Electricians Dispute at the Crossroads

I had a chat yesterday with an experienced militant in the construction industry about the current electricians dispute.

The substantive issue is that a group of seven building contracting companies are seeking to quit the existing Joint Industry Board (JIB) national industry agreement, which will lead to a significant drop in wages.

There is no doubting that feelings among the electricians are high, they protested this week outside Tate Modern construction site, which led to an impromptu march. But while such visible protests are useful in building a mood of combativity among the workforce, the employers can sit it out as long as it doesn’t hit them in the pocket. Nor do such protests necessarily help to keep union officials on board.

The crux of this dispute is therefore how to turn the screws on management. It is also necessary to understand how the finances work in the industry, where sub-contracting companies are locked into set delivery times, often facing liquidated damages if they fail to deliver.

The tactical discussions of how to proceed also need to consider the relationship between official and unofficial action. Some militants in UNITE are arguing that the union should ballot everyone for a strike on 30th November, alongside public sector workers. Frankly I cannot see how this would be possible for UNITE to do, given the preparation necessary for a legal ballot, and the existing demands upon staff over the pensions dispute. There is no mileage in placing pressure on the union for things they couldn’t deliver. It is also necessary to recognise that the union cannot support unofficial action – if the grassroots electricians take unofficial action they need to be able to see it through with their own resources and initiative to victory.

There are also questions of whether a national strike would be the most effective way to proceed. For one thing it might shift ownership of the dispute away from the grassroots electricians themselves; but in the specific context of the construction industry there might be more pressure on companies to settle if they are picked off one by one. This also raises the question of whether it is strategically wise to concentrate on Balfour Beatty, who are a large multinational with deep pockets. Perhaps militants might be better off focusing on some of the smaller companies, and seeking to make them break ranks.

There are no easy answers to these tactical and strategic questions, but the electricians need to mainatain the momentum, and shift focus on how to hit the contracting companies in their bank account.

126 comments on “Electricians Dispute at the Crossroads

  1. Anonymous on said:

    A good article but it is also important to mention that there is a fair bit of adventurism and opportunism going on with some of the so called ‘miltants’.

    Jerry Hicks who does not work let alone work in the construction industry has in a blatant act of opportunism and ultra leftism some how managed to get himself elected on to a rank and file construction workers committee.

    Its so bizarre you couldn’t make it up but then again it appears to be about making transitional demands and attacking UNITE. For example, like calling for UNITE to carry out a ballot of all UK construction workers when Hicks knows (or should know) that from a legal point of view that its impossible as you have would have to be in a legitmate trade dispute with every UK construction company and not the 7 who want to quit the JIB.

    Furthermore calling for a 30 November strike is again another transistional demand and exposes the lack of judgement and focus that is needed in dealing with the public sector strikes.

    The ballot of the hundreds of thousands of public sector workers with its hundreds of employers and job titles is stretching the resources of Unite and in my region we are drafting in numerous temporary workers in to help with the necessary bureaucracy. The contsruction industry which by its very nature can be transient is going to prove to be a task in itself.

    Hicks and his usual groupies need to be exposed for the hijacking of what is an extremely important dispute. This is all about positioning himself for being 3rd time lucky for what he believes is his birth right – General Secretary.

    Also once again we see him and his groupies attacking full time officials.

    We even have had the bizarre situation where an extremely hard working Unite construction officer who was instrumental in bringing forward the successful blacklisting court case being accused afterwards by the Hicks groupies of working with the same companies to blacklist his own members.

    A time wasting and stressful investigation was then carried out by Unite and there was absolutely no foundation in it. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a full time official trying to work and build trust with members knowing that there is a small group determined to stab you in the back at every opportunity for their own political ends.

    Unite is by far at the forefront of this dispute (there are other unions in the construction industry) and the enemy is the JIB 7. Rather than attacking UNITE and setting the scene for a great betrayal Hicks and co need to work with and not against their union.

    The problem is that a leopard doesn’t change its spots!

  2. “Jerry Hicks who does not work let alone work in the construction industry has in a blatant act of opportunism and ultra leftism some how managed to get himself elected on to a rank and file construction workers committee…”

    I don’t know anything about this but I would like to know how YOU think he managed to do this. Are the electricians just stupid, like all those rank and file Unite members who voted for Jerry for GS? Or perhaps they are ultra-left and opportunist?

    If you really want unity against the employers, why not try expressing yourself as if you do?

    After all, when you attack people in elected positions in the tu movement there is always a danger that you are to a certain extent attacking those who elect them, which is precisely one of the reasons I have a problem with rank and filism.

    I really hope this thread isn’t all going to be about Jerry Hicks. Is that what you want?

  3. brian the dog on said:

    # 3 The definition of rank and file in this context means people who constitute the main body of the group. The group in this instance is contruction workers and Jerry Hicks is neither a worker or a worker in the construction industry.

    How he managed to get himself elected or put himself forward to be elected i will leave to others to make their own minds up.

    However left wing politics and trade unions are littered with opportunism and adventurism by sectarian groups, for example the recent debacle of the take over of the NSSN by the SP or by individuals as in the case of Hicks in the JIB dispute.

    Vanya i also didn’t put up the article which clearly in parts is critical of the ‘miltants’ in Unite and their tactics and approach. I am just trying to put some more detail to it and name some of the usuals suspects and the real intent of their actions.

    If people get upset with me for exposing the likes of Hicks and his attempts to pull the wool over peoples eyes then so be it.

    Vanya you normally post logical comments about things you clearly know something about, but in this instance to try and suggest that i think that anyone who voted for Jerry Hicks in any of his two failed GS attempts is an ultra leftist and an opportunist is plain silly. However for the record i do think that Jerry Hicks and his small band of groupies are ultra left opportunists whose populist reactionary rhetoric fools some people some of the time but not all of the people all the time.

    What the hell is Hicks doing?

    Well maybe you should check out his posts about the construction workers dispute and attacks and transistional demands on Unite, on and you couldn’t make it up, his Jerry4GS website!

  4. skidmarx on said:

    Tony Cliff once mentioned (or perhaps a number of times), that one sign of the vitality of the Russian revolutionary movement compared to the German was that Trotsky could be elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet in 1905 despite being nobody’s image of a horny handed son of toil, while the German workers’ councils of 1918 refused admittance to Liebknecht and Luxemburg on the grounds they weren’t workers.
    This is an important dispute for electricians, and given the historical failings of their union leadership in the past, some outside help should be welcome, and anyone who wishes to concentrate on attacking outsiders rather than supporting the dispute is not really helping.

  5. “How he managed to get himself elected or put himself forward to be elected i will leave to others to make their own minds up…”

    Why?

    That means you don’t know, or you think you do and are holding back from having a go (a bit out of character!). Or maybe you think that it means simply that the people who elected him are aware of his record as a militant and feel that his presence on the committee would be useful, which is their right, but you prefer a bit of innuendo to make him look bad and in the process insinuate that the electricians are stupid and need the guidance of other non-electricians such as yourself.

    And you’re not simply adding a bit of flesh to the bones of Andy’s post, by explaining why you think the tactics proposed are mistaken, you’re using it as an opportunity to pursue your obsessive hatred of Jerry Hicks.

    If Andy’s post was agreeing with the tactics in question I would put money on you asking why a non-Unite member and non- electrician was commenting on this issue.

