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UNITE: Support a grass roots challenge!

LEN McCLUSKEY AND HIS RIGHT WING CHALLENGER Gerard Coyne want to present the Unite General Secretary election as a two-horse race. They don’t want a grassroots challenge from the left, making it harder for McCluskey to tack right, preventing Coyne hoovering up all discontent, and at the same time engaging members uninspired by the two establishment candidates.

I am the only candidate:

  • arguing for workers’ rights to go where we please and be treated equally wherever we go
  • unequivocally against Trident and for a million climate jobs instead
  • with practical proposals to improve communication and organising, based on the experience of over 25 years as a workplace activist in a difficult industry, where I have led a number of successful strikes.

A Labour leader supporting workers in struggle, standing up for workers’ rights and human rights, opposing cuts and privatisation, and opposing military adventures ought to be a source of inspiration and confidence. Instead, McCluskey’s supporters are harnessing the desire to defend Corbyn for Project Fear.

McCluskey is a fair weather friend to Corbyn. McCluskey originally backed Burnham, not Corbyn. Unite’s support in internal Labour elections isn’t enough when McCluskey is undermining him on policy, from Trident to free movement, and repeatedly puts question marks against Corbyn’s leadership. Unite should do more to campaign and fight over policy now, to shift the agenda off Westminster intrigues and onto the many issues where Corbyn has massive support and could improve in the polls.

A Coyne leadership would turn back the clock. Politically, he is backed by the Labour right. Industrially, his proposals reflect the failed model of trade unionism that sees members as passive customers to be serviced, rather than the source of collective power.

How big a threat is Coyne? The spectre of ‘splitting the vote’ has been used in every previous election. Jerry Hicks, who is supporting me in this election, came second in the previous two elections. Does McCluskey’s camp really see Coyne as such a threat? If the right is so strong, why did McCluskey gamble our union by forcing this unnecessary election? Why hasn’t McCluskey backed my call for hustings in every region, open to all Unite members, and livestreamed so that members can join debates unfiltered by a hostile media? Given the scale of the attacks from employers and government, members deserve more than a choice between turning the clock back with Coyne or more of the same with McCluskey.

  • For more information on the campaign, see http://www.ian4unite.org, https:// twitter.com/ian4unite and https://www. facebook.com/ian4unite/. To donate to the campaign, see https://donorbox.org/ ian4unite

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