"I

the
review of the Revolutionary

No 53 November 1984

20p

Reagan, recession and rearmament

p, '4~17,

-_/

,..._

Oornrnunlst Party

Islep
monthly review of the Revolutionary No 53 November Publistier Junius Publications Lfd, BCM JPL TO, London WCi N 3XX. Printer Morning Litho Printers Ltd (TU), 439 North Woolwich Road, - Londolil E1S. Subscription rates (for 12 months) Britain and Irela'ld £5, Europe £8.50 Middle ,East and North Africa £10 America, Asia and Southern Africa £12 Australasia £13 All cheques payable to Ju,nius Publications. Circulation 01-729 3771. Newsdesk 01-7'29 3771. , Correspendence to The Editor, the next step, BCM JPLTD, London WC1_N3:XX. I'SSN 0144 350 X Nov'ember '1984 Communist Party

Solidarity action

NEWS Miners' strike
2 3 Solidarity action Action n'ot words

Women
8 Not part of the union

I'reland 4,5 From Birmingham to Brighton 6 - Tor), conterence protest 6 Pris0h notes: John McCloskey 6 Irish embassy besieged

CeRtral America 9 War and peace

Racism
7

_

Labour movement 10 Aotion to~ gay rights
- 10 , 10 Socialist sell-out Where freemen are imprisoned

Labour's black 'problem'

France and Italy
1a New directiOn needed

• On Friday 5 October Rep supporters from Southwark, Lambeth, Wand's~orth and Lewisham protested outside the national headquarters of the Department of Health and Social Securlty vat Elephant and Castle. We called for workers in the DHBS to refuse to imp l e m en t r u Ie s for supplementary benefit payments which "deem' stnklng miners to get £15 it week strike pay. Our protest certainly upset the DHSS management, which issued a circular warning staff t6 have nothing to do with us. Despite these threats, sympathetic workers gave us their support. We urge our supporters in the CPSA to get the following motion passed in their bFliilches, gel delegated to the nat ion alB ~ 0 a d_ L e fit conference on 2" 3 November and the national CPSA conference next year, get in. touch with us and get involved. "Ihis un10Q:

1) Deplores the action by the governmentlDHSS in withholding benefits from striking miners.> i) Instructs its members in the D HSS to payout full benefits to all miners on strike. 3) Instructs its members to take all-out industrial action -in response to any victlmlsations re-sulting from implementing this. policy,' • Bradford Rep supporters in Nupe too_II:Selhy miners a.ndtheir wives to the 4 October branch meeting and' collected £30 before moving on to a transport workers' meetil'g fn the same building where we raised a further £50-. • On Saturday 6 October London .RCP supporters o r g an is ed a miners' motorcade thfougH North London. We collected money "and food from Saturday shoppers and theatre .group Doppleganger performed sketches outlining recent events in the strike.

• Camberwell Green was bit by a tiumper collection for str.iking miners on Saturday 13 October. Defying threats of arrests and a Camberwell magistrate's .ruling that collecting money for miners is illegal, Southwark Rep supporters cnllectetl over £ 75 in just over two hours. • Portsmouth RCP- supporters are refusing to be intimidated off the streets after two were arrested collecting money for the miners. We are mobilising for a vocal anti-police protest outside the law courts on Tuesday 30 October at 9.15am and we will continue fighting for the right to help the miners fight. • On Monday 8 October ISlington r evol ut i o na r y communists held a lightning picket at Higliliury Magistrates Court where two miners from Keresley pit near Coventry appeared after being arrested tbe previous Saturday culte ctfng in Camden Town.

Revlews
20 Yorkshire miners A woman's work Cnme and punishmeAt Indian women Belgra'riO bluster Te-rrible twins: Israel and SOtJ,thAfrica

22

Letters

23

Activities

Fighting fund
We want to take the next step to a weekl'y. We need your money to take us there. By 14 October we had ralsed £11654 towards our £25 000 ta,rg'et. We need to raise nearly £5000 a month to reach our targ,et in January. The reg,ional breakdown beJow shows how we go.l £3479 in the four weeks up to 14 October. ,.-: M'ake an jnvestment j,n the future of the working class! Rush donations to 8M RCP" London WC1 N 3XX. Cheques payable to Rep Association
Edinburgh Glasgow Leeds Shettield Bradford Manchester L.:iverpool Cardiff Birmingham Cove,ntry Southwark Wandsworth lewisham Camden Islimgtoh Hackney'" Othercs Total

Keep the lights on for the miners!
Strikiqg miners and their families have discovered that the coer-cive forces of the police and the courts are not the only weapons the state has ranged against them. They also face economic coercion in the form of gas and electricity disconnections. Six striking miners and their families in Dearne Street, Darton, near Barnsley, recently received leuers fnom the Yorkshire Electrlelty Board threatening dlsconnecttonif their bills weren't paid within seven da¥s. The-letters warned that officials could enter homes by force \~ith pollce iassistanee to cut off supplies. II) nearby Cudworth 53 year old miner Bernard Brooke from Houghton Mai.n colliery, has been forced to geJ by with candles fO.r two months, The gas and electricity union, the general, rnunioipal and boilermakers', agreed at its annual conference in June to disconnect gas and electricity sUllplies to striking miners. In practice, however, botb the GMBA TU and the NUM have done little to ensure that this elementary solidarity action is adhered to. RCP supporters in Leeds have been organising a 'nopayment' campaign. We successfully stopped the _ electricity board from installing an electric slot machine at the home of Edwin Jimmeson from AII_efton Bywater oollteny; Local GMBATU officials baulked at our demand that no weekly payment, even a token one, s.h.o.ul'd be c on temp I a ted . Lee ds GMBATU official Les Atkinson argued that the YEB was in a difficult position and that 'satisfactory arrangements' had already been made with 1.500
-not

--------~-------,------~

£124.S0 £HiS.88

£117.84 £19'9.29 £315.94 £147.83 £207 •. 9 2 £143.30 £204.95 £315.85 £291.47 £154.82 £ 97.89 £2,05.88 £288.20 £403.48 £ 93.41

miners.
A general and municipal workers' official at the

Gel~erd Road YEB depot in Leeds, told us - that the principle of non-payment ,was dangerous because it could be extended to other groups such as-the unemployed. He argued that any concessions to individual miners should be kept quiet to prevent others 'taking advantage'. RCI) supporters discovered that rank and file workers at Gelderd Road were in the dark about the threatened cut-offs 10 striking miners. We arranged further meetings -with striking miners to discuss What action to take. Edwin Jimmeson is now paying U a week of his electricity bill but sa}:s 'there wm come a time when I won't be able to pay the pound'. Effective solidarity from rank and file gas, a·nd electricity workers can stop this campaign of intimidation and ensure that-srrlklng miners are not left out in the cold. David-Osgood

,~-----------------------------------------------------~----------~___J
2 the next step, November 1984

£3478,.92

After weeks of talks, miners need ••• II
The miners have had talks with the coal board and talks with Acas. They have had talks with the TUe and talks with the Labour Party. When the latest round of talks collapsed the miners' leaders appealed for anybody to talk to Ian MacGregor

Ion

to make him sec reason. But no amount of talking will persuade the employers to withdraw their pit closure, programme, this. There is now going to be a Talks will not bring British industry to a standstill and series of officially organised meetings.' force the government-to back down. Talks will not feed the miners and their families The unions will do everything through the winter. Nor will 10 prevent it, but rank and flle talkspro~ect miners against lin k s w it h work er s in police attacks, fines and transport, power supply and p.r i s o n se n t ence s and other sections of industryand victimisation by the coal services are the only way to board, As the miners' strike win real solidarity action, becomes a dogged fight to the • ACTION to ensure supplies finish, the' miners DOW more of money, food and clothing than ever need action not Many III i ners and their families are already facing' words. • ACTION to make the strike real hardship, Many are finding it harder to collect effective money and food from public The miners cannot afford to contributions. These collecha ve pickers tied do wn tions need to be, stepped up outside their own pits keepicg and made into part of a wider a few scabs out. Picketing dri v e to wi n p o l iti ca I most be stepped up and must solidarity with the miners. involve more strikers in action Local councils, especially to make the strike hit energy La bour councils have a supplies to industry. The miners need to take particularly important role to steps to make pickering play. They can provide effective. Miners must stop transport and other facilities to assist picketing, They can the police from smashing a l s o provide practical picket lines and making it easy assistance to mining [or scabs to undermine the communities in problems of strike. Basic d efe ns-iv e measures are necessary ,to housing, food and clothing for Ihe winter. ' prevent miners from being injured or arrested. Council workers and Winning effective sympatworkers in social security hetic action - not Jus-t;empty should make sure that miners gestures or resolutions of get every benefit they are support is vital to lh'~ entitled to, and fight to give miners. Keith Hammond, a them even more. miner at the Prince of Wales • ACTION to prevent cut-offs colliery, lord us how the IA every area miners need to power union leaders set out to establis h direct rank anti! f Ie undermine attempts 10- -build links with the unions involved rank and file solidarity in disconnecting gas and between local miners and electricity supplies. Vague po wer workers at Eggnational agreements lla ve borough: proved insufficient-to prevent cut-offs. Miners shQliffcl also 'Recently we organised a fight against the installation series of unofficial meetings of pre-payment meters, For between the eight unions penniless miners this amounts involved and miners. As soon as to a method of cutting the leader~ip of the unions themselves off, heard about if they clamped • ACTION to defend miners down. I've been warned off -facing trial trying to organise thi'ngs like The NUM has been Iarnen-

tably slow in organising any c o o r d i n a ted resistance against the legal offensive on the miners. Millers need to organise a campaign of can e c ti v e d ef ia n ce 0 r restrictive bail conditions and non-payment of fines. At the very least miner'S need effective legal representation and full union backing which in many cases .have been lacking. • ACTION in solidarity with miners in prison The few score miners who have already been imprisoned in th e course of. the strik e are the real heroes of tile NUM. Yet the NUM has done little to prevent their imprisonment and still less ·to get them out. We, need protes'ts_over the imprisonment of every miner. We should make it clear to the world that workers the state labels as er irni na.ls are respected as class 'fighters b:y the lab-our movement. A centra! €Iemaod in any further negotiations with the bosses must be an amnesty for all prisoners of the miners' strike before the NUM agrees any return to work. • ACTION against Victimisations Several h u nd red st rik in g ruiners have already been sacked by the coal board in the course of the dispute. MiJl1er's wh e have been convicted of picket line offences have been sack cd. Some like Iain Watson from Bilston Glen in Scotland have received dismissal notices before they have been to court. In Lothian and Fife, 19 ofthose arrested and convicted have been dismissed by the coal board, including rive p r o m in e,n t l o.oa I N UM leaders. The reinstatement of all victimised workers must be another condition for a return to work. George Bidwitlie, NUM delegate at Polmaise colliery in Scotland, told us that eight men were sacked Tight' at the stan of the strike in April:

s

'I've been warned offtrying reporter Inez Landa

to organise

things':

Yorkshire miner Keith Hammond talksto

the next

step

tbat they are reinstated. If tbe strike was finished tomorrow we would not go back to work until they do.' POl' six months the leaders of [he NUMhave put fheir faith in talks with the employers. Their strategy has been to use the determination and resi\ienc~ of the miners as a lever in negotiations. They have tried to persuade the coal board and the government to adopt a different management policy fa r the coal ind ustry, This strategy bas clearly reached the end of the read. Mick Adamson, a miner at Selby in Yorkshire, laid us-his views on the talks and Scargill's SHih strategy: '1 will never agree with Arthur Scargill going in to talk to Acas, The Plan for Goal is wrong. They arc ralktng about compromise on the basics. We all know that when they've

compromised Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock will stand up and applaud and we'll know there's been a complete sell-out of the working people of this country, It's a disgrace - Acas should never have been allowed in to this. Acas is a body that resolves -arguments for government, no more, no less.' The has spent oight talking about. the coal board's levels of output and investment a nd- market prospects, Mean while the employers and ahe .gov,cTIlment have been fighting all out to smash the NUM. It's high time the NUM stopped worrying about how to make the British coal industry profitable, Instead the miners' leaders should set about defending the miners' class interests as forcefully as MacGregor and the Tories
NUM months

