Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Archive for the ‘Labour Movement’ Category

Class War in the UK.

leave a comment »

Anarchy in the UK: Coming Sometime, Now.

I don’t recall much humour during the 1970s and 1980s industrial disputes.

This was the kind of cartoon the mass readership far right press published at the time:

Anthony Burgess, chiefly remembered for the film based on his book A Clockwork Orange, published this in 1978, which expresses the mood of the right and sections of the rightward moving intelligentsia.

1985 (from James Nicholl Reviews – if anything too kind, the prose is worse even than the ideas and plot).

Britain, or Tucland (from Trades Union Congress) as it is known in 1985, languishes under the doleful lash of syndicalist trade unionism. Britain has been transformed from the vibrant (if, as Burgess admits in his essays, steadfastly stupid) society of yesteryear to one in which predatory tribes of homosexuals roam unchecked, an alien society quietly infiltrates, and any worker can provoke a general strike for such absurd goals as a reasonable wage and safe working conditions.

Poor Bev Jones, once a paid intellectual, was driven out academia when his sort of academia was defunded for irrelevancy in the eyes of the dullards now running Tucland. Now a — unionized, of course! — confectioner, he lives a not-especially-fulfilling life with a wife whom he apparently loves in the passionless, vaguely repelled way of the British of Burgess’ sort. The couple has a daughter, whose promiscuous ways and general lack of intelligence make her a perfect example of the modern Tuclander.

Bev abandons his moping submissiveness after his wife is left to burn to death as a result of a fireman’s strike. He becomes a steadfast anti-unionist. Unfortunately, while the author seems to be on Bev’s side, most of his fellow Britons are not. Bev’s feeble attempts to speak out against the flaws of Modern Society see him stripped of his union card, his job, and his humble niche in society. 

There seems to be a ray of hope when Bev discovers the Free Britons, who oppose Tucland for their own reasons. As Bev will discover to his cost, just because he is on their side does not mean that they are on his.

Burgess did not shy away from racism,

Bev’s underage daughter Bessie, who is addicted to soft pornographic TV shows, at one point is found watching “Spiro and Spero” (Latin for ‘I breathe’ and ‘I hope’ respectively), who transpire to be “a pair of cartoon dolphins who spoke English on the Chinese model: You Say He Not Come I Know He Come I Know He Come Soon.” Later, she sends him a postcard from the city of Ghadan (Arabic for ‘tomorrow’), where she has become part of the harem of an Arab sheikh, which reads “der dad i am alrit ere tely very gud i am ok luv besi.’

From Anthony Burgess’s other invented languages.

But today:

Lynch’s reply:

Yet, even the Spectator has began to publish some kind words for unions.

The Spectator has published this …

“Mick Lynch is not a normal union leader in that he is, well, normal. It’s as if he has taken the best bits of previous examples of the job and moulded them into a finished article – the working-classness of a Ron Todd, the temperament of Bill Jordan, the passion of Rodney Bickerstaffe and the wit and wisdom of another rail union leader, Jimmy Knapp, one of the nicest I ever dealt with.”


Written by Andrew Coates

June 23, 2022 at 4:30 pm

As Far-Right Tories try to stir up anti-Trade Union Hatred: Solidarity with the RMT!

with one comment

Last Week…

Nostalgia for the 1970s began to grow a couple of weeks ago. Now Kate Bush (too good not to cite) tops the charts, artic roll is on the menu, and Abigail is having a party. Kipper ties are said to be making a comeback.

Then there is…

I can recall having vicious arguments in the 1970s about unions. Having left school at 16 I worked, first in manual jobs, then in central London offices. There were lots of strikes, many involving car workers and dockers, including in 1971 a TUC Day of Action ‘Kill the Bill’, a one-day General Strike, against the Industrial Relations Act. If there was a current of solidarity, the class hatred against strikers from right-wingers, and people who considered work stoppages something against the natural order of things, was so strong you could almost touch it. The 1979 Winter of Discontent 1978-9 is said to have capped the decade with widespread strikes in the public and private sector.

At Uni in the latter part of the decade students attended trade union marches in the West Midlands, in Birmingham and Coventry, at which there were engineering and car workers. We went regularly, by mini-bus from Leamington, driven by the indefatigable ‘Reg’, and then coaches which started at Warwick, to support the dispute involving trade union recognition at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in Willesden that led to a two-year strike between 1976 and 1978.

Those of us who were there will vividly remember the day this chap turned up at Grunwicks, with the miners, to show solidarity:

We also remember red-baiting stuff on the telly and papers. In response there were private armies formed (not kidding) to resist the Marxist threat in the UK. ” General Sir Walter Colyear Walker (1912–2001) was a British army officer. Walker has been accused of forming a private army with the intention of overthrowing the British government or seizing power if trade unionists rendered the country ungovernable.”

Back to the present…

This the Interview:

Or is it the 1980s….?

Things are obviously getting polarised. But solidarity continues:

Solidarity with the RMT at Ipswich today from the Ipswich trades council, the NEU, Unison and Unite branches including of course the SUC!

A massed and coordinated show of solidarity is being mustered for 10am on Saturday (June 25th) on the pavement opposite the railway station,

please join it if you can, and bring your banners, placards and flags.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 21, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Young Communist League Accused of Breaching Communist Party of Britain Democratic Centralism Rules on “Adulation of Stalin”.

with 3 comments

YCL, Mostly Masked, Accused of Chanting Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara…Stalin on TUC Demo.

These are serious charges but the evidence of the YCL breach of discipline is there for all to see:

We await a full report in the Morning Star, the daily paper of the left, and wholly independent of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB).

Labour movement voices are calling on the CPB Political Committee (PC) to organise a Control Commission to root out these wrecking forces undermining democratic centralism.

Here is a link to the guidelines these petty bourgeois elements are accused of breaking:

All progressive people hope that the anti-party clique behind these acts will be brought to heel.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 19, 2022 at 7:09 pm