Saturday, 17 July 2010

Hackney Communists predict disorder on poll tax scale and beyond

A post on The Commune blog called "A Ripple in a Storm" reports from a 50-strong meeting held in Hackney at the end of June.

It said: "In Hackney, the meeting was called by the local trades council, having been asked to do so by the local government Unison branch."

Until recently Hackney Unison was not a happy ship dut to the acrimonious "witchunt" of four London reps - including Brian Debus - trade union activist, Hackney Unison Branch Chair whose plight had even won the support of the Daily Mail. (Blood and Property (Are Hackney unions ready for the last stand?))

And according to this post on Hangbitch (July 11), the answer is that Unison will still not take on Labour. The Hangbitch author was at the above-mentioned meeting: "I wonder if the grassroots is up for a fight for public services, though. I want it to be, but that’ll hardly make it happen. Who would lead such a fight? Public sector trade unions? Hah. The PCS may put up a geniune fight, but Unison won’t.

"I attend a meeting of Hackney locals and trade union members which is led by Brian Debus – a man who is walking testimony to Unison’s hatred of popular pro-public service, leftwing activists. Debus is one of the four Socialist party activists Unison has banned from office for demanding that Unison stop funding the pro-privatising Labour party. There is a great deal of difference between what Unison does and what it says. This meeting of about 50 people knows that. It agrees that unions are too weak and too slow to organise effectively against the coalition juggernaut." (Similar but not the same as a Liberal Conspiracy post mentioned before)

The Commune reports: "One speaker said that in order to resist the cuts, if we are realistic, we need organisation of the level last seen during anti poll tax movement, which organised in committees street by street, and workplace by workplace. In my view, we will need to organise demonstrations – and direct action besides – but the ferocity of the impending attacks does bear comparison with the poll tax: so our response must recognise that."

It also said: "In Hackney, cuts have already begun. Cuts to the local college are covered elsewhere in The Commune. There have also been cuts at the local waste depot, and a number of teaching assistants have been made redundant in primary schools. These are not Tory cuts, not yet. They are Labour’s last sigh in government, the first ripple in the coming storm."

So will Unison see industrial action as taking on a Tory government or a Labour council? Or as defending its members?

Other bits on other blogs:

Little London Fields festival..."In a bid to distance itself from current associations with shootings and stabbings and regain its throne as the place Hackney folk can gather

And a movie about various people in Dalston and other places

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