Unions and ‘left’ politicians backing a national unity project is a bad idea, actually

King Charles

Not long ago Britain’s large trade unions seemed to be waking up, finally. There was even talk of a general strike. The RMT’s Mick Lynch was making fools of sneering, posh journalists. And strikers were enjoying huge public support.

Yesterday the Queen died in Balmoral. And the impact upon the left’s own ruling class was almost immediate. Union after union cancelled planned strikes. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) cancelled its (literal) congress.

Even left-wing MPs in the Labour Party took to grief-posting about a woman of astonishing inherited wealth:

But one Twitter user captured the tone exceptionally well:

Embarrassing

Embarrassing to say the least. At worst, this sudden urge to back what is self-evidently a national unity project could derail or diminish the entire movement. But it also speaks to the deep conservatism of both the Labour Party and the mainstream unions. In truth this is them doing what they do.

And there is more to come. The mourning period will bleed into the Remembrance period and then into December’s World Cup. Three courses of nationalist bread and circus.

It is one thing to adapt comms and strategy to the death of a figure like the Queen. Doubtless there are many people in trade unions whose politics extend to monarchism. And these decisions might well keep the press off your back. But to simply pause the struggle in a period of resurgence seems like capitulation.

And let’s be clear, capitalists certainly won’t be taking a break for the coronation. And it’s not a truce if only one side holds fire.

Cancelled

Some people have correctly pointed out that the activities which have been cancelled are those which benefit workers. Football, for example, as well as strikes. Work, of course, will continue.

Strikes, one Twitter user pointed out, are not meant to be exercises in deference to unelected power. They are by nature subversive:

Some found a degree of humour in the decision:

Class war

The weird outpourings and the decisions to stop industrial action – even as the October energy price hike draws near – are instructive. The mainstream unions and Labour politicians are part of the system. They have good spells, but they startle easily. Workers should never lose sight of these limitations.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Dan Marsh, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Good piece. Perhaps some workers who were in love with the Labour party and trusted the trade unions will now see them for what they are: in league with the capitalist ruling class, tasked to dampen and end as soon as possible any hint of working class uprising. When will we remember that there are a lot more of us than of the ruling class?

    2. This is a stupid piece. The problem with so many left leaning commentators and writers is that they lack pragmatism and common sense.

      Whether you like it or not, the Queen was very popular in the UK. If Zara Sultana, RMT and others had not tweeted out support or postponed strikes, the media backlash would have set the left back even further. Corbyn tweeted out a tribute too. Is he a fake lefty? I’m so sick of people on the left who are more concerned with being the pure ultimate lefty than actually winning.

      1. However popular the queen as a person might have been, the monarchy/crown/Firm is far less so. The obsequiousness and deference shown by the Labour party and the trade union aristocracy are neither new nor shocking but are still deplorable. This is not about showing who is more socialist but about not bowing to power.

      2. Absolutely spot on. This sort of article is classic liberal elite “we are more educated than the working classes” you arrogantly assume you speak for. A jumped up student Liz Truss made the same speech to the Lib Dems conference 25 years ago. It’s as cringeworthy as this article. Of course the monarchy opposed, but don’t assume those who disagree are uneducated fools.

    3. Poorly thought-out article. We live in a society that continually, and successfully, promotes a deference to the monarchy and aristocracy. When Diana died a lot of left-wing commentators claimed that the enormous public response had been whipped up by the media. This was not the case: it was an immediate response owing to the established societal deference which was then relentlessly stoked by the media. The same applies to the queen’s death but to a far greater extent.

      The strikes have so far had a level of public support that has worried the establishment. If any strikes were to go ahead during the “mourning period” there would be a backlash that the government would exploit to maximum effect. It is sensible and pragmatic to postpone the strikes for this period and offer the usual condolences etc in order to prevent the government from being able to turn any support away from the unions.

    4. To: Fontane Warde and Comsoc.
      It is true that there is a deep-seated affinity for the feudal establishment among working-class people.
      That self-deception is, in itself, deeply depressing.
      All the more reason to raise the sights of ordinary people and educate them to understand the ways in which they are being mis-led.
      Also to expose the ways in which the establishment uses this misplaced “loyalty” to pull-the-wool over peoples’ eyes in the hopes that they will fail to see the exploitation that they experience on a daily basis.
      We can run away from the arguments for ever-more.
      I’ve spent all my life as a trade union activist educating and organising working people to stand up for themselves.
      Now is not the time to stop.

      1. Thank you. It is all too easy in a capitalist regime to do as the corporate media demands and doff our caps to the ruling class, as Jeremy Corbyn, the union aristocracy and the Labour leadership do all the time. Strikes are meant to subvert power. Oddly, the media have not demanded we all stop working for a few days to mourn the death of an unelected, antidemocratic monarch.

    5. This is a very deferential, class-ridden society and it isn’t in our class interest to take the kettle off the boil for too long.
      What’s more, this was the week an unelected head of state was replaced instantly by another, and an unelected prime minister took office and announced her own new policies. No general election in sight. It’s all just how it is.
      An enduring willingness to just go along with the establishment and not call out the hypocrisy of how we are led and governed, including by labour leaders, is what allows the parasitic class system and low wages to persist in this country.
      We know our place.

    6. There will always be backlash from media and the establishment whatever we do; we do what needs to be done not what establishment say we should do. There’s nothing revolutionary in being led around by the sensibilities of the state lackeys in the lamestream media. I’m also sensing quite a mood of indifference over the state imposed mourning over the death of the national granny outside the media narrative, and I think most people would support ongoing strikes during this period.

    7. It’s wierd that just when the unions are gearing up for a general strike, suddenly the whole nation goes into a fit of collective hysteria and suspends the strikes. I wouldn’t put it past the government and the Royal Mafia to have knocked off the old biddy on purpose; the Royals have a history of dispatching members who have outlived their usefulness (she was gaga) or become liabilities; Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence had impregnated several young Catholic girls (there are an unknown number of quite literal “Fenian Bastards” out there who can claim Royal descent), had caught syphilis, and was, contrary to all the denials, Jack The Ripper! George V’s youngest son was suffocated with a pillow because he had epilepsy and the King did not want to suffer the same fate as his cousin Tsar Nicholas II, whose assassination he blamed on his own son’s haemophilia. Chinless Charlie Jug-Ears wanted his old lasy out of the way, he is impatient to be king and has no qualms about anone he sees as an impediment, after all, he knocked off his previous wife.

    8. More echo chamber student politics. What people like you can’t understand is that many working class people have considerable respect for the deification the Queen has shown to the country. The accountability in some ways is greater than politicians as if public opinion turns against the monarch, their says will be over.
      There are plenty of reasons to take a different view, but currently you are in a small minority.
      At least you gave one soulmate – Liz Truss liberal elite speech to the kid dems conference in the 90s is a carbon copy of your articlle.

    9. Spot on Joe! Politeness and Niceness have done The PEOPLE absolutely no favours.
      When it boils down to it The Neo-Labour Party TORIES won GE19, may that be their bloody last!
      Shortly before BLiar gnawed his way into Parliament via the Sewers of Westminster to create Thatcher Reagan’s flavour of Globalist Neoliberal One Party State the New-Labour Party TORIES in conjunction with The Conservative Party TORIES there we work groups for removing the “UNDESERVING POOR”, Socialists, The PEOPLE. Tony Benn attended one such meeting here’s what he said:

      “The strategy for this was outlined to at a SCA presentation on the topic of ‘Society and Self’. The Agency’s message was not universally welcomed. Tony Benn was particularly alarmed by the meeting: ‘Labour was associated with the poor, the unemployed, the old, the sick, the disabled, pacifists, immigrants, minorities and the unions, and this was deeply worrying’. Benn was further troubled by what he saw as the proposed remedy of Thatcher style leadership: ‘I came out feeling physically sick; I’m not kidding | felt unwell, because if this is what the Labour Party is about I’ve got nothing whatever in common with it. Signficantly alternative understandings or contradictory findings from the research data were invariably ‘filtered’ out of discussions”

      Deborah Mattinson who was involved in the Purge Project from day one is now, nudge, nudge, Director of Strategies (WORKING FOR FREE! Yeah Right), well she won GE19. Between her BlueKeef and MrBlobby they banished the “UNDESRVING POOR”, Socialism, The PEOPLE.
      What is left now!? First and most importantly NO CHOICE & NO HOPE for The PEOPLE, both robbed from them at GE19! A DEAD UK Labour Party (RIP 13 December 2019) with the Parasite Party, The Neo-Labour Party TORIES wriggling inside the remains of what once was The UK Labour Party (RIP 13 December 2019) and a New Minimum Entry Requirement of Middle-Class & UP.
      It’s all about the Look at Me Events and Friday Night Soirées Socialism and fuck the “UNDESERVING POOR” unless there is gratification in money or publicity etc!
      It’s all image and selfies!
      The UNDESRVING POOR will return the favour of 4y3m 24/7 Sabotage, Lies, SpinPorn and that infamous VoteTORYtoStopCorbyn Campaign, you’d have to be Middle-Class and Up to be able to afford voting that way. It was not the nicely framed LP/RWall Brexiteers who VotedTORYtoStopCorbyn, that is bullshit, there was nowhere near enough of them to swing a vote not in comparison with the multitudes FBPErs, TV Types, etc who promised for 4y3m 24/7 that they WOULD NEVER VOTE CORBYN.
      Now you have all these Middle-Class & Up Wannabees looking down at The PEOPLE and through polite, kind, gentle, they are killing The UNDESERVING POOR, because of their Middle-Classness and uttler lack of Empathy they simply can’t understand what The PEOPLE below the breadline experience, firstly because they wouldn’t want to mix with THOSE TYPES, but The PEOPLE don’t care about you pompousness and judgements. We DON’T CARE ABOUT The UK Labour Party it’s DEAD (RIP 13 December 2019) that thing The Thatcher/Reagan flavour of Globalist Neoliberal One Party State, The Neo-Labour Party TORIES is NOT AND WILL NEVER BE Labour!
      And you Middle-Class & Up will be the ones who will feel VERY SOON what it’s like to live Under the breadline, with us UNDESERVING POOR! Where is it up to now your ankles? Your knees? We are already accustomed to life below the breadline hopefully you being swallowed up by poverty will wake you from your 43 years of slumber to see what the 43 years of TORY HELL did and make you realise what is Important in life.
      Then and only then will we be able to move on and create a new party on the remains of the dead one.
      The full Citation.
      https://archive.org/details/g-1_20220823/page/7/mode/1up

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