  6. #5 Not a brilliant analogy.

    I don’t think Trotsky was ever the elected convenor at a major industrial plant.

    And nor can I imagine Jerry going along with the militarisation of labour, or the ending of the independence of the trades unions.

  7. brian the dog on said:

    #6 Forgive me Vanya you as usual are right and I am wrong.

    I have just re read the two jerry hicks for general secretary website’s where he is plastering (the nearest he will get to working) construction workers posts and its clear that he is trying to work hand in hand with UNITE in a positive way to deliver a strategy and tactics that will organise construction workers and defeat the JIB 7.

    My mistake.

    #5 History is littered with ultra left interference and failures with workers in dispute. Support is more than welcome from inside and out, hijacking a dispute is not and workers and their leaders usually know this.

  8. brian the dog on said:

    Its a win, win situation for if the construction workers are hopefully successful then Jerry will claim on his jerry4gs sites that he led it and saved the day and if it isn’t successful he has already laid the foundations for declaring on his Jerry4gs sites the great UNITE betrayal.

    Ultra left opportunism in motion.

  9. Nadia Chern on said:

    Brian, you are incurably sectarian on the issue of Jerry Hicks and it utterly distorts your claims.

    Hicks and two other people tried to organize a meeting by text message after the announcement of the 35% pay cuts and the withdrawal of the employers from the JIB. The mood swelled the uptake for the meeting which turned into a mass meeting of 500 construction workers, mainly electricians. The chair was elected at the meeting along with the speakers, one of whom was Hicks.

    A passionate discussion occurred led from the floor and the upshot was the creation of a rank and file committee to which Hicks was elected at the behest of the meeting. His argument was (and I have heard him argue this at construction workers meetings) that the committees should be construction workers.

    There followed a London branch meeting of 250 and several demonstrations in London. The movement started to grow with demonstrations and now walkouts in other areas such as Scotland, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester. There have been mass meetings, either at Unite branch meetings or organized separately such as the North West meeting (more than 100 present and another local rank and file committee elected).

    The strategy being pursued is to call for a national ballot but to build the confidence for walk outs wherever possible. This is because the dismissal notices have already been sent to construction workers and Unite has been prevaricating on what to do. The new pay rates are due on 7 December. There was a politically inspiring debate initiated by a Unite official at the North West meeting about whether to organize by sending ‘invited people’ to the Unite committee or organize an independent committee. The meeting was overwhelmingly of the view that it should be independent, quite understandable given the known complicity of certain Unite officials in the construction blacklist in the North West.

    Brian, how many of these meetings have you attended? How many of the demonstrations and walk outs have you attended? How active are you among construction workers? Your ‘evidence’ amounts to looking at a website that is spreading the word about the campaign for action while you do not mention any of the actual activity of the construction workers at all. Equally, I think that Andy needs to do rather better than citing a conversation with one person.

    What is noticeable is that many of the people getting involved and helping to organize against a huge employers attack are the very people that came together around supporting Jerry Hicks in his GS election campaign. For me, this is a strong vindication of his decision to stand quite apart from his strong vote.

    My suggestion is that as many of us get involved in supporting the sparks as possible as a major employers offensive looms which can be stopped. One of the group of employers has already withdrawn from the breakaway as a result of the action so far.

  10. Nadia Chern on said:

    From Siteworker, which has been playing an excellent role in the construction campaign:

    [Hopefully] A major development in our dispute. Word is Bernard McAulay is going to announce the balloting of BBES sites on Tuesday [20th] at the Unite officers meeting in Leeds. Possibly 3 or maybe 5 BBES sites, we are not sure which ones.

    Although this would be a very good development, the Rank and File must not take our eye of the ball or let up in any way.

    Rumour has it that Unite could ask us to suspend the demo’s during the ballot, but this would be a massive mistake. We cannot and will not be calling off any protests. Actually rather than call off protests we need to ramp it up, and target all Balfour sites across the country, big and small, they seem to have most of the work at the moment.

    In london we are getting a team of people together to leaflet as many sites as we can in between protests to make everyone aware of ‘what’s going on with deskilling’ informing other trades as well. Please do the same in your areas.

    If you need help producing leaflets let us know we can get help doing them, also contact Unite for leaflets, if they won’t supply them do your own. A simple A5 leaflet will suffice.

    NGB have suddenly said they are up for taking things further by announcing consultation meetings with their workers and the threat of the sack if you don’t sign by end of November. This came out yesterday, they quickly denied it but we think on this occasion ‘there’s no smoke without fire’!

    We are going well and pushing Unite towards a ballot keep, up the [pressure] good work everyone and don’t take our foot of the peddle.

    Remember BBES are leading the assault on our agreement, lets respond accordingly, let’s take them. Give it to them with both barrels. It was they that declared war and sadly there will be casualties.

    Support the protests, try and get big turn out’s, ask for support from other unions trades, other trade unionists even your mates in the pub and relatives………If we win everyone gains!

    Come rain come shine………….Never cross a picket line.

  11. brian the dog on said:

    ” A passionate discussion occurred led from the floor and the upshot was the creation of a rank and file committee to which Hicks was elected at the behest of the meeting. His argument was (and I have heard him argue this at construction workers meetings) that the committees should be construction workers. ”

    That made me laugh out loud, so Jerry decided to ignore his own rhetoric!

    Maybe Jerry should have said a big thank you for the compliment and instead state that he believes in standing by his statements and principles so respectfully declined the offer. But then again Jerry has a habit of turning up to meetings with a pre arranged game plan and playing fast and loose with principles.

    Nadia i know you one of Jerry’s biggest fans and may, i suspect be more than just a fan but unlike Jerry i have to work and can’t afford to be professional politico with game plan to become GS. I have a day job and i haven’t been to any of the construction demos. However i do know a few people who are heavily involved and as usual are exasperated by Jerry’s antics.

    I have however been giving up my time to help out with the public sector ballot and have been leafleting hospitals in my area.

    Nadia can you tell me why members of the Jerry fan club made spurious allegations against a Unite contruction official after he was instrumental in pursuing the blacklisting court case?

  12. I totally support the sparks in their fight to defend terms and conditions. Their demonstrations have been an inspiration.

    BUT…

    The JIB was the sweetest of sweetheart deals http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Contractor-killers/

    Also well known Jerry Hicks supporter Dave Beaumont was pushing this motion around Amicus branches a few years back
    http://www.btinternet.com/~davidbeaumont/msf/samplemotion.html

    I hope as part of the campaign apart from demands to defend terms and conditions we seek to change the agreement into a robust union agreement from the old corrupt one.

    All power to the Sparks!!!

  13. OH Ya,
    “Socialist Unity” people occupying the “CITY” challenging
    capitalism – using “revolutionary” methods of organising and part of whole global movement.
    Putting the blame where it belongs and asking the right questions – nobody knows where it will end.
    Kinda bizarre comrades not so enthused !

  14. anonymous on said:

    “There is no mileage in placing pressure on the union for things they couldn’t deliver.”

    Tell that to those who would continuously condemn trade unions as ‘sell outs’ and ‘class traitors’.