'It's a condition of settlement

have pursued theirs. It is getting late in the day but rhere is still time to change course. Indeed, the miners' hopes of rescuing sornethtng from this dispute depend on pursuing a different strategy. . The NUM leadens havc failed to achieve a satisfactory compromise in talks because the bosses are not looking for a compromise. They are fighting to win. Miners have no alternative but to Ilursue the same Objective, If the miners put their faith in their. OWn class and go QUI to involve other miners and other workers 111 action agains t t he bosses a nd til eir system. then the Tonics could still be forced to make major concessions. The militant stand of the imprisoned millers will have been vindicated. And the sacrifices of the Last eight months will not have been in vain,

Proud to,be a prisoner of the class war
Guy Bennett, a 22 year old miner from Markham' Main colliery, Armthorpe, is one prisoner of the cl ass war. Guy was very active in the strike until he was arrested and framed for organising an anti-police demonst ration after the police ran riot through Armthorpe in June. Like thousands of other striking miners, Guy hasbeen br anded a crf mlnal for choosing to stand up against the government, the coal board, the police and the courts. But he refuses to be cowed by the forces of Jaw and order: 'You know I'm here because of that march. That is all, Just remember that and be proud. They won't get me down: Guy's mother told us that tbe police were tfy.ing to use her so n' s imprtson men t to intimidate mllitant miners and keep them off the streets - hut they wouldn't succeed: 'We won't stop fighting until all imprisoned miners are rei eased a n a every victimised miner is taken back.' The miners' .leaders must show the same resolve in defence of their members.

Branded
He was convicted on trumped-up charges and imprisoned in Armley jail, Le e d.s , before being transferred to Rudgate open prison, Wetherb)'.

Solidarity
Yorkshire Rep supporters 'have been o r g a-nt s l ng solidarity protests for Guy and other imprisoned miners. And we have, been campaign-

ing on 'the streets, in workplaces and in colleges to win political support for their cause. • Our mass street meeting ion Sheffield city centre appealed to workers to take sides with' striking miners against Brltish law and order. Local police were so incensed at the enthusiastic response (hat they threatened to 'break legs' and use other unspecified 'violence if we did not dis p e rse . Outraged bystanders challenged the police and defended ow righ t to be there. • On Saturday '21t October we organised a Yorkshire-

wide protest outside Rudgate

open prison, Wetherby, in solidarity w,ith Gu¥ and fellow prtsoners, Nearly 100 miners and their wives, students and trade unionists vocally 'demonstrated their support for the miners and opposition to the bosses' law. • On 9 November, Yorkshire RCP supporters are holding a champagne reception for family, friends and supporters to celebrate Guy's release from prison.

Join us!
The RCP n a.tlonwid'e is organising pickets and

protests in defence of classwar prisoners. We .ar e demanding: • that the NUM organise a mass defiance of the legal offensive . • that every arrested miner be guaranteed total union support before, during and after his case is heard, no matter what his 'crime' • that NUM leaders insist on an amnesty for all prisoners of the class war in all negotiations. Anybody who would like to get involved in the campaign should get in touch with local sellers of the next step or phone 01-729 0414.

the next step, November

1984 3

Ireland

Ten years of the Prevention of Terrorism Act

From Birmingham to Brighton
On 12 October an IRA bomb came close to assassinating Margaret Thateber and half of her Cabinet in tbeir Brighton conference hotel. In the days thai followed the explosion, Britain's leading public- opinion-makers came close to bursting blood. vessels in their efforts to stir popular- outrage against the Irish republican movement. .
The establishment's fury at th.e IRA ·alt'ack was heightened by t'be sensiu ve nature of the target (see pa'ge 24)" But the heated anti-Irish ra.nt in gs of p're:ssand politiQia,rls in the wake of Brighton are n@th,iJ;l;gnew. This has been (he standard response When eyer. the Irish War has hit Britain since the int>wduetion of the Psevention of Terrorism Aet, shortly after the Birmingham pub bombings, 10 years ago this month. Most people in Britain are only vaguely aware that the' - Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA~ exists, ¥et for 10 years this -draconian -law has been used tedictate how they view events like' the Brighton bombing, Both Tory and Labour governments have wielded the PTA's powers of detention and depor tat io n without charge to terrorise opponents of the Irish War Into silence, By effeGti've!~' making Irish reppbucanism illegal, the PTA has allowed the d e'f'e n d e r s .o'f B.rit'is.n imperialism to monopolise public opinion on Ireland since Ii became law in November 1974. and Tavern in the Town bar-s were wrecked by <»:plosions. The Birmingham pu.b ' borabmgs kiiled 21 people and injured 160 more. Eight days later the Labour government introduced the Prevention of Tenor ism Act.

An unnoticed exchange of government letters from 1.974 illustrates· the thinking behind the PTA. Three weeks' before the act became law the Ministry of Defence, wrote to Alford council in Lincolnshire requesting> that the name of a local soldier RiUed in Northern Ireland be removed from Alford's war memorial. The Ministry argued that 'Army a~ction in support of ,eiviI authority should not be cenfused with-war'. It warned 'against the consequences of admitting that British troops were not civil peacekeepers but foreign aggressors in Ireland: .

clashed viclently wiflil police The IRA was banned and mid-19M, 5850 mainl·y' Irish anybody 'reasonablysuspectin Downing Street. people were held under the ed' of 'terrorism' could be In the week of the pub PTA. Only 143 ofthem - tWO locked up for a week without bombings, "Birmingham was per cent were charged charge or 'kicked out of under the Act. A further, 244 hit by a row over ,plans. for a Britain wi:thoUl any evidence. were .depor red back to march to commemorate IRA Police chiefs objected that Ireland, The rest were held for volunteer lames McDaid', writing -such 'extraordinary killed during a bomb attack in up to a: week withont charge, powers' into law was an Covenrr y. Labour Home interrogated with no legal un necessary embarrassment. Se or eta ry Roy J errk in s right to silence.and branded banned the march and bused The PTA would only make for life as 'bomb SUSp~Gt:S'. The fear of being dragged public existing Special Branch in 131)0 extra police to keep t-he lid on Birmingham !s.l_aFge out of 'bed in the early hours practice. Months before its by armed ,police has gagged Irish community. The introduction, Scotland Yard polil,icai debate on the war held 'Irishme~ they accused of Prevention of Terrorism Ac; was introduced against this, among Irish peo pie in Britain. bombing Lo n.d o ns Old British worleers have lapgely b a c.kg r o u.n.d . The p'ub. Bailey incommunicado and escaped this terror treatment bombings provided the-excuse without charge for four days. because they have acquiesced {j'nlike its to p cops, for-the PTA, but not itscause. to the ruling class version of Westminster wanted a legal however, t h e political events in Ireland. This is the establishment was motivated measure whic.h couid hel·p win real success story of the PTA. by broader concerns than the the war on the home front by By isolating the Irish technicalit-ies of police br~ncling its opponents as c o-m m u n i t y f'r c m the practice. II passed the PTA criminals and legirimisiug m.a.ins t r e a.m of British not as a criminal law to - their repression. ]l0'1itical !i.fe, thePT A - has convict IRA volunteers, but aHpwed the establishment to as an ide01<l\gica! weapon. it,s Branded pniraaryaim was 10 insulate 'decide the terms on which British people discuss the Bricish p01itic~ from the Between November 1914 and 'destabilising effects of the Irish War and to silence the Irish c.ommuni,t)' within The PTA 'bas ruined the lives of Britain,

countless Irtsh men arid women, 'and
ended others altogether;

. 'If one 'war memorial is added to-in this way other towns may follow the example, and in areas where thereis a large Irish connection it may promote
'partisan action.' (];hf' Times, 9 November 1974) Whitehall's fears were never realised. The PTA. has stamped on any 'partisan actioh' in support of irish freedom.
1984

Protests
For more than '18 months before the Birmingham bombings, sporadic protests against the war rocked areas with large Irish communities such as London arrd, the Midlands. ~ After Bloody Sunday in January 1972,' when British troops shot dead 14 Irish demonstr arors, in Derry, thousands of Iris,h. people joined a protest demonstratien from North London and

Extraardinar¥
On 21 November 1974 Birmingham's Mulberry Bush

In 1981 the Irish Freedom Movement campaigned for the release of Leo O'Neill and other Middlesex PQlyfech·niCl students detained under the Act. O'Neill's brutal .treatment at the hands of the Special Branch under the PTA 'broke him physically and mentally, He never recovered fromhis ordeal, In Max 1984 he leapt to his>death from 'a block of flats in Newry - murdered: by the PT~.

4 the next step;·November

Ireland
war in the North of Ireland.

Propaganda
The PTA' legi ti raises hatred and violence against Irish people in Britain, Every time a born bgoes off in Birmingham, London, or Brighton, police use the PTA to ra id Irish communities and pick 'up Irish travellers at British .pcris. The Act provides-the leggJ back-up for bomb warnings on public

by the British establishment, To be au Irish nationalist is a crime, to be a se;reaffling British jingo a virtue. Today six Irishmen are serving life sentences for the Birmingham bombings. They have consistently denied \lny rnvo 1 ve I"I'l en r. They were convicted on the sfrengtb of 'confessions' beaten out of them so seveFel¥ that the state was forced to go through the motions of charging their

In September this year, a former British soldier who daubedanti~Catholic slogans on a London hotel and then set fire to it walked free front the Old Bailey. After -the retired army arsonist claimed that hotel guests were IRA supporters, the judge said he. would treat him 'leniently' bec-ause he had 'served his country well' in Northern Ireland (Irish Times, 22 September 1984) ..
transport and police advice to 'be on the Jock-out' for Irish workers. renting rooms or buying radio parts. The state is well aware that all of· this is. a propaganda exercise, Police admitted that two Irishmen detained under the PTA after last month's bombing were not suspected of involvement in rlre attack. Yet both wene held in Brighton • itself to help whip up. a 'lynch mob atmosphere. One was picked up in Liverpool and shipped. so-uth to .imprcve the effect. TheFT A is used iII uhis way t@~ sustain the view that-all Irish people are criminals and a threat to the peace of British soci et y. Tit us an ri- I r.is h sen tim e-n t s a F e a I wa y s tolerated and often endorsed jailers. But the mere fact of being Irish ih Britain was enough to make- them guilty i(;1 the eyes of the court. The treatment of the "Birmingham six' stands in stark contrast to the handling of three th ugs who firebom bed an Irish pub in Birmingham shortly after the 1974 explosions. When their case finally crept quietly into ceurt in August 1984, the three were freed with suspended sentences by a judge who told them their chauvinist fury was - 'dangerous' but 'human' (Irish Times, 1I A~gust .l984,.

