Friday, 2 September 2011

No platform (literally) by the RMT

I've suggested in the past that the blanket application of 'no platform' could be past its sell-by date. 

The debates around the legal banning of the EDL march in Tower Hamlets this Saturday illustrate this. Just possibly the campaign for a ban might have a benefit greater than the ban itself. In the sense that the campaign could have been a tool in mobilising opposition to the fascists. But I'm not convinced - reliance  on such measures is a bit too much of a fig leaf for the 'institutional Left' to hide behind. And in practical terms the 'ban' might prevent a march but it doesn't keep the fascists out of the East End - in fact it facilitates a ritualised stand-off of 'static demos' by the EDL and UAF - with all parties able to go home with the feeling of having had a good day out.

But  the announcement from  the RMT  union that if the fascists went ahead with using Liverpool Street as an assembly point their members would close down the station on the grounds of 'health and safety' - strikes me as a perfect and meaningful instance of applying the principle of no platform. 

It opens up all sorts of possibilities for similar actions by workers -  bus drivers  might  be able to do the same thing. Hell even those 'workers in uniform' - the police community support officers - are in a union these days. Remember, these groups of workers in  London  are probably  some of the most diverse workforces in the country. And the use of health and safety is a great way for workers to circumnavigate decades of anti-trade union legislation aimed at preventing unofficial and solidarity action  - because any worker has the right to refuse  to work in a situation or environment that might put himself or others at risk.  Campaigning for this kind of action in the workplace would have a far politicising effect than any number of state bans.

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