  15. ALightThatNeverGoesOut on said:

    The welfare-to-workfare poverty pimps have already got “customers” lined up to take these electricians jobs – and working for their meagre benefit money to boot. Sorry, but the so-called left and the so-called unions had their chance to nip this nonsense in the bud, but what did they do instead – collude. This is the NEW REALITY folks, there is a lot more of this coming down the line.

  16. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “Tony Cliff once mentioned (or perhaps a number of times), that one sign of the vitality of the Russian revolutionary movement compared to the German was that Trotsky could be elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet in 1905 ”

    If one considers Trotsky’s later behaviour and policies; the Russians would perhaps have been to have followed their German comrades’ example.

  17. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “welfare-to-workfare poverty pimps have already got “customers” lined up to take these electricians jobs”

    How can that be the case? These electricians are skilled tradesmen; someone with no training would be in no way able — legally or practically — to do their jobs. More likely the employers will seek to use independent contractors or foreign workers.

  18. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Since the “electrical union” doesn’t exist; I am sure that is true. If you are referring to the Electricians Union — I certainly do, being a former CPGB member. Of course that union hasn’t bee around for decades.

    But I am interested: tell me about the Electrical Union that you’ve made up. It sounds interesting.

  19. JellyTot on said:

    @5 the German workers’ councils of 1918 refused admittance to Liebknecht and Luxemburg on the grounds they weren’t workers.

    Seems reasonable to me.

  20. Darkness at Noon on said:

    “Tony Cliff once mentioned (or perhaps a number of times), that one sign of the vitality of the Russian revolutionary movement compared to the German was that Trotsky could be elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet in 1905 ”

    What fucking genius insights that Tony Cliff had.

  21. JellyTot on said:

    @24 What fucking genius insights that Tony Cliff had.

    He had the annoying habit of viewing everything through the prism of a few ‘leading’ individuals. To him the masses were cyphers, acting as mere validation for the supposed ‘genius’ of a few leaders.

    Thankfully with the ‘Occupy’ movement younger people seem to be going against this undemocractic ‘top down’ approach, and seem all the stronger for it.

  22. Boycott Workfare on said:

    #20 Harsanyi_Janos One possible scenario is that say you lost your job (or were sacked) as an electrician (or any other job for that matter) and then went to sign on – you would be placed straight on to the work programme and from there on you would be farmed out as slave labour – possibly straight back into your old job! All an employer really has to do these days is devise a means of getting rid of their staff then “re-engage” them as slave labour under the work programme. It is really that simple! They came for the council workers but I wasn’t a council worker so I said nothing… they came for the… you get the picture?

  23. Boycott Workfare on said:

    #20 Harsanyi_Janos One possible scenario is that say you lost your job (or were sacked) as an electrician (or any other job for that matter) and then went to sign on – you would be placed straight on to the work programme and from there on you would be farmed out as slave labour – possibly straight back into your old job! All an employer really has to do these days is devise a means of getting rid of their staff then “re-engage” them as slave labour under the work programme. It is really that simple! They came for the council workers but I wasn’t a council worker so I said nothing… they came for the… you get the picture?

  24. Jelly makes a couple of good points.

    I would add that the key difference between Trotsky and Hicks is that the latter has more than a passing acquaintance with industrial working class struggle than the latter had.

    And the irony of Brian the Dog’s approach is that it seems to mirror the elitism and sectarianism of the trots.

    Brian knows little about the dispute, has by his own admission (fair enough we can’t all be in a thousand places at once) done little or nothing to support it (which at least was not the case if he is to believed with regard to the BA strikes).

    But he does know that Jerry Hicks is involved. Never mind that the electricians have chosen to incorporate him into their rank and file committee. That’s because they are naïve children who need experienced leaders like Brian to stop evil deceivers pulling the wool over their eyes.

    And that is all Brian needs to know. Because when it comes to Unite, who is the main enemy for Brian? The employers, the government? No, it’s Jerry f*****g Hicks!

    Just like some of the trot paper sellers who used to lecture us outside about what we should be doing in relation to stuff going on in our workplace and industry. Often young students. They didn’t know anything about it but they could always tell us that our union officials were not to be trusted.

  25. Redbeard on said:

    “How he managed to get himself elected or put himself forward to be elected i will leave to others to make their own minds up”

    “Nadia i know you one of Jerry’s biggest fans and may, i suspect be more than just a fan”

    God, you really are just a dog-whistling troll, aren’t you?

  26. #32 will be deleted anyway but before it is I would point out that a Communist electricians rep got himself jailed for leading a strike in support of the nurses in 1982 in the print industry while the right wing leadership of the EETPU were responsible for getting the whole union slung out of the TUC for tolerating scabbing in the same industry.

    I say that as someone who is neither a CP member nor fellow traveller and who does not defend ballot rigging but I do know which side I’m on.

  27. #15 and #16

    My jaw simply drops in amazement at some of the comments that are made criticisng us. there are two comments here by someone using the moniker BmCC complaining that we haven’t convered the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    In fact over just the last week or so we have published no less than five articles on just that topic

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8567

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8551

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8549

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8550

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8542

    Meanwhile MgCc is cock o’ whoop at how much better lenin’s Tomb is because they have publiched … …. ONE article about it. (and that one by Richard is itself near incomprehensibe Marxobabble)

    Incidently over the same period SU has also published two articles on the california prisoners hunger strike

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8552

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8554

  28. #33

    In fact I am a member of Respect and I voted for Jerry Hicks for GS, neither fitting the bill I would have thought.

    Yes, I sometimes agree with the CPB- more often than I do with even the more sensible trots, and I read the Morning Star (I even gave them a %ge of my winnings on a treble when all 3 of their tips won).

    But try and imagine how little I care whether you or anyone else believes me or not.

  29. Anonymous on said:

    Why is it even otherwise-reasonable people in these comments need to continuously make digs at ‘trots’.

    It’s obsessive.

  30. brian the dog on said:

    #24 Bless you Vanya, yes I can’t be in more than one place at once let alone a thousand places at once.

    However you also say i know little about the dispute and have done little or nothing to support it. I do know something about the dispute or i wouldn’t write anything about it, unlike some on SU who feel the need to post on all and sundry. Yes i do support the construction workers in defeating the employers attempts to tear up their agreements. Good luck to them, its just they deserve better than being used by Hicks and his transistional demands in what will potentially take them in to a cul de sac and a glorious defeat just so he can then use it to attack Unite with as a great betrayal.

    You are also starting to sound like the undertaker in wanting to prove his and others socialist credentials. A socialist league table, if you like.. Very well then recently i have been involved in the anti edl demo at Whitechapel, the Cable St 75th Anniversary, the march 26th TUC demo, the public sector ballot, Ken Livingstone campaign and yes the BA dispute. I supppose that makes me mid league. Do i therefore have permission to comment Vanya?

    I am not so sure why it winds you up so much. Its not my intent but oh well if that’s the case didums.

    Vanya i know who the enemies of my union Unite are and yes i also see Jerry Hicks in a small and irritating way an enemy of Unite. I base that not on some obsessive belief but on observing his actions. Like the attempted bus-ing in and hijacking of the United Left husting, his attacks on the BASSA/UNITE whilst they were in dispute, his interview with The Sun and his constant going to the high commisioner for trade unions to make formal complaints about Unite (he is now according to his own jerry4gs website going to make another formal compliant- hold on to your hats!)

