Unions & politics

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins from the early communist movement and today

Whole publication as pdf Introduction: agitate, educate, organise Producing Tubeworker Leafleting on the Manchester Ship Canal "Workers can't write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory" Essential tools (by Leon Trotsky) Extracts from a factory newspaper (Germany, early 1920s) A factory bulletin by Vladimir Lenin "Factory newspapers riled the employers from the beginning" Images from the factory bulletins

Howie Hawkins interview, part 2: "We need a left party that organises in the unions"

Howie Hawkins, a socialist running in the US presidential election on the ticket of the Green Party, spoke to Stephen Wood from Solidarity. Part 1 of this interview was in Solidarity 567. Workers’ Liberty backs Hawkins in the election. Bernie Sanders, during the Democratic primaries, was clear about his policies. But it looks like now he’s making almost no demands on Biden? Bernie Sanders is saying if we get Joe Biden in there, we can push him. But in the course of this campaign, he’s compromised on his signature issue, Medicare for All. He went on MSNBC and said: I’m willing to compromise to...

Why American unions back Biden

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is “lamentable”, “utterly useless”, a “creep” and a “shit”. Those are not the words of Donald Trump, but they are all used in an article in this newspaper last week. The author of that article, it seems, does not like Joe Biden. He prefers that American workers throw their support behind the little-known candidate of the Green Party, Howie Hawkins. American trade unionists have a rather different view of the former Vice President. They are throwing everything they have into ensuring a massive voter turnout and a convincing win for Biden – especially...

Labour, capital and the ACTU’s reconstruction plan

A review of Australian Unions. Australia’s economic reconstruction after COVID-19: a national jobs plan, and five ways to get started. This is a proposal for unions to call on the government to “lead a historic effort to rebuild our economy and our communities … by engaging all stakeholders, focusing on the core goal of creating decent work, and injecting unprecedented financial resources in the real economy”. It appears to be a well-reasoned and costed approach to dealing with union concerns about recession and consequent unemployment. It envisages a “consensus among economic stakeholders”...

The Story of Colour Bars on the UK Railway

Speaking at our online meeting in September, Janine Booth tells the story of the period after the end of the Second World War when black people came to Britain but met opposition from some white workers, until the 'colour bar' was defeated in 1966.

Different in two ways

This US presidential election is different in two ways. It narrows down to a contest between a fascistic demagogue with a militant and part-militarised mass base, and a standard-issue neoliberal. And recent years have seen a sizeable though diffuse new US socialist current round Sanders’ campaigns and the Democratic Socialists of America. At the same time, the International Socialist Organization has wound itself up, and Solidarity sees itself more as an “educational centre” than an activist group. Conclusion: the most active, interventionist step on 3 November towards building an independent...

Unite and Labour: we must democratise both party and unions

The Executive Council of the big trade union Unite has agreed to cut its affiliation to the Labour Party by 10% or 50,000 members, in what is generally seen as a protest against Keir Starmer’s leadership. It is not a good or effective protest, if the aim is to promote left-wing policies, Labour democracy, and a working-class voice in politics. Unite’s official statement is cryptic. It does not refer to Starmer’s leadership or the direction it is taking Labour, except in the vaguest of hints, instead talking about support for “emerging talent”, “talented thinkers” and “energetic organisations”...

It depends who's saying it

The Morning Star (and the Daily Worker before it) for years survived thanks to a subsidy from the Russian leadership: Moscow paid it £3,000 a month in the 1960s (equivalent of £60,000-plus today), and in the 1970s and 1980s purchased 12,000 copies a day. When the order was cancelled in 1992, the paper was saved by the leaders of several British trade unions pumping money in. Union funding continues to ensure the paper’s survival via bulk orders, generous payments for advertising, and subsidised special editions for union conferences, Tolpuddle, the Durham Miners’ Gala, etc. Paradoxically, this...

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