Monday, 24 May 2010

Stupid stunts.

After the fragile unity of TUSC , a salutary reminder of why we can't 'just all sink our differences and work together':

When I half-saw the report on the TV of the SWP's attempted occupation of the BA / Unite talks out of the corner of my eye, my immediate thought was that it was just  the eco-toffs of Plane Stupid again.Then I heard that it was 'Far Left' activists and my heart sank.

A classic cringe-worthy display of ultra-Leftism if ever there was one. Sadly we've seen it many times before from the Swappies -  whose analysis is often no more sophisticated than 'strikes good - settlements bad'. 

Maybe it's wrong to characterize those involved in the action as middle class students but it's difficult to think that anybody who actually works for a living, with bills to pay and families to support, would take so flippant a view of the sacrifices required in going on strike - and the genuine need and hopes for a settlement.

Woodley and Simpson may well be  over-paid bureaucrats who will sell out the workers they represent for a quiet life - but the BA cabin crew don't need a chanting mob to tell them that. Actually -  if  workers in dispute are being kept out of talks and a deal is being cooked up behind their backs, then occupation of the negotiations is a pretty sound tactic - at least it is when it is done by the workers themselves

Activist supporters have a role in helping  this by organising solidarity and publicity outside of the occupations - they even might politely offer some advice based on  previous experiences. What they don't do is unilaterally substitute themselves for the workers like the Swappies.

This supportive role is what I can remember  myself and other Militant comrades doing 20+ years ago when the Addenbrookes strikers in Cambridge occupied the offices of the Community Health Council - and it's exactly the same approach  the  Socialist Party recently took at the Visteon, Linemar and Vestas occupations.

Hence the SP's statement  here on the tactics of the BA dispute .

And just for the record the SWP didn't prevent a sell out by ending the talks - union-busting cunt Willie Walsh is quite capable of doing that himself without any outside assistance.

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