extends beyond encouraging anti-Irish pcgrorns by former squ ada ies arid. ba r-ro o m brawlers. The success of the_ Act has given the establishment free rein to convince more advanced workers that the Iris h War is a series of irra tio nal events beyond thei f co m pr e-he n si o n . It has ensured that left-wing workers remain too confused to challenge the imperialist consensus which dominates B~itish public opini'0~. Academics, joumalists and politicians use every medium to impress upon British audiences that Ireland is a 'complex' issue which .defies ratie.nal explanation or 'sirnplistic solutions' such as getting Britain out: The foreword to a resent major book produced by assorted university lectu re rs sums up the aim of aH establishment writing on the war: 'No panacea to the current probtem of Northern "Ireland is offered, facile solutions .are eschewed. 0 ur objective is to' offer some "feeling for the complexity of tbe-problem. Noone reading this book will come away witli the impression that peace will be brought to Ulster easil.y or quickly.' (Yonab Alexander and Alan O'Day, Terrorism in Ireland)

that of "evil men" (Da.i/y Mail), "Wicked assassins" (The San;), "psychopathic rh ugs" (Daily Exp ress), "murdering hastards"(Daily Star), as "cowardly and senseless" (Filllllfcial Times), and as the-product of "diseased minds rather than political calculation" (Daily Tele· grapfij. (Philip Schlesinger "Ierrorism, the media and the Hber at-democc at ic st ate', Social Research, Sp~il)g 1981 )
j

the IRA, is fighting-to liberate Northern Irelandfrom British rule and to reunite the Irish nation. Bombing campaigns in Britain are an extension of the Irish people's war into the imperialist heartland,
Throughout the 10 years tha i ihe establ ishment has used the .PTA to deuy the e x ist en c e of t h e Irish libe-ration struggle, events in Northern l r e la n.d have underlined the realiiy of the war. ln November 1974, 2b republican prisoners escaped from the Maze prison in a mass breakout. One of the e sca pees, IRA lie u tena nt Hugh Coney, was shot down in cold blood by British Army guards. The next day six_IRA volunreers opened fire on a British patrol in Crossrnaglen, killing two s o l d.i e rs, Nationalist workers struck and storekeepers s hu t ups hop in pro-test at Coney's murder. The same cycle of British repressi on and Irish resistance CONtinues today. Two 'years ago this rrro n t h Br i t ai n la unch ed a pe licez' Arm y shoot-to-kill campaign which has' so far claimed :22 victims: In response, the I RA has step ped up its Bord e r campaign -(fgai'nst the- Royal Ulster Co ns,tabulary and tils.ler Defence Regiment,

Esia blish merit spok esrnen will go to bizarre lengths to clou d the issues in the Irish War fox British consumption. New Northern Ireland secretar-y and pa rt -t ime novelist Douglas Hurd once wrote a 'thriller' about the IRA in which a British brigadier ascribes i he cause of the "t r o u bl e.s ' to Iris h grandmothers:

'They keep them at home, the Catholics, I mean. No question of old people's homes. -So they sit there by tbe fire, nig'ht after night, telling all the o.ld stories spreading ;tIl the old lies. That's Why the different kinds of Irish go on hating each other.' (Vote (0 kill) The p r 0 se may Ia G k something, but the political message is clear enough.

ideological influence of the PTA. For 10 years, British left w ingers h a ve fai led to confront the public consensus backing the state's role in Ireland, They have equivocat_;_ecl about taking sides against Britain in the Irish War, Ta'k ing sides aga inst Bri lain means supporting t'he Irish people's right to se lf'determination and their vight fa figh t for it. It means standing up with the Irish people when fRA bombs hit Br i.t ish s t reets and the esta b 1 ish merit 's propaganda machine starts spewing out its murderous filth. The British left has always baulked at the magnitude of the task. It has sought to dodge the central issue of republican violence. Today, the Labour left campaigns against -the consequences the war at home - tile PTA and anti-Irish prejudices - in:" isolation from their cause .:' the n a.si o.n al (iberutio-n struggle,

o~

Op'pre.ss~Prt,

Complex
The influence of the PTA

'Our objective', they might just as well have said, 'is to. The British establishment has confuse you'. achieved a remarkable victory Media reportiog of'she Irish in presenting Ireland as an War follows a similar pattern, unfarhomable enigma. For in Violence in Ireland and reality, the situation in Ireland boml;Js in Britain are 'reported is eminently comprehensible. 0uJ of a:Jl 'context, as a There is a war on. There are, rn i n d l.es s se q u e n ce of two side-so You have to take explosions and executions. one or the of her. One radical socio legist noted .B r ita in , a ide d by it s Fleet Street's reaction to the' Loyal iSI allies, <is £ighti ng to IRA's assassination of Lord maintain its domination Olver Mountbatten in, 1979: Ireland by preserving the Six Counties as part of the United -'llhe ac~oJkjlIing was widely Kingdom. The nationalist 'intevpreteil as irrationai,as cornmunity, represented by

War

Irish Freedom Movement Conferan,ce Ten years of the Prevention of Terrorism Act

Lessons of the Iris!hWa
1000am 1030am
100pm 200pm Satwrda.y 24 November, Birm'ingham Timetable Reg istratl om The Tories, the miners and the Brlglllton bomb Judy Harrison Lunch • November 1974 - the B'ir.mingham pu.b bombing.s Mike 'Freeman .A be-glnner's guide.tp the [rlsh War Frank Ric!:lards • Labour and the Loyal'ist veto Helen Simons • Cross-.Border collaboration Phil Murphy iea break '. Ten years of war - why so [illle response in Brita,in? Mick Hume

400pm

41:5pm

'$i3onsors indude Ha~ry Cohen MP, Syd Bidwell MP, Ernie Roberts MP, Eddie Layden MP, F1epublican Band Alliance (Scotland) Tickets £2 wagedf£1 uriwagedfram BMIFM, London WC1 N 3XX

T~ar>lspOft rom allover Britain. Cr;ec_heavailable f For further details pl:rone Mick Hume on 01 -729 0414

Labour Party Lcft w,i~g_e.rs oppose the T"T A not "~jifc British face- of the Irish. War,bu t as a n un necessary assai/f.t 01'1 civil liberties. They ignore the ideologieal c~ntext in which it was introduced and Why has no force arisen condemn the Act as a-break in in Britain which could u-se the the democratic tradition of day-to-day events of the war British policing. [0 eS-SCAce, io cut through all the ruling' the left's position is'the same class 'hype about psychopaths as tha I' of th e police chiefs in a·nd com,pleJlhies? 1974. Opposin'g an t i-Tr is h Awe sentiments is the particular preserve of left-wing Labour The PTA has done a good councils. A recent OLC job on the. Irish community. r~F0rt on the Irish community But what of the left wing of in Lon don fa ils aga inst 'antithe British labour movement? Iris h racis m '. This is .a Few members of the British co n v e n ien t dev,ice for left have spent a week locked improving the !eres electoral in Paddingron Green police appeal while ignoring the rea) station. Neverthless, the left issue of the na Iiona 1, not stands in awe of t-he racial, oppression suffered by the Irish people. The crucial flaw in the Iefr's approach is not that it is "u.np r in c i p l e d ". II is impractical. The PTA and the . prejudices iI-spawns dmholbe challenged by avoiding the central issue of the war: Any liberal sympathy the lef,t's campaigns attract will disappear the moment .a bernb explodes, and the q uestion.of Whose side yo u are on .i.n the Irish War becomes the only one that counts. The Irish Fre e d o m Movement has learned the lessons of the. past decade, We put the reality ef the war.a t the oentre sf all our propaganda and activity. We refuse to bow to the. esrablishrnent by criticising the methods the Irish people use in their fight for freedom. ln the aftermath of the Brighton bombing, we launched a campaign against the slate's use of the PTA to put the screws on the Irish community, Our message to _British workers isclear: Irish freedom fighters are not Bri.t.is h criminals, and the I.risb \Var is npt t·he mystefy story the British establish ment would have us belie·ve. Join the liis'h Freedom Movement at our 'Lessons 0f - the his.h War" conference 'on 24, N~~ember, and help bui'ld a -mo)Jement - which can smash the PT A a'nd all th'e myths it has susta ined over 10 bloody yeafs of the Irish War. Mick RuthI' the nex_tstep, N0vember

a~:

1984 5

Ireland

IFM message for Tories

Irish freedom fighters are not British criminals
On Wednesday 10 October Tory conference delegates donated several pounds t9 Irish Freedom Movement funds outside the Brighton Centre. They hurled their chan-ge at IFl\1 supporters demonstrating against the Prevention of 'T'errotism Act and for political.status for Irish republican p;:f 1;ners. Our 10 October 'Irish freedom fighters ate not British criminals' demonstration marked the release Irish republican John Me€los,key -from Parkhurst -pr'i'son on the same-day (see below), It quickly became the loudest, liveliest demonstration duringthe week-long Tory bash. ii

of

out by spo rting 'Ulster is British' posters. They were booed off by IFM supporters, and shooed away by Tory sr e wards-a nxious to keep their party proceedings free from th.e taint of ant i-Br it ish politics. Meanwhile" just down the road, veteran 01 tile 'Ulster is British' lobby was given si mila r I y short sh rift by

a

demonstration. A right-wing Monday Club fringe meeting ad d.r esse d b Y Of'f i cia I Unionist Party leader James -Molyneaux wa-s disrupted by IFM protesters shou t i n g slogans, wavi.ng banners, bJowing w h i s t l es and droppi-ng stink-bombs. Monday Club m-e m b e r s screaming 'kill the Irish scum' forgot about their aversion

'violence

io

fOJ political enos' and 'attacked our supporters with beer glasses ana chairs. Days after the 1·0 October protest DemooFatiG Unionist Party MP Peter RobirJso_[] dug up a report of the event in We-st Bel:fast<'s Andersonstown News. Robinson tried to link the IPM demonstration with the later IRA attack .

its front
evi de noe"

page to .rhe Ro~bin-so[)

'new had

r eve a le d. Jris h Fr e ed o m Movement organiser Mick Hurne made clear that this was an atte.m pt ed -rnedi a frame-up of the rPM. it oilly provided fre.5h evidence of the
scurrilous lengths to which the, British establishment will go to justifythe state's jepre&siorr of i_ts opponents: The Irish Freedom Move-ment has come ~0 expect nothing more of the British media. However loud the press hounds bay fo'r tighter controls on demonstrations, the esrablishrnene can expect norhing less than UNCQ'mp-TO m is in g a nt i_-i rup er i a I is t politic's from the Irish Freedom ·Movement.

Tory delegates return ing from their long lunch, had to run the gauntlet of IFM supporters lining the b a r r ic a d e s ou-tside the conference, brandishing the n a m es of aLI 50 Lr i s h re pu blican prisoners still i-ncarcerat-ed in British jails. A couple of young rakes from tile shires tried to tough

x

'"

Ir i sb r e-p u b l.i G a Ji J 0 h n Mc_Gloskey is what prison screws 'call 'a trouble-maker". Througti 0eH the 10 year-s he spent in British j ails- uutil his rele-as:e -on' 10' October,
wings, but one night after exercise I-Ye went to one- wing and started- a peaceful sit-down protest. When we refused to move, {hey sent in- the M'uft.f squad with riOt helmets and batons, They nearly killcd us, We w.er.e all knoc-ked unconscious and_ thrown 'd~wn die, stairs, _They were like a crowd ofd_ogs at a rabbit. There prisoners tlke JohnMcOloskey was. Mood everywhere. exposes the establishment lie. 'Se.an Camphell, opr John Mc<Eloskey was a high spokesman, got it worst Four security, Category A psisoner screws carriedhim out,while-therr.om- the ti me he was picked ;., governor told others _to break up in October 1974 and his tibs, which the,y_did_. file- was sentenced f0r conspisacy to in plaster up tt? h!s ·chest. After cause, explosions. He suffered lrdays the quack PIOliOllnced -t.op level p h ys rc al and him fit and sent him' ba"Ck to th-e psychological brutality for 10 cells. He went without- food or yea rs. His M!"l!-gg1.e Feally ,yatH fOT Ihree da ys bec a us e he -began in 'June 1975 when he couldn't move.' arrived in AlbanS' prison. A 'kangaroo court' sentenced 'My wife came to visit me in a McCloskey to four mon:rl:is tiny 'room with a- partition solitary and tlie loss of 69@ across the middle, 'a screw days remission for his 'crimes'. sitting nextro her and another next' to me. I had to'-uecide then; Ro€ked would accept that control or not? I wouldn't, I used ttl jump After the Al ba ny a track the partitlon and sit next to my McCf0sktly hegan the long wUe. Every ·v.isit became a process of shuttling from one pitelied baule with the' screws.' jail to another with noll notice. He has seen the inside of every John McCloskey got two top security, jail in Britain. In months in soli-tary -al1¢ lost mid_-!978 fie saw '(fie outside so mer e m 1 s s i-o-n . The n 01' Gartree prison, during a repu bl ican prisoner" Brendan roof-top protest in solidarity O'Dowd fell foul of the Albany with republican prisoners in authorities and landed In the hl-Blocks of Northern solltary. His' t.isll eomeades Ireland. decided. to deina nd his release. Later that y-ear, Garrree was [·ocked by an exp"losinn of 'We were ,aH on different an·ge,r a.gainst the forcible M:cCl0skey led struggles for the right-s of Ir.ish Prisoners (').f War. Days after he got 0Ut, he spoke to the Irish Freedom M-ovem:ent about ir. Britain - denies tha t Irish rep u b l'i c.a n s va r e po lit-is a I p'Fisoners r e c e'i v in.g an.y special a ttenti on , But the everydwyexperie nee: of: life behind British bars for Irish

Prison notes
drugging of "s u bve r s ive

anything In

Inomyou".'
Parkhurst

prrsoncrs'.
'A black prisoner tol!! me his friend was being drugged inthe hospital, Sa I got a crowd together and we went down to _ti)1l: office to demand his release. For-an hour and a half they ~aj-d the g':wcrnoT would "bc along in 10 minutes". Eventually one. prison~er said he'd put a bo": through the office window.

