Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An opponent's meeting

They must be disappointed. TUSC lined up an impressive top table: April Ashley, UNISON Executive Council member, Steve Hedley, RMT London Regional Organiser, Paul Holborow, of the SWP and a founder and leader of the Anti-Nazi League, and Steve Nally, one-time organiser of the Anti-Poll Tax Federation. All people more used to addressing mass meetings but faced last night with an audience of 12, 4 of whom we brought along. All the same it was an interesting and revealing meeting.

Holborow, for the SWP, said he'd been out leafletting in the ward for TUSC but he chose to criticise trade union leaders for being cowardly and high-paid and to say that Len McCluskey of UNITE was just a talker (apparently there's a disagreement amongst leftwingers as to whether or not to back his re-election, the SWP being against, Militant being for). Steve Hedley, who spoke next, took him to task for this, saying that it was not the case that the working class was eager for a general strike and was being held back by cowardly trade union leaders; the working class did not (yet) want this as, he pointedly remarked, the attendance at this meeting showed. He criticised other unions for still giving money to the Labour Party which acted against the working class. He said that the unions needed to resist the cuts but in the end there would have to be political action to get rid of capitalism and replace it by a socialist society. We nodded in agreement. Nally, the TUSC candidate, didn't go that far but merely described the human consequences of the cuts without offering any alternative beyond "no cuts".

In the discussion we said we agreed that socialism was the only way-out but that this was not what TUSC was advocating in this election whereas we were. This brought Hedley back on message. The Bolsheviks, he said, had not won power on the basis of advocating socialism but on the slogans of "Peace, Land and Bread". The SPGB, he said, agreed with the Mensheviks that the Bolsheviks should not have seized power but should have handed the keys of power back to the capitalists. He's probably more of a Stalinist than a Trotskyist (he actually looks like Bob Crow). Even so, he was the best speaker of the evening, making some valid points.

Apparently, they think they are going to get 200 or so votes which, according to Holborow, would be enough to have the Labour Council shaking in their boots. We doubt either.

1 comment:

Brian Johnson said...

Quite frankly I find very little which is interesting and revealing in this report. OK one of them agreed that political action would be needed to replace capitalism but I find that no big deal! Rather than smoothing the ego's of a bunch of left wing twaddle merchants, who are more interested in scoring points off each others political strategy, I think our time should have been spent on more positive activity like canvassing.