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Open Letter to the Socialist Workers Party on the Unite Snap Election to Re-elect Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey

Open Letter to the Socialist Workers Party on the Unite Snap Election to Re-elect Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey

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Published by Gerald J Downing
Dear Comrades of the SWP Unite faction,
We understand you are meeting this Sunday 16th December to decide what attitude to take in this snap election. You have three options before you.
1. To back Jerry Hicks, the second placed rank-and-file candidate last time around in 2010, whom you supported at the time.
2. To stand your own Candidate or
3. Back Len McCluskey, the incumbent
Dear Comrades of the SWP Unite faction,
We understand you are meeting this Sunday 16th December to decide what attitude to take in this snap election. You have three options before you.
1. To back Jerry Hicks, the second placed rank-and-file candidate last time around in 2010, whom you supported at the time.
2. To stand your own Candidate or
3. Back Len McCluskey, the incumbent

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Published by: Gerald J Downing on Dec 14, 2012
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01/04/2013

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Email: info@grassrootsleft.org Phone: 07792 966 910 Website: www.grassrootsleft.org
Dear Comrades of the SWP Unite fac-tion,
We understand you are meeting thisSunday 16
th
December to decide whatattitude to take in this snap election. Youhave three options before you.1. To back Jerry Hicks, the second placedrank-and-file candidate last time aroundin 2010, whom you supported at thetime.2. To stand your own Candidate or3. Back Len McCluskey, the incumbentand the inevitable choice of the UnitedLeft caucus, of which you are members.Like the Grass Roots Left and the major-ity of activists in Unite we are sure youdo not buy the reasons Len McCluskeygives for seeking re-election almostthree years early. Surprise, surprise hehas declared his candidature in an elec-tion he has initiated himself to suit him-self. He hopes all the direct contacts theunion FTOs have with the branches andworkplaces combined with the tightestpossible timetable will give him all thenominations he wants and make it verydifficult for any other candidate to se-cure enough to stand. It is obviously inthe good old undemocratic bureaucratictradition of Ken Jackson, Roger Lyonsand Derek Simpson; an incumbent Gen-eral Secretary seeking to use his controlof the apparatus to extend his term of office.
The main reason he gives “Freed of the
distractions of an internal election in2015, we can focus on the general elec-tion and the defeat of a Tory-led govern-ment that has done so much to under-mine the living standards of the ordi-
nary, decent people of this country” in
fact denies the membership the greatestpossible impact on that general election.
www.grassrootsleft.org
Open Letter to the Socialist WorkersParty on the Unite Snap Election to Re-elect Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey
The disgraceful Miliband slogan which Len
McCluskey had Unite’s stewards sporting ontheir hi viz vests on the first 500, 000 ‘GrandOld Duke of York’ demo on 26 March 2011.
 
 
 
Email: info@grassrootsleft.org Phone: 07792 966 910 Website: www.grassrootsleft.org
What better time to seek concessionsfrom a Labour party leadership than inan election year with Unite agitating allits members during their own election to
make demands like, “forget bankrolling
bankers, what about us and our prob-lems? Without a clear commitment tostop and reverse the cuts you will get nomore money from us to fight this elec-
tion”.
 
But McCluskey makes the bureaucrat’s
choice, he knows Shadow Chancellor Ed
Balls is another bankers’ friend and he
wants to slip him the Unite millions qui-etly and not embarrass him and Milibandby asking for anything in return. How can
we forget that “cuts too far, too fast”slogan on the Unite steward’s hi viz vests
on March 23
rd
2011 half a million demo?
He says, “Bit by bigger bit, the social fab-
ric of our nation is being ripped apart bymillionaire ministers with no compassionfor or understanding of the lives of ordi-
nary people” as if he was leading the
fight against the cuts. The direct oppo-site is the case, look at our report belowon the 12
th
November 2010 meeting inLeeds.We urge you to take the same coura-geous position you took in 2010 andback Jerry Hicks.a) He is the only creditable candidatewith any chance of getting over the firsthurdle of fifty nominations to allow himto stand. This will be far more difficultthan in 2010 as the bureaucracy has usesthe excuse of branch re-organisationeither to eliminate of merge branchesand workplaces that gave Jerry his nomi-nations in 2010 but still achievable.b) He is a rank-and file candidate openlyfighting for those policies you yourselvessupport, including, amongst others; 1)Democratise the Union, 2) Election of allUnion Officials, 3) Officials to be paidmore no more than the average workerswage.c) Openly fighting for the policies youbelieve in yourselves can only strengthenthe ranks of the union against the bu-reaucracy, a central aim of all progres-sive militants in the trade unions. Wemust set the base against the bureau-cratic leadership to advance the classstruggle.Standing your own candidate is a farworse choice. He/she will be veryunlikely to obtain sufficient nominations.If you decide to back McCluskey you willdeal a major blow to the prospects of sparking a fightback against the austerityprogramme of the ConDem Coalitionfrom the ranks of all trade unions. Youwill deal a blow to all militant trade un-ionists who are engaged in the day today struggles against the bosses andtheir apologists and defenders in the TUbureaucracies. You will in addition strikea blow against your own militants andpaper sellers and the prospects for build-ing your own intervention in Unite andother unions, of which more later. Andlastly you will strengthen the dominance
Grass Roots Left is a national group of Unitemembers and others that originated in Jerry
Hicks’ challenge for General Secretary of 
Unite in December 2010. We fight againstbureaucracy and for rank and file control of the union, challenging for all elected posi-tions and fighting for independent strikeaction where possible.
 
 
Email: info@grassrootsleft.org Phone: 07792 966 910 Website: www.grassrootsleft.org
of the right withingroups like the SocialistParty and the Alliancefor Workers Liberty
 –
 you must be awarefrom conversations withthe ranks of these or-ganisations that there istremendous unease tosay the least at whatamounts to undemo-cratic imposition of sup-port for McCluskeywithin these groups.This snap election hasforced a crucial decisionon you; it is anotherfork in the road - fur-ther right behind McCluskey or leftin defence of the working class and un-ion membership and yourown organisation in Unite.Or course you cannot take this decisionlightly. You will be conscious that if youtake either of the first two options expul-sion from the United Left is inevitable.The nature of the expulsion threat over
Sadie Robinson’s entirely reasonable
Socialist Worker article on the British
Airways dispute, ‘BA workers should re- ject shoddy deal’, in May 2011 should
leave no doubt about that. Serious criti-
cism of ‘our left
-
wing General Secretary’
is not tolerated within the UL.But if you are expelled from the UL whatthen? The GRL is an open and democ-ratic organisation with a genuine com-mitment to R+F organisation. You arewelcome to join without any other pre-conditions.We are aware of counter arguments.1. Expulsion from the UL will result inloss of NC positions and SWP influence inUnite. But,a) We would point out that Jerry Hicksgot 52,527 votes on a clear rank and fileplatform. Holding no official positionwithin the union he beat both Les Baylissand Gail Cartmel, two full time seniorofficers with all the advantages of accessto branches and assistances from offi-cials this gave them. Jerry had only hisR+F platform and record, and the com-mitment this radical programme drewfrom Unite activists and many fromother unions.b) Leslie Mansell only just failed to getelected to the EC on the same platform
 –
 a more determined campaign by ourforces alone would have secured those1,000 odd extra votes; we underestimatethe radicalisation of the membership.c) Getting elected on a clear R+F plat-form is a thousand time more politically
Balls and Miliband: But McCluskey makes the bureaucrat’schoice, he knows Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is another bankers’
friend and he wants to slip him the Unite millions quietly and notembarrass him and Miliband by asking for anything in return.
 

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