‘uncaptive minds’ forum on the grunwick strike, 24th november

The next of our ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on class struggle in the 1970s will take place from 6:30pm on Monday 24th November.

The subject of the meeting will be the 1976-77 dispute at the Grunwick film processing labs in North West London. It was a strike mainly involving Asian women workers and which found solidarity from other trade unionists, notably posties who refused to deliver Grunwick’s mail.

We will be showing a new film about the strike, and Pete Firmin from Brent Trades Council will also be giving a talk.

The meeting will be held in central London – email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to find out the venue.

films shown at last night’s meeting on the ucs occupation

The latest of our ‘uncaptive minds‘ forums on class struggle in the 1970s was held last night (Monday 10th November), featuring discussion of the 1971-72 work-in at the Upper Clydeside shipyards, occupied by the workforce in response to the mass redundancies threatened by the Tory government.

Chris Kane gave a talk outlining the dispute, with particular reference to the contradictory role of the Communist Party both in mobilising via its shop-stewards and in terms of keeping the struggle ‘respectable’ and wedded to the conservatism of the TUC leadership and Labour Party. Rather than attempting to spread the struggle and build solidarity with other workers and other shipyards, the leaders of the strike hoped to win over public opinion through continuing to work in a ‘disciplined’ fashion while the yards were occupied. Chris said this was in many ways parallel to the feeble Communist strategy in the west of Scotland during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

The discussion amongst participants in the meeting raised several points relevant to today’s struggles, including rank-and-file control of disputes; the value of the occupation tactic and need to pose the question of ownership; and the need to find solidarity from other workers, particularly in an age of global capital where production can easily be moved around the world.

We also watched two films about the struggle, both produced by the activist film team of Cinema Action. They are available to watch online, but only in educational establishments and libraries. For the 1971 film UCS 1 click here, and for clips of the 1977 film Class struggle: film from the Clyde click here.

The next forum will take place on Monday 24th November, a film showing and discussion on the Grunwick strike, with Pete Firmin from Brent Trades Council. The venue is in central London: email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more info.

report of justice for the shrewsbury pickets rally

by Chris Kane

Two hundred people, overwhelmingly workers,  packed out the London Welsh Centre in a rally demanding justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets, the six building workers jailed by the state in 1972. Ricky Tomlinson, the well known actor, got two years and Des Warren three years. They were the victims of a conspiracy by the Tory government, construction companies and security services. The show trial was then the longest case in British legal history.

The speakers on Monday evening were Ricky Tomlinson, an activist in the national building workers’ strike of 1972,  Terry Renshaw of UCATT – another activist who only narrowly escaped prison due to a error by the Police – and former leader of the NUM Arthur Scargill. 

Continue reading “report of justice for the shrewsbury pickets rally”

film showing 10th november: the upper clydeside occupation

The next of our ‘uncaptive minds’ discussion forums on 1970s class struggle will feature a film showing about the Upper Clydeside dispute of 1971, where workers staged a fourteen-month-long work-in as a protest against the Tories’ planned shipyard closures.

As well as showing the 1971 Cinema Action film UCS 1 and sections of their 1977 film Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde (total running length: 36 minutes), we will be discussing the lessons of this important dispute in relation to the occupation and work-in tactic, trade union bureaucracy and the role of the Communist Party in the labour movement of the day.

The meeting is being held on Monday 10th November, from 6:30pm. The venue is in central London. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to find out where it is, and to find out more information about our discussions.

If you’d like a Word file with the leaflet for the meeting, click here.

27th october meeting on 1972 building workers’ strike

In the aftermath of the 1972 building workers’ strike, police raided homes and took away men who were tried and jailed on “conspiracy” charges.

Among them were Ricky Tomlinson, now a successful actor, and Des Warren, who served his full three years and suffered from Parkinsons Disease as a result of drugs administered in prison. Des died of pneumonia on April 24, 2004, aged 66.

The “Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets” campaign is for an inquiry into the convictions, with all the official papers to be opened, and a reversal of the so-called guilt.

Chair – Mick Dooley,
Speakers – Ricky Tomlinson, Arthur Scargill, Terry Renshaw

Meeting from 7:30pm, Monday 27th October, at the Welsh Club, 157-163 Grays Inn Road, London WC1 (Russell Square/King’s Cross).

pdf of leaflet for meeting

strategy for industrial struggle

We have published a new pamphlet ‘strategy for industrial struggle’, a reprint of a 1971 solidarity pamphlet with a new introductory essay by Chris Kane.

The solidarity pamphlet explores different forms of working-class action (strikes; occupations and sit ins; sabotage; work-to-rules and go-slows; etc.) and looks at how different tactics used relate to rank-and-file involvement and control over struggles. Similarly, Chris’s introduction examines the lessons and relevance of these ideas for today, and stresses the centrality of self-organisation, democracy, and resistance to the conservatism of the trade union bureaucracies when faced with draconian anti-union laws.

The 24-page pamphlet, the third we have produced, costs £1, or you can click here to download it: industrialstrugglepamphlet.pdf

If you would like to be posted a printed copy of the pamphlet, email us at uncaptiveminds@googlemail.com or write to The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY

last night’s meeting on the 1970 leeds clothing workers’ strike

by Chris Ford

Twenty-seven people attended the Uncaptive Minds forum last night for the exclusive showing of Leeds-United!, the 1974 Play for Today BBC film made by Roy Battersby, dramatising the story of the 20,000-strong Leeds clothing workers’ strike of 1970.  The vast majority of the audience were trade unionists, with members of RMT, UNISON, UCU, UNITE, CWU, NUJ and PCS present. Continue reading “last night’s meeting on the 1970 leeds clothing workers’ strike”

cob announces 45 day truce with bolivian government

la paz, august 13 – translated from the spanish from www.econoticiasbolivia.com

This Tuesday evening the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB) announced a 45 day truce in its struggle to win a new welfare system for pensions, but warned that it would begin mobilisations again if the Evo Morales Government did not keep his end of the bargain. Continue reading “cob announces 45 day truce with bolivian government”