Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/333/5624

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 February 2004

Trade Union Left Convention

THE ISSUES being debated by the RMT are likely to surface at the Convention of the Trade Union Left, which takes place the day after the RMT special conference.

Originally the Convention was called in the name of the Socialist Alliance (SA) but organisers later claimed the: "convention has nothing to do with the Socialist Alliance."

The stated aim of the 'Convention' is to discuss issues like "who should we vote for at the next elections? What can we do about the state of political representation for trade unionists [and]... the question of the political fund".

The Socialist Party believes there is a pressing need for the trade union Left to come together and debate these issues, particularly given what's happening with the FBU and RMT. But we feel that the primary responsibility for organising this rests with the new Left union leaders - collectively known as the awkward squad.

Regrettably, many of these leaders still claim it is possible to 'reclaim the Labour Party'. But this assertion flies in the face of the evidence of recent weeks with Blair's pushing through top-up tuition fees and the Hutton whitewash.

The Left union leaders, even the best ones, are unable or reluctant to square up to the reality of New Labour being an openly pro-capitalist party. They are not drawing the necessary conclusion that a new mass workers' party is needed. This has left an enormous vacuum on the left of British politics and trade unionism.

The SA is incapable of filling this vacuum, as some of their leaders recently admitted at the Respect Unity Coalition (RUC) founding rally. SA leaders signalled in their statements signing up to the RUC that they believe the SA has not developed because socialist ideas are not yet popular enough with working-class people and the electorate generally.

But, as the Socialist Party has modestly demonstrated, where a base for socialist ideas is properly built then socialists can beat Labour. Five Socialist Party councillors in Coventry and Lewisham demonstrate this.

New workers' party

THE NEED for a new workers' party to give a political voice to trade unionists and to give a real choice for workers at elections has never been greater. And, a meeting of rank-and-file trade unionists can play a useful role, even without the presence or support of the union leaders, if it is representative and if it draws clear conclusions.

Unfortunately, given the previous experience of the Socialist Workers Party-dominated Socialist Alliance, the meeting's aim of just 'debating' the issues will not take the struggle for workers' political representation forward.

The issue of a mass workers' alternative will become ever more pressing. It will no doubt dominate large sections of this year's union conferences. At these most union leaders, with a few notable exceptions, will be fighting tooth and nail to retain their union's link with Labour.

New Labour's marketisation of health and education, their commitment to letting the market rip in all areas of the economy has produced a boiling, angry mood amongst workers throughout Britain.

The mood of the rank and file of the trade unions is far to the left of most of the union's local and national leadership on breaking from Labour.

Most workers cannot see why their unions continually fund a bosses' party and will increasingly be demanding something more decisive than just debates about the issue.

The SA Convention, however, will be used by some union leaders as an opportunity to sound off on the issues rather than their being pressed to organise a genuinely representative conference.

Union leaders like Bob Crow of the RMT and Mark Serwotka of the PCS need to put their full weight and authority behind a genuine conference which will inspire the millions of workers looking for a left alternative to Labour that at last something concrete is being done.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 February 2004:


War and occupation

No More Lies

War Crimes and Whitewashes

We demand a real investigation

BBC Workers Angry At Hutton Attacks


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

The Trade Unions And The Labour Party

Trade Union Left Convention

Civil Service Strike: Around the Picket Lines

Strike threat forces negotiations in civil service pay battle

Leicester Lecturers On Indefinite Strike

Stop These Council Cuts


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil - Movement For A New Workers' Party Is Launched

Venezuela: Workers Struggle Against Reaction


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 February 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleThe end of the Tories?

RMT:

triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads

triangleGig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Socialist Party:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2