Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The retreat from class politics?

UNISON's Greater London Regional Committee today debated our response to the Con Dem Government.

We need to get activists mobilised for all the following events;

* 29 September, local protests followed by a rally at Congress Hall;
* 19 October, TUC lobby of Parliament (I would add that there will also be protests on 20 October - the day of the spending review);
* 23 October - London Regional demonstration organised by the RMT and FBU leading to a rally at Congress House;
* Saturday 26 March - TUC demonstration in Central London.

Our Regional Council officers have prepared a statement to guide campaigning activities - one phrase in that statement provoked a bit of debate today.

The statement characterised ConDem policy as an attack "on the British people as a whole."

When socialist members of the Regional Committee tried to argue that, on the contrary, those of the "British people" who are millionaires are not under attack, and that there important sections of our class in this country who may not identify with the nationalist conception of the "British people" we were told that perhaps the statement could be redrafted.

That would be good.

The statement as it was bore all the hallmarks of a particularly weird political sect (http://www.workers.org.uk/) whose slightly off-the-wall nationalism and xenophobia is at odds with the progressive policies of our trade union.

Our members may in many cases be part of the "British people" but in all cases they are part of the "working class". As a Marxist I recognise that our class identity is more important than our national identity - and that if we want to educate our members and activists then we need to start from class interest and identity.

The statement also echoes the opinions of the CPB(M-L) (a reference there for regular readers Sid and Doris Trotskyist-Trainspotter) in its support for "guerrilla action locally."

This may be an approach which finds favour with our members since Che and Castro used it to free Cuba - and Enver kept it in mind to protect Albania. Or it may not...

I wondered at the conclusion of today's meeting whether this meant I should tell branch activists to "take to the hills" (that's Brixton, Streatham and Gipsy Hills - as opposed to, say, Keith Hill) but decided, on balance that UNISON's Regional Management team in London did not mean to advocate armed struggle (even in Tirana).

I don't think we should launch witch hunts against those who belong to or support groups with whom we disagree however.

We need instead to argue our case and win arguments in favour of the militant and radical response to this Government that is now so plainly required.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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