by Chris Kane
About 120 people attended Saturday’s conference, which was called by the RMT rail union. It was much smaller than a similar event held a few years ago and unfortunately clashed with the anti-war march and the Socialist Workers Party conference. The event itself was not built widely with a clear agenda or purpose. The contrast between the vibrant militant youth of the anti-war mobilisations and this conference could not have been greater: it was veterans of the left, mostly over forty, male and white. But there was an open and extensive debate and plenty of time was allowed for contributions from the floor.
RMT leader Bob Crow opened the event by responding to criticism by a 90 year old communist who said that “this is just a talking shop”. Crow defended it on the basis that “there is a need to talk to break down the barriers of the past”. He said that if New Labour were to found itself as a political party today there would hardly be a “trade union which would affiliate”. It was in his view a thoroughly capitalist party and could not be reclaimed: he praised John McDonnell MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP, and pointed out that when they are gone, there will be no similar people to replace them. Continue reading “report: conference on working-class political representation”