out rape and sexual assault for defendant anonymity would send a message that women who report these crimes are more likely to be lying than people who report other kinds of crime”.
There is a need to protect all our members against bullying and abuse. It is, rightly, a routine procedure to have a safe guarding policy; but it is also a profoundly political position. We cannot separate the need to fight oppression from the need for this policy for these procedures Unsurprisingly, Safe Spaces has faced passionate support and opposition from different political positions. We are hoping this will now be debated across the party, and into the next conference -and be resoundingly accepted.

May 11th meeting of Left Unity


 Sunday 12th May 2013

I went to the Left Unity first national meeting representing Liverpool (and as the contact person for Chester). I went with Laura who organised the venue and most of the attendees at the Liverpool meeting. We worked well together. I hope Laura enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers.

There were 70 people there  

Prior to the meeting this statement was circulated.

Statement for amendment and discussion:

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. A further manifestation of this crisis is the rapid development of fascism in Greece, in the shape of Golden Dawn.

However the people of Europe are fighting back. In Greece, France, Germany and elsewhere, new political formations have emerged, drawing together a range of left forces, posing political, social and economic alternatives, and challenging the capitulation of social democracy to neo-liberalism. Here in Britain we face the savage onslaught of the coalition government, destroying our hard-won gains, but Labour is failing to pose a viable economic alternative. It embraces neo-liberalism and does not represent the interests and needs of ordinary people. 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 transforms our economy in the interests of the majority.

The strong support for Ken Loach’s appeal to discuss the need for a new left party shows that many share this view. Discussions are ongoing but there is a strong desire for a new party of the left which will present an alternative set of values of equality and justice: socialist, environmentalist and against all forms of discrimination. Its politics and policies would stand against capitalism, imperialism, war, racism and fascism. Its urgent tasks would be to oppose austerity, defend the welfare state, fight to restore workers’ rights and advance alternative social and economic policies, redistributing wealth to the working class.

Its political practice would be democratic, diverse and inclusive, committed to open dialogue and new ways of working; the mutual respect and tolerance of differences of analysis; the rejection of the corruption of conventional political structures and their frequent reproduction of the gender domination of capitalist society.

International solidarity is fundamental to the success of any resistance and the achievement of any political progress; such a new party will work with other left organisations and movements in Europe and internationally, to build coordination, strategic links and common actions.

From this meeting today, we call on the national coordinating group to organise a conference of Left Unity groups and members this autumn to discuss the founding of a new Left Party, to facilitate commissions to outline the principles and policies of such a Left Party, and to outline a timetable for a Founding Conference in 2014.

 I put in this amendment. My bits are in bold. (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.  Women face a particular impact from Austerity and Cuts. ( in Greece, in Europe and across the world. A further manifestation of this crisis is the rapid development of fascism in Greece, in the shape of Golden Dawn.

However the people of Europe are fighting back. In Greece, France, Germany and elsewhere, new political formations have emerged, drawing together a range of left forces, and  many women’s organisations( as seen in the Women on The March against Austerity Tour of France, Spain and Italy,) posing political, social and economic alternatives, and challenging the capitulation of social democracy to neo-liberalism

Women’s uprisingings against sexual violence, long the companion to  neo liberal re-structuring and  austerity,  demonstrate the need and potential  for  linking work of the left to the causes of women and the communities women care for also ), The remainder of the statement to follow original

 On that basis, I put my name forward to be on the national coordinating committee. This is my statement

I would like to be on the National Coordinating group to  promote the issues of women in the crisis and to support women’s safe involvement. This onslaught has a particular female aspect

 I am   in the NUT, in Women Against the Cuts and Women against Austerity in Europe, Cheshire West Against the Cuts and Cheshire West Trades Council, Liverpool Anti Fascists. I am one of the 47 surcharged Councillors in Liverpool from the 1980s. I was expelled from Labour in having been secretary of the District Labour Party. I am not in any party but I have a distinct political viewpoint and work in networks of socialists, nationally and internationally. I would like to help in the early stages  to build  effective left  unity.


The turnout was good and it was efficiently run; good venue, good pooled fare, childcare included in pooled fare, tea and coffee but bring your own lunch.

