Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, November 13, 2006

An injury to one.....

Not too much comment on Brit left blogs so far on the "Fighting Unions" Conference put on by George Galloway's Respect Party at the weekend. They have a report on it here. The conference attracted a fair bit of comment in advance, with an article in the Morning Star contrasting it with the RMT's recent Rank-and-File-centred conference, and the predictable responses from Worker's Power and the AWL. The rival Socialist Party's Campaign for a New Workers' Party even saw fit to publish their correspondence with Respect on the issue. (Riveting!)

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP, largest remaining left grouping inside Respect)invested a lot of time and effort in promoting the conference. Whether this will pay off for them remains to be seen. The larger question is - what is the way forward for radical trade unionists in the current British situation? - a question which must surely be related to the key issues of how the unorganised are to be organised and how the legal restrictions on workplace actions and activities are to be overcome.

The JJB dispute puts this into some sort of perspective. Last week a scab driver injured some GMB union members on the picket line as reported in the local paper in the North West of England. Stroppyblog have also been keeping their eye on the dispute.
The British section of the IWW also report on events in the JJB dispute. Another item that caught my eye on their website was the initiative to get together rank-and-file building workers to discuss the situation as regards the 2012 Olympics projects.

Brit IWW member Dan Jakopovich has an interesting article recently posted on their website, discussing 'green unionism', with reference to US experience and Australian "Green Bans". The IWW traditions of direct action, uncompromising solidarity, organising among marginalised and precarious workers and democratic, autonomous unionism has much of value in the current re-appraisal of ways forward for workers in Britain. And speaking of environmental direct action - news on Indymedia of the ongoing actions around nuclear waste transport in Germany.

Meanwhile, the IWW's fellow radical union organisation in Sweden, the SAC, are boldly mobilising for action against the new right-wing government's welfare plans. The legal situation in Sweden is even more complicated than that in Britain, if that were possible, due to the legacy of decades of corporatism and stodgy social democracy. The SAC are using their unique position and the cracks in the law to maximum effect as reported here.

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