    His latest one is the construction workers dispute where he goes against his own principles of stating according to one of his biggest fans who is constantly by his side, that the committees must be made up of construction workers. However Hicks just by chance turns up and gets himself elected on to it. Then what follows is transistional demands and attacks on Unite.

    More to the point Andy Newman’s post raises some justifiable concerns regarding some of the ‘miltants’ tactics and what he believes (and i agree with him)that we are at a cross roads.

    In my no 1 post i raised lots of examples and concerns of the involvment and behaviour of Hicks who is not a worker let alone a construction worker in this dispute and rather than attempt to address those concerns you try and take us on a diversion by implying that i am saying the electricians are stupid.

    Nice try but i don’t think they are stupid, they are fighting for livelihoods but i am concerned that some of them are being fooled and used by Hicks for his own sectarian political ends.

  31. “Like the attempted bus-ing in and hijacking of the United Left husting…”

    Right or wrong, what happened at that meeting could not be an attack on UNITE. The UL, a self selecting causus, is not is not a body of the Union, no matter how much people like you try to act as if it is.

    So frankly I don’t care how people behave at its meetings and I think it is profoundly undemocratic that anyone can be thought accountable to any of its decisions.

    Why does it even need to exist now that the majority of the leadership support its platform?

    And you’re the one who spent so much time on here laying into AMICUS, one of the actual components of the Union.

  32. brian the dog on said:

    #38 The the attempted bus-ing and hijacking of the United Left hustings was important for the future of Unite and when it wasn’t successful because enough of us weren’t fooled by it he went next door to a pre book room and declared his candidancy and the started the non stop public attacks on Unite.

    This is indicative of his dishonest behaviour which we are seeing once again in the JIB dispute.

    Vanya from one of your more recent posts its clear that you have a blind spot for Jerry Hicks which obviously comes from you both being members of Respect. That you can’t see Hicks’ modus operandi and his constact attacks on Unite which clearly shows he see’s it as the enemy is a shame for on a whole host of other topics (alot i don’t post on as i feel i don’t know enough about) you come across as rational, knowledgable and incisive.

    On this issue can you stop riping out one liners or parts of my sentences (which is just lazy and done by those who know they are on thin ice and don’t want to enter into a proper debate) and then spin it into some kind of diversion and just try and answer the main body of Andy Newman’s post and my #1 post.

    On this issue its time to put up or shut up Vanya.

  33. #38 Brian you are a hypocrite. When you criticise or even attack elements of the Union, be it individuals in the leadership or parts of its structure, it’s legitimate. When others do it it’s anti-Union.

    As I said, people like you and the various trot groups have far more in common than you like to think. Entitlement and sectarianism.

    “…the attempted bus-ing and hijacking of the United Left hustings was important for the future of Unite”

    Why? If people want to stand they stand if they don’t they don’t. That’s democracy. I refuse to be told that I should vote for someone because a group of other people (unless its a mandate from people I represent) say that I should.

    “…he went next door to a pre book room and declared his candidancy.” Oh dear, he didn’t did he? What a crime.

  34. brian the dog on said:

    #40 Dear oh dear you still can’t bring yourself to answer the main body Andy Newman’s post and my #1 post. Which is very very telling and so is your support for the dishonest and manipulative behaviour of Hicks. Construction workers beware.

  35. Brian- You don’t answer my points and I don’t answer your’s. Hence no dialogue.

    End of non-discussion. I have better things to do with my time.

    You and all the wannabe leninist vaguardists are welcome to each other.

    Pathetic sectarians the lot of you.

  36. brian the dog on said:

    #42 Vanya’s throwing his toys out of the pram, how very funny.

    Even if i knew what a wannabe leninist vanguardist was i am not sure i would want to be one.

    Forgive but aren’t these threads supposed to be about discussing the topic posted????? Just like what Vanya did with ‘Mumia will not be executed’ post.

    A re read of the ‘electricians dispute at a crossroad’ post thread will show you as avoiding the substantive part of it and just indulging in ripping out parts of my sentences for you to spin and create a diversion.

    Off you go Vanya and meanwhile i hope that Andy’s post is taken on board by people who are not using the construction workers dispute for their own vanity project and sectarian opportunist games and positively work with the unions involved such as Unite, UCATT and the GMB to put together a strategy and tactics to defeat the JIB 7.

  37. anonymous on said:

    “But try and imagine how little I care whether you or anyone else believes me or not.”

    You must care a bit; after all, you took the time to respond.

  38. #44 I didn’t say I didn’t care at all. I asked you to imagine how little I did, and you appear to have got that about right.

    And after all, anything an anonymous poster (Vanya isn’t my real name) says on here about themselves could be true or not with little basis for verification.

    Hence the rather silly habit that some contributors have of accusing people whose identity they can’t possibly know of being politically inactive for example.

    I may not be in Respect, I may not have voted for Jerry Hicks or won £300 by following tips in the Morning Star.

    Brian the Dog may be a member of the SWP, the Undertaker may be a Labour MP.

    And as for the word ‘trot’, it’s just quicker than writing ‘trotskyist’, no offence meant at all. Honest.

  39. brian the dog on said:

    Vanya i thought you had said end of discussion and back you come on this post like a bad penny.

    If you care to put your toys back in your pram you may decide to answer the substantive parts of Andy’s post and my #1 post. Or maybe not.

  40. #46 Yes, it’s a caucus and people choose whether they want to join on the basis of their political views and position on the direction the union wants to take and then they are accepted or not into membership by the people who run it. Given that there was discussion recently as to whether SWP members should be excluded or not presumably there is also a procedure for banishing people from its ranks.

    It is distinguishable from a body of the union itself- branch committee, NC, stewards committee, rank and file committee, which is either democratically elected by a vote of all relevant members irrespective of their political affiliation, (or in the case of full-time officials at least selected by people who have a democratic mandate), and therefore not self-selected.

    That’s why it’s democratic for the union as a whole, or parts thereof to be run on the basis of decisions made by such bodies. The opposite also applies.

  41. Anonymous on said:

    Anonymous, Vanya is now indulging in the tactic of throwing in a few phrases such as a ‘self selecting caucus’and ‘leninst vanguardism’ as a diversion from discussing and answering Andy Newman’s post and my #1 post.

    The construction workers dispute is important and is at a crossroads and we don’t have the luxury of allowing Hicks to hijack it and indulge in transistional demands so he can use it to attack Unite.

    What next Vanya? Shall we discuss how many angels fit on a deconstructed marxist’s pinhead?

  42. Brian, I ended my discussion with you, unless you are also Anonymous, to whom I was replying.

    To be clear, I don’t in fact have anything to say on the substantive subject and never claimed I did. I know very little about it, and I am happy to learn about the issue. Andy’s post was interesting, and then you chose to use the thread to make an attack on someone the electricians themselves appear to respect sufficiently to co-opt onto their rank and file committee.

    I then told you some home truths which you don’t like and chose not to respond to, so the discussion is pointless.

    We went through it all during the GS election and frankly I can’t be arsed to go through it again.

    I’m not an electrician. Neither I assume are you and I suspect that other than giving whatever solidarity we can to them when they ask for it neither of us are in a position to do have any other involvement.

  43. brian the dog on said:

    #51 Vanya if anyone reads this post and its subsequent thread it is clear that i have responded to it and also your numerous comments even when you have consistantly decided to delibrately rip out part of my sentences in an attempt to avoid answering the substantive parts of Andy’s post and my #1 post.