'i\ warder said to m~_ "IQ_ok MacI was aJwa:ys 'Mae when t.hey wanted s,omethin__g -'You're a se'nsibkbl'Q*e, let~_s. talk this out". I said to him "fuck of{, we've been talkjng to );OU people for 800 years", Tlien the box went tlirol'gh the window and we took the whole. -wi"ng apart In five minutes: Doors-off the cells, everything.' The prisoners _@arricacled themselves in overil:igh~ and

f-ought When

the M\.l:r.~i squads, they came out- 'nex,i mOFfii,ifg t1\_ey were met by armed p o'l iee al'l:d- J'ohn McCloskey was on the road again. The Irish prisoners in ve lve.d in the Ga r tr e e prO,les't S1Je(l t mon t hs i'n so j ita r y a-n d I o.s t m.o r e remission.

ocr

prison in orga niseda t'hree-day strike by republican pr is on e r s de rna nd ing the .same 50 per cent rem issio n granted to PO Ws in ireland_

L98 j, MGCloskey

-'-'<

Piled_

By mid-L982John McCloskey in HuH jail where republican __ prisoners were subjected to frequent strjpsearches. I n protest, \frey attacked' the screws' office.

w as-

Wrecked
By August 1980, McCloskey wa-s in WOfmW00d Scrubs on the a n n iv e r s a r y of the introduction. 'of Internment willhouf -t~ia;l.
'We heard there was a demonstration outside., so me an dano.t her Irish 'POW thought "how's the time to hit the roof'. We got tip there and ,smashed it up .. The SCrt!'WS -riote,d in the exercise "yard and beat the other prisoners back inside. 'A few days lilh!F I ,organised a protest against this, We wrecked our eells.r'The sctews beat us up, stripped us' and threw us into the strong-boxes. They tried ,to Fig up cliarges , that I'd electrified my cell door. Tha twas thi'(}wtl out but I sti.!1 got 11 months in a segregation unit, -_ . 'The magistrate told me she was taking the las_t of my remissi on away, She said "if you ever apply to get your r,emission b-aek.,,", "don't \\lOFty Madam", I told her,_ "1 won't 'be coming begg'in-g-

'There wasn't much else you' could: do. The Irish prisoners piled in and the screws piled in on top of us. Ten years agn the screws would have convinced some- other prisoners to back t-hem up .. But after seeing us fight for OUT rights all those years, t~e prisoners backed us ll_p. They piled in.on top of the screws, We got our demands very quickly,'
John Mc Cl o s k e y was iuvolved in many other battles with prison au t h.o r i ties , mostly over the harsh visiting conditions imposed on Irish P-QWs<.-· He won s o.me victories, but lost all his remission and spent four and a half years in solit ary. Yet, he says, he had to do it. ~People like Bobby Sands di.ed in this struggle. When they send you to Jail you have !o decide If you' re a common cFimin'al 0)< not. .I'rn not, so I aeted accordingly, The struggle can't stop at the prison gates., We demand poli.Ical "Status-as a Fight. You_can~'I_put a"price .oll ~hat.'

r-

In recent weeks the Dublin go vern-me nt hilS extrad ited repu bl ica ns to the North, hijacked the trawler Th.e fl1arjl(J AIllIe" with seven tOlmes of rep ub l ica n gu ns; a nd cap tured an I RA arsenal in Du h l in all with the considerable a(d Of the BriNsh sNmriLy forces. On I October Irish Freedom

Movement-supporters the Free. States

besieged London embassy in protest at this eollaboratton in Britain's Irish w.ar. The only people WQO need extraditing [rom Ireland are the British forces of occupation. And' the only gunrun nlngworker-s should worry about is the flow of arms 1"0 the nlnrderQus British war rna_chine in the Six Countiti.s,

haw

6 the nE;!xt step, November:

19'84

Racism

our's ac 'pro m'
Last month's Labour Party conference rejected a proposal to set up separate black sections if) the party. But the question at the root of the controversy is 110t - how can the Labour Party fight racism? It is rather - how can the Labour Party sustain the support of black people!? The Labour Party's base of support among skilled workers, white collar workers and professionalpeople is crumbling. Yet black people remain remarkably loyal Labour voters. Nearly two thirds of 'Britain's blacks voted Labour in the last General Election.
The black constituency is particularly .important to Labour in London where it holds nine of the 14 boroughs which contain a substantial black population. But there is a wider issue at stake for Labour on the question of race. Many young blacks are b e c o m.i ng in cr e as i ngly alienated from mainstream British politics. Their allegiance to the Labour Party - or to the wider institutions of parliamentary democracy cannot be taken for granted. The Labour Party as a whole wants to. stake part €If its claim to be an alternative party of government on its capacity to integrate black people into British society and to contain their potential revolt against the system. The left and. Labour's black acti vists want to -ensure- black support for Labour by giving them a stake in the patty organisation. Black activists _ who set up a black section in the Vauxhall Labour Party have recently published a pamphlet on their experience, Black sec/Ions: here to stayt. The aim of the separate section is to 'act as a transmission belt, not only bringing more black people into the party, -but also providing us with the voice of the black community'. explicitly racist and procapitalist most blacks have generally voted Labour. The events of the-last five years - rising unemployment, two Tory election victories, a nd especially the riots of summer 198.1 have modified the major parties' approach to the race issue. have devoted considerable resources to defusing the threat from the black co mm un ity, They h a v e provided grants to alleviate inner-city tensions and en c 0 u ra ge dco m mu n ity policing. Earlier this year the Tory GLC spokesman on ethnic minorities joined Ken Livingstone in launching the GLC's anti-racist year. In July 1983 the Tories were sufficiently eo nff den t to launch their 'Labour says he's black, "fories say he's British' poster in the election campaign. Brent council provides one illustration of the Tory's new 'anti-racist' image. The council fell into Tory hands w he n left-wi n g bl ac k councillor Arnbrozine Neil defected to join the Tories. But the new regime retained much of the former Labour council's controversial ',"qual opportunities' policies, It kept up the higH level of funding to blaek and ethnic _ minority community organisations.

Hard and soft
The Tories have no.t hesitated. \0 take a .hard line against the black community. They sent in the riot police in J 98 I, rounded up severalthousand young blacks and imprisoned hun d red s . The y have conducted a propaganda campaign blaming blacks for inner-city crime and labelling them as a threat to law and order. They have used immigration regulations as pass laws a nd deported thousands. At t he same time, the Tories

Labour's line
The Labour Party too has modified its approach. After J 979, right-wing Shadow Home Secretary Roy Hattersley took charge of

remoulding Labour's tarnished anti-racist image. Hattersley publicly apologised for having supported earlier immigration restrictions. He promised to repeal the Tories' 1971 Act that Labour had rigidly enforced in government between 1974 and 1.979. After the riots the Labour Party played a central role in integrating black activists. In London the GLC has been at the centre of this process. Through its sponsorship of

quangos and dispensation of grants, the GLC hasharnessed the allegiance of hundreds of ethnic minority organisations through the Labour Party to the state, At national and local levels the Labour Party has embarked on race equality initiatives and positive action policies. It has given its support \0 victims of immigration laws and campaigns for police accountability, The Labour

Party has helped to channel the revolt of 1981 into a diffuse network of committees and quangos, One effect of these initiatives has been to draw a layer of middle class black activists into the Labour Party. This in turn has given rise to the demand for black sections.

Anti-black
The most striking feature of Labour's debate on black sectio ns is that it, has nothing to do with fighting racism. The issue for both the leadership and the lefe is how to improve Labour's electoral prospects. Whichever way the discussion goes it can only benefit the Labour Pa-rty arid a small group of black activists. Its outcome is irrelevant to the problems facing black people and to the urgent need to make the labour movement into an effective an ti -racist force. For all its' anri-r acis t rhetoric, Labour's policy on nationality and immigration and on discrimination. and policing reveals the party's firm commitment to the Bri tish state. It has been carefully fudged to retain black support 'but it remains pro-im per ia list and an riblack. The Labour Party can make any number of sophisticated appeals to black voters and it may recruit hundreds of blacks to the party. But the black community as a whole will remain a volatile and antiestablishment force in British politics. Racism in Britain will never be combated by a party that wants. to contain. or recruit black people, but never to fight the system alongside them,
Frail Edell

Electoralism
The Labour leadership is sympathetic to the black activists' arguments. But it is also wary that too close an identification with black militancy would alienate the party's traditional racist voters. Hence the party keeps its options open. It voted down black sections at 8lackpool. But the national executive will proceed with further consultation exercises 1.0 encourage black recruitment and to keep open channels of communication with black people. It may seem strange that black people should support the Labour Party because it has no tradition of fighting racism. Indeed the' Labour Party has always identified black people, not' British racism, as the problem (see box). Yet because the Tories have always been more

TIle Labour Party lias long regarded black people and immigrants in general as a threat to the' stability of British society. After the Second World War Labour saw immigration as a necessary evil. British capitalism had no alternative hut to exploit foreign sources of alternative labour, The Labour Party was never overtly racist. It simply encouraged suspicions and fears abou t la rge-scale immigrat·ion. The party acknowledged a link between black people and the social p [0 b Ie m s f a.c i n g its traditional supporters.

introduce legislation quickly to end the tremendous influx of coloured people from the Commonwealth .... Overcrowding has fostered vice, drugs, prostitution, and the use of knives. For yean the white people have been tolerant. Now their tempers are up: Labour councillors in immigrant areas regularly promoted petitions - demanding tighter controls, 'I'm not a racist.but .. : became the dominant theme in Labour policy, A recent -survey published by tile Runnymede Trust; Political parties and black people by Marian FitzGerala, quotes a comment on this period from a Labour MP:

socialist and J could not go down that .road of race haired and fascism.' The Labour Party helped to legitimacy to the commonplace. prejudlce that blacks were competitors for scarce resources. In the sixties the demand for immigrant labour began to decline and Labour's a p p r o v.a l for ti-ghter regulation strengthened .. In 1962 Labour opposed the Tories' Commonwealtll Immigration Act, But by 1963 the new party leader Harold Wilson called [or a harder line. He approved immigration controls and tougher health checks and deportation for blacks convicted of criminal offences.

gtve

Prejudice
After the Notting mil riots in, which white racists attacked black people in 19'58 local Labour MP· George Rogers called for curbs on immigration: 'The government must

"I thought it was bloody wrong that they were coming in in such numbers to the same area. They invaded my birthplace changed its whole character and 1 didn't like it. But I'm a

Outlawed
As the crisis unfolded and racism gathered momentum the Labour Par.ty kept in step

with public prejudice. In 1968 a Labour government rushed through Parliament a new act 10 block the entry of East African Asians to Britain. In 1976 Labour MP Bob Mellish proclaimed that 'enough is enough" in response to the widely publicised entry of a few families from Malawi, In the late seventies Labour came under pressure as a result of the electoral su cce sses often in traditional Labour areas of tbe overtly racist National Front. The party leadership's response was to. reassure its supporters that it was fully committed to keeping blacks down and, if at all possible, out. The Labour government allowed the police to use the 'sus' laws in a wave of terror against black youth in innercity areas. It also tightened up immigratioll controls and introduced humiliating vlrgmity tests at airports.

the next step, November

19847

~

Women,

,
• Hospitals

don't get a
involved in the strike. 'Those who had husbands were quite lucky really, .all of th,em were sympathetic to the strike and.cameon the picket' 'line when they .could. They didn t p.u:t pressu,te on t heiF wives to go' back. "In fact the whole -sL(uation seehu;d to make them respect us- m0T&. Tm sure most of the men used to take their wive-s for granted. And now the women hold th~ir own.at home - you -kn@w,answer back, don't just do wha qhey_ aretbld. S01Ji1e f o these, men had never made thernsel V}i'S a cup of (.eIl before and now rhey are making the whole bloody dinner. 'Management treated us like din. For- a start they didn" believe we wouldgoon SHih --ancl then they didn't give Jt m ore thult three days. They got a very big shock because even though we were women .and low-paid we were out fur 14 weeks. 'They tried to .stop us using the toilet and the shop. They Heated us like criminals. Irs obvious that women need to use th e laos rn ore than men wauld - but we worked- out (his plan for overcoming the toilet problem. If one of us wanted to go six of us would walk thwu,gh q.uickly and then scatter and the one who wanted 10 go made sure. she got there!'

Women workers and their unions

in'

In hospitals and town halls; in rag trade sweatshops and telephone switchboards, women workers are an oppressed majority, They face problems of lowpayand poor conditions - and ineffectlve unions. In the week before the Rep's London conference on women and the unions (see page 23) we spoke to four women about their experiences of work and the unions. .

Hospital. workers all over .the rQun_tl'y have been active in fl;; - ling closure, ptivatisatio'n~ red.IH'1.dallcies and cuts in hO_UTS and pay Women- have pI ayed a prominent part in many of these di}illutt'S, wbicl'l lia,ve often dr'agged on to stow defea t i nth e fa c-e of u n ion indifference: One woman who helpeo organtse the recent st.FiRe .at tIflfnmefs-mi.th hospitai is Lyilia Fraser, the Nupe branch secretary, She spoke to Denise Taylor shortly flltel' the strlke against privatisation H_nished, -'f'Vt been working at the h0spi_tal for five yea,r-s as a ward ofder.ly Before being elected as branch secret ary -, was the-shop steward for three yei'\rs. I represent 400 ancillary wo r-k er s and tHlf>SJrig' staff> 'We thought at first tha-t be-ing women would give us an advantage. Wt< believed rhat people would have more respect for the picket ljne, because women are more polite and they would feel sorry for us, We also-expected a disadvantage that because Women ate ignored 0,[ looked down on nobody would have any respeCt for our picket line and _just go straight through it. 'At the end of the day, it made no difference whether it • Local government was men or women, it was more- our determinaeion to 'Many women work In local StD}) lorries oa,.nd the strength gowtnmenl. In the big cities ef QUI' arguments that made il many of them face the. Labour effectlve-or not. council as their employer. Few 'Ill fact 16 out of the 180 are impressed. Joan P-hillips people involved Were men and was lobbying Nalgo's nay there were- no sexual divisions conference when she met at all. The only divisionswere mil itan.t n u r s er y n ur se.s between those on str-ike and Madelaine Murray and those .' working. Ana that Beverley Hobson from Bolton, happe ned '1.0 ind u de .one man. on strike against the Labour Lots of the women' arecouncll anddissatisfie~ with Spanish or Portuguese, and - their union. don't speak English very well. 'We"ve been out -on strike That together with the Tact for .about 25 weeks now, all that they had come from very ioo-of us, Most of us are Gown righr-wmg and repressi ve here today to make sure that GlUT pay and regrading claim countries had made them partieuiariy worried and a bit doesn't go to arbitration like cautious. the union negotiators wanted. 'But after a few- days. yeu "We've been to arbitration should have seen them - they before and know that you s udde n 1 y carne 0 ut of can't expect to win anything themselves, .shouting abuse at from it. We're also here to talk tbe sea bs and trucks, telling to other NaJgo members and · the police to piss off, giving make sure we get their out leaflets and collecting support. money. 'The council rhinks that our 'When the strike first began wages are pin money ~we gel we tried staying on the picket paid a pittance, some girls get line all day. The-A we realised less than £io a week and the that because of all the other best paid only get odd. things we haNe to do at hom~ But a-lot orus are single mums we should organise shifts. aT have to sUflport our Some women bFought thei:r husbands on the dole. We · kids wilh them, and we also decided it's about time we go't organised an informl;l ereche. a decent Wage .. More lna'n 40 of those 'We.ve been doin.g -regular invt>lved wefe one-parent pic k ets of sch 0015 -a nEi families -- but they were iust nurseries and we've had as active. It didn't SlOP. them sup!'mrt [rom Manchester from bejng compietely Nupe HlJrSery worl);ers and the

miners. The council woutdn't e"en talk 10' us so we- diCl a sitin at tbe Town Hall andthar SHook them up. In a 10l of ways the Labour eounci_l js worse than the. Tories ~ at least )'OU know where you s ta n.d wi-t h Marga re t Thatcher'slot'l 'The women have ~ea)l,y get stuck into fne strike a'ni:i are even enjoying themselves. But a lot of us are disappointed with the lack, of support from the Nalgo branch. We asked. "nem far a orre-day s~-rH('e, no n-coopcra t ion with the council,' an overtime ban and an all-out suike - but we've got nothing. I blame the union officials, Some of the local officials have been crossing picket lines, then the members turn round and say "why should We honour them if our union leaders don't?"- - so wha-t can you :do? . 'The only t,blng you-can do is get organised- yourself. Ira ve j 0 ine d the Nalg-Q execdiive en masse and we have a mass meeting of allthe strikers every Wednesdayto decide what to do. 'We need to be a' lot harder - we've been too soft up to new, We're planning to .step up th-e action .and do-more sitins, but I can't leU you when or where because it's secret. Strikers have got to stick together - us and the miners - and be a 10! harder if we're . going to win.'

We

• Sweatshops
Ton.y Powell' spoke to a young Asian w~miO!_n.who works in a small East London sweatshop, .The firm shart'sa Victorian building in City Road \v_ith th reo others and produces ladies' and children's dresses and blouses. She asked us not t(l n~me or pbotograph her as she fears victim isalion or the ,gack. 'I've worked in the garment trade eight years n0W. I used 10' work with my m~lher at' home.' Some-times my father would bring back lots ofcoats GT dresses for us to fini-sh during the Big,ht for the next

rgo

morning, then I_ would go 1:0 school. I did real. work, fulltime, when I was 1-7. My father told me- of a job with a Iriend's firm. I w~rJnhe_re and started work andat first they didn't even tell me how much money r would get. I worked there because~ my' father told me 10. It. was in a garage j:!'l Stoke Newington behind my father'S friend's house, It was freezing cold; the on:ly heating came fiNn the light bulbs. ~l tlnl)1-stayed almut sjx months. 'ihe work is hard, fast and dangerous. Several times I have had a needle go through my, finger, you h,tve 10 work so Iast that you make mistakes. In one -factory in Shoreditch a iIi.em! of mine had her hand Gut off IoIy 'a packing machine. The boss didn't.give her any money. He didA't give her her job back either. I tried to look for other jobs then btlt I soon realised they're all the same; 'I'v,e never ·joiNed a trade union - its not worth the trou b.le. Around, here its difficult to get a job if you're in the union as the-employers all talk to each other about who causes tToLl,hle. I don't even know how much ntoiley other people in the factory get, -krrown WOrnC'Jl gtH more money or better work by ge ttin g the if brother - or husband to See the supervisor, That can be better than the union - you can never go to them. 'Actually, I was in the union once, at a firm called JK Leisurewear, off S'uuthgatc: Road, two years ago. Some people joined the trade union and the boss found out. He jWH sacked everyone: That was -ab.o u e 30 people altogether. Beople don't lrke t raoe un Lons, t h~ey oa'n'( Sl'O the boss if he wants'to sack us. Some people hiter beat up that bo~s and ma-yhrethat will ~top it. Sometimes Y9u have to fight fora job you kDOW. A few years ag0 it did!'!'t matter ir YQU-were saoked as .you could get another job. 'All the big factories have

closed and you have to take the cheating -and the Lying of "t h e em p) a y e rs a-n d say nothing. You can -only get a job by knowing sonreorre. or someone doing you a favour. Only last week the polise C_1Imento the lYuildiHg where I i work because 'an emplo;:er refused to pay any wages and needed police proteetion uo get out. It only takes one or two people to fight back and the boss gets very-seared, but the u ili 0 n isn ''I st ro ng enough.'

• Sexual

harassment

rye

P

Kath Davies, a telephonist from East London, interrupted her S a-t u r day m 0 r 11 i-ng shopping to join the ReF's motorcade throu_g,h North London (see page 2) and helped lis collect money for the.miners in Camden. Shoe told Denise Taylor about sex'uil harassment at work, 'I've been working at· British Telecom for the past five years. lam a full-time night operator - one of those people at the other end of the phone when )fou djaJ·100_ I've, always worked niglHs and weekends ~ unsocial hours - because the hours fit in with bringing up children. I've got [our kids and there is no way 1 could have managed with a daytime job. r have to take them to school, do the shopping, see to their tea and then go -out and earn a wage. 'Its the same with most of the girls who Work onnights - in fact there's more women on the nigl\t shift for that reason. The ones who work during the day are mainlJ: pa rt-ti me o r tempore ry, -Mallagemem likes them because they worl! harder fOJ less money_ Management reckons -~hey'll be more f1e",ible fo·r when they bring it) tl ex_i k rostevin g. b 'A lo~ of the m are'n't in the union ej,ther -~ not that lhat makes much differenoe. To be honest, the union )las cooperated ai_I the way witI'! the privatisaiion anci have

been tr.ying to get some' of us Fa volun-('ece-r for ea.rl.y retirement. We have meetings literally once OF twice a year. They've never bothered with asking for creches or nurseries OJ anything for us. They are just not concerned about the problems we women have. We don't get a look ill. 'Y0U get -an awful 10t Qf abuse when you're doing this kind of work. It's malflly sexual abuse qy tfnt~e men who ring up regularly and say something obscene -, You get everything ~liteIally the rriest disgusting ti'fings you could ever think a man would say to you. Not just "do you wear black knickers?" 'and that S.OFt of thing - but "1 want to stuff my cock [n your mout h" 0'[ they're masturbating on the phone while you' are talking- to them. At (ir~tmost girls are really shocked I mean there's nothing further from your mind! But we're all working class and tough. We get used to it,~ andnobody is likely to do anything to prevent it. The union's not interested. 'A-t first I used to say "fuck off' or "go do it to your mother". That would get to thein sometimes, because they don't rhihk of us in the same way as their mother - you know, with respect and that. Now I just .ignore it·ana "pull out" (of the switchboard) immediately. YOIi can't trace the caller unless its a private line. r suppose the only thing you can do is try to educate people. 'What's much worse in fact is the emergency 999 calls and the racist way the police operate, If the person on the other 'end of the phone doesn't speak the Queen's .English ~ if they are haLi an, "Irish or bl,a'ckthey just don't bGlher. I've had countless'examplesof people phoning up to· get an ambulance a'nd all the bloo~dy copper says is ~"would Y0U speak English please". But I should add they act more quickly jf t)ley know weave listening' in.'

8 the next step, November

1981f.

Central America

ace

The people of Nicaragua in Central' America will go to the polls on 4 November. The promise to hold elections was one of the first proclamatlons made when the popular antiimperialist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the right-wing dictatbr Anastasio Somoza in 1979. But until last year only Western politicians and: the vocal Nicar.aguan bosses' parties sustained the-demand for elections under the popular regime.
Now the ruling, Sandinlstas have stood their leader Daniel O-rtega as candidate for South of the border President. These elections Mexico's premier Miguel de Ja have little to do with the needs Madrid is the [memos! figure of the Nicaraguan people, mediating between the USA however. They are the and the Sandinistas. Madrid's Sa nd inist as ' response to own oil-rich regime is up to its imperialist pressure on neck in debt to mainly Nicaragua. American .banks .. InSeptemFer ·the past ,thr€e years, ber it was able tQ re-neg0liate Nicaraguashas lived under the h.a l f e f its $ 9;0 'ai II i €I n continual threat of oulsme outstanding debt on very easy intervention by imperialism. terms. The Financial Times The ruling Sandinista regime recently remarked that has come under increasing Washington favours Mexico military, economic and political pressure from the' USA. Last year's Arn eri can invasion of Grenada was an object lesson for the people of Nicaragua. The ir a nsf'ormation of the neighbollring country of Honduras into a US mi\itaFY stockade and the J<ast month, 'President Jose Napoleon Duarte of EI permanent stationing €Ifnaval task forces offcthe Nicaraguan Salvador sat down with the coast all helps to keep rhe leaders of the Farabundo threat of invasion everMarti National Liberation present. The-seJbacks inflicted Front (FMLN) in the on the contras, who are _ liberated village of La Parma fighting for a return .to the in northern Chalatenango to former Somoza regime, by thenegotiate :i settlement, to II Sandinistas' militia has not war wnich has :raged for five ended the menace. years' and cost 52 000 lives. The Reagan regime has Facing each other acrossthe sought to .strangle Nicaragua table were Duar'te and economically, by diseriminatGutllermo Ungo, a former ing against its agricultural and vice-president of the regime, industrial products. It is also now President of the FMLN's political wing: bringing pressure to bear on other countries, which sell After five years of bloody Nicaragua vital supplies. war, the masses of EI Salvador are, desperate for Politically, America has denounced the Managuapeace. The Duarte regime recently acquitted its elite regime as a Marxist ally of the Soviet' Union. Washington US-trained Atlacati Banalion Of th~ murder @f 68 labelled.Nicaragua as the firs t peasants in Cabanas and 37 domino to fali to the Red Menace in its own 'backyard' more in the ·region of Santa of Central America, Lucia. Ail army investigation Diplomatically: America's dismissed massacre claims allies in Europe and. the and quipped that ally civilian Contadora group (Mexico, casualties had been 'caught in Venezuela, Panama and crossfire' . Columbia) 'have stepped up The masses of EI Salvador pressure on the 'Sandinistas have also had, their fill of and pushed for reconciliation. slaughter at tbe hands of the Both these bodies are notorious, de ath .squads, sufficiently autonomous frern created under Duarte's the USA to conduct negofiatprevious r-egi me. Dea t·h ions with Nicaragua while still squads like the. Secret Anti· acting in the overall interests Communist Army have been of imperialism. responsible for the majority because of the constructive role it plays for imperialism in Cen tral- America; 'In essence, Mexico's policy is based on the premise that: Central America's rebels can be integrated and that the US· favpured use -of force' in the region.is more likely to push the insurgents towards the communist camp and risks touching off a conflagration of unforeseeable dimensions.' (23 August l!.l84~

Accommodation
The-response of the SandinisHis to the threat .of imperialist .interventiori has been to accommodate all down the lirre; An extensive private sector has been left virtually untouched by the radical regime, while poverty, austerity measures and strikebreaking are-on the agenda for workers and peasants. Abroad, the Sandinistas have refrained (rom givin.g

practical support to the guerrillas fighting to overthrow the repressive El Salvadorean regime. At the end of September, the Sandinistas told EEC foreign rn i n rs t e r s and Contadora delegates meeting in Costa Rica that they would sign the Coritador a draft peace treaty which called fer the removal of all foreign military arms and aid from the area. At the same time, Nicaragua, has been involved in secret talks with the USAin .Manzanillo, Mexico.

Invasion unnecessary
America has' found t·hat Mexico and, its EE'C partners have been proved right.' The willingness of theSandinistas to compromise has rendered invasion unnecessary for the

Dining with the devil,
of casuaitles in the. war. The imperialists' also want an end to tile war in _EI Salvador. 'They have been making major efforts-to settle the contlict at the negotiating table. Sofar;they have won a e'o m m i t m e n t from the guerrillas to 'humanise the conf'll cf,' wllile a joint commission of go.vernment and FMLN reptesentatives study detailed peaee plans under the watchful eye of an array of interested parties from the Catholic Church and the President of Columbia to Herr Willy Brandt, the former West German Chancellor, Peace on the terms of the imperialists means more of the same for the El Salvadorean masses. Brandt, Ihechufch, the Contadora gFOUp and all the other pacifiers are acting as ambassadors for imperialism. Their only role is to safeguard its interests in the region - no matter what p.Rce thepeople of El Salvador are asked pay. The people of EI Salvador have not been lighting for so long to see a· peace made at their expense, There can be no real peace u n t.I! the imperialists and their backers are dealt with once and for all,

time being. The USA has avoided dir e ct 'military intervention and bas'achieved aJ1 its objectives' simpif'b)< issuing threats. With the help of his allies among the Nicaragu-an bou r g e o is ie , Reagan has secured ~ in the midst of the war against the conrras - an end to the state of emergency in Nicaragua, the restoration of habeas-corpus, the lifting of censorship 'o~ r.igb t-wirrg papers and an extended amnesty for the regime'S opponen ts (inel uding the e o nt r a s ), The right: to -unrestricted travel throughout the country has been r-eintroduced, together with the freedom to orgariise political .m e.e ti n g s, rallies and demonstrations. So far, the Sa n d in ist as have only baulked at the demand to open negotiations with the leaders of the contras. After the eiedtions there will be an opportunity' for imperialism to consolidate its gains: Mass organisations of workers and peasants under Saridinista control still play ani m p or tan I r ol e in Nicaragua and exert a direct intluence on government decisions. Now the new National Assembly established by the elections.will push these 'organisations into the background and allow the traditional Nrc a r a g u a n establishment 10 hold sway for the first time since the fall of Somoza.

Unsatisfied
The thre-at of a US invasion of Nicaragua is a rea! one. The Sandinistas' accommodation with imperialism, its 'peace plans' and its pandering to So mo zas su pport ers are desigged to prevent it. But while America ina.y be sa tisfied wi th Ni earagua's progress sci far, this does not mean that it will -abate its demands for change. Ultimately, there can be no reconciliation between the demands of US imperialism and the n ee d s of the Nicaraguan people. The Sandinistas' compromises with imperialism may stave off an .invasien today er tomorrow, .but only at the cost of the continuing- immiserisation of the Nicaraguan masses; Andy Clarkson

to

the next step. November

19{J4 9

Labour movement

Action for gay rights

Socialist

sel I·out

_-

Coventry Rep supporters reacted swiflly t9 a tecen t threat to "the jobs of lesbian and gay workers at nearby Rugby District Council. Local pe o ple, _students frOID Lanchester Polytechnic and Warwick University, and a miner fro m Keresley pit near Coventry, joined a 3.0-stHlng picket of Rug""'Y TOM/V called -by Coventry RCP at lunch-time 011 Tuesday 9 October. The protest followed the 25 Septejnber meeting of Rugby District .Co uncil which voted by 20 votes to 19 to deletet he words 'se-xual orientation' from ,he council's new equal opper tuniries ~mpl@ymefll policy. Ou_ring Jh_e- debate righ [ winger Keith Judge, the independent councillor w-ho proposed the c-hange, argued th_-at the words "s exu a l osientarion' would give the impression -that the' counc-il "posi t iv'ely wel"w,m etl th e queers and pet verts '. Tory group leader Gordon Collet told The Guardian thai, he did _i;tot_b_eIievethere were any homosexuals working for

the council and.that hehoped the council's d,&Lsion 'would lead to a ban employing ho mosexuals and lesbians".

en

No surprises
The local government union Nalgp has llaQ a policy supporting ,gay rights since 1976. The union's national conf'er ence bas regularly reaffirmed this policy, But it has done nothing 'to counter the threat to gay council workers in Rugby. Local Nalgo representative Bob Lewis p ro m ise d to' discuss the issue in the branch, but- warned th:af he was opposed to 'marching ill the -streets or strike aotien'. The Labour Party-and the Campaign f01' Homosexual Equality In the- Midlands csiricised Na'lg0's i'elu~,t~nce to take action to defend council workers but look no action themselves. r Richard Apps of Leamington CHE said Nalgo should fight the ban but accepted that 'ordinary people dorn want to ge t inv 0·1 ved '. CKE natjol}aJI~ has calle-d' for

usn

ell) Friday 19 October, 10 The 14 fitters decided te take RCP supporters w e.r e -Sheffield building workers 1m med-ia testrikcacrio n , involved in the strike from the r ep o.r t e d for work at demanding reinstatement of beginning. We took the Gleeson's building contracthe. four, But they faced strikers along to speak at a tors. There should have been problems making the strike Sheffield Nalgo meeting and 14- of 'them, The Gleeson's bite, Most Gleeson's workers organised collections on the workers were returning to are n o'n-jrn io n is.e d and streets, at workplaces and in work after':ino!e than t-hree continued normal workin-g. toe colleges. Union officials AUEW -and Uoatt officials weeks ciIi strike against four took so long producing nedundaneies, THey decided told t'helr members to -ignore leafl_ets and cellection sheetsto. give -up rheir figh t when it the picket lines, that we wen t -with the strikers became elear that the leftLocal TGWU officials kept to the local unemployment wing- Labour council would their heads down, made no centre and produced them not take t he me-as u r.es ourselves, -attempt. to get blacking, and necessary to -save their jobs. simply acted as go-berweens Bitter Gleeson's, Which is kept in for managcment. The workers business by Sheffield council, never received any str:i.k;e pay Despite su ppo r't from has ~tf reputation fOF lliein-g -and, as Pete-describes, became council workers who refused anti-union, but it has always increasingly frustrated with to cross picket lines and a had a pr,agmat_ie a-ttitude to their lack of leadership: further 34 'lay-offs by union membership, The firm Gleeson's, the Labour council has been known to recruit its 'What it boils down'to is.that refused to budge, In a meeting workers into unions so that it those 'officials have got a with Gleeson's managemen t canwin contracts for union steady number and a steady -and TG WU official Ken Lang, labour-only sites. 'income, so -they don't want _to homosexuals to write to MPs, on 17 October, coun-cil Until recently management tl;)_e Tory .Party, local councils know about our I!n¥lems. 'representatives confirmed a was 'pfepare(i to turn a blind aR'@. the Association of new £400 000 contract with eye to un ioFt otgan;i_sation We angued that th-e onus was District Councils. Gleeson's and effectively among the fitters, who are on the Labour council to The Laham Party bas tried ended the; strike. tne;rnb-(l>r,sof the: Transport show some.solidariry with the 10 avoid the issue_. It 'i'n'Vlted Sentenced to a jobless and General Workers' Union. Gleeson's wor k e.rs , The Richard ARPS to. address a future by a council that boasts However, when th€ fiuers council is supposed to operate Labour group meeting. The about its socialist credentials". appointed "..storeman Pete a closed, shop on tenders, If it personal problems faced by Pete is bi tter: Woodward as their shop had agreed to sever all ga'y people wese 01] the agenda steward, management refused relations w~t'h Gleeson's at this 'edu-cational discussion' "The councll has in this to recognise him and began a pendjug reinstatement of the but no decision was iaken on Jnstance backed the bosses -campaign of -har-.wsment, sack-ed- workers the strike how to respond to the council against us workers. Tha_es why wlfich ended when Pete would have been resolved ban. we lost.' received his -(ards along wi th within hours but it .three other workers, Ann Burton wouldn't.