The first session was reports from the groups in the areas but it lead into a discussion about how to relate to other left parties/organisations; there was a long debate but the final decision (of this meeting; it can be altered at the September meeting) was that the organisation will have individual membership, but that platforms within the party will be expected and allowed. There was another suggestion that left groups be allowed to send one rep each to the steering committee meetings. That was very unpopular.

There seems to be a determination to talk with the left groups/parties and not to duck this task. Two leading members of TUSC were in the meeting and we were told that the SP executive would be discussing left Unity on Saturday. ISD, Workers’ Power and CPGB announced their presence but as Left Unity reps from their areas. Any democratic   attempt to coordinate the work of the existing left groups, each staying as their own democratic centralist organisation, will be fraught with difficulties.  If there is sufficient agreement on the extent of the crisis facing working people, (and the collapse in living standards and services that looks set to  continue  for a decade or more) then, perhaps, the forces of history will produce a willingness to work together.

The next discussion was on whether there should be a vote on the statement; Procedural Resolution for the Left Unity meeting on Saturday 11 May 2013


There has been a very encouraging response to Ken Loach’s call for people to discuss and debate the need for a new party of the left. So far, over 8,000 have responded to that appeal.

The task now should be to try to increase that number and to ensure that everyone who has responded feels included in the debate and discussion. The debate has to be genuine and inclusive. It must aim to involve everyone who has expressed an interest. This will take time but our patience will be rewarded.

It is only nine weeks since the appeal was launched. It would be premature to take decisions on the precise political nature of the project at such an early stage, especially when there are differences of opinion and when those differences have not been discussed fully by all those who have signed up to the process.

It was reported to the co-ordinating group on Thursday evening (9 May) that only half of the representatives attending the meeting today have been elected by local groups; the other half are individuals who have volunteered to be points of contact for their area. Members of the co-ordinating group, which lacks a real democratic mandate at this stage, will also be attending with voting rights.

This is a very undeveloped democratic basis to be taking serious decisions on statements of intent, principles or general politics.

We need to allow time for the issues to be discussed in the local groups; for new local groups to be set up; and for the local groups and all individuals to participate in the discussions and to express their views.

None of the statements presented to this meeting have been circulated for longer than eight days. Most have not been seen until today. Most groups will not have had any opportunity to discuss any of the statements. None will have been able to discuss those resolutions and amendments that have only been seen today for the first time.

Even where there are local group representatives attending, some if not most will not have had the benefit of a local discussion to guide their vote.

In short, any votes taken today will be unrepresentative and would be open to criticism as short circuiting the process that people thought they had signed up to.

We must not allow anyone who has signed up to this project feel that they have been ignored or by-passed.


This meeting resolves not to take any votes on any of the statements, resolutions or amendments except for those, or those parts, which deal with: (1) the election of the new national coordinating group; (2) the process of debate and discussion; (3) the dates of the next national meeting and the founding conference.

Nick Wrack & Simon Hardy

The argument was that because it had not been produced by the whole of the ad hoc committee, nor circulated to branches etc., it was not right to vote on it. That was carried.

 I voted against. I thought we should have something to take back to the meetings in the areas. That debate lasted so long there was no debate on the statement and therefore only organisational issues were voted on. The key issues were: to set up a steering .committee to organise until the next national meeting and to organise towards a founding conference.

 The original proposal to hold this in 2014 that was amended to late 2013; again I thought that was too fast a timetable but the enthusiasm of the meeting carried it through.

The next vote was on whether 50% of seats on the committee should be women; we only just won that.

Ken Loach spoke, and spoke very well, on how this was not going to be a social democratic party; it was going to be one which challenged capitalism and demanded a decent home for our people, jobs, the health service and decent schools, and was anti-war. Oh, and it would have no charismatic leader. Ken voted against the 50% of women on the committee (this had a particular significance for me as the debate on the impact of Austerity on women had not been taken).

There was a good representative from Scunthorpe who spoke of how they’d had 30 years of defeat in Scunthorpe, how they never won anything in Scunthorpe, but had 30 years of defeats …. Someone forgot to tell the kids and when the council tried to close the youth service the kids organised a huge protest; from that came the left Unity group; it was a funny and moving contribution.

A Brighton representative spoke of their 290 people signing up at a meeting. They have had the student occupation, the bin strike and the EDL demos all of which have fuelled a movement for a new party. Leeds already had a banner and had been on a demo.

I spoke in the report from Liverpool about how we had fought Thatcher in the 80s but that the current government made that fight look minor. If we are to win this round we have to organise in a significantly more effective way; we have to engage in the struggle.

I was elected on to the national committee (till September) and there is much to be done.

The party left Unity could become.

The role of the party that Left Unity may become.
I am starting from the standpoint of working class people in the age of austerity in 2013 and especially the standpont of women, whose lives, and the lives of those they care for,  will be damaged  by endless austerity, pushing them back to the life styles of the poor of the 1930s.
I am assuming that Labour,  the  traditional party of the class, remains wedded to the neo liberal ideology of cuts and Austerity and that we need to build  afresh from the very limited resources now at our disposal.
We, ordinary working class women, men and children,  need campaigning groups like the anti-cuts, no to the bedroom tax, Keep our NHS Public. Women against the Cuts, Anti-Blacklist, anti-fracking (and all those I have forgotten to mention). We also need  tenants  groups, pensioners groups,and trade unions, militant democratic pro- active trade unions too, and in addition we need a party. They each have different roles.
Working people are starting to wake up to the full significance of what is happenning but only just beginning to awaken.
Left Unity and every organisation that left Unity agrees to work with would be expected to have a safety policy against gender based violence and any other form of violence and discrimination.
A party is one aspect of  working people’s struggle to fend off the attacks of the bosses and governments,  to struggle  for both a better society in the future  and for better conditions immediately and to find ways of organising, enthusing and inspiring our class
Elections are a subordinate part of this.
We need to work on different areas of party activity.
• Opposing the ideas that the ruling class push out, through their extended media, ideas which are effective in splitting our people, possibly even more than in the past. Counteracting our enemy’s propaganda is clearly one very important role; formulating effective opposition to these ideas is a skill in itself and a vital one.
• Providing education for new members to give them the chance to gain confidence and to discuss and to debate so that the party can gain from their knowledge and experience.
• We have to combat the idea that elections can solve issues; for us an election should be a way of putting forward our ideas, combatting the opposition’s ideas, giving heart and enthusiasm to our supporters and gathering more supporters to the cause so that they, in turn, can go out and organise in the different struggles.  We must keep working towards winning a position that would give us the power to change society and not be distracted by the self-importance that seems to come with elected office.
• The party should be putting forward, in as many ways as possible, the case for an alternative way of running the world, Socialism, countering the propaganda of the Tories and the neo-liberal agenda of cuts and austerity for the workers and massive increases in wealth for the very rich. It needs to help workers believe that there is an alternative and that they, the working class, have the power to change things.
• It should provide opportunities for the different campaigns and struggles to link up across the country and across the different issues. It should offer assistance to any group that wants to fight back on any issue.
• It should build solidarity links nationally and internationally.
• When we win elections, how we use the positions will be crucial. We used to say in Liverpool in the Socialist Council campaign in the 1980s, “We will not fight for you, but we will join your fight with all our might; we will lead a struggle, be in your struggle, not struggle instead of you…”
Farooq Tariq, a longstanding friend and comrade, is quoted during the very recent Pakistan General Election;
“I promise that if elected I shall ensure water supply is ample in the Jhang Branch canal,” Tariq said at the public meeting attended by over 200, but with a clarification. “Even if I am not elected, I shall join you in the movement to ensure there is ample water supply. Nothing is achieved in assemblies; it is out here that we change things.”
 – See more at:
There is a need for on-going discussion on all the key issues but the times dictates that we must be   both effective and expeditious.
We will need organising commissions of members and sympathetic campaign groups (in no particular order of importance, and apologies for those I forget to mention) on key issues like health and health care, employment, women’s rights and gender equality issues, the economy, the environment, Trade Union rights, housing, law, transport, education, benefits, children, care of the elderly, regeneration of our cities, equal rights, anti-racism,  and different international solidarity issues.
This would mean that we can pose an informed and effective opposition program to Austerity and open up our own people’s minds.
A party would need effective media presence and leaflets; in time, perhaps, even a radio station and a newspaper.
 We are a long way from this right now but its worth remembering what we can do if we can gather together the forces of our class in opposition to the forces of Austerity, the bosses, the 1% or the Tories, call them what we will.
We might just be at the start of a journey that might produce something great for our class.

Reading Against the Crisis

Suggested reading for the ideas of Marxism in today’s crisis
This is intended as a short introduction to the ideas of modern Marxist economics following from a discussion with a friend. I had promised to post a list on facebook but I kept getting foiled by the technology.
This blog is “The rising of the women” so I want to draw the particular links to Women’s issues. In the last three decades of assault by neo liberalism in the less developed world re- structuring especially harmed women and the communities. In the Austerity assaults in Europe, women and the communities’ needs are especially under threat. Yet in this new world of globalisation and neo liberalism, a huge new working class has grown and that working class is massively female. Women workers have searched for work around the world. That class will rise against capitalism, of that, I am convinced, the issue is, will we win
The list does not represent a party political stance and the books are from a fairly wide range of views that come under the general title of Marxism or anti capitalism. Marxism is a method and a theory. Anti-capitalism is a political position. There are currents of opinion that claim orthodoxy for only one set of Marxist ideas. I’m happy to discuss them but this a different discussion. These are my suggestions for reading to understand in the current crisis using Marxist economics.

I suggest the following blogs books websites and internet links.
Michael Roberts’s blog
For a worldwide viewpoint, the web site of the Campaign Against Third World Debt (which sounds like a charity but is anti-capitalist because third world (and now first world Debt) is critical to this crisis))
The Monthly Review website, edited by Samir Amin; again some people don’t like Samir Amin. I do because he has a world view not an Anglo American one.
Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or ending Capitalism; Samir Amin
Caliban and the Witch by Sylvia Federici
Witch-Hunting, Past and Present, and the Fear of the Power of Women. Hexenjagd-Vergangenheit Silvia-Federici-
Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology from its Origins to the Present Eric Toussaint
Capitalist Crisis Theory and Practice by Mick Brooks
Live Working or Die fighting Paul Mason
Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed Paul Mason
From the originals; a good introduction is two fairly short pamphlets ‘Wage labour and Capital’
And ‘Wages, Prices and Profit’

I am interested in Rosa Luxemburg’s theories around primitive accumulation of capital. This links with Sylvia Federici’s work on the robbing of the commons; robbing the commons is a description of primitive accumulation which in this crisis is especially hitting women as seen in the cuts the welfare state and capitalism’s attempt to appropriate the knowledge of food growing, and the blatant disregard capitalism has for the safety of the planet, so
I would like to read a but have not yet done so some of the David Harvey Books
Companion-to Marx’s-Capital-David-Harvey
Enigma-Capital-Crises-Capitalism David Harvey
I contributed to this:
Preparing for Revolution- The future International-Roger-Silverman

Mayday Message from Pakistan Trade Union Federation

This year the 127thMay Day is being observed amid a deepening capitalist crisis and social turmoil all over globe. The struggle aimed at improving the working hours of labors has now become a drive to slay the dragon of capitalism for good. This struggle of working class is becoming the only option and hope for ensuring a collective prosperity of mankind and making this world a cradle of peace and harmony, because the imperialism since its birth has given people only hatred, hunger, diseases, environmental pollution, bloodletting and wars. The history of the capitalism is replete with these crimes.

Like past the crisis of capitalism is also deepening with every passing day, casting its negative impacts of social, economic and political spheres in every region. The countries of Europe and North America in general and southern European countries of Italy, Spain, Portugal , Cyprus and Greece in particular have been trapped in this economic quagmire and the biggest project of imperialism of last century – unity and survival of the European Union – is on the stake. The spillovers of the unprecedented economic crisis of developed industrial countries have entered Asia, Africa and Latin America, tumbling their economies and upsetting their societies with chaos and economic decline. The weak and dying economies are giving birth to more crises with every passing day. Before an old problem could be fixed a new issue emerges, making the situation even more complex and critical. This is the inborn dilemma of imperialism, new face of capitalism that instead of settling issues it creates bigger and more critical issues, making matters worse.

It is logical that the imperialist countries impose wars in a bid to seek rid of these crises. In this regard we see imposing on poor nations of a prolonged, unending, declared and undeclared third world war. Occupying the natural resources of nations, especially fuel resources and lands with use of brutal force is now an open secret. The United States of America, Europe and now China have, in some cases with consensus and in few cases with use of individual force, have occupied some Asian countries besides the continent of Africa having important geopolitical importance and immense natural resources. In this regard ethnic, sectarian and religious hatreds are being purposefully fanned to continue the bloodbath of innocent people. In some cases where there existed effective and strong governments and economies having some ability to resist coercion, they were vanished with the use of naked force. Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Iraq are some examples in this regard. The states of Gulf have virtually become American client states. Turkey houses American military bases. The wealth of central Asian states is directly under control of imperialist powers. Due to its important geostrategic location and immense mineral resources the capitalist countries targeted Afghanistan and through conspiracies first blood bathed it’s “peoples’ April revolution” and now this country is under the American yoke that occupies this nation, leading military forces of some two dozen countries. The same fate is being now suggested for Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The economies of various countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America are fully dependent on the global capitalist system and the economic crisis in the center of capitalism has further deepened the crises in these nations. In Pakistan also the ongoing economic crisis is linked to this phenomenon. Here from the military dictatorship era of General Musharraf to the expected elections for a new government the economic experts of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been given a free hand to continue implementation of their dictated economic policies and the situation is likely to continue in future as well. It is not surprising that these policies have poisoned the lives of people especially the working class, as it was the logical outcome of these anti-people strategies. The floodgate of unemployment has been wide opened by opening the local market for foreign-made goods. Liberal incentives given to big landlords and industrialists commanding immense “means of production” have unveiled the hollowness of local economy. In the field of agriculture the economic efficiency has already been halted. Millions of farmers are facing the worst poverty despite of steep rise in prices of wheat, paddy, cotton and other agricultural produces. The result is frequent suicides and mass migration to big towns and cities, giving birth to new social and cultural crises.

Ravages of rains and floods of previous years have further multiplied the suffering of peasants and farmers and they have been facing immense hardships in repaying loans of their landlords. In Pakistan both industrial workers and farm labors are facing even worse conditions as compared to the plights of the Chicago workers. For them there are no fixed work hours. The production capacity of machines has improved thousand times due to constant modernization but the working conditions of Pakistani factories and workshops are pathetically unsafe and inhuman. Last year, in Karachi, the largest city of the country, more than 300 workers perished in a garment factory fire, which shows that the workers of this largest industrial city are no more than a modern day slave, deprived of all basic legal rights.

In the industrial and commercial organizations not only the economic rights of labors have been usurped but also their political and constitutional rights which they should have enjoyed under different national and international labor laws. Illegal labor contracting system “ Thekedari” is a poison tipped dagger in the back of semi-dead Pakistani labor movement. The labor department and labor courts have been virtually converted into slaughterhouses where capitalists and government bureaucracy sell the bodies of half-alive labors. The social security institutions like Employees’ Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers’Welfare Board instead of facilitating workers have become a handy tool of corrupt bureaucracy and fake labor leaders to loot and plunder the funds meant for workers’ wellbeing.

It is a part of national history that the labors and peasants of Pakistan have been used as the cannon fodder in the agitations against military regimes; however, whenever democracy is restored its benefits instead of trickling down to workers, farmers and common employees remained limited to rich classes sitting in parliament and judges of the court system. Its living example is frequent raises in salaries and perks of members of assemblies and judges of courts during the tenure of past government, when the real income of workers constantly nose-dived due to inflation and price hike. Presently there are more than 54million workforce in Pakistan, about 29percent of national population, vital force for the production process, but the ruling elite and their political parties have no solid strategy to solve their issues. These political parties are silent on the issues like the rights to form the labor unions, state guarantees for basic rights of education, healthcare and housing, end to cruel contract labor system and the legal labour rights for the informal sector workers, particularly farm labors, peasants, home-based women workers and labors working in different Export Processing Zones (EPZ). During the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) era  in Punjab a total imprisonment of 490 years was handed by an anti-terrorism court to the power loom workers of Faisalabad for their dare to form a labor union, while in Sindh province labor union leaders of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and Power Loom Workers Union were booked under the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA) and arrested during the tenure of the allied government of Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarian (PPPP), Muttahida Quami Movement  (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP). Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) with a slogan of ‘Tsunami’ is running his election campaigning in the private jet of an industrialist whose own sugar mills is the worst example of snatching the basic rights of workers. Moreover, one of his party leaders is a ‘spiritual leader, whose peasants are depicting the picture of slave-peasants of the 15th century. 

