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The Socialist 20 September 2007 |
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Break with Labour
Time for a new party
Thatcher & Brown
The new merged union 'Unite' is leading a lobby of Labour Party conference on Sunday 23 September. A whole list of grievances will be presented to the Labour leadership in defence of the rights of working people. But millions of trade union members will be asking, how can the big unions still remain handcuffed to New Labour, in the face of its pro-business agenda?
Rob Williams, Unite convenor, Swansea Visteon plant, personal capacity
These union general secretaries correctly denounced Brown for his 'meet and greet' session with Thatcher. Aware of the disgust that workers will have felt looking at the pictures, they embarrassingly rushed out statements attacking Brown.
Yet the very same leaders refuse to carry those sentiments through to their logical conclusion - stop giving millions of our union subs to New Labour and launch a new mass workers' party. Thatcher called the miners "the enemy within" and is now paraded by a Labour prime minister in front of No.10.
Of course, New Labour prime ministers, like Thatcher herself, are war leaders as well. Millions live in poverty but billions are spent in the illegal war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tens of thousands of miners and steelworkers were sacked by Thatcher, just as Brown announced over 100,000 civil servants losing their jobs live on TV when he was chancellor. Yet the union leaders have been doing their best to try and persuade us that Brown is different to Blair. But he is an architect of the New Labour regime.
He is planning to remove the last vestiges of democracy and trade union representation from the already neutered Labour Party conference. Why do we need to waste more time and money? We need to cut the links with Labour now.
The trade unions are campaigning to get the Trade Union Freedom Bill passed. The anti-trade union laws were used to defeat the miners and the printers at Wapping. Yet these laws remain today, even after ten years of a Labour government.
Surely, if Labour MPs don't deliver yet again, the penny needs to drop, lets cut the links and launch a new party that can link together the millions that have opposed this government, from the anti-war protestors to the anti-NHS cuts campaigners.