Putting People First – Militantly
ireland / britain |
Wednesday April 15, 2009 20:06 by David O'Connell - Liberty and Solidarity Davidoconnell22 at Aol dot com
L&S Speak at G20 March
By Keith Hallack, published on April 4th, 2009
At our national conference L&S decided to endorse the Militant Workers Block on the basis of its callout (see appendix). We were happy that the loose group of London libertarians the callout came from, and that some of us are part of, hand met our request to make the language broad enough to include all people in favour of workers’ direct action against the crisis – specifically the IWW. Once the rest of our union had also endorsed the event we set about making sure we had the best possible impact on the day itself.
We saw the March 28th event as the start of more open dissent about the crisis and the economic system, and especially the start of trade union dissent. On this basis we wanted as many angry trade unionists who had made the effort to march on London that day to know about the IWW and its role as an anti-partnership union that they could join as well as the main union in their workplace, like most of us did. We printed hundreds of new IWW flags with the slogan ‘solidarity: not a word but a weapon’ and also a new general banner. On the day this was supported by three branch banners making us one of the most distinctive blocks on the march. We got less than half our flags back as so many marchers not (yet?) in the union had asked us for them. We’re sure they now adorn mantelpieces up and down the country!
The whole of the militant workers block was massive – photojournalist Jason Parkinson told us the front half was about 600 strong; the back half has about similar, although a lot of people had wandered into a gap opened up by a samba band without realising they were in our block; people consciously participating in it could be between 600 and 800. The samba band (a drumming troupe) didn’t realise we were an organised block and ended up splitting the whole march, not just our section, as they walk very slowly. This is annoying as a lot of planning had gone into our block, which represented a coming together of lots of similar groups in the interests of unity and solidarity, in open planning meetings; samba bands and the horse puppets that led them were not part of this process. By the time we finished the march in Hyde Park we were in our own purely IWW block just in front of the RMT; overall the march is estimated to have been 35,000 strong.
An open platform had been called by London anarchists for 3PM at Speakers Corner whilst the main TUC rally went on, and on being encouraged to speak, three of our contingent rose to the challenge and mounted the stepladder to dispense fiery discourse, two of whom are caught on video. The speeches went down well, and as it began to finally rain we did a quick interview with NBC (yes, NBC) and called an end to a successful intervention. Our union was represented properly, as part of the labour movement and part of the increasing revolt against the crisis and the financial system which caused it.
Post Script: at the end of the rally it seems an agent provocateur tried to fit people up. A man dressed all in black and fully masked up dropped a bag full of hunting catapults next to the speaker and quickly left. They were discovered and kicked under a fence, but 20 minutes later a group of policemen climbed over a fence behind the rally – seemingly knowing where to look – and picked them up. The crowd was warned and it dispersed before any arrests took place.
MARCH 28/09 MILITANT WORKERS BLOCK
'Put People First' Anti-G20 demonstration, 11am Central London
As the financial crisis has spurred a global economic recession the reality of the situation is being faced by us all – price hikes and wage cuts, job losses, spiralling debt and repossessions. The institutions of government and global finance are making us pay for their mistakes, giving themselves hefty bonuses for the privilege. As big banks get billions of our money to bail them out, the Post Office is threatened with privatisation and mass redundancies to claw back the pension hole! Government and bosses, while protecting their own interests, are steadily losing their grip as the anger of the working class becomes more and more apparent after a decade of enforced 'social peace'.
Putting working class anger first
The recent wildcat strikes at the Lindsay Oil Refinery saw workers take action for themselves, without union backing. Thousands of workers across the country walked out in sympathy strikes – a practice still outlawed under the Thatcherite anti-trade union laws. No repercussions were suffered by the workers - a lesson to us all. And although we oppose such slogans as “British Jobs for British Workers”, we do not dismiss the experiences, anger and positive action of those workers to develop a pro-working class position, based not on capitalism's demands for inter-worker competition, but on international class solidarity. If we want social change we must fight without prejudice for it.
Solidarity is not a word but a weapon
Our purpose is to put direct action at the core of any fightback - against the repossessions and redundancies that we will face over the coming months and years, to restate our commitment for an international unity amongst all working class people regardless of nationality, race, sexuality or religion. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who take direct action against their current situation (against the state and its institutions, against the bosses and the capitalism they cling to), and confront those who seek to hinder or recuperate that action - fascist parties like the BNP, government forces, the trade union elite and the corporate media. The memory of the miners strike, Wapping, Poll tax lingers long and hard.
2009 is our summer of rage - we are only as strong as the power we give ourselves.
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