Wednesday, December 23, 2015
A century on... ...we need to learn the lessons of our own past
This link is to a leaflet issued one hundred years ago when workers on the Clyde were trying to organise in the absence of any legal right not to be unfairly dismissed (which right was more than fifty years in their future) and in the teeth of collaboration between their officials and the wartime Government.
Workers then recognised that the law was a weapon of the ruling class which could be used against the workers - and that its use could disarm the officials of their own trade unions. Our movement may have forgotten that lesson in the 1980s but our adversaries most certainly did not.
The 1980s gave us the restrictive legal framework, our persistent compliance with which has encouraged another Tory Government to augment.
Workers now need to recognise that compliance with the law is the obedience of fools (the same obedience which the same fools show when they follow the lead of those timid officials). The best of us are those who fail to comply with unjust laws, and who claim our Union for its members (rather than obeisance to our officials and, behind them, the state).
If trade unionism is to survive in the twenty first century as a meaningful tool to defend the interests of working people it is the spirit of the Clyde Workers' Committee which we need to recapture.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.