Vote Green to beat racism – Left Unity backs Peter Cranie in European election

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In a joint announcement today, the North West region of Left Unity has offered a public endorsement of the lead Green candidate Peter Cranie for the European Elections. Felicity Dowling, a former Liverpool councillor, and a Principal Speaker for Left Unity, said:

“In the last European Election the Green Party gained 7.7% of the vote and the BNP won the final seat in the North West region with just 8%. The Greens can command enough of the vote to ensure that Nick Griffin will lose his seat in the European Parliament.”

“Peter is a committed anti-racism campaigner, an active trade unionist and a confirmed opponent of austerity. If elected, he is committed to working with trade union campaigns through his European role.”

“Votes for Labour in this election will not help combat austerity. Labour has pledged to match coalition spending plans for their first year of government.

Left Unity is urging its supporters to use their votes in the most effective way to influence the national debate in the absence of a Left Unity candidate.”

“We call upon those in the North West who oppose fascism and who oppose austerity to use their vote tactically to elect Peter Cranie. It is crucial that the story of these European Elections is not just about UKIP and their anti-immigrant and anti-European agenda, but also shows there is electoral strength for a growing movement against austerity.”

In response to the endorsement, Peter Cranie commented:

“Left Unity has shown that they will approach politics in a different way and we very much welcome this endorsement in the North West.”

“As an anti-racist campaigner with the Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism for many years, the priority for all anti-racist voters has to be to ensure that Nick Griffin is ejected from the European Parliament.”

“We also must kick the legs out from under the coalition and the failed policies of austerity in this election. The final seat in the North West will be contested between the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and the BNP. If the Greens win, it will leave the Liberal Democrats in 5th place nationally in this election.”

“After these European Elections and Nick Clegg’s disastrous debate appearances, we want to see Liberal Democrats forced into a change of leader and a change of direction, bringing an end to this appalling coalition and an early General Election. The latest European poll by ICM shows the Greens level with the Liberal Democrats [1], and endorsements like this one by Left Unity, could be crucial.”

The statement from Left Unity follows a letter to the Morning Star newspaper earlier this year [2], where many North West Trade Unionists, among them a prominent 2009 NO2EU candidate, Alec McFadden, urged unity and for other groups on the left to back the Greens. In 2009 the combined vote of the Socialist Labour Party and the NO2EU lists was just 3%, but the Greens would have only needed an extra 0.3% to prevent Griffin from ever taking a seat in Europe.

Peter Cranie added:

“We respect the immense contribution that Bob Crow made to the Trade Union movement and that he was a committed supporter of NO2EU. The Green Party policy on Europe is that people should have a referendum now, something both the Greens and NO2EU could agree on.”

“Our door is open for dialogue and we must avoid a situation where the BNP are able to sneak back in due to a controversial media story allowing them whip up hate and prejudice close to the election. It’s our duty to do everything we can to eject Griffin from the European Parliament and I’ll work alongside all campaigners committed to that aim.”

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‘What space for a women’s agenda in politics in 2014?’

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An evening with Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett

Wednesday 16th April,  7.30 (tea/coffee) for 7.45 pm Friends’ Meeting House, Lancaster (next to Lancaster Rail station).

Since becoming leader of the Green Party in 2012, former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett has spoken and listened to many women’s groups up and down the country on issues ranging from equal pay to female genital mutilation.

Come and hear her conclusions – and tell us your priorities. Everyone welcome at this informal but informative evening discussion.

Q: What do all these parties have in common: Tories, Lib Dems, Labour, Respect, UKIP, Scottish Nationalists, Socialist Party, Democratic Unionist Party, SLP, TUSC, & now ‘Left Unity’?

A: They all have a white, middle-aged, male leader!

Ken Loach on Left Unity

Salman Shaheen speaks to Ken Loach about the director’s hopes for founding a new party to the left of Labour, and what it can learn from new media and the social movements that have built up around it.

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When I meet Loach at Sixteen Films’ office, a creaky old building on Wardour Street with Lilliputian wooden-beamed ceilings and warm white walls studded with posters of past glories from the director’s distinguished career, he is happy to sit still for twenty minutes. But behind his measured, methodical speech, that energy and passion remain. For Loach is helping to found a new political party – leftunity in answer to the political vacuum that has existed in Britain for decades.

“When Blair took over and won Labour’s first election with the slogan ‘Labour means business’, some thought at the time this means they’re going to roll up their sleeves and get to work,” Loach says. “Actually it means Labour means big business. Which means the working class have no political representation.”

The absence of a strong voice on the left became particularly problematic when a Labour government marched politically unopposed into Iraq, despite the majority of the country standing opposed to the war.

Loach believes the Greens are alone among the political parties in not standing up for the interests of big business. As far as he is concerned, the Green Party has many good qualities, but he does not see it as a party of the organised working class, and that is what he wants to help build in Left Unity.

Read the full article here