The Socialist Party (the remains of the old Militant Tendency) is the main player in the hallowed corridors of PCS HQ in Falcon Road, and yet the latest edition of it's newspaper The Socialist does not even mention the dispute. Instead we are treated to an editorial which tries to persuade us that the current Coalition Government is on its' last legs and requires "just one more push" to coin a phrase.
The comrades excitedly tell us that:
The trade union and anti-cuts movement needs to take heart from the divided, weak state of its enemy, and launch a massive campaign to defeat it.
This government is implementing the most brutal austerity in 80 years, but it is clear that a mass campaign could defeat it.
The need for a 24-hour general strike, as the next step in that campaign, has never been clearer.
Yet actually this isn't the case. The Coalition may have had a fallout with some of its redneck back- benchers over the question of same-sex marriages, but that arguments over and will all be forgotten in a few weeks. The Government may not be riding high in the opinion polls or have the complete confidence amongst a layer of its' own supporters but the Coalition will likely continue until the next General Election.
The idea that a 24 hour General Strike will help bring down the Government is ludicrous and even the authors of that shrill editorial can't really believe that can they? Of course they don't. Its an old trotskyist trick of making demands that cannot be met, then seeking to blame the mainstream Labour and Trade Union leaders by accusing them of selling out blah, blah..... if only... you get the drift.
What they actually hope to do is recruit of few of the more gullible individuals who get attracted by this kind of "millennial" talk and "build the party" as the comrades call it. The Socialist Party has all the trappings of a cult at the end of the day.
The reality of the situation is that there is no groundswell of support on the ground amongst "the workers" for any such thing. For starters none of the private sector unions would consider the General Strike as an option and the public sector is clearly divided. Only the leadership of PCS (the one union the Socialist Party controls) is set on such a course and even the more militant of the teaching unions has narrowly rejected a strike next month over much more limited aims.
The only support they can count on is that of the other left wing sects. However as we have seen over the last few weeks the only other group of any significance is currently tearing itself apart over "rape allegations". It didn't stop today's Socialist Worker from calling for action but none of their major trade union figures in PCS seemed to be available for comment. Instead we hear from some minor Socialist Worker Party supporters in PCS about "how essential this strike is".
Rest assured there will not be a General Strike, but the PCS may get a dispute going on the basis of a small minority of its' members. They may get the NUT Executive to change it's mind over industrial action but it'll be too late to link up with PCS.
Meanwhile those of us who represent union members in the real world will get on with the job of looking after members.
They really have to go you know!