United fronts today (1)

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Tom Kay’s “The united front in theory and practice” (March SR) was excellent and timely. United front work is not merely vital for revolutionaries, but equal in status to party-building. Without significant participation in left movements and campaigns, sect-like tendencies can creep in.

United fronts are forums for proving, to ourselves as much as to others, that we are totally committed to winning reforms. Equally, to be successful they must allow us to argue for pushing further in order to achieve a decisive shift in power towards our class. But there is a downside. They are almost impossible to get right in practice. In the UK united fronts against fascism and racism have been the success story of the past 40 years. But more coverage of the reasons for the limited success of others (eg the Socialist Alliance and Respect) would be useful.

Also, because individuals can adopt a variety of approaches to this work, we should be clear that lurid references to “dragging the reformist leaders from their asylums” apply to those we could never work with (eg Blair) and not those we could (eg Corbyn).