Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/917/23602

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 September 2016

Film review: Blacklisted

A film about power, the organisations who wield it and the people who fought back

The Blacklist Support Group with Unite the Union's giant rat, photo by Socialist Party

The Blacklist Support Group with Unite the Union's giant rat, photo by Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) chair

"No justice! No Peace!" rings out from a megaphone-wielding Dave Smith in the middle of a flashmob protest in Oxford Street, with the banner of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) in the background. This is the opening scene of the new documentary 'Blacklisted - a film about power, the organisations that wield it and the people who fought back'.

The film intersperses interviews from blacklisted construction workers with 'Reel News' footage from many of the protests in recent years. Especially those against the blatant blacklisting of construction workers such as Frank Morris and the victorious struggle of 'the sparks' - construction electricians in 2011-12 - against the infamous Besna contract that would have cut wages by 35%.

The film by Tom Wood from Reel News was premiered at the 'Blacklisting, Bullying & Blowing the Whistle' conference that took place in the University of Greenwich starting on 16 September, where speakers included Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell alongside blacklisted workers.

Undercover police

It follows on from the book co-authored by Dave Smith and investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain - 'Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists'.

The film and the updated book also bring into view the role of the state in colluding with the bosses as well as the undercover policing which is the subject of the Pitchford Inquiry.

The predecessor of the Socialist Party, the Militant was targeted by police in this way along with the blacklisted workers, environmental and anti-racist campaigners.

Blacklisted workers open up about the suffering they and their families faced over decades of being excluded from the industry. Brian Higgins compared it to being "like house arrest" because of the lack of money.

Exposed

The film exposes how the major construction company Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd spent 20,000 in creating the 'Consulting Association' which kept a list of known union activists that workers would be checked against for a fee.

Over 40 companies used the 'service'.

Steve Acheson explained how he hadn't been phoned by any agency for ten years. Often, these workers were targeted for merely being health and safety reps, which of course cut into profits.

John Bryan remembered how one company had employed a 'heavy' to try and intimidate union reps - "I am Mal... Animal." However, he subsequently lost a finger through working unsafely!

The association was raided by government officials in 2009 after being tipped off by a whistleblower. But it took a further seven years to get anything that looked like justice after a heroic campaign from the blacklisted workers and their supporters around the Blacklist Support Group, which was set up in the aftermath of the raid.

The historic 75 million settlement won by the workers and their unions - Unite, Ucatt and GMB - represents a huge victory but is only a fraction of what is really owed in terms of lost wages over years and decades. The fight for real justice, to secure employment and unionise the sites is still ongoing.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 21 September 2016:


What we think

Battle lines drawn: build a real mass party of the 99%


Socialist Party news and analysis

All Greater Manchester firefighters face sack

Hinkley Point C: wasteful, dangerous and polluting

NHS care rationing already rife

Bosses' bonus billions bonanza

Provocateur accusation against Met police spy

School sexism

Zero-hour zealots: Guardian and Center Parcs


Socialist Students

New Tory attacks on Higher Education - a programme to fight back

Socialist Students: setting out our stall...


Socialist Party feature

After TUC congress 2016: Mobilise the anger!


Workplace news and analysis

Thousands of Post Office workers strike

Film review - 'Blacklisted'

Tube strike over management bullying

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Libya: imperialist intervention helped wreck country and revolution

#JobstownNotGuilty trials begin


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Uncovering the class struggle behind the Rebecca Riots

Iconic nightclub Fabric closes doors - another victim of austerity?

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

#KeepCorbyn campaign reports

"I've had enough - it's time to fight back"

Fightback is on to save NHS heart services

Tamil Solidarity demands refugee rights

Sheffield mental health services to lose council funding

Disgraceful decision to close vital Bradford day centre


 

Home   |   The Socialist 21 September 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Film:

triangleFilm Review: Moxie

triangleJudas and the Black Messiah - taste of Fred Hampton's politics, with lessons for fighting oppression today

triangleFilm Review: The White Tiger

triangleFilm Review: Dear Comrades!

triangleTV review: Red, White and Blue

Review:

triangleTV review: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain

triangleTV Review: It's a Sin

triangleBook Review: Humankind - Dispelling the myth that humans are too selfish for socialism

triangleReview: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England

Workers:

triangleCapitalism discriminates against us - Disabled people fighting for our rights

triangleBus workers protest Go-Ahead's 'fire and rehire'

triangleThurrock bin workers solid in strike against pay cuts

Construction:

triangleSparks' protest in Cardiff; each week the protest has grown. Sparks are protesting nationally against the role of construction electricians being deskilled. Photo by Rachel Barwell

triangleDeskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

14/4/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

7/4/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

31/3/21

Labour Party

Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!

31/3/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

31/3/21

Women

Women, violence and defiance

31/3/21

Council

Socialist Liverpool City Council inspired me

24/3/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

24/3/21

Film

Film Review: Moxie

17/3/21

Film

Judas and the Black Messiah - taste of Fred Hampton's politics, with lessons for fighting oppression today

10/3/21

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

10/3/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

24/2/21

Review

Film Review: The White Tiger

24/2/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

24/2/21

LGBT

Tories tout toilet tensions

24/2/21

LGBT

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999