Workers' Liberty materials and bulletin for postal strikes starting today

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Sacha
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Jul 25 2007 15:41
Workers' Liberty materials and bulletin for postal strikes starting today

The Communication Workers' Union's postal executive has called a rolling series of strikes based on different sections of the workforce:

Mail centres (sorting offices): all shifts at or after 7pm on Wednesday 25 July until 7pm Thursday 26 July and all shifts at or after 3am Tuesday 31 July until 3am Wednesday 1 August.
Delivery offices: all shifts at or after 7pm Friday 27 July until 7pm Saturday 28 July and all shifts at or after 3am Thursday 2 August until 3am Friday 3 August.

Workers' Liberty's bulletin for the strikes - along with old bulletins, a "Support the postal workers" petition and other materials - can be downloaded at http://www.workersliberty.org/node/8906

Battlescarred
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Jul 26 2007 09:03

Do we need this spamming from Trots? Bin, I say

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Devrim
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Jul 26 2007 09:19
Battlescarred wrote:
Do we need this spamming from Trots? Bin, I say

Why? It is informative, and links to their leaflets on the postal strike. It my opinion, it is the most important struggle in the UK at the moment. I am interested to read what they say about it.
I'd be equally interested to read any stuff on it produced by anarchist organisations. Unfortunately, it seems that none of them have bothered to do it.
Devrim

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Steven.
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Jul 26 2007 09:44
Battlescarred wrote:
Do we need this spamming from Trots? Bin, I say

I think it's worthwhile having for reference. They're not going to get any group benefit out of it being here.

nastyned
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Jul 26 2007 12:20

I don't think a libertarian communist site should have links to Trotskyist sites.

Sacha
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Jul 26 2007 12:24

In addition to all the good points made in our defence above, I think you will find that we are an awful lot more libertarian than most Trots - both in our politics and our organisation/practice.

nastyned
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Jul 26 2007 12:26

Oh give over.

Dundee_United
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Jul 27 2007 15:42
Quote:
I think you will find that we are an awful lot more libertarian than most Trots - both in our politics and our organisation/practice.

Ignore the dafties. There can be no discussion with complete ideologues and dogmatists. I'll check out what you have to say on the postal strike.

I think it would be good to have a discussion on third camp Trotskyism and Shachtmannism at some point. I personally have a lot more time for the Ortho-Trotskyist line (which I don't support), and I say that as an anarchist communist and an especifist.

I have to say, I think the ideological precepts behind you guys being, "an awful lot more libertarian than most Trots" are problematical, and lead to some very odd conclusions, like Shachtmann supporting Reagan, or your organisation supporting the NATO bombing of Serbia. I understand where it's coming from, and I share the sheer horror that Third Campism has for the Soviet Union but you guys have gone too far the wrong way in a way that leads you to some odd reflections on some of the core principles of socialism.

Quote:
Unfortunately, it seems that none of them have bothered to do it.

Is a fair cop. While not an anarchist organisation, the IWW, though has been active in supporting posties.

There's talk on the UK Left Network email lists at the moment of getting some strike support committees together throughout Scotland. That seems to be coming from the SSP but I think that'd be a good initiative which I'd hope some anarchist comrades could get involved in.

I think the question has to be though where these events fit into your organisational strategy. Perhaps for the AF (I can't speak for them obviously, I'm not a member) supporting the postal workers is not a priority? That'd be OK if it's a rational position which they consider to evidence based. Where it'd be crap is if an organisation thinks like you do in respect of this dispute and then does nothing about it.

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Devrim
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Jul 27 2007 16:02
Dundee_United wrote:
Is a fair cop. While not an anarchist organisation, the IWW, though has been active in supporting posties.

There's talk on the UK Left Network email lists at the moment of getting some strike support committees together throughout Scotland. That seems to be coming from the SSP but I think that'd be a good initiative which I'd hope some anarchist comrades could get involved in.

Political organisations have to act politically. It is not just about 'supporting a strike'. It is about presenting how we see the situation, and what we think is neccesary to win.

Dundee_United wrote:
I think the question has to be though where these events fit into your organisational strategy. Perhaps for the AF (I can't speak for them obviously, I'm not a member) supporting the postal workers is not a priority? That'd be OK if it's a rational position which they consider to evidence based. Where it'd be crap is if an organisation thinks like you do in respect of this dispute and then does nothing about it.

If the AF as an organisation doesn't see that the most important struggles for the working class in the UK at the moment are based around public sector pay disputes, and at this specific moment the postmen, they might as well pack up, and go home. If on the other hand they do, what are they doing about it? The same applies to SolFed.

