Opinion: DON’T CHAIN THE YOUTH MOVEMENT TO A CORPSE
By Ian Bone
There’s a general genuflection amongst the Left and some anarchists to ‘trade unionists’. Even getting a whiff of proletarian sweat by marching behind an RMT banner is enough for some comrades.Anarchists now seem as keen as the SWP in swamping any strike with uncalled for assistance.Surely the most absurd sight last year was the dear departed Martin Smith leading a group of chanting SWP student wannabee cabin crew into the BA offices. If the workers won’t accept their alloted historical role you can always pretend to be them. Trade unionists are always defined only in their relationship to work not to any other aspect of their lives.Thus there are people on the solidarity circuit still billed as ‘Liverpool Dockers’ decades after they were dockers.Caught in frozen time……..pickled by the Left s if they were never anything else or could be anything else.
So the new youth movement is told it can’t win on its own. ….the mighty TU army will be needed to win. Organisers of Saturday Jan.29th demo are already enthusinng over getting support from UNITE and the GMB. This will amount to 40 trade unionists with ther banners being widely applauded – and quite right to. But the price for this will be to ‘behave’ – we don’t want to alienate the trade unionists do we? Already we are told the demo is now on a Saturday so ‘trade unionists and families’ can attend.They’d be evn more frightened by a broken window..or a deviation from the stewarded agreed route.The price of this support aint worth paying – it will chain the movement to a corpse – see TUC plans for March 26th. The mistake is to see trade unionists only as workers – they may also be parents/sisters/friends of students/football fans/Heavy Metallers/Ballroom Dancers – they will not see themselves as defined by work. They may be angry as consumers of public services/ VAT payers/NHS users etc etc….just like the rest of us or the millions of working class unemployed or non-unionised. We engage with them as the same as us. We do not have to neuter our movement to gain trsde union support. the Left will want us to.It won’t be just the cops and stewards on March 26th trying to contain direct action it’ll be our own heads telling us not to alienate mass support. Just what Tommy Sheridan said after the poll tax riot. he was wrong. Anyone who says the same will be wrong again. It’s not so much real trade unionists who’ll be stopping us as our idea of real trade unionists in our heads.Young workers will be as excited by the street protests as the NEETS have been. The trade unionists will be just as recognisable by the brick in their hand as the banner. Solidarity Comrades.