    You unfortunately are being disingenuous in many of your statements on this post but i suppose that is because you can’t face up to what you fellow Respect member is up to.

    However it is true that you and I are not electricians and neither is Jerry Hicks.

    I and you are willing to give support the difference with Jerry Hicks is that he has decided to interfere in a selfish opportunist game. Hicks is playing fast and loose with workers livelihoods whilst making ultra left transistional demands so he can attack Unite in some misguided project, which is 3rd time lucky as General Secretary of UNITE.

  44. BombasticSpastic on said:

    49#

    “Yes, it’s a caucus and people choose whether they want to join on the basis of their political views and position on the direction the union wants to take and then they are accepted or not into membership by the people who run it. Given that there was discussion recently as to whether SWP members should be excluded or not presumably there is also a procedure for banishing people from its ranks.

    It is distinguishable from a body of the union itself- branch committee, NC, stewards committee, rank and file committee, which is either democratically elected by a vote of all relevant members irrespective of their political affiliation, (or in the case of full-time officials at least selected by people who have a democratic mandate), and therefore not self-selected.

    That’s why it’s democratic for the union as a whole, or parts thereof to be run on the basis of decisions made by such bodies. The opposite also applies.”

    Vanya, from what you’ve written, above, I see you have no idea how Unite’s United Left operates. To begin with the UL does not have a membership; no, the UL is made up of supporters.

    If there is a procedure for banning people from its ranks, it’s news to me. Can you give me details of the rule that banishes people.

    The UL, both regionally and nationally elects a Chair, Secretary (Coordinator), Vice Chair, Treasurer, Equality Officer and Editor and 3 National Coordinator committee members biennially.

    So, how exactly is Unite’s UL self-selecting?

  45. Anonymous on said:

    I think that Brian the Dog is obsessed with attacking Jerry Hicks for being asked to join the electricians organising committee. He must be jealous that no one would ever want him on any committee’s!

  46. #53 Yes, I was never a member of Militant, just a supporter.
    Semantics in my opinion.

    I’ve explained what I mean by self- selecting- the words speak for themselves.

    The events at the meeting at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester which you and Brian constantly bring up at every opportunity, as described by people from both sides of the argument, could not have happened if the UL didn’t organise as a membership body.

    And as for exclusions, there was a discussion on this blog not long ago about a proposal to kick the SWP out of the UL for something they said about the settlement to the BA dispute.

  47. brian the dog on said:

    #54 Being an advocate of workers in dispute being in control of their own dispute i think i am going to rock up to my local hospital as i have got time on my hands as i am not a worker let alone a hospital worker who is about to have my pension shredded and lend my support.

    Whilst there i am going to give a tub thumbing speach and make promises i can’t deliver. Then i’ll get asked to be elected on to committee and duely except and start making more demands and attack their and my union for not delivering the undeliverable.

    All the time the clock is ticking and I am happy to take them down a cul de sac for a glorious defeat rather than positively trying to engage with our Union and build towards an effective strategy.

    But who cares the workers will learn how bad capitalism is and how bad their union is.

    As i have done them and everyone else a favour in shining a light on the situation, i’ll put myself foward as wanting to run the union and save us all.

    Simples!

  48. The Undertaker on said:

    Heres me thinking the real issue was an attempt by a group of employers to seriously attack the terms and conditions of construction workers when in fact the real issue is how brian the drunk a man who has attended not one meeting nor one protest nor who is ever in danger of being elected to anything, slagging off jerry hicks.
    You wouldnt last 5 minutes in any of the meetings lve been to the sparks would boot you out and rightly see you as a stooge for the bosses. stick to the bottle pal its all youre good for

  49. Anonymous on said:

    #56 Brian: I sometimes think Jerry Hicks is a shrill sectarian the way he goes about things and a left-wing demagogue with some of the ungrounded promises he makes but the way you attack him just makes you sound like a tool of the bureaucrats intend on a witchhunt of the left.

  50. The Undertaker on said:

    I was at a meeting with over 50 sparks which was addressed by Hicks, he never once claimed to be a construction worker ,nor did he ever suggest people should leave the union,what’s more nor did he give an inch over the issue of ‘foriegn’ workers even when it was raised from the floor, this contrasts sharply with some of the statements made by some officials.
    As for criticism of the union ,what the Drunk clearly has no knowledge of is that many of the sparks were even more critical than Jerry.
    Never once did I hear any of the workers present use the scabby arguments used by the Drunk about Jerry not working etc. Of course Jerry was victimised because he was a problem for his employer something that the likes of Brian the Drunk is never likely to be, so in a industry notorious for the blacklist, rank and file sparks have a much better understanding of basic solidarity than Brian the Drunk.
    Incidently I note his ‘excuse ‘ for not attending any of the protests is that he has a day job.Though that day job doesn’t stop him posting mid morning.
    Many of the protests start very early ,here’s a tip Mr Inibriated, cut out the pop, get up early join a protest oh and keep your right wing mouth shut because if you were to come out with the crap you’ve written on here you may well end up with a punch in the mouth

  51. #59

    How long can SWP members tolerate one of their most leading members abusing trade union activists saying they are drunks, accusing people of being inactive just because they disagree with the SWP, and more than once Undertaker has implied support for violence (as here) against those who oppose the ultra-left in the unions.

  52. #60 Can’t argue with you there Andy.

    To be honest it may even be advisable to edit/ censor stuff like that.

  53. The Undertaker on said:

    #60 Get off your high horse Andy, I am not supporting violence just pointing out what could happen based on my knowledge of the sparks ( which amounts to more then your ‘conversation)
    It comes as no suprise that your article accepts some of the more right wing positions being put forward by various bureaucrats ,can’t ballot etc.Hence your ‘ultra left’ shite ,what gives a rightward moving ‘mainstream Labourite the right to label those like Hicks who advocate active and if necessary unofficial action as Ultra left ? You clearly have little or no idea of the mood on the protests any more than Brian.
    Its interesting though ,when your pal Jelly and his alter ego Unclean make jokes about burning me etc in the context of taking the piss out of Mohamed Bouazzi, you say nothing.
    So cut out the faux outrage,I note you never comment on your clique of sychopants when they claim I am ‘middle class’ know nothing about trade unions etc
    Brian by his own admission said he hadn’t attended a picket or protest ( probably like you ) so pointing out why he could is all I did.
    As for you Aunite Vanyayou really are like Mini me squeek

  54. #62

    I am not supporting violence just pointing out what could happen based on my knowledge of the sparks ( which amounts to more then your ‘conversation)

    you forget that i am quite well connected in the trade union movement, and for good reason i have not said who I spoke to, but they rang me with their concerns about the current situation.

    Your ridiculous caracature of the electricians is embarrassing for you. Trade unionists don’t punch people in the mouth just because they have tactical disagreements.

    And by you promoting the idea that the electricians are simmering with violent rage against UNITe officials who deal with the construction industry you are sowing seeds of disunity and discord, which can only weaken, not strengthen the movement.

    Ill-informed analysis like yours is dangerous, there is no way that UNITE could balot for a national strike on 30th November, not only would there be legal issues to do with balloting members working for companies where there is no basis for a dispute, but getting the membership records up to date as preliminary to a ballot is a major job, especially in an industrty like construction.

    Now if the electricians seek to take the action forward unofficially then they have to be prepared for what that means.

    This is a difficult tactical situation where the electricians need to carefully assess what pressure they can actually bring to bear, and what is the best point to apply it.

    Grandstanding doesn’t help make those assessments.

  55. Der Fuhrer on said:

    “Volunteer firefighters with just three weeks’ training are set to provide emergency cover in the event of a strike.

    Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is advertising in job centres across the region to provide cover for the proposed walk-out over pensions set for November 30.

    The Fire Brigade Union has slammed the plan, describing the volunteers as ‘cardboard cut-out firefighters’.

    The GMFRS will pay recruits £150 a day while they undergo three weeks of intensive training, before being asked to deal with hazardous scenarios.

    A total of 96 from the first 500 applicants will be chosen to operate 21 fire engines. The Fire Brigade Union has condemned the move saying ‘cardboard cut-out firefighters’ could be a liability.

    But brigade bosses said they have a legal duty to prepare for strike action and ensure they can protect the public if crews walk out.

    It normally takes 12 weeks for applicants to train as firefighters.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050021/Inexperienced-firefighters-set-operate-21-engines-strike.html

  56. There won’t be any shortage of “volunteers” in jobcentre for jobs in the fire service, police, and you can include electricians. The unemployed are chomping at the bit for these kinds of jobs.

  57. Karl Stewart on said:

    “There won’t be any shortage of “volunteers” in jobcentre for jobs in the fire service, police, and you can include electricians. The unemployed are chomping at the bit for these kinds of jobs.”

    If this happens, then it’s up to the union movement to point out as forcefully as necessary that this would be scabbing, pure and simple.

  58. The Undertaker on said:

    63# Firstly I have never suggested the sparks want to punch UNITE officials.though anyone who has been at any of the meetings I’ve been to ( and clearly you have no practical experience of or contact with rank and file sparks,just some unnamed official) would tell you there is immense anger at the inertia of some ,not all, officials.
    What I said of course is that if Brian were to go down to a protest and come out with the crap he’s been spouting on here, that is a stream of nasty personal attacks on Jerry Hicks some sparks I’m sure would find that grossly objectionable especially as Jerry has at least been involved with their dispute and Brian by his own admission has attended neither meetings nor protests.If a clown like Brian the D came down to a protest and spent his time bad mouthing someone who has more respect from the sparks than you or he could ever hope to have, may well find those workers hostile.
    The likes of Brian the D and you spend your time attacking people like Jerry as ‘ultra left’ yet neither you nor he has anything practical to say save repeat the most moribund of right wing arguments.
    If what Hicks says is so Ultra left why then did the sparks elect him to their committee ? Incidently
    your parroting of the line ‘there can’t be a national ballot’well that’s not what was said last week at a meeting I was at ,by a very senior national official of UNITE. So you are to the right of even the official machine .
    Sparks don’t need you either to tell them of what unofficial action may entail, many of the ones I am in contact with have been involved in unofficial action in recent months .
    Construction workers need advice like yours like a hole in the head, thankfully you and the D have zero influence ,burnt out right wingers carping from the side lines.
    You are out of touch Andy , maybe if you and the Drunk went and talked to some rank and file sparks you might have a better understanding.

  59. The Undertaker on said:

    63# Firstly I have never suggested the sparks want to punch UNITE officials.though anyone who has been at any of the meetings I’ve been to ( and clearly you have no practical experience of or contact with rank and file sparks,just some unnamed official) would tell you there is immense anger at the inertia of some ,not all, officials.
    What I said of course is that if Brian were to go down to a protest and come out with the crap he’s been spouting on here, that is a stream of nasty personal attacks on Jerry Hicks some sparks I’m sure would find that grossly objectionable especially as Jerry has at least been involved with their dispute and Brian by his own admission has attended neither meetings nor protests.If a clown like Brian the D came down to a protest and spent his time bad mouthing someone who has more respect from the sparks than you or he could ever hope to have, may well find those workers hostile.
    The likes of Brian the D and you spend your time attacking people like Jerry as ‘ultra left’ yet neither you nor he has anything practical to say save repeat the most moribund of right wing arguments.
    If what Hicks says is so Ultra left why then did the sparks elect him to their committee ? Incidently
    your parroting of the line ‘there can’t be a national ballot’well that’s not what was said last week at a meeting I was at ,by a very senior national official of UNITE. So you are to the right of even the official machine .
    Sparks don’t need you either to tell them of what unofficial action may entail, many of the ones I am in contact with have been involved in unofficial action in recent months .
    Construction workers need advice like yours like a hole in the head, thankfully you and the D have zero influence ,burnt out ex left wingers carping from the side lines.
    You are out of touch Andy , maybe if you and the Drunk went and talked to some rank and file sparks you might have a better understanding.

  60. Imagine if Brian the Dog had affiliation to SSP and Jerry Hicks criticised those who collaborated with Murdoch.

    Fuck me.

  61. Nadia Chern on said:

    Its a shame that a serious dispute is being turned into an argument about one of the leading activists within it. There are numerous brilliant Youtube videos from Reel news and others that show the brilliant demonstrations and the unofficial strike action in Nottingham. All of this needs publicizing as the issue at the heart of the dispute is one for the whole labour movement – a proposed lock out if sparks do not accept a 35% wage cut and withdrawal from a national agreement by the employers.

    The decision to attack Jerry Hicks is part of an isolation strategy being pursued by some Unite officials. Bernard McCauley has said as much in a leaked email to Gail Cartmail that is extremely abusive to say the least.

    Andy, I’m sorry but your decision not to publicize the issues behind the dispute but to attack the tactics of those involved on a spurious basis is the problem with this thread at heart. There is legitimate and honest debate within the campaign about the precise tactics and I suspect that your concern about a national ballot has good ground especially when we consider the weakness of Unite in construction. If you had contacted any of those involved in the dispute, you would have discovered that there are many different tactics being pursued.

    The reason why a national ballot is raised is partly about helping to support exposed activists fighting on this issue in an industry that has a record of blacklisting (see http://www.hazards.org/blacklistblog/). It is also partly because the Unite officials have done very little to support or lead this dispute so far. Personally, I suspect that the best response will come from unofficial action as it can move across union boundaries and bring in those that are not in a union as well.

    As for the attacks on Hicks, Brian is simply doing what his much more humorous namesake does and licking his nuts in public. Given that Brian has persistently been very abusive about many people, including ulcerous comments on Hicks that should never remain on a public blog, I don’t feel much sympathy for his reputation which would be harmed hugely by his identity becoming known publicly. Whatever.

  62. #70

    Andy, I’m sorry but your decision not to publicize the issues behind the dispute but to attack the tactics of those involved on a spurious basis is the problem with this thread at heart. There is legitimate and honest debate within the campaign about the precise tactics and I suspect that your concern about a national ballot has good ground especially when we consider the weakness of Unite in construction. If you had contacted any of those involved in the dispute, you would have discovered that there are many different tactics being pursued.

    Well, I have spoken to a leading expereinced militant, which is why i wrote this article.

    The troubl with this discussion is posturing all round, especially the idiocy of a very leading SWP member – who posts here as Undertaker – who is so foolish as to think that the issues of whether or not there is a ballot for national action is one of “left” and “right”

    Let us be clear there are at least four issues relating to a national construction strike:

    i) any official national dispute across the construction industry would immedately raise the question under s224 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (consolidation) Act 1992, that the union is only in dispute with the 7 contractors seeking to leave the JIB. Now UNITE’s lawyers may be able to find a clever way around that, but it would not be a question of “left” and “right” but a question of what is and what is not lawful.

    ii) the relative weakness of UNITE in the industry also raises the question of whether a national ballot for strike action – especially involving workers who work for subcontrators not seeking to leave the JIB – woudl result in a vote for action.

    iii) The demand being raised that an official strike should be organised in time for 30th November stikes me as divisive; because it is a demand that UNITE almost certanly can’t meet, and therefore seem to have been raised more to discomfort the officials than to progress the action. Just look at the timescales, that 7 days notice needs to be given to all employers prior to the action after the ballot result is known, at least 7 days needs to be allowed by law for the ballot forms to be returned, and employers need to be informed a week before the ballot commences. that pushes everything back to the first week of November, but by then UNITE would need to have ensured that they has legally watertight records of who their members are, who they are working for, what their addrsses are, etc, etc. In the construction industry with main contrators who bring in subcontrators who further subcontract, and where members might move employers as different jobs end and other ones start, this needs some work. the nature of the industry means that employers are more rather then less likely to use the law. Given that UNITE are currently totally flat out and committed to a ballot of 250000 public sector workers, then the union probably doesn’t have the resource to get a construction ballot organised in time – and this is not a question of willingness of the officers, but the bottleneck of availablity of office staff.

    iv) the nature of the industry means that a national strike may put LESS pressure on individual contractors than if they are targetted one by one. the dispute needs to divide the employers from each other, not force them together.

    Now I am not closely acquainted with the confidence of the workforce, and I would never advise someone else to take unofficial action, when it is them and not me who have to take the consequences. However, what the electricians need to be considering is whether they could target and close down one of the smaller contractors and force them to break ranks. Bt if they do so they need to understand that UNITE must repudiate the action; so if they take unofficial action they need to be able to go on and win it under their own steam.

    It seems to me that discussions about national strikes and putting demands upon UNITE which the union could not deliver are not helping the electricians assess their real and viable options.

  63. #68

    Construction workers need advice like yours like a hole in the head, thankfully you and the D have zero influence ,burnt out ex left wingers carping from the side lines.

    Trade unionists build and retain their credibility through work in their own union, in their own industry and their own workplaces.

    By definition therefore anyone who is not personally affected by the issues of a dispute is commenting “from the sidelines”; you seem to bizzarely arguing that professional full time political activists like yourself from the revolutionary left, who because they don’t have real jobs and real responsibilities can attend every meeting, should have MORE credibility in a debate on strategy and tactics than experienced trade unionists from other sectors.

  64. #71 I must say that it is a bit strange to have a situation where the “left/ right divide” sees those allegedly on the right opposing the call for a national ballot and seeming to prefer unofficial action, and those to their left calling for one.

    Doesn’t the question of the practicalities of a ballot also have a lot to do with how many people would be balloted? Personally I don’t know how many we’re talking about.

    Btw I think Nadia Chem should be congratulated for trying to discuss the issue rather than primarally having a pop.

    Light rather than heat (pun intended).

  65. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Construction has always produced its own leaders, who in a time of struggle come to the fore. Jerry Hicks’ support of the sparks is laudable, as is the support and solidarity coming from all quarters of the movement.

    The danger with this situation is that it becomes about Jerry Hicks and not about a group of workers being savagely squeezed by bosses in an industry that has a long shameful history of turning over its workers.

    To the sparks in struggle I say look to yourselves for the leadership and steering of your own dispute, while we, the movement, take our instructions from you as to where and when you want our support.

  66. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “nasty personal attacks on Jerry Hicks”

    Something that you are very partial to as seen above.

  67. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    Dear Undertaker, please note the correct spelling of “apologies”. You are really very stupid aren’t you?

  68. JIMMY MCGIBBON YOU ARE BANNED FROM SOCIALIST UNITY. ALL COMMENTS WILL BE DELETED ON SIGHT.

    SU

  69. The Undertaker on said:

    #77 l apologise for the mistake you fucking middle class half wit
    ls that ok sir ?

  70. #74 Extremely welcome comment. This should not be about the individual you mention.

    He should not (and I don’t for one minute believe he is trying to, or even could if he wanted) hijack the movement, and nor should alleged leading Unite activists, hiding behind anonymity, divert the discussion with vicious personalised attacks on a named individual the electricians themselves appear to have co-opted onto their committee.

    Your points about solidarity are particularly spot on.

  71. I’ve been away a while. Who gave Brian the Dog rabies? Why does Vanya hate everyone? Are people still quoting Tony Cliff? Does Jerry Hicks still think he can get elected General Sec?

    Ahhh, well. I’d agree with the point that a national strike in a dispute against 7 companies isn’t going to work-but mass strikes against all 7 at once would be a sensible step. Solidarity to the sparks!

  72. Janos – you’ve managed to get yourself censored? I am shocked, sir, deeply shocked! Better to stick to genteel discussions of Eastern Europe, where everyone is courteous. It’s much nicer on those threads…

  73. The Undertaker on said:

    Phew !! now that we’ve got that little spat out the way ,why not use this thread to do something all too rare on here ,encourage people to join the protests which will be taking place this week
    Siteworker is a good place to start

  74. Sam- a strange question re myself as my last 2 comments were positive about other commentators including one who I have previously had big rows with.

    But I freely admit to having very big problems with a number of people who comment on here. I can’t recall if you’re one of them :)

  75. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    As strange as it would seem that someone would bother to impersonate an aging former Eurocommunist, I did not post the comment above at 82. Andy, can you delete it?

  76. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    As an aside, I do not use the term working class as an insult and doubt that the Undertaker is working class, but rather a superannuated SWSS member.

  77. #91, Undertaker is a working class militant with a pretty fking solid record. He takes a much more forthright approach to posting on this forum than I do, but that’s his way and I’ve always been more of a ‘kill em with kindness’ kind of lad (with mixed results). The Socialist Workers Party contains people who are different from each other but in the same party. Amazing innit.

    Of course I’m not working class – I can’t be if I’m in the SWP. I’m seventh in line to the throne, like everyone else in the party. Not only that, but I’ve got a degree, actually I’ve got six, and I’m fabulously wealthy. I’ve never been to a union meeting in my life. To me, the working class movement is just a plaything, a vehicle for my toytown revolutionary indulgences. It’s got nothing to do with whether I or my colleagues can afford to get the bus to work or have to walk an hour and a half. Such workerist bread and butter issues are below us revolutionary vanguardists.

    * NB Only one of the above paragraphs is true.

  78. For some reason that link doesn’t show in my browser, but if it is of Martin Smith speaking at Marxism 2010, like it purports to be, then I don’t remember him saying anything particularly objectionable? If I recall correctly, it was a wicked speech actually. Speaking of which, he spoke sense at the One Society Many Cultures / Unite Against Fascism conference this Saturday just gone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk5euYIsqAo

  79. Anonymous on said:

    #92 Ted do i win a prize as the second paragraph is true, for the SWP CC is made up of a lot of decendants of the aristocracy and Baronesses.

    The undertaker is a millitant of the Dave Spart variety, a sad vulgar caricature whose ultra left pseudo revolutioinary posturing and grandstanding is farcial.

    A leading full time ‘professional’ politico of the SWP what a joke?

    The abuse and threats of violence that he constantly throws around like some kind of infantile fetish, appear to be the behaviour of someone with mental health problems. But he comrades on here put him forward as somekind of SWP poster boy. Very sad.

  80. The Undertaker on said:

    93# 96# As Mr Newman claims he knows who I am ,even he must think you two clowns are …well clowns.
    Oh well back in the real world the aging ‘Eurostalinist’ ( communist you ain’t )yet again proves why his brand of ‘left’ politics is literally dying out and not before time.
    Anyone seen Sue Slipman recently ?

  81. How about Julie Burchell, Rod Liddle and Gary Bushell — they are all former SWuppies aren’t they?

  82. The Undertaker on said:

    Not Burchill I’m glad to say ,maybe we can start a thread on ex lefties maybe starting with LP members I’ll kick it off with
    Oswald Mosley… next

  83. #99

    No. Julie Birchill was never a member of the SWP, she tried to join in 1978/ 1979 but was not allowed to beacuse of her staunchly zionist views.

  84. #101 Weyman Bennett’s still in the SWP isn’t he? So what’s the relevance of that comment?

    I must say though that from being diverted into a discussion about an individual who has some relevance to the dispute (Jerry Hicks), diverting it now into one about the merits of an obnoxious anonymous fool who purports to be a leader of the SWP and goodness knows what else (the Undertaker), this thread is sinking to depressing depths.

  85. #104 Well I mentioned 3 people in #103.

    1) I’ve met Weyman Bennett on one occasion that I know in the last few years, and had no problem with him although I know a lot of people do.

    2) I know Jerry Hicks and respect him.

    3) I think you’re a complete tosser.

    I don’t think that really counts as hating everyone, do you?

  86. Jellytot on said:

    @96 But his comrades on here put him forward as somekind of SWP poster boy.

    Maybe a ‘poster boy’ but hardly a tactical genius.

    A month ago ‘Undertaker’ mused that Militant should have revealed the existence of the RSL slap-bang in the middle of the Labour witch-hunt of the mid-80’s !

    One (of many) reasons not to take this guy’s advice on anything !

  87. #106 How can he be a poster boy if he’s anonymous?

    If we knew what he looked like we’d know who he was.

    And even assuming Andy is correct that he knows who he is it would be wrong for him to reveal his identity, particularly if he is as important as he claims to be and Andy thinks he is.

    Personally I think Andy’s probably wrong and UT’s just a sad keyboard warrior who chats shit all the time.

  88. Jellytot on said:

    @99 How about Julie Burchell, Rod Liddle and Gary Bushell — they are all former SWuppies aren’t they?

    Substitute ‘Peter Hitchens’ for Burchill and you’d have an accurate list.

    When late for a lecture at University of York, Hitchens once stated, by way of an excuse,

    “I was too busy starting a revolution”

    Sounds the sort of thing UT would come out with! :-)

  89. Nadia Chern on said:

    So much for Undertaker’s request that we devote discussion on this thread to building solidarity with the sparks. Cue acute spasm, kneejerk reaction and idiotic comment about anyone who is or has ever been associated with the Labour Party. That’s a good stroke for working together in support of workers, isn’t it?

    With politics like that, UT’s isolation is joyful and complete.

  90. The Undertaker on said:

    Tee hee what a collection of half wits !
    Now who could jelly be ? And if we knew would we be any the wiser same with auntie

  91. The Undertaker on said:

    Oh and dear nadia l was on a construction workers picket this morning …was you ?

  92. Jellytot on said:

    @110 Tee hee

    Tee hee ?!?

    UT’s a character from The Dandy circa 1974 !

    I was on a construction workers picket this morning

    Sell any papers ?

  93. Nadia Chern on said:

    UT – Not just a sectarian but a sexist one as well (note the use of the word ‘dear’ in a condescending context).

    Being at the picket line doesn’t make you a supporter or acting in solidarity. In your case, it makes you lonely as well. What leadership you show!

  94. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    It is obvious that the Undertaker is a horny handed son of toil. He writes “ain’t” and “was you”; perhaps he is a graduate of the Martin Smith School of Mockney Elocution.

  95. BombasticSpastic on said:

    “Oh and dear nadia l was on a construction workers picket this morning …was you ?”

    Well, that’s swung it for me. He surely is the Working Class Theorist!

  96. BombasticSpastic on said:

    92 #

    “I’m seventh in line to the throne,”

    Ted, it always pays to get to the shithouse early.

  97. Martin Smith on said:

    Been up the elephant and round the castle this morning mate. Wot about you, you old china.

  98. The Undertaker on said:

    What a shower of shite !!!, yes Jelly I did sell a number of papers,do you even know there is a dispute going on ?
    And of course ‘dear’ Nadia that use of the word ‘dear’ means I’m sexist
    Of course none of the above Aunty Vanya, Dear Nadia, Jellyscab et al have been anywhere near the electricians dispute but they can muster the usual anti working class bile directed against Martin Smith.
    The irrelevence of these clowns is astonishing and a source of great amusement to me, I love the way they think what they post on here has some resonance ,though I must say at last nights SWP meeting all we did was discuss what Jelly Vanya et al had posted . Indeed I’m thinking of writing an article for the next IB on how we need to listen more to the profound widom of the clowns who post on here.
    I’ve a sparks meeting Friday I’ll pass on your regards

  99. Anonymous post# on said:

    “And of course ‘dear’ Nadia that use of the word ‘dear’ means I’m sexist”

    Yep – actually aside from your feeble attempt to pass that off as a joke of the ‘look at me I’m so non-commital’ type, it does show up your inability to understand how trying to patronisingly dismiss someone in that manner using gendered terms is actually sexist.

    “Of course none of the above Aunty Vanya, Dear Nadia, Jellyscab et al have been anywhere near the electricians dispute but they can muster the usual anti working class bile directed against Martin Smith.”

    Have they said they haven’t? And why would that matter anyway? I mean, I’ve gave my physical support to it my area (as much as working for a living will allow) and I still think that your earlier attempts at painting the elctricians you claim to know in some kind of rough and ready, up-for-a-scrap Sons of Toil sounds more like a Slade LP cover than anything you’d understand from actually approaching without an agenda.

    “The irrelevence of these clowns is astonishing and a source of great amusement to me, I love the way they think what they post on here has some resonance ,though I must say at last nights SWP meeting all we did was discuss what Jelly Vanya et al had posted . Indeed I’m thinking of writing an article for the next IB on how we need to listen more to the profound widom of the clowns who post on here. I’ve a sparks meeting Friday I’ll pass on your regards”

    That’s awesomely ironic coming as it does from someone whose every post (including the above) positively fucking reeks of self-aggrandisement. All hail the saviour of working class!

  100. Jellytot on said:

    @125 every post…positively fucking reeks of self-aggrandisement

    That’s him….my fave UT quote was said in response to ‘Uncle Albert’ and he wasn’t being ironic. It went,

    “What you say is unimportant whereas what I say is important”

    An ego the size of Texas !!!