Analysis Breaking comment Exclusive

Exclusive: Graham allies try to organise new Unite ‘left’ to counter left EC dominance

Zoom meetings arranged in attempt to rally fans to fight left NEC majority

Unhappy at the failure of Sharon Graham’s army of paid organisers – and ‘dark money’ advertising backing candidates supportive of her – to gain a majority in the Unite union’s executive council (EC) elections, her fans are now trying to organise a new ‘left’ to muddy the waters.

A message sent by Graham-backing EC candidate Suzanne Muna – allowed to stand despite questions over her eligibility – invites ‘all’ supporters, in Orwellian terms, to two Zoom meetings to discuss the creation of an ‘Assembly for a Democratic Inclusive Left in Unite’.

And it’s no secret what the inclusion of ‘democratic’ in a group or national title can signify:

Dear All

Thank you for your interest in building a new Left in Unite. Two meetings have been organised to progress the idea. As a starting point, proposals for discussion are set out at the end of this email.

Please feel free to invite others in your network.

Existing Supporters Meeting
12 noon, Sunday 13th August
Zoom link ~ ID: 857 0337 3229 ~ Passcode: [redacted]

This meeting is for those who already understand the need for such a group and will agree the name, aims, and ideas for mobilising for the second meeting.

Assembly for a Democratic Inclusive Left in Unite
12noon, Sunday 17th September
Zoom link ~ ID: 860 0213 2467 ~ Passcode: [redacted]

This will be an open meeting to which we invite a much broader group of those who are interested in exploring the idea.

Draft Proposal For Discussion
Name: Unite Democratic Inclusive Left (UDIL)
Administration: Elect a chair, secretary, and treasurer as these will be needed to administer the group. Keep bureaucracy minimal.
Organisation: A national steering group but focus on building local organisation with regional, in-person meetings where possible.
Resources: Website (with join form), email address, Twitter and FB.
Funding: A very low level join fee from individuals, but ask branches to donate.
A democratic Left supporting and extending the Plan for Change (Sharon Graham’s manifesto).
Supporting workers in struggle and bringing our struggles together.
Supporting the organising model of trade unionism with a fighting, industrial approach
Fighting the anti-union laws.
Fighting to reverse the privatisation of public services – all fully funded.
Supporting nationalisation of key industries including all utilities, and pharmaceuticals.
Being prepared to take on any employer, including Labour councils when necessary.
Being anti-racist and standing up for equality and inclusivity.
Being anti-war and anti-militarism.
Opposing green washing.

Create a visible presence and industrial relevance through solidarity support on picket lines and demonstrations and publicise these to increase awareness of disputes.
Agree model motions and rule changes to influence union policy and operation.
Agree interventions at constitutional meetings and combines.
Agree electoral support, programmes, and where relevant, slates for elections.
I look forward to seeing you at the meetings.

All best

Suzanne Muna

Of course, the irony is that the existing left on the Unite EC has already been democratically elected, despite some questionable manoeuvres by Sharon Graham’s supporters – and of course, that mysterious ‘dark money’ advertising – and the new group is explicitly to fight them.

But Sharon Graham has already been exposed behind a ban on Unite members using Unite premises to watch films exposing the anti-democratic and vicious dealings of the Labour right and a book about the weaponisation of antisemitism to attack the actual left, so the latest ploy is unsurprising – and she allowed the decidedly anti-democratic Keir Starmer to drone deceptively at Unite conference delegates, making promises he has already broken.

And Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – of abuse, cover-up and failure to protect women:

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  1. Surely the bit in the draft proposal for organising about ‘Funding: A very low level join fee from individuals, but ask branches to donate.’ cannot be so? Would this not fall foul of the new interpretation of rule 13.7 which rules out anything political? Clearly what is political is a moving feast.

  2. ‘Oh what a mess it all does seem.
    From all factions of our union bosses.
    Meanwhile we grassroots socialist working class continue each week.
    To politicise the masses.’

      1. “Debating an idiot is like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.” 
        Anyone know who this quote comes from?

      2. Herr Flick
        Off to speak to Jamie Driscoll the morra, any advice you would like me to pass on
        Been comparing his qualities, achievements and integrity compared to the Fuhrer, it’s a bit one sided at the moment, can you contribute anything positive about the fucker

      3. Herr Flick
        Was going to throw an auld pair of skiddies on stage and get him to sign them for you, unfortunately didn’t make it down there yesterday

    1. I had recently read it when reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer (clearly not a quote from him, but not attributed). It was brought to mind by a comment In read in this thread.

  3. As an aside….

    Last night’s Cradley and Wollescote (Dudley) council by-election result:

    LDEM: 52.2% (+14.2)
    LAB: 30.5% (-8.4)
    CON: 14.0% (-5.0)
    GRN: 3.1% (-0.1)
    TUSC: 0.2% (-0.7)

    Votes cast: 2,529

    Liberal Democrat GAIN from Labour.

  4. A further aside…..

    Last night’s Meads (East Sussex) council by-election result:

    LDEM: 50.1% (+10.1)
    CON: 41.3% (-4.3)
    LAB: 4.8% (-1.1)
    GRN: 3.9% (-2.2)

    Votes cast: 3,294

    Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative.

  5. Another aside…Last night’s Freebridge Lynn (Norfolk) council by-election result:

    LDEM: 38.4% (+38.4)
    CON: 31.0% (-33.7)
    GRN: 24.0% (+4.3)
    LAB: 6.6% (-9.0)

    Votes cast: 1,741

    Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative.
    6:13 pm · 4 Aug 2023

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