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Labourism and the Trade Unions - Education For Socialists 7

Labourism and the Trade Unions - Education For Socialists 7

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Published by Drew Povey
This pamphlet brings together some key articles on how socialists should work with trade unions. How can socialists organise to make trade unions more effective and militant? How can socialists avoid the problems of the trade union leaders - the bureaucracy?
This pamphlet brings together some key articles on how socialists should work with trade unions. How can socialists organise to make trade unions more effective and militant? How can socialists avoid the problems of the trade union leaders - the bureaucracy?

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Published by: Drew Povey on Jun 21, 2012
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06/21/2012

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E F SSS
7 Labourismand thetrade unions
 
2
Education for Socialists
Uio Ladrs ad 3-20T rak ad FiL
Ex S
T rak ad FiL LasT Tim 21-26
vE ShEy
LaboUr ad T 27-32ParLiamTary road
hE KmbE
T LaboUr dbaT 33-39
Jh 
 
3
aouris and te rade nions
 Uio Ladrs adT rak ad FiL
Ex SEtracts fro
Socialists in the Trade Unions
(1995)
Wk  only one strength—their collective ability towithdraw their labour and so bring the capitalist system to a halt.The great attraction of trade union power and the reason why mil‑lions of worers join unions is that they provide the organisationthat can mae this power effective.But the unions also have two fundamental limitations. In the firstplace they are not usually organisations of the whole class but of only a part of the class. They are
trade
unions and therefore mirrorthe divisions imposed on worers by the capitalist system—divisions between white and blue collar worers, between engineers andminers, between the unemployed and the employed. econdly, theunions devote themselves to improving worers’ conditions withinthe existing framewor of the capitalist system, not to fighting forworers to tae control of the system. To adapt a formulation of karlMarx’s, they combat the effects of capitalist exploitation, rather thanstriving to do away with the exploitation itself.These two weanesses lead to a third. Trade unionism, trade unionleaders and, for most of the time, the majority of trade union mem‑ bers accept that there is a sharp division between politics and eco‑nomics. Put most crudely, this leads to an attitude which sees unionsconcerned with the economic struggle over wages, conditions andthe lie, while the Labour Party concerns itself with politics in par‑liament on worers’ behalf. Going along with this idea often means

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