Unite’s support for Ed Miliband in the Labour leadership contest has backfired in spectacular fashion, as ‘Red Ed’ calls in the rozzers to investigate allegations of malpractice against the union in regard to the choice of Labour candidate in the Falkirk by-election.
That election was itself precipitated by the conviction of the incumbent Labour MP, the self-described ‘New Labour’ man Eric Joyce, on a charge of common brawling in the Westminster bar. This paragon of law-abiding virtue has now availed himself of the columns of the Guardianto berate Unite for its “amateur, hubristic and irresponsible actions” in allegedly rigging the candidate selection process, whilst Miliband himself repays Unite’s unflagging support by unveiling plans to scrap the right of unions to automatically sign up union members as Labour party members, instead requiring that aspiring party members actively opt in to membership.
So it is that Miliband, whose own elevation to a leading position in any large organisation could only conceivably be explained by a prevailing culture of degeneracy and bureaucratic sclerosis, is now posing as a champion of transparency and accountability!
If Miliband’s craven eagerness to demonstrate his party’s immunity to influence from the organised working class actually translates into a weakening of the bonds that mutually sustain the labour-aristocratic union leaderships and the Labour imperialists, this can only be heartily welcomed by class-conscious workers.
The real scandal in Falkirk is not whether or not Unite packs Labour wards in order to lever its chums onto the parliamentary gravy train. The real scandal is the fact that Unite has squandered getting on for £9m of its members’ hard-earned subs on propping up the Labour party – and that’s just in the period since Miliband took over.
Many of the union leaders who are giving their ‘support’ to the People’s Assembly, and who will certainly expect to have a deciding say in whatever it does, are supporting Labour’s austerity plans.
Unite’s Len McCluskey said: “If Ed Miliband continues in this vein, then we will win working people back to Labour.” He even endorsed Ed’s forced labour scheme, offering to “bring these promises to life”.
Such statements by leading trade unionists show what a blatant fraud the PA is. Far from being a “national forum for anti-austerity views”, developing a “strategy for resistance to mobilise millions of people”, the Assembly is being conjured into life merely to help get the anti-worker, pro-austerity imperialist Labour party elected in 2015.
As if to prove the point, the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition (StW), who wrecked the anti-war movement in the service of the Labour party, have now moved on to the PA for a repeat performance.
In 2003, 2 million people demonstrated in the hopes of stopping the Iraq war – the biggest demonstration London had ever seen. StW was supposed to be the umbrella organisation that would bring about the unity necessary to stop the war. What it actually did was to ensure that the mass response to the war was as muted and ineffective as possible.
First, the leaders flatly refused [despite the members voting for it] to organise any action to disrupt or sabotage the ruling class’s war effort (such as urging rail unions not to transport weaponry or media unions not to transmit war propaganda).
Is this what we want for our anti-cuts movement? If you call a plumber to fix a leak and instead he floods your house, would you hire him again?
We need to do better than this if we’re going to defend ourselves against this all-out attack by the ruling class.
A real people’s assembly is a soviet - a council of workers deputies. It is a body of workers who come together to represent the real interests of workers, and to fight for them.
The ‘People’s Assembly’ as planned is nothing but a political sausage mincer aimed at turning all our anti-austerity anger into a monopoly-capital-friendly Labour party government – which will give us yet another dose of misery and exploitation once elected.
Meanwhile, John Rees (or one of his friends) has already written the ‘declaration‘ that the Assembly delegates will be ‘asked’ to ‘endorse’ on Saturday. So what exactly will they be talking about all day??