Friday, 26 April 2013
TUC- the Useless congress
This week the NSSN lobbied the TUC general council and again made the appeal for a 24 hour general strike which would be the start of rolling action not simply that and nothing else which is what some ultra left’s think we are calling for. It would only be a start. But given that at the most the TUC would call a one day of controlled militancy with a very top down approach are our attempts to lobby this bureaucratic body really having an affect? No doubt more know about the ideas of a 24 hour general strike now it is still largely misunderstood I think and many rank-and-file union members are still unaware of the in’sand out’s of what it would actually mean. I still don’t feel we have explained what it would mean very well despite a number of comrades best efforts. We are simply to small to gain that amount of influence within work places. We do some excellent work but I do think we are missing a trick by only appealing to union tops and most of which are right wing union leaders very few are left union leaders those that are do a good job but are still wedded to the bureaucracy despite their best rhetoric. The simple truth is that the TUC is there deliberately as a block on workers taking action I can see this very clearly so I can fully understand comrades frustration when lobbying some very well to do union leaders. In my view it should be the rank-and-file we should be looking to win over to build and support action from below to go beyond the structures of the TUC if need be. Only by forcing action will union leaders take note if you’re simply appealing for them to lift their tiny finger a slight bit it may happen but asking them to take subsequent follow up action would be even harder. Their answer will be we’ve gone out on strike once and we did not win so we can’t win. Much like on November the 30th many union tops will say we went on strike and the government didn’t back down. Well no they didn’t as many of you sold out and thought it was more about damage limitation than actually trying to win. The old saying if you don’t fight you can’t win but if you do fight at least you got a chance to win is very apt today. I don’t think we should have one strategy of simply lobbying the TUC every few months its clear its not having much affect at all despite my part the socialist party thinking it is I see very little evidence for this. I do think we have the tendency to talk up a situation being better than it is sometimes I think its sub continues that we’d like to think we’re far stronger than we actually are. This is not very Marxist as we are always told to tell things how they are and if we are not very strong we should recognise that fact. Then if you recognise where you are you can then start to build from there not from where you’d like to be. Union density especially in the private sector is terrible and calling for a general strike when most of the population are not in a union may draw more towards you but could also alienate many too if we’re not careful. The way this is posed is very important. Considering only 6 million out of a working population of millions more could create more divisions than unity if it is not carefully explained and won over the best layer of workers who can bring their colleagues along with the on any action. I don’t think lobbying the TUC is a total dead end it can be a good propaganda tool to bring militant workers towards us but many will soon come to see the difficulties I feel as I have done now. I will always support our actions but have now realised their limitations and difficulties. The fact is the TUC is not a vehicle for struggle like it once may well have been the TUC takes in militant workers and tries to pay them off into comfortable positions of bureaucracy where they are watered down and restrained from action. It takes a strong vanguard with an organised cadre of militants to gain any affect. At present our rank-and-file movements are far too weak to call any action on our own at this stage. Deepening our links and our influence in unions should be our priority winning positions but also gaining influence among the rank-and file should be key to rebuilding the trade union movement. I meet many young people especially who do not even know what a trade union actually is and often believe the views of the capitalist media that all unions do is go on strike and disrupt things. Well that is just one side of them and knowing the actual background is just not there for many. It’s our job to re educate the class to popularise the ideas of struggle once again. Explain what unions can do for you and how you can fight within them for change. Unlike the labour party unions can be reclaimed for their members as the all be it limited democratic structures in some unions do still exist today. This will not be a short term fix and there will be moves forward and backwards in the struggle but winning back our unions is key. Working outside the TUC structures must not be ruled out either the working class when blocked off on one route can take any number of other routes to fightback we should not dismiss this if it happens but look to be there when they do move and look to arm workers with ideas of socialism and what is needed at each stage. Workers will come to their own conclusions no doubt so a calm patient tone is always necessary. But certainly I can fully understand many workers dis-trust and even anger at the TUC and its representatives it’s been a long time since they have represented workers. For us to appeal to that can feel very disheartening but it’s a means to an end not an end in itself which is why I haven’t completed written it off. We will have to see if from under pressure any action is called the pressure is building from below no doubt and union leaders may have to act to let the steam off from below. But this can be done in many ways. One thing is for certain workers are waking up slowly and will look for their traditional structures at first if they are not there or not working for them several options will present themselves. We must support them all the way if we are to win influence and ultimately change society towards a socialist society.