If a smaller organisation than these such as the ICC has managed to produce not one, but two leaflets on the postal strike, you have to ask yourself what the anarchists are playing at:

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/306/postal-strike
http://en.internationalism.org/wr/305/postal-dispute

Devrim

nastyned
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Jul 27 2007 16:02
Dundee_United wrote:
Perhaps for the AF (I can't speak for them obviously, I'm not a member) supporting the postal workers is not a priority? That'd be OK if it's a rational position which they consider to evidence based. Where it'd be crap is if an organisation thinks like you do in respect of this dispute and then does nothing about it.

You can give over as well.

Dundee_United
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Jul 27 2007 18:07
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You can give over as well.

What the fuck!? Can you say what you mean please, and not just make vague snipey comments! Devrim disagreed with me but he at least explained WHY he disagreed. You are not engaging at any level at all.

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Devrim
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Jul 29 2007 10:45

Are the anarchist organisations doing anything on the postal strike?
Devrim

Dundee_United
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Jul 29 2007 13:17
Quote:
Are the anarchist organisations doing anything on the postal strike?

What do you think should be done Devrim?

I'm personally at a loss. Praxis could perhaps get involved in Glasgow to some extent but we're very few people and I doubt we could offer much in the concrete beyond helping to build a strike support committee. The brutal thing about this strike is that it's so sectional at a time when all the public service unions should be coming together to generalise their demands, as they're all preparing to take action.

None of the unions will do that though because even now they are not prepared to embarrass the Labour Government - although in Scotland they are talking about it because the SNP is in power and Labour is in opposition. The CWU is basically guarranteed to lose, because their bureaucrats and those of the other unions of the public sector fear the prospect of creating a summer of discontent and handing a victory to the Tories in the next election. They are prepared then to basically shaft their membership and remain inactive just so that this does not happen. It's really depressing.

I wrote on UK Left Network the following:-

I think it's unlikely to unless it can be linked into other public sector struggles over pay and the continued provision of our services. At the moment nurses are balloting. There are restructuring plans to do away with the National Blood Service in England. There is still the legacy of single status imposition across many places. Teachers are balloting etc. It's all happening but the fights are all being brough separately and there hasn't been any great effort by the union leadership to try and bring all this stuff together in something that could really force the issue. I think the unions are scared of bringing themselves into conflict with the Brown government. That's understandable, given the historicity we're dealing with, and in most cases all the leadership wants is an increase in wages in line with inflation. In short the unions because of the way they're structured at the top will be disinclined to behave any differently.

What we are seeing though I think is an increase in militancy, highly incremental no doubt, and nothing of any earth shattering significance just yet, but it's begining to happen. The radical midwives are talking about creating an anti-partnership trade union. The RMT continue to sound off, and are to merge with the OILC. There are structural changes too in the offing I think. For the meantime the RMT, the FBU and UNISON did not endorse labour for the Scottish Parliamentary elections. I'm quite sure that a number of the bureaucrats in those unions will have been close to tears about that, but it's nonetheless just what the situation requires. That's telling.

The other factor which the unions and the left is perhaps a little bit slow to grasp for historical reasons is the real role that community support can play in these kind of public services battles. A good work strike, or a no ticket day backed up by a number of residents associations or a transport users forum and pensioners action groups over pay and conditions is a lot easier a pill to swallow than having a picket outside the subway telling middle class punters, "fuck off, you're no gettin in!" Those kind of interlocations and dialectics can be seen and tactics of this nature basically be applied across the whole of the public services to these kinds of strikes and disputes.

I think a strike support committee would be a very good idea if it could mobilise some of that latent support. I'd be into helping, in Glasgow, to build something like that, if it was to branch out to mobilise support in this way. I just worry that the dispute will be over really quickly so there won't be time for that kind of thing to happen to be useful. It'd have been great to have something like that in place a month ago. Anyway... I think on your orginal question - can this be turned into a major class fight?

I think what's more likely is that in some cases real solidarity can be built. In other places that's going to be a bit more difficult. We could leverage and generalise some of the better activities and organisations which spring up if they do, but it's all contingent on whether or not the posties just get sold out quickly. I don't think we're going to have much success at generalising this into a major public sector battle though.

I'd be keen to hear what other comrades think?
- Hide quoted text -

Somone else wrote:

Quite a useful SSP public meeting in Glasgow last night. i think about
50 comrades. Speakers form the CWU, NUJ ( re herald and evening times
stikes) and social work strike. Idea of setting up a solidarity
committee in Glasgow given that the CWU have called for such
committees to be built in solidarity with the posties

I would be interested in what other comrades think re the potential
for the Posties strike to become a major class battle

<xxx>

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Jul 29 2007 15:18
Devrim wrote:
Are the anarchist organisations doing anything on the postal strike?
Devrim

we have been and are continuing to do so in brighton and south london, not as much as we should do, so you are right to criticise us and other groups for our poor organisation on this issue.

I think the key point at this time is to link the pay offers across the public sector, and combat wider job losses connected with a reduction and contract shuffle in royal mails services including their outsourced ones like homephone and so on and join the stike with the fight the post office closures and rather than just ''do something'' about the post office strike for the sake of having 'done something about it' as if socialism could be reduced to just ticking off some boxes.
.

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Jul 29 2007 15:57
Sacha wrote:
In addition to all the good points made in our defence above, I think you will find that we are an awful lot more libertarian than most Trots - both in our politics and our organisation/practice.

From your leaflets i'd say you aspire to function as little more than a sort of ''libertarian'' wing of the labour party
Hence why your website includes gobshite like this for example http://www.workersliberty.org/filestore2/download/3038/blairpetition.pdf . I mean do you actually beleive this sort of wish washy liberal nonsense?

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Devrim
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Jul 30 2007 10:22
cantdocartwheels wrote:
I think the key point at this time is to link the pay offers across the public sector, and combat wider job losses connected with a reduction and contract shuffle in royal mails services including their outsourced ones like homephone and so on and join the stike with the fight the post office closures and rather than just ''do something'' about the post office strike for the sake of having 'done something about it' as if socialism could be reduced to just ticking off some boxes.

Yes, you are right. It is not about ticking off boxes and doing something for the sake of having done something. You are also right about the links that you draw on public sector pay.

The fact remains though that the present public sector pay issues are the focus of class struggle in the UK at the moment, and the postal strike is the current focus. If the UK anarchist organisations can not orientate themselves towards these struggles, they don't appear to have much of a purpose to me.

Dundee_United wrote:
What do you think should be done Devrim?

I'm personally at a loss. Praxis could perhaps get involved in Glasgow to some extent but we're very few people and I doubt we could offer much in the concrete beyond helping to build a strike support committee. The brutal thing about this strike is that it's so sectional at a time when all the public service unions should be coming together to generalise their demands, as they're all preparing to take action.

None of the unions will do that though because even now they are not prepared to embarrass the Labour Government - although in Scotland they are talking about it because the SNP is in power and Labour is in opposition. The CWU is basically guarranteed to lose, because their bureaucrats and those of the other unions of the public sector fear the prospect of creating a summer of discontent and handing a victory to the Tories in the next election. They are prepared then to basically shaft their membership and remain inactive just so that this does not happen. It's really depressing.

I am really surprised by what this post says. Let's just look at it one step at a time:

Dundee_United wrote:
What do you think should be done Devrim?
I'm personally at a loss.

Dundee, you are setting up a new 'Platformist' organisation. You are supposed to be the 'leadership of ideas', and before you even start you are at a loss and asking the left communists how to intervene in what is basicaly a typical workers' dispute. There is nothing difficult here.
Of course as in every dispute there are specific things about that workplace. I presume that you have talked to some postmen already and know some of these things. If not, why not? I have been in the UK for a week (and thankfully I am leaving tomorrow to go back to somewhere where it doesn't always rain), and I have spoken to over ten postmen about the strike.

Dundee_United wrote:
Praxis could perhaps get involved in Glasgow to some extent but we're very few people and I doubt we could offer much in the concrete beyond helping to build a strike support committee.

You are barking up completely the wrong tree here. What have you got to say to workers about how to struggle? Ok, it is possible to be involved in strike support committes, but if there is an al out strike, it will be over in a matter of a couple of weeks at the longest. What do you have to say to workers?

Some of the people at Libcom are doing a leaflet (I had chat with them yesterday about it). They seemto have some good ideas in it. You should write to catch, and ask him for a copy.

One of the things that communist militants have to do is stand outside workplaces, leaflet, and discuss, aand make contacts with workers. I would suggest leafletting the DO (district office), not the SDO (sub). They might have changed the names since my day there, but you want the central office not the delivery office. There will be 10-20 times more workers there.

Dundee_United wrote:
The brutal thing about this strike is that it's so sectional at a time when all the public service unions should be coming together to generalise their demands, as they're all preparing to take action.

Does this at all surprise you. This is what the unions do. Think back twenty years to the mid 80s when the UK working class got smashed sector by sector. If I had a pound fo everytime I heard 'we should have stuck with he miners', I would be swimming in my private pool next to my villa now, and not be discussing a strike with you.

Dundee_United wrote:
None of the unions will do that though because even now they are not prepared to embarrass the Labour Government - although in Scotland they are talking about it because the SNP is in power and Labour is in opposition.

Please don't be surprised when the unions in Scotland act in exactly the same way as in the rest of the UK. They will.

Dundee_United wrote:
The CWU is basically guarranteed to lose, because their bureaucrats and those of the other unions of the public sector fear the prospect of creating a summer of discontent and handing a victory to the Tories in the next election.

This sounds like the SWP talking. First the CWU doesn't stand to lose very much. If they act the same way that the old UCW did, and deduct subs for strike days they won't even lose any money. The people who stand to get a pay cut in real terms are the workers. That is the first thing that you should be thinking about. The stuff about handing the victory to the Tories is nonsnse. It may come up in the discussion, but if that is the reason why didn't the unions fight the conservative government together back in the 80s? I think that you need to think deeply about the role of the unions. On the point of the 'Winter of Discontent'. They unions didn't make that either. In fact they stood shoulder to shoulder with the government against the strikers.

Quote:
They are prepared then to basically shaft their membership and remain inactive just so that this does not happen. It's really depressing.

Well at last you seem to have got something right. he unions will try to shaft their membership. This is not a depressing period though. We see a reopening of clas struggle in the present period. There are encouraging signs on an international scale. This doesn't mean that we believe there will be massive struggles like those in the 80s again soon, but things are getting better. If you are depressed now how would you have felt if you had been invlved in the mid 90s.

Devrim

.

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Jul 30 2007 12:42
Devrim wrote:
One of the things that communist militants have to do is stand outside workplaces, leaflet, and discuss, aand make contacts with workers.

This is exactly the sort of thing the AF does, I'm not sure where anybody's gotten the idea that we don't think supporting striking workers is important.

It is, however, difficult for us to do much more than this, since (AFAIK) none of our current members are posties.

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Jul 30 2007 12:53
madashell wrote:
This is exactly the sort of thing the AF does, I'm not sure where anybody's gotten the idea that we don't think supporting striking workers is important.
It is, however, difficult for us to do much more than this, since (AFAIK) none of our current members are posties.

Is there an AF leaflet on the postal strike then? Cane we see it?

Devrim

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Jul 30 2007 16:36

I think most of Devrim's criticisms are more than fair actually.

The AF will show support in its publications (which is all very well mind, but almost entirely directed towards 'the ghetto'), and I'd be surprised if there's any collective contact with pickets at all, never mind a concerted effort. Why should it matter in the slightest if none of our members are posties? This is the difference between a propaganda-group approach and one that's involved principally for these kind of disputes.

Of course we shouldn't need crap Trot bulletins, even and especially for 'reference'. But Battlescarred comrade, if you've got a problem with it we need to - as a group - provide clear and better accounts of what's going on, not linked to a leftist agenda and propaganda aimed at workers and others in public services. At this point in time I think it's just as important to target public sector workers not on strike as those that are. Or are we doing this and I've not seen it?

This is not to undermine all the other things the AF is doing.

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Jul 30 2007 16:53
Quote:
At this point in time I think it's just as important to target public sector workers not on strike as those that are.

This of course is very, very true.

Devrim

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Jul 30 2007 17:01
Devrim wrote:
Is there an AF leaflet on the postal strike then? Cane we see it?

Frankly, I've not been too active the last few weeks, for reasons I'm not going to go into on here, so I don't know what, specifically, the AF has done as an organisation around the postal strike. Certainly we could and should do better with this sort of stuff, but extrapolating these bizarre, unsubstatiated claims from a few flippant comment on a thread on libcom is a bit out of order, to be quite honest.

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Jul 30 2007 17:11
madashell wrote:
Frankly, I've not been too active the last few weeks,

It isn't a personal thing. It i an organisational thing.

madashell wrote:
but extrapolating these bizarre, unsubstatiated claims from a few flippant comment on a thread on libcom is a bit out of order, to be quite honest.

What 'unsubstatiated claims'? I asked if you had done a leaflet, and if we could see it. To be honest, I think that the fact that the UK anarchist organisations haven't even produced a leaflet is a bit pathetic.

Volin wrote:
I think most of Devrim's criticisms are more than fair actually.

I think that some people on her at least partially agree with me.
Devrim

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Jul 30 2007 17:29
Devrim wrote:
It isn't a personal thing. It i an organisational thing.

Yes, and as I said in the bit of that post you snipped out, I don't know what the AF is doing as an organisation around this because I haven't been that active recently.

Quote:
What 'unsubstatiated claims'?

That the AF doesn't think this is important.

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Jul 30 2007 17:39
madashell wrote:
Devrim wrote:
It isn't a personal thing. It i an organisational thing.

Yes, and as I said in the bit of that post you snipped out, I don't know what the AF is doing as an organisation around this because I haven't been that active recently.

Nobody else said the AF were doing anything. I snipped it out because it didn't seem to be connected to the point. It isn't about individuals. It is about what an organisation does.

Quote:
Quote:
What 'unsubstatiated claims'?

That the AF doesn't think this is important.

Devrim wrote:
The fact remains though that the present public sector pay issues are the focus of class struggle in the UK at the moment, and the postal strike is the current focus. If the UK anarchist organisations can not orientate themselves towards these struggles, they don't appear to have much of a purpose to me.

I didn't talk about what you thought. I talked about what you were doing.

Devrim

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Jul 30 2007 17:40
guydebordisdead wrote:
Quick note for the lazy, if you pop your propaganda into the local post box it will be brought back to the local sorting office where workers sorting post will see it. At least according to a wsm postie.

Yes, it is true. It doesn't get you to many workers though, and you don't have any opetunity for discusions.
Devrim

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Jul 30 2007 19:27
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Ok, it is possible to be involved in strike support committes, but if there is an al out strike, it will be over in a matter of a couple of weeks at the longest.

Your post is distinctly condescending Devrim. As I already stated (maybe take the time to read what I write next time?) I didn't think there would be much point in setting up a strike support committee for the same reasons as you 'critique' me for - namely that it would be pointless if the strike is over quickly.

On much of the rest we differ heavily on the organisational methodology of what a poltical organisation is there to do, there to provide, there to be. And your reductionism over the unions framed as the word of God here is vaguely irritating. If you spent a little more time explaining the hows and whys of what you think should be done there might be some room for dialogue. I asked you for what your thoughts were and you just decided to have an irritated pop at me and a rant about the unions. Try again maybe?

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Jul 30 2007 19:52
Dundee_United wrote:
Your post is distinctly condescending Devrim.

I am sorry. I do tend to be more tolerant of social democratic nonsense when it comes from people who don't consider themselves revolutionaries.

Quote:
On much of the rest we differ heavily on the organisational methodology of what a poltical organisation is there to do, there to provide, there to be.

Yes, we do. I am not sure what you consider it to be though.

Quote:
And your reductionism over the unions framed as the word of God here is vaguely irritating.

What reductionism? It is just basic facts in my opinion.

Quote:
If you spent a little more time explaining the hows and whys of what you think should be done there might be some room for dialogue. I asked you for what your thoughts were and you just decided to have an irritated pop at me and a rant about the unions. Try again maybe?

Ok, you should go to work places, talk to workers make contacts, and explain how you think the dispute can be won. I think that you should start from real practical things, which at the real basic level is first holding mass meetings (something which used to happen in every post office until not that long ago) to discuss how to win the dispute. The first practical proposal is to stop 'co-operating with management in the middle of a dispute (see Catch's leaflet for practical details). This is also the first step towards workers taking control (on however small a level) of the struggle themselves. Also it should be stressed that this is an attack across the entire public sector.
Devrim

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Jul 31 2007 13:26

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/display.var.1585237.0.0.php

Wildcat now.

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Jul 31 2007 16:07

MON THE GLESGA POSTIES!

Look at the comments that have been left already, btw. Think I'll leave one myself.

If IWW members are meeting up for the Bookfair this Saturday, I think it'd be the perfect time to do something??

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Jul 31 2007 21:24
Quote:
you should go to work places, talk to workers make contacts, and explain how you think the dispute can be won. I think that you should start from real practical things, which at the real basic level is first holding mass meetings (something which used to happen in every post office until not that long ago) to discuss how to win the dispute. The first practical proposal is to stop 'co-operating with management in the middle of a dispute (see Catch's leaflet for practical details). This is also the first step towards workers taking control (on however small a level) of the struggle themselves. Also it should be stressed that this is an attack across the entire public sector.

Exactly. To convince them you need to match the (albeit meagre) incentive of statutory immunity that the unions give in exchange for deferring responsibility for marshalling the conflict to them. This implies appealing to the working class’s desire to accumulate, and hence is incompatible with communist values.

LR

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Aug 1 2007 14:13

I've written a leaflet aimed at the general public and an article on the strike at the request of the IWW. I haven't heard if they will be used yet though.