‘full and democratic debate’: but when?

by David Broder

London’s Camden Centre was packed to the rafters on Saturday for the RMT conference on working-class political representation. The enthusiasm of its participants was, lamentably, much at odds with the dire initiative likely to be spawned by the event.


While RMT has conference policy to convene workers’ representation committees across the country to select candidates, this event, like a similar one in February, was a mere rally for the follow-up to the No2EU European election campaign. There were no resolutions or votes; there was minimal debate and no-one who had opposed or criticised No2EU was allowed to speak. As with the June election’s initiative, it seems that a small clique in the union around Bob Crow and Pat Sikorski, along with allies in the leadership of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party, will set the agenda for a General Election coalition. Continue reading “‘full and democratic debate’: but when?”

the rmt’s “no2eu” initiative

by Dave Spencer

With only two and a half months to go to the June 4th 2009 European elections, the RMT leadership have come up with a new party “No2EU – Yes to democracy”. Without a hint of irony (remember “Yes to democracy”) we are told that this “party” is for election purposes only. There will be no membership, therefore no voting for the slate of candidates needed for the election and worse still there will be no continuation of the party after the election. Indeed the whole idea has been cobbled together by the RMT, CPB and SP leaderships and will be run by them – no democratic voting by the members.

Furthermore if any “No2EU” candidate wins the election as an MEP they will not take their seat in Brussels. The voice of the British working class will not be heard in Europe. There will be no speaking tours to make links with European workers in struggle, no greetings brought to mass demonstrations and strikes, no attempt to build a new European-wide workers’ movement. No, the “No2EU” MEPs will stay at home in Britain.

And who will pay for this last minute stunt? It costs £5,000 as a deposit for each slate in each constituency. Then you need to pay for at least a million leaflets in each constituency. Presumably the RMT members are paying for it with the CPB and SP jumping on board for the ride. Continue reading “the rmt’s “no2eu” initiative”

report on oil refinery strikes meeting

by David Broder

On the evening of 13th February the Socialist Party and Respect Renewal held a joint meeting in London on the recent wildcat strikes by construction workers across Britain. Apparently the only significant meeting on the strikes taking place in the capital, the meeting was led off by Lindsey Oil Refinery strike committee member Keith Gibson (SP) and the left candidate for general secretary of the Amicus section of Unite, Jerry Hicks (RR). The meeting was a mix of interesting and informed commentary and sectarian jibes.


Speaking to a sixty-strong audience, Keith Gibson gave an interesting talk on the background to the dispute and how workers had argued that the strike was not a national or race issue, but one of class. The employer had sought to divide the workforce by keeping the Italian migrant workers on barges away from their local counterparts, and the media had played up the significance of nationalist elements, but he had been able to appeal to internationalist sentiment. When some people went to intimidate the Italian workers in the barges, strikers had broken up their demonstrations, while the BNP were chased off picket lines upon their arrival. Continue reading “report on oil refinery strikes meeting”