Union leader Sharon Graham has said Unite plans to withdraw a big chunk of Labour Party funding. Going forwards, the money will be used to help workers by other means. The union will still pay £1m in affiliation fees, but Graham said other cash will go on more valuable causes.
Unite’s firebrand general-secretary told the Guardian, “there’s a lot of other money that we use from our political fund where, actually, I’m not sure we’re getting the best value for it”.
The fact that I am being quite robust is because Labour needs to talk about workers, needs to defend workers and needs to defend communities.
And there are quite a number of other projects that could benefit from union backing.
Graham called Labour’s recent reshuffle “white noise”. She had strong words for Labour:
I don’t know what world they’re living in, but [they] don’t live in the one in I’m living in, because [in] the one I’m inhabiting, people are frightened.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
And this isn’t the first time. The Unite leader recently clashed with London mayor Sadiq Khan after he attacked striking transport workers:
This comment is precisely why workers are turning away from @UKlabour when a Labour mayor attacks workers. It's about time the @MayorofLondon did the right thing and stood up for workers not just at election time but when it matters. https://t.co/MVHoo0PFwa
— Sharon Graham (@UniteSharon) November 26, 2021
As workers turn away from Keir Starmer’s increasingly right-wing party, other projects could be in line for union support. Sharon Graham mentioned the idea of a national care service in Scotland:
If we can get in a national care service in Scotland, if we can drive that through, then let’s put the resource in Scotland, let’s get some campaigning going on there properly.
Westminster, Graham said, “isn’t the font of everything, you know, and actually, there’s other ways to try and get things in, by pace-setting”.
And it is true. Any number of actual pro-worker initiatives could be energised by more union funding. Post-Corbyn, the Labour Party has shifted back towards a Blairite position: pro-capitalist and pro-war. Recent appointments like David Lammy as shadow foreign secretary prove this beyond doubt – at least if his hawkish record is anything to go by. But where could the money go?
Well, there are any number of projects which could benefit from union backing. Perhaps these could include new and existing left media platforms to counter the influence of private and state broadcasters. One outcome of Corbynism was a new network of channels and organisations. The Canary, Skwawkbox, Double Down News, and Declassified UK – to name just a few. And none of them enjoy billionaire backers like the Tory press.
Worker’s education programs like the WEA are needed more than ever so that worker’s can access education and expand their minds. It’s high time initiatives like this were properly funded.
The unions could increase funding to training programmes for activists and organizers on everything from climate change to antiracism. And these fit snugly with refugee and migrant solidarity efforts to help desperate and displaced people affected by Priti Patel’s hostile environment
And all of these have an international aspect. From solidarity campaigns with workers in Latin American and the Middle East, to support for oppressed people from Palestine to Europe.
It’s for Unite to decide where it puts cash freed up from Labour. But there are plenty of worthy causes outside Starmer’s floundering party which could do with a hand. And let’s hope the money gets used where its needed.
Featured image via – Wikimedia Commons/Office of US Speaker of the House
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?