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:

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Why Labour and Plaid councils must set no-cuts budgets

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Do Trump's antics make nuclear war more likely?

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Iran in turmoil

triangleCardiff Central Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

Labour:

triangleCarillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangleOutrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The state - a warning to the labour movement

RMT:

triangleRMT rail members buoyed by coordinated action

triangleStrike against driver-only operation on five rail networks

triangleAnti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

Socialist Party:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Pay Up Now - Public sector workers need a pay rise!

triangleSalford Socialist Party: The Russian revolution betrayed

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

1/1/18

Capitalism

2018: more upheavals loom

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

triangle10 Jan Strike wins biggest pay rise in ten years

triangle10 Jan Movement of workers and youth challenges Iranian regime

triangle10 Jan Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's...

More ...

triangle16 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'Bad Art' - socialist struggle in the arts

triangle16 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: Building socialism in Cardiff in 2018

triangle17 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Planning for 2018

triangle17 Jan Salford Socialist Party: Housing crisis - the socialist solution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

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