protest by bmw/mini workers at cowley

report and photos by David Broder

A picket of the BMW-owned Mini factory in Cowley, near Oxford, was called for six o’clock this morning in response to last week’s sudden laying-off of 850 agency staff. The workers were informed that they had lost their jobs just one hour before the end of their last shift – provoking outrage at both management and the UNITE union, who colluded in keeping the affair a secret for the last three weeks. This sleight of hand was a blatant effort to stop workers effectively reacting to their redundancy, for example by occupying the plant as some workers suggested.

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Today’s protest received a small degree of media coverage, after the widespread circulation last week of a video of workers confronting the union officials who had sold them down the river, such as site convenor Bernard Moss who told the Oxford Mail : “The problem we had was that we were under clear instruction we could not give out any information until the company said so. That caused a lot of concern from the workforce over the last couple of weeks. Although we are a trade union, we are employed by the company. If they give out an instruction, it would be a brave person to defy that. These days not many people would support a shop steward if he was sacked.” Clearly Moss has none too great an idea of the word ‘solidarity’ or the actual purpose of a trade union. Continue reading “protest by bmw/mini workers at cowley”

the origins of the movement for workers’ councils in germany

Ninety years ago the German working class unseated the Kaiser and the military establishment with a series of strikes and mutinies which brought World War I to a close.

Conscripted sailors and soldiers created strike committees, and then joined with industrial workers to create workers’ councils akin to the soviets which existed during the Russian revolution. These enjoyed extensive working class participation and in some cities held power: but over the subsequent five year revolutionary wave the working class was time and again crushed by the Social Democrats and the right-wing troops it could call upon to defend capital.

For our latest pamphlet we have reprinted a seventy-year old pamphlet on the workers’ council movement produced by the Dutch GIK (Group of International Communists) accompanied by the autobiography of leading GIK member Jan Appel (a participant in the revolution and the commandeering of a ship) along with a chronology of the German revolution.

Printed copies cost £1 each – email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com or write to The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY.

click here for pdf

kapd documents in ‘ideas’

Introduction by Chris Ford

The following two texts are from the Communist Workers’ Party of Germany (KAPD).  The KAPD is mostly known through the critique written by Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism – An Infantile Disorder, aimed at the KAPD amongst others.   As result the KAPD are often simply dismissed amongst the traditional left as “anarchists” and “ultra-left”.  In fact the KAPD were none of these things:  they were a mass communist party and played a key role in the German Revolution. Continue reading “kapd documents in ‘ideas’”