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Unite anti-cuts conference
Over 400 Unite members attended a conference against the cuts organised by the union's London and Eastern and South-east regions. While the members were angry, and went away convinced that Unite would fight the cuts, what was lacking was an overall strategy to really take on the bosses and their representatives, whatever their political colour.
New general secretary Len McCluskey opened the conference and laid the blame for the crisis at the doors of the bankers and their system, accusing Cameron and Co of making workers pay for the collapse of the banking system.
He also gave support to the students and their struggles, and called on the police to stop criminalising young people. However, no speakers from the floor were allowed in the plenary sessions.
Only in the workshops was the anger of the members allowed to be expressed, with some activists calling for industrial action, up to a general strike, to fight back!
But it was in the workshop on political campaigning that much of the frustration came out.
The platform speakers concentrated on the cuts of Tory councils like Southampton, as well as the Con-Dem government, and their political response was to give out Labour Party application forms!
This was challenged in an all-too brief session by a number of members. It was left to Suzanne Muna from LE1111 branch to point out that she lived in a Labour-run authority and they were attacking youth and other services just like the Tory councils! Her call for the union to withhold the political levy to Labour for making cuts received warm applause.
Unite now must take the lead, as the biggest union, to support and coordinate campaigns and strikes against the vicious attacks of the government, councils and the bosses.
But it must link up with those communities organising to fight back, against whoever is carrying them out, and develop a national struggle against all cuts.
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis