DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

SWP storm Acas- what are your thoughts?

55 posts / 0 new
Last post
Elly's picture
Elly
Offline
Joined: 24-05-10
May 24 2010 17:58

DP.

no1
Offline
Joined: 3-12-07
May 24 2010 18:46
Elly wrote:
Quote:
no1
Don't know any details, but I can't see how his would help BA workers.

Probably about as much as people on here urging others to sign a petition or write a letter to a head of state to free those from the IWA imprisoned for 'terrorism'. But I'm sure the imprisoned appreciated it nonetheless.

Petitions and letter writing aren't tactics people believe in much on here.

Elly wrote:
Quote:
no1
Apparently the heroic vanguard did this because "BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures" - talk about substitutionism!

Don't be ridiculous.

As the article stated "At present, 48 BA cabin crew members have been suspended and seven dismissed for voicing their support for BA workers striking to defend their jobs and conditions."

So that threat isn't immaterial. if we're to trust the facts of the article. Certainly, if I was contemplating action but was discouraged with the prospect of being fired, I would appreciate it if some third party raised the concerns that I myself have but may not be in a position to voice. I wouldn't feel like some third party is substituting themselves for me, but rather they're acting in (a very limited form of) solidarity and advocacy.

Seriously, when anarchists write an article, or argue in solidarity for whatever, are they substituting themselves in place of the workers, or are they advocating the struggle of those particular workers?

The SWP may have substitutionist ideas, but frankly storming around like a bunch of idiots isn't proof of that, otherwise most anarchist groups would be substituionist.

The problem is, not that they're arguing on the side of workers, but that that it comes across as childish, pathetic chanting which really is fairly limited in respects as to what it will actually achieve, apart from pissing that boss off.

The problem is that their action was completely cut off from BA strikers. And it wasn't simply an ineffectual protest - they intervened in and disrupted negotiations. If this had been done by BA workers - great! If BA workers had disavowed Unite bosses, accused them of negotiating a sell-out and the SWP had stopped negotiations that would have been great too, though ideally it would have involved actual BA workers.

As for repression of BA workers, yes of course the threat is very real, but it hasn't stopped them from fighting - today the strike continued. SWP CC were simply clutching at straws when they brought this up but in reality BA workers had not asked anyone to come and rescue them.

Actually, to their credit, I've seen several SWP members admit to the substitutionist character of it. Today one of the SWP members who took part in it came up to me and talked about how he felt embarrassed about it and realises how it's substitutionist.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
May 24 2010 18:58
Elly wrote:
Probably about as much as people on here urging others to sign a petition or write a letter to a head of state to free those from the IWA imprisoned for 'terrorism'. But I'm sure the imprisoned appreciated it nonetheless.

fwiw, the Serbian state is paranoid about its foreign image, especially in Europe as an aspirant EU member, hence what would normally be ineffectual symbollic tactics did seem to have potential to effect the situation, which i think they did.

that's barely the point though, even if it made no difference whatsoever it was organised at the behest of those imprisoned and those in their organisation (ASI), as far as we can tell the SWP just did this on behalf of the workers off their own backs (they've been going to a lot of pickets, so who knows they could have talked it through with people, although Martin Smith's bizarre claim they invaded the ACAS building then accidentally took the lift to the floor where Willy Walsh happened to be suggests it was an impulsive action rationalised after the fact).

in the Brighton bins occupation in 2001, activists picketed employment agencies hiring scabs. they did that in concert with the workers who were (a) busy occupying their workplace and (b) bound by restrictive laws on secondary picketing. so supporters were able to act in solidarity with them without substituting themsleves for them, since the activity was co-ordinated. if the SWP had organised a solidarity strike elsewhere, that would be great. but they didn't, they disrupted the negotiations - not even as an anti-union leadership/anti-sell out thing but as a futile stunt. that's substitutionism.

Ella wrote:
The problem is, not that they're arguing on the side of workers, but that that it comes across as childish, pathetic chanting which really is fairly limited in respects as to what it will actually achieve, apart from pissing that boss off.

that fucking 'management, get out' chant has been driving me nuts for about 3 months at Sussex sad

Shorty's picture
Shorty
Offline
Joined: 13-06-05
May 24 2010 20:11
Elly wrote:
Probably about as much as people on here urging others to sign a petition or write a letter to a head of state to free those from the IWA imprisoned for 'terrorism'. But I'm sure the imprisoned appreciated it nonetheless.!

Not to espouse substitutionism, liberalism or lobbying but more to counteract your trite sarcasm and to confirm what Joseph K. has said, we in Anarchist Group Amsterdam got this e-mail from the CNT-AIT in Paris recently with regards one of the Belgrade 6. Translated below. It relates to a rather small protest outside the Serbian Embassy in the Hague last September by members of AGA, de Vrije Bond and other dutch anarchists.

Quote:
Dear comrades / Thanks for your message [...] One of the Serb comrades is right now at this very moment in Paris, he asked us to greet you and thank you for your solidarity. Which as a matter of fact also led to an important result: coincidentally is the son of the judge in the trial in the Serbian embassy in The Hague, and when you had organised the first assembly in front of the embassy building, he briefed his mother about the manifestation and explained that this situation is very bad for the image of Serbia abroad. According to our friend this would have had a positive impact [for the six], and that would also have led to the judge stopping/dropping the charges/accusations of terrorism .[...]
Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
May 25 2010 00:37
wrote:
And revol is being completely fine on this thread.
revol68 wrote:
Stop throwing around terms you barely understand
revol68 wrote:
It should of course be taken as granted that it's substitutionist shit, it really goes without saying.

admin - that's a good way to get a temp ban

The point of Libcom serious forums is that they can be read by anyone from around the world. Now I didn't realise quite how entrenced he was in the activist subculture, so much so that we can telepathically agree on "substitutionism" (without even defining it first), but it's generally a good idea - in the serious forums at least - to have these discussions out to their full.

Of course, Revol only comes here periodically to in order to preach from his self-imagined pedestal and try to form conflicts - over personal points where there is no political disagreement. His every post is inflammatory, you well know that.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
May 25 2010 00:39
888 wrote:
Whether it looks embarrassing is really quite unimportant, we should only be concerned with whether it's substitutionist and whether it's effective.

Thank you.

posi
Offline
Joined: 24-09-05
May 25 2010 09:08

fyi...

Quote:
As the conference emptied, a number of SWP members got some people together in order to hold an impromptu lobby outside Euston Towers. Around 200 of us marched along Euston Road to the building to find no security, a lot of press and an unlocked door. So we decided to enter and hold our lobby in, well, the lobby.

Acas’s lobby was upstairs, so around 50 people went up in lifts. They stayed in the lobby and chanted support for the BA workers before spotting Walsh himself standing in the corridor beside the lobby. We moved around the corner to chant at him and stayed there for ten minutes or so before going back downstairs.

It’s important to keep things in perspective. There was no attempt to break up or storm the talks. This might make for a sensational headline or a convenient excuse, but it has no basis in reality. Nobody on the protest went anywhere near the room where the talks had been taking place. It was in no way an attempt to stop a deal being reached or to attack Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley. If Walsh hadn’t been stomping around on his mobile whingeing about Simpson’s tweeting, we’d never have locked eyes on any of them.

Some people have suggested this episode was an attempt to publicise the SWP, others that it was an act of substitutionism. In fact, it was a spontaneous act of solidarity: when we realised there was a lot of media there, we thought that it would be brilliant if strikers (and millions of other people) saw some action in support of the cabin crew.

As for the results—well, we have received a number of supportive emails from cabin crew, as well as a long and excited voicemail message from BA crew in Singapore saying how brilliant it was to see a show of support for them!

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/05/right-to-work-conference-ba-strike-and.html

oisleep's picture
oisleep
Offline
Joined: 20-04-05
May 25 2010 09:17
the swp wrote:
brilliant
oisleep's picture
oisleep
Offline
Joined: 20-04-05
May 25 2010 09:17
Quote:
chant at him
no1
Offline
Joined: 3-12-07
May 25 2010 09:43

Of course one of the protesters gave an interview to BBC 24 saying he hoped that the negotiations had been interrupted. The youtube video of the interview that was posted on blogs like socialistunity has since been pulled. I could be wrong on this, but I think I've seen the interviewee before, and he was a member of Linksruck the SWP's German section.