In this grim scenario, if the election manifestoes of major political parties are reviewed, it would be seen clearly that all political parties including PPPP, PML-N, PTI, MQM and ANP have favored the privatization instead of improving the working of public sector entities. The PML-N, PTI, MQM and ANP have kept a mum on the issue of bringing the millions of labors working in informal sector including farm labors and home-based female workers in the fold of labor laws. The same MQM and PTI are self-professed champions of being the real representatives of 98percent masses and harbingers of a change. They even failed to include the point of minimum wages in their electoral manifestoes.  Moreover, all major political parties including the PPPP, PML-N, PTI, ANP and MQM have shown traditional apathy to the vital issue of workplace safety of workers and their healthcare. In the backdrop of recent rise in industrial accidents in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the political parties should have included this issue on high priority basis in their electoral manifestoes and recognizing the ILO Convention for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) 155, 161 and 187 announced to make laws as per their recommendations so as to ensure safety and healthcare of workers at work place.

The PML-N that talks about the rule of law and justice in its 116-page electoral manifesto has spared just 12 lines for its policy regarding labors which shows its lack of interest to the issues of workers, while on the rights of farmers and peasants its manifesto is totally silent.

The same goes for the manifesto of PTI which even taking a step forward in labor-enmity has mentioned legalizing the lethal “Thekidari Nizam” (contract labor system). This party with slogan of change is silent on the issues of land reforms, while announcing to invest the pension funds of labors in capital market its has left the life earnings of labors on the mercy of capitalists’ greed. This party has kept a mum on the basic issues of labor inspection, registration of factories, minimum wages, profit-sharing by workers and the right of workers to form labor unions. This party also does not talk about giving labors and peasants due representation in assemblies.

Though the PTI has criticized the way in which KESC, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Allied Bank Limited (ABL) and several electricity distribution companies were privatized, but avoided to declare ending privatization process to solve these issues. It with the pledge to constitute an independent privatization commission has virtually announced its being an anti-worker party. In the election manifesto it talked about piling up modern arms in the name of strong defense, and instead of choosing raise in wages it supported increasing military budget, unveiling its anti-worker priorities.

MQM since long has remained part of different military and elected governments, and its claims of having representation of Karachi, the largest industrial city of Pakistan; however, on the worst plights braved by industrial workers of the city this party remained tight-lipped. This attitude is evident in its manifesto which pays mere lip-service to the issues of workers. Some tall claims to facilitate the labors are about those rights which have already been obtained by them. This shows the ignorance of this party about the labor laws. It has pledged to make monitoring boards in industrial units, structure of proper wages, health insurance, old age benefits, disability pension, and housing facility after retirement, all already allowable under the existing laws. This party is silent on the issue of minimum wages and also reluctant to talk about the Contract Labor Systems and making laws as per ILO Conventions on Occupational Safety and Health at work place. The attitude of this party on the issues of KESC and PTCL privatization shows it stands in the row of other political parties regarding enmity to workers. Its silence on the legal rights of millions of workers of informal sector indicates that basically it is a party of status quo, wanting to strengthen the prevailing monetary system with some cosmetic changes.

Though the PPPP has announced some schemes for welfare of workers in its manifesto, but there is no reason left to believe in its promises, because during last five years it led the governments in the Center, Sindh and Balochistan and also shared Punjab coalition government for some time and remained an important ally in Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa government but miserably failed to bring a remarkable improvement for the workers. If today in Pakistan the rightwing capitalist-friendly parties are getting popularity it is due to the dismal tenure of the PPPP-led government which hardly hit the labor and peasant class and snatched all hopes of betterment from them.

The same applies to other political parties who failed to present their clear stance on the problems of millions of workers. If one analyses the advertisement blitz of these political parties on television and in print media the voice of labor is seen unheard.

It does not end with this farce but the majority of these parties have allotted party tickets to people and families that belong to feudal lords, capitalists, Pirs, Nawabs and elites. This proves that the leaderships of these parties mainly belonged to the classes occupying factories, mills, farms and natural resources, while labors working in their mills and peasants and Haris tilling their fields are deprived of their basic rights. One thing is common among the owners of the  means of production, i.e., factories, mills and farms, irrespective that they belong to PPP, PML-N, Awami National Party, MQM, Jamait Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) or the self-professed champion of change Imran Khan’s party PTI, that labors have to work for more than eight hours a day in their factories and organizations. They do not pay wages as per labor law, their workers do not possess appointment letters, and they are not registered with social security institutions. Their mills are run on contract labor system where the rights of making labor unions and Collective Bargaining Agents (CBA) are not recognized. The leaders of these parties who own big farmlands depict a cruel Pharaonic mentality, whose millions of Haris, peasants and farm labors know nothing about their legal rights including the right to form labor unions and social security cover.

It is true that democracy historically is the creation of industrial era and its first step is the rights of union making at workplace. Though this right is there in legal books, but the ruling elite irrespective of their political affiliation is not ready to recognize it. Today in Pakistan hardly 3% workers enjoy their right of union making, and just 5percent of them are registered with social security institutions though the majority of them do not posses cards of these institutions. Only 4percent of workers posses written appointment orders and just 5percent workforce get the minimum wages as announced by the government, while 95% factories are not registered under Factory Act of 1934 and have been running illegally.

Do the political leaders like Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asfandyar Wali, Altaf Hussain, Imran Khan and others who want to get rule with the vote of workers are ignorant of the fact that their ticket holders and party office-bearers are the owners of industrial units and agricultural lands, while their workers and land labors do not posses their basic democratic rights of forming unions, getting minimum wages and working for fixed hours. When the basic units of democracy, i.e. factory and farm workers, are devoid of their democratic right, could true democratic values survive and strengthen in this society. It is a bitter fact that the usurpers of the basic right of workers are not only local leaders of these parties but also they occupy their higher offices. Therefore, it is a high time of a honest soul searching for the working class that how these bourgeoisie parties when elected could deliver for labors when their leaders and representative themselves are the worst exploiters of workers, peasants and  Haris. How these elements could bring any social change? It is a cruel truth that those people who raise slogans to redress their wounds themselves are their bitter tormentors. The basic production means of factories, mills and farmlands are private properties of these ruling families and they maximize their wealth exploiting the collective “Surplus Labour” of these workers, haris and employees, establishing news mills and factories and extending their fields and farm to become even richer. To safeguard this wealth and capital they form their own political parties in the name of serving the masses and slap them on the masses. To get rid of them it is imperative for the millions of workers of mills, workshops and farms to establish their own class-based entities, i.e. labor organizations, Hari-Kissan committees, associations of employees and other organizations and make them organized and finally establish their own nationwide class based political party and initiate struggle for the collective ownership of means of production, it means socialization of the wealth.

Such movements are working not only in Pakistan but also the whole world, because it is the bitterest truth of human history and the basis of all socioeconomic injustices that the all human beings take a collective part in developing the means of production and producing wealth but its ownership remains in the hands of a few people and families. When all people take a collective part in the process of production then the ownership of the means of production should also remain collective. Only this could bring the international crisis of capitalism to its logical end. It would end the imperialism and its reasons for warmongering. It would end the occupation of the wealth of nations, ethnic and regional conflicts, expansionism, bloody wars and massacres. The struggle for the survival of mankind and supremacy of human labor over capital initiated with the blood of Chicago workers in the year 1886, today with a renewed aspiration and vigor is harbingering a new dawn for mankind which would break with this continuing conscientious struggle led by well-aware and organized leadership of workers, peasants and working class people aimed at ending the supremacy of capital, and bringing the rule of workers.

Nasir A. Mansoor
Deputy General Secretary
National Trade Union Federation,Pakistan 726,Mashriq Center, Gulshan Iqbal 14, Karachi, Pakistan. Phone +9221-37075324 Fax +9221-3414-2149 Mobile +92300-358-7211 email;, website: