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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 May 2020

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

A placard tied to the gates by striking Birmingham binworkers in 2018

A placard tied to the gates by striking Birmingham binworkers in 2018   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Spooner, Hull Socialist Party

Tackling the coronavirus threat is the most pressing problem facing working people. Unfortunately, with a few honourable exceptions, we have to take up that fight without the benefit of a combative national leadership in either the trade unions or the Labour Party.

Hull Trades Council, the body representing local union branches in the city, held a very successful public meeting on working-class political representation on 14 May. There were many new faces, as well as Labour Party activists.

Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of transport union RMT, was scathing in his criticism of both the Tory party and Keir Starmer's Labour. He emphasised the vital role of the trade unions, and how unions must try to recruit among low-paid and zero-hour workers.

Mick Whale, chair of the trades council and Socialist Party member, agreed with Steve - but argued that alongside the unions, we need a political party that can represent workers. That party is not now the Labour Party. We need to work towards a new party that will be democratic and accountable, campaign against cuts and privatisation, and fight for socialist policies.

Joe Solo, a singer and entertainer, got a fantastic response when he spoke from the heart. "Workers have not deserted the Labour Party, the Labour Party has lost contact with them."

It was clear that many Labour members are very critical of the direction the party is taking after the election defeat, and are weighing up where their political future might be. We agreed that the trades council would act as a forum for debate on this issue in the period ahead.

The officers of the trades council also agreed to coordinate a car cavalcade protest with the RMT against the announcement of mass redundancies at P&O ferries.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 27 May 2020:


What we think

Reckless lying cheats


Schools

Schools aren't safe

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan


International news

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests


Coronavirus news

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief


BAME Covid-19 deaths

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality


Workplace news

Strong union response needed against job cuts

No return to unsafe construction sites

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation


Lessons from history

The 'Lucas Plan'

1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"


Obituary

Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20


Fighting fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis


Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters


 

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