Thursday, September 27, 2012

More than just a walk in the park

With protesters fighting running battles with police in the streets of Athens and Madrid, while the attacks on working class living standards provoking such strife are also biting in the UK, it's possible to dismiss the 20 October demonstration (http://www.unison.org.uk/20102012/) as a timid and inadequate response from our movement.



Possible, but wrong.



The UK labour and trade union movement is timid, particularly (with some exceptions) at the top. Our leaders can, however, be roused to call for action - and the stronger the response to their call for the 20 October demonstration the better we will be able to rouse them.



The bigger and better the demonstration the more it will give heart to activists who are taking a brutal battering as the tidal wave of spending cuts washes away thousands upon thousands of jobs. There is a problem of morale at the base of our movement as much as there is at the top. We are not (yet?) witnessing a strike wave in opposition to these savage attacks.



Whilst street fighting makes better television, and there will be those who see a large demonstration as the occasion to expose the repressive nature of the police, the outcome we need from 20 October is not so much headlines as picket lines. That requires that we build the confidence of the rank and file and of the leadership.



The first faltering steps towards political strike action taken at this year's TUC may or may not lead anywhere, but the objective circumstances exist for coordinated strike action over pay as they did over pensions. Our subjective ability to take such action will depend now to some extent upon 20 October.



We therefore need to step up our mobilisation for 20 October - and could now do with publicity materials from UNISON which don't appear designed to appeal primarily to Imelda Marcos...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

No comments: