Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prefer to remain anonymous?

I allow anonymous comments on this blog because I understand that many people find it too complicated to give themselves an online name.

I also know of bloggers who keep their real identity concealed for good reasons.

Although I don't post online anonymously I do not therefore criticise those who do – but there are exceptions to this rule.

I think it is unacceptable to use the cloak of anonymity to make personal criticisms of identifiable individuals.

I suppose I should declare an interest as I have been on the receiving end of some anonymous online vitriol in my time (albeit it has been pretty amateurish and poor quality stuff).

When I failed to persuade comrades to back my preferred candidate for Regional Convenor in October 2005 and therefore stood myself in February 2006 I was the target of an intemperate anonymous email.

A good trade unionist who withdrew their nomination as a Regional Council officer that year rather than be associated with such tactics told me then who was behind it. My ill-advised candidacy as Convenor was not a success. The achievements of the successful candidate are well-known and indicate only too well the likely outcome of anonymous vitriol.

Later that year, very obviously from the same stable (and – perhaps flatteringly – after I and other socialist comrades within UNISON had begun blogging) elsewhere the anonymous blogger shut up shop. Since that time some of the same venom has emerged in anonymous comments on other blogs.

To use the cloak of anonymity to make personal attacks against political opponents is the hallmark of the witch hunter. It is in particular the hallmark of those witch hunters whose conditions of employment preclude public attacks upon lay trade union activists.

It is worthy of note that there are strange (formerly) political sects who operate almost entirely anonymously (whilst energetically supporting bureaucratic manoeuvres against other socialists who have the confidence to identify themselves with their beliefs). It is of course no more than a coincidence that one particularly strange bunch share Europhobic prejudices and poorly argued antipathy to national industrial action with a number of right wingers within UNISON's Greater London Region.

These anonymous enemies of socialism and trade unionism are however as nothing to the anonymous critics of socialist trade union activist, Yunus Bakhsh, who connived and conspired to secure his dismissal whilst concealing their racist motivations. The shocking case of Yunus Bakhsh very much underlines the reasons why it is unwise to rely upon anonymous testimony which cannot be tested by cross examination.

As the next round of NEC elections approach within UNISON it is to be expected that those who lack the honesty and self-confidence to identify themselves in public with their own views will step up their vitriol against socialists who seek a more effective trade union to defend our members' interests.


Anonymous said...

None of your links work

From an anon ;)

Anonymous said...

Jon - the first few links you've put in don't seem to go anywhere?

Anonymous said...

What you have written is utter dross! Some trade unioinists have to remain anonymous because the very people you hold up as angels of socialism are indeed rotten bullies.Just because you have a different view than the SWP or Socialist Party dosent mean you have to be intimidated or threatened as a member of Unison.I have always personally found you to be honest, open and willing to engage with all views in the union.However the perception at times is that you seem to support the hard left on every issue then dismiss others as "the right wing" view.We are an open democratic union in Unison, we are all trade unionists, we have far more enemies ready to attack us including the tories who want to scrap our pensions and slash our NHS. You would probably conclude Labour at times as an enemy too, we need to rally and harness all views not just slant it one way and make out the "others" are an enemy within, that just helps the union busters.Come on Jon try and at least represent all members views not just your Socialist angels.