Tuesday, 28 January 2014

No sects please, we're Labour!

Over the last few days we have seen some of those who (arrogantly in my opinion) consider themselves part of the “Vanguard”, the most “advanced thinkers of the working class” fall out over some obscure consensual sex practice. Combined with the inability of the Socialist Workers Party to understand a basic concept such as justice in its’ handling of the “delta affair” and Left Unity managing to have factions existing before their “party” was even launched shows how much time and energy is wasted amongst people who claim they want a better world.

We have seen the long term fallout of the collapse of British Maoism with the “slavery” business and not to be outdone the Socialist Party has had a bun- fight over obscure Marxist theory.

Really “comrades” you should all know better.

Frankly I do not think the leaderships of these sects (for that is what they are) can be changed, but for the rest, and those still sitting on the fence, the time has come for some serious thought on what you are doing (or not) as the case may be.

The Conservative led Government has been engaged in an offensive against the trade unions, particularly those in the public sector for the last couple of years. Currently Francis Maude is trying to persuade the various civil service departments to end the “check off” system by which union subscriptions are automatically deducted from pay at source. This arrangement which has been in place for years actually costs very little to do, so no real “savings” would be achieved by ending this arrangement. What it does do is undermine the funding of the various civil service unions and is motivated by an ideological need to reduce the membership and the influence of the unions.

Already the main PCS union has notified reps that it is undertaking a massive drive to collect subscriptions by Direct Debit” and the other unions may have to follow suit if they have not already done so. The main danger is that many members will not renew their subscriptions and membership will inevitably decline. PCS has already estimated a loss of 5% of its’ members will cost it one million pounds a year.

All this is happening now but there are other plans afoot to attack the remaining unions. The Times reported on 27th January that:

A future Conservative government is likely to introduce measures to outlaw strikes that do not have the consent of at least 50% of the workforce Boris Johnson revealed yesterday.

This would lead to a monumental change in the way ballots are conducted inside trade unions. No vote that has taken place in my own union has ever involved 50% or more of those eligible to vote, at least not the national or departmental strikes. In fact only up to a third normally vote, of whom on some occasions include more than just a few votes against. One assumes from the direction taken by Johnson that a strike could not go ahead without 50% of all members voting yes. The devil is in the detail.

Given that Governments these days do not attract the support of 50% or more of the electorate there is something a little hypocritical here. No other votes have such a requirement and this policy is simply designed to emasculate the unions. Whatever the intention the prospect of basically losing the ability to strike will remove a basic human right and leave trade union members unable in extreme circumstances to defend themselves.

That is what the Tories and the employers want.

The need to remove the Conservatives and their Liberal partners from office has never been more urgent. There is of course only one practical alternative, that of the Labour Party.

With our rights under attack and employment law going backwards the forward march of the Conservatives must be halted. That means unity in the Labour and Trade Union movement itself. We do not have the luxury of arguing about how many dialectical concepts can be balanced on the head of a pin. There are far to many activists side-lined in hopeless organisations and causes attempting to provide an alternative to Labour. They are not only failing, they are doing so badly and are detracting for the need for a major reformist government.

Its’ time frankly for those on the left to wake up to reality, place their collected works of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky back (at the bottom) of their bookshelves along with the Bibles, Torahs and Korans of this world to collect the dust they deserve and work for real reform. 

There is no possibility of revolution and where there have been in the past these have always led to brutal civil war and dictatorship. This is not what working people want.

Its' time to unite around the Labour Party.

Leave your baggage at the door, we don’t want a scenario like UKIP where all the nutters seemingly come out the woodwork. Be serious, be real, be practical.

The demand is for jobs, better wages, more homes. A decent standard of living for all. And democracy, something that most of current left seems to lack an understanding of.

Those who choose to remain on the fringes preaching hell-fire and damnation will be part of the problem.

The task ahead is to defend ourselves against the ideological offensive launched by the right. That means unity. That means Labour.

Time to be part of the solution.

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