Now

While the Labour Party and gay groups wait 3I:GllnG to 'dlseuss the j.s_sue f'U-IlV t-he Rep hit bask at tne threatto jobs: LOGal people showed their support lor our pickot by .hooting their-car horns as they passed Illy or stopping to ex press their support. Is o la t j ng hom o se x u a ls f['l:\m Ihe.ir fellow workers is pant of the bosses' divide and rule suategy a'nEl"laysthe basis ['o'f further jo~ cuts in the future, The Rep is ready to fight this and every other challenge 10 our rightto work. Mary Harper

Where freemen are imprisoned
In early October .37shipyar!f. workers were jai]ed for 28 days for refusing to end -their sit-in at the Cammell Laird shi pyard, Birkenh end; in defiance of a bigb court order. The Cammell Laird workers hail Ife,e,noccup~ing a-n accommo-dation gas rig and the destro}'er JifMS Edinhurgh for' ]4_ weeks in p rot es t a I CD m p u Iso r y
redundancies,

Walton jail impre~ed:

-

he wasn't

Taking Control is a manual for
.active trade unioni"sts and a guide
1-[

to action.

aims- to provide -

militants with the argul'l4ent~ :and the strategies they need to overcome their isolation and make industrial action effective. Taking Control throws dowr, a challenge to the employers ano the

govemment

-

and to

Ihe union ieaoe.rs, Take it!

To the rescue-came deputy leader of the MiHtantcon troll ed Labour council Derek Hart on, offering to make them fneemen of the city. The)' would join such ill ust rf ous com p any as LIberal 'Prime Min ister WiUiam Ewart Gladstone, Anmiral Lord Beatty and Lord Mountliat:ten. This great blow fOF the class struggle came Ilns luck. The Labour group could not .muster' the tw 0 . tb i rds majority on the connell necb,_sary 1,0 present every priso,ner_ with the scroll and casket Which would symbolise their freedom.

'If the council real'ly~an-ts to do more for us, besides supporting us in words, then it would get on with local strike action, Instead, all I've 'heard is talk of a one ·-day general iitri,ke. Us lads are fighting for everybody's, jo b. There's only one response to. 37 workers jailed for fighung - that's down ,tools:' The CammelJ _L·aird workers got as litHe satisfaction from their union, the general, municipal and boilermakers'. At _ a local 'branch meeting- immediately after the arrests, branch chair and Militant supporter 'Ian Lowes refused 10 -dlseuss .a hard-hitting Illan of action put forward by an RCP supporter. We urged the GM.BATU to set up a 11 official picket line at Walton prison and encourage its members and Qtlier pdson -workers in the CPSA and NU:r'to support it - 10 force. the immediate release of the CarfimelJ La:ir,d prisoners, We called o-n the union to organise mass meetings in all workplac.es to motivate immediate strike action. ' Lowes didn't even let these proposals reach tlie table, arguing that there was no time to discuss them. Despite the tight agenda, however, standing orders were suspended to discuss a rota for a car p~Fk. -- The union.and the- Labour council did liltle. to cllallenge ilie bosses' tlgbt 10 jmprison

Real freedom
In the class struggle, freedom is won through working class action, nut by silly civic gesluFe's. But -the Labour council wasn't prepared to strike a blow for real freedom by bIinging council workers out on strike ani! the,cjt.y to a halt. lnstead,jt endorsed a token day of action, 16 days after the first imprlsonments 'and two (lars before the first releases. We spoke to Cammell Laird worker Lol Duffy in

workers for daring to fight for their jobs. Yet mllitant protests outside the prison combined with strike action could !ia,ile tumed the tables on the emp loye rs and d em ons t ra te d wo r k er s ' refusal'te accept that fighting back is a crime, While the CammeJl Laird striKers were benin!! bars, management got on with the job ofgetting everybody back to work. Within days, management had sent out threatening !eHcrs to those who had failed to return. The _union's calls for .mass pickets on the gates went largely unheeded. The CammelJ Laird story makes grim rea_ding.In the past year alone; 1600 workers have joined the dole queues and' more job lo~sse:s'-are the in pipeline. The workforce is riven with d,ivisio'DS and discord. But these divlsions are the; consequence of tbe unions' failure to put forward a coherent defence of their members' jobs and challenge the sec t lo.nalf.sm t hat forestalls united- action, Earlier this year shipyard workers proved tbat they were ready to take national action against redundancies and closures. They were badly let down by their Ieaders. in the Confederation of ShipbuUding a nd Enginee.ring Unions. The. lesson of" this and the more recent setback aJ Gammell Laird is that rank and file workers must get organised to fight for the fut ure.

Alan .Harding

10 :the next st,ep, November

1984

--~~'-... -

Islep
'he"~.RA<bo.m •. bing. ?f.th.e hO.el where t senior y"bmet rrumsters were staying during the Tory Party conferencelast month WaS an audacious attack on the Bilitishstate. Ln the",event, the Ptime,_N!iinjstel' and her dose C0Iteag).les-escaped, but fou:r peop'/e were hUed. Many more were injured, including industry minister Nerm~n Tebbit·. Our response to the Brighten aetack is the -same _as our response to every aspect of ~he anti-imperialist struggle in Ireland. We 'support unconditionaHy Jl).e right of the If-ish people to carry out their struggle fOF national Iiber-atioR in whatever way they choose, We ueithersupport nor condemn any particular tactic the republican movement pursues, whether it is an electoral campaign or a bombing _campaign, We Certainly refuse to make our support for the anti-imperialist struggle condition-al 'Of)the tactics the. rriovement adopt,s. The- ruling .class and its media responded with the usual outpouring of chauvinist prejudice. an all sides the virtues of B'r.itisn democracy -were proclaimed and the Irish 'terrorists' were, denounced. There was more 'pressure on the American government to cIa_fip down even more on IRA fund raising in the USA. There wereresolute declarations 0f '0'0 surrender' in the Irish War and a renewed clamour for the death penalty for Irish Prisoners of War. The leaders of the official labour movement provided their customary. cringing performances, upholding- the British state and condemning Irish republicans who fight back against its c;ppressive rule ever their cO\mtr~. This is tfie familiar response.ot.tfre Brit-ish establishment when the 'Irish War comes to Britain. What was new about the Brighton-bombijig-was that there was much less, popular resonance for the establishment line than over previous IRA bombings, After the Harrods bomb. last Chrjstmas and {h~earlier Hyde Park and Regents Park -bombings, sel-lers of ihe next step reponed widespread anti-Irish sentiment. Many were hostile to calls for solidarity wilh the Irish people and sympathetic towards the victims - .even whe)) they were B:riti;>hsoldiers directly involved in the war in N-orthern Ireland, After Brighton our sellers noticed much less hostility and concern about the victims -and even a degree of respect for the IRA. This sentiment was stronger further north and strongest in mining communities. 'Pity they missed her' Was a- fairly widespread comment on Thatcher's escape. ' The failure of a wave of anti- Irish hysteria to take off after Brighton reflects partly the IRJ\'s choice of target - the Tories. It also reflects the changing climate of opinion that has been brought about by developments in the class struggle in ' Britain over the last few years, and particularly by the miners' strike. The more, favourable response within the wor-king class to an IRA bomb attack has both positive and negative aspects. -

T

T

he positive aspect sf the sympathetic response to the Brighton bombing is that it shows a growing disrespect for the British state and its institutions among- the working Glass. OVeF the past eight months, the min,ers have se.en-the government, ihe courts and the p0iice revealed as a repressive eo.alition fightingon the side of

the employers. The-geverrtrnent has invoked the principles of democracy, justice and the rule of law 'to back up its attack 011 the miners. But this 'ideological -approach has only further bro-ugh! the' authority of the 'State into q,uestil'll"!(~ee gages 12 and 1;5). Many. miners haw shown diei" willingness to dtfy what tneThaMe - id.enhfie~ as the: bosses' law and orEler in their struggle for jebs, They have shown on the piCket lines that: they aJepiepared to take the' direct -action'-l}_ccess-ary to make the strike effective if) the face of mass policing, 0~he" workers sy-mpathetic the: miners have gone through this experience with them. Many - though still only a minority - have come to recognise the need to take-violent action if n_ecessary against the forces of the state. The reaction to Brighton showed that mote people than ever before 'are 'ready to give their 'approval to others who rlo the same in a more direct and dramatic way. The negative aspect of workers approval for the Biighton bombing is that it arises, out of a sense of powerlessness in the working class. This is accompanied by an .attitude of near despair about the fighting capacities of the orgauisations of the la Dour movement, For five years the Tories have ravaged the working Class, driving people out of work, sending young people straight from school to a life on the dole, smashing strikes, destroying trade lInion rigj;!,tsa_nd creating misery and hopelessness -tmoughout the country. The trade unions and the Labour Party have provided no effective defence of workers on' any front and show no signs of putting up any serious -resistance to the Tory .onslaught. When many workers saw Norman Tebbit's feet coining out of the rubble of the Grand .Hotel in Brighton they found it hard--_2ot to refl._some -satisfacrio-n at the fate of a man 'wJrp bas shown such cynical contemprfor the unemployed. They J00k a certain corisolationin the thoVght Illat 'at least somebody is baving a go'. Many workers watched the Tory-Cah;inet wandering in rheir pyjamas in a daze down the Brighton sea front and thought that one IRA bomb had shaken up the Tories rnore.than ali t1;(; TUes rallies, special conferences and days of action ever could. Many workers welcomed the bombing because it seemed to shatter the Tories' apparent invincibility. Unfortunately, this response reflects' the experience of five years of setbacks. The Tories only appear invincible when they are compared with the Labour Party. The [RA's bombing campaign in Britain may give a boost to the morale of tpe nationalist community in Ireland and take some pressure off the freedom fightersin the occupied Six Counties. But 11will no-t destroy the British state. That task requires the British working class to rebuild its organisations into an effective fIghting force against the Tories, In fact .the Brighton bomb came at the end of a TEl fey Party conference which exposed the deep insecurities that plague the British ruling class. The conference was haunted by the failure of the government to do anything to reduce unemployment. Chancellor Nigel Lawson was virtually slow hand-clapped over his smug line an economic 'policy. Environment ministe-r Patrick Jel'lkin failed t&- con vince the confefenc'e over his propos_ed ref0rms in local government.

,0

Even defence minister Michael Heseltine, normal'!y the darling Of the. Tory faithful, turned out to be a damp squib. Ii is striking that while Thatcher has R'O ~ djf.ficul~y handling the -oifici-3.1 opposition's insubstantial attacks, she h,as"faced . problems dealing with dissidents in her own ranks': T\llf;Y wets and outspoken Anglican churchmen have caused the Tory leaders eonsiderable diseemfituee. The "Tory government faeeseven graver problems on the economic frontr'British capitalism continues its apparently inexorable, destine, Instead of the long promised' economic reeo-very, -the prospeets are that the .situarion may get out of" control altogether, Last mentn's Bank ef England quarterly bulletin gave little: cornIort to the ruling da-ss. It showed that the 'upturn' ill a- myth and that the recovery is as far away as ever. rofit .rates remain low and the rate of return on capital in British indus~ry is still bel.d.W- the levels prevailing through most of the seventies, Within days of the publicatiotr of its report the Bank of England had to step in to save Johnson Matthey Bankers from collapse. This dramatic rescue operation showed the precarious positien of one -of the most -prestigio1!ls banks in the" city of London. A weakening pound-and a mounting trade deficit reveal the weakness of British -capital-ag'aill$t its f\ilr.eign campef_i_t€lTs. British busili'tssm_en~ also in trouble on the home ftont. The- coUa:p~ of industry continues' and unemployment is rising steadily. It is -this- inability deaf-wiJ:h the structural weaknesses of Brifish capitifl§fn that creates a sense of-fear and. insecurity within the ruling class. - The 'banana skin' mishaps that keep befalling the government over issues like GCHQ and rate-capping are riot the 'Outcome of simple blunders, They are an expression of the' crisis of confidence- that haunts theruling class. The issues that face, the British establishment are not merely economic, Sooner or 'later the crisis is going to -sl:imulate social instability and political unrest on a much biggerscale. It is in this c-ontext that the public reaction tn the Brighton bomb -and th-e miners' strike acquires its significanc~. M~ny left-wingers have denounced the IRA bomb on the grounds that it will strengthen Thatcher's hand against .rhe miners. But what decisively strengthens the Tories against the miners .is the failure Of the- left .to take up the broad struggle against tile state. that is necessary to prevent the miners from following so many other groups of workers (8 defeat, For eight -months the Tories haye pursued a ruthless strategy to smash the miners, They have mobilised their full resources - the media, the courts, riot police, social security au thorities - to make sure they win. As t,he strike has continued their line bas hardened, They have always, seemed negotiations and compromises and made it very clear from tlie start that they 'are fighting for nothing less than a complete victory, What a contrast to ~'he official labour movement! From the outset the leaders of the TUe: and the Labour Party fia¥e had obly €IFleobjective- - to get a negotiated compromise settlewent aud a return to work. The longer the strike has dragged on the. more desperate the labour leaders

have become to m~diate_ and organise secret talks or, to Glr[j in Acas or the w government itself. Although_-:-tbe.Tories have insisted on wi.deni:ng (he strike intq an issue .of class,p@wer, the labour bureaucrats have- insisted: that jt is Just a'nMheil trade union dispute. Despite the fact that the Tefies have ihrown the }Jh¥sical might of thestate at the miners, the leaders of 'the labour movement have done rrorhing to erganise effective resistance. When Iiiiners have taken action te defend_ themselves the (op bureaucrats have condemned. them.

P

"

r

to

theJeadershIP,of. t.he labour mevemeni has been worKIng - day and night to negotiate a sell-out, the left has been building .the links With the striking miners thai are necessary for the Labour Party to play i-is role as mediator, 'Millers,' support groups' In every town have become the instruments through which the official la bour movement maintains .its connections with miners and workers involved in solidarity action with the miners' strike. They have also helped to ensure that the bureaucrats stay in control .of solidarity activity at rank and file level. Like the labour leaders, the miners' s\l,pp0'rtgroujJs have-sought to avoid all the political issues in (he miners' strike. l'lk~ have refused to challenge the bureaucratic-conduct .,0.'[ the dispute and the NUM leadership's -disastrous strategy of tying miners' livelihoods 10 its interpretation of the Plan.for Coat. They nave backed down before the difficulties of mobilising effective solidarity action at rank and file level, And tli¢y have refused 'tEkcha-lienge- public opinion on-the qu;StiO~ violence. Instead ok.ss_i'ling the issues in the miners' strike a'ild~u.sing them in tlie way the Tories have-t~0bil1se backingfor a class-position 'in the~isR,utc - tlie left has dodged the issues. Virtumky~e whole of the left is now working under the,.wing of the bureaucracy in the-support gto~~ Indeed-the Socialist Wo:rkers' Pa~ty chose the very moment wfieH the Labourleadership was making its most abject sellout proposals to unite with the party's machine-for selling whatever deal emerges to the rank and file. 'Tbey shall not starve' is now the slogan of the support groups. But the .miners have- fought for eight months, because they want to win, to save. their jobs and the dignity bf their communities - not merely to survive physically through the winter. 'They shall not starve' is a slogan of fatalism and defeat. It is'offensive to ~ne miners and their heroic struggle. And it must give comfort to Thatcher, Tebbit and the rest as they pre-pare for the final show-down wifh the miners. The mentality ef 'they- shall not starve"_lias helped to crea te the. feeling .of im potence that led many workers to celebrate the Brighton bombing. The strength of the ruling class now derives almost -entirely from the weakness of the official labour movement. The bureaucracy is teo compromised with the existing system to lead any figlit against it. And the left is too compromised with thebureaucr'acy to provide ,my alternative. Tl:)e Revolutionary Communist Party is independent Qf both -the system and the bureaucracy and we are fighting now to get foid of them both - for good. the ne!)o(t step, November 1_984 11

'While

-c__

The miners'strike

Lawand o,rderon the line

The: government has tried to use popular respect for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law as a propaganda weapon lJgainst the miners. But the repressive actions of me police and the courts have led to a wider questioning of the authority of the state and a growing disrespect for its institutions.
the picket line. When Kinnock obliged at the WHATEVER ITS outcome, the 1984 rniners' TUe confer-ence they insisted that he repeat his strike bas shown rhat there is no going back to p'erfoLmance at his own party conference, t-he good old days of Bruish consensus politics, In the past this strategy has always worked .. The strike has exposed what sections of the .But this time something new happened, True, ruling class already knew, that the strength of most Labour Party and trade union leaders thegovernment is more apparent then real. crumbled. under the pressure. But the Tories did The historical strength of the British ruling not have it entirely their Own way. More and class has been rts ability to exercise Its power more voices eould be heard denouncing with the consent of the people, The bourgeeisie violence - but that of the police, not that oft-he bas rarely R'ad to use torce to tkJend its striking miners. As the dispute 'intenslfied the interests. In general it has been able to rely on coercive and anti-working class character of the the authority of Parliament, -the courts and police became increasinglyapparent. The strike ot her state institutions to win legitimacy for its itself polarised opinion and had a radicalising policies, Parliament 'and its laws have seldom effect on a s~'mp'athe* ffi\Dori-ly within the been challenged in the twentieth century. EveH working class, This pressure was certainlyfelt at dittetl), coercive agencies of state'power - l\le, the Labour Party conference where it was army arid the police - have succeeded in expressed in widespreadcriticisms of the police. parading as neutral community bodies which The failure of the Tories' propaganda war operate.above class il'lterests, against the miners is symptomatic of _the 'In limes of unrest the ruling class has always used the slogans of 'parliamentary democracy' --" ,undeFi;yi-ng instability of British capitalisrn ..The ruiners' strike has activated these underlying and 'law anc~ order' as weapons to isolate its forces with. devastating effect for the politics of -opporre nts. This approach 'has .glluerally worked well, Major strikes have been treated as .consent. Instead of'c_linching victory for the threats to constitutional authority and the trade bosses, the issue of violence has exploded in their faces. For rhe first time in living memory a un ion .leaders have -usually backed. down. In significant section of society rejects traditional response to the 192€ General Strike the ruling assumptions about the .courts, the rule of la w class raised the. stakes and denounced it; as a and the police. threat 10 British' de mo cr a.cy, The TUC Gary Long, an under-ground fitter at in'lmcdia-lel,y became defensive and protested Kellingley colliery in Yorkshire, wid one (hat it was only running an industrial disputenational daily paper how his views hadcharrged not challenging stale power. The TUe was not over the course .of the strike: prepared to,~ uestion the autho rity of the ruli ng class and the. General Strike went on to defeat. 'Certainly I was oppnsed to any form of Since 1-926 the ruling class has put its authority violence at tile beginning and I would have on the line On several occasions, knowing full. attempted to stop it. but now I- see that any well that its opponents would back down. actions' taken are justifiable; r would find it hard to condemn anything on the picket line.'

remarkable, and most alarming, for the acceptability it gave to law-breaking .... This is not the independent civil disobedience-of the nuclear. disarmers or the dedicated non- conformity of occasional nuts, It is asystemat-ic witlidrawal of consent, encouragedby .a major polltical party, for laws passed by Parliament,' . Of course it is not the Labour Party that The Economist fears. It is the pressure of theminers which has fo,roced "he Lab-our Party- to criticise the police and which tbreatens the withdrawal of consent. The ruling class is concerned that, whatever the outcome of the miners' strike, the politics of consent could be irreparably damaged. The carefully nurtured image of the neutral police could be the first casualty. These fears were

dear'ly expressed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kenneth Newman in a speech in late September,
,-- 'It is not uncommon nowadays.to hear men or' position and authority' speak as though there, is some inalienable right of civil disobedience to laws of which they do not approve and a right to initiate deliberately unlawful and sometimes vio\~nt activity,to protest against such laws.'

Newman was looking- advi;sedly to the future .and to the threa I of more widespread withdra wal of consent. Potice Federation 'Chairman [eslie CurHs was [he first to panic. In a widely publicised speech he intimated that the police migh t 'not be prepared to serve under a future. Labour

The 51r01l1
Police terror is in full swing in the coalfields. Transits patrol the streets, police baton charge picket lines with 'and dogs. Villages are sealed off for ata time, people ate ordered off the and police in full riot ,gear go on the rampage .. riOl horses hours ~treets More than 7.000. miners were arrested in the first seven months of the dispute. Peter Davis from Tower Lodge, South Wales describes the police in. o,peration: 'At Orgreave thepolice were coming along and hitting people, with their batons as they were. going along - anyone in (he way. A man came out of a house to see what was going on. He went up to l,he police and he said "this is uncalled for violence - they are not doing anything". AJ)d they hit him over the head and knocked him out cold. You see, that on numerous occasions, There must be hundreds 0f times I've witnessed the police beating people up. The police 'are there to protect the bosses' profits and that's all there is to it.' be beaten up, to receive anytbing frorn bruises.to 'hfake!) limbs. . 'BeSetting' is an offence under the 18'75 -Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act. It means visiting .a scab at home to persuade him to join a strike. It was last used in the 1926 General Strike, hut has been revived in the CIIHent dispute. by the solicitor for the Nottinghamshire ,police. More than 20.0.' miners have been charged with besetting orinthnidating scabs, More than 60.0. have been charged under the re.cently revived common law offences of dot or unlawful assembly. Others face catch-all charges of 'obstruction' or 'breach of the peace'.

Dissenting voices

The ruling "lass bas proceeded in.its traditional manner during the .prese,tlt miners' strike. From the outset it has q uestioned the legalit y of the strike and hasdenounced the intimidation of innocent people by mass pickets. The establishment has been shocked by the response. Wo rkers struggli ng for t h eir jobs ha ve displayed no inhibitions about breaking the Jaw. Violent confrontation with the police. has become a daily occurrence. As the strike has continue€! the violenoe has become more widespread and mote vicious, But what is most disturbing for the bosses is that the role and function of the pefice themselves have come into question. The response.of the government has been to raise the stakes and to 'tum picket line violence into a major public issue. The zuhng class and its media have been running in top gear, demanding that every respectable politician denounce the violence of the pickets. They t ur ned with pa rticular vehern enee on die Labour Party, incessantly exhorting its leaders that (hey too should condemn the bully boys on

Long said he anticipated pickets turning on economic targets and planning, their own tactics. He declared that he now believed that 'any establishment target is legitimate': 'What we are seeing is people losing respect for any form of authority whatsoever. Things arc never going to be right again.' It is th is recognition t ha t lies behind t he panic of Church of England bishops and Tory wets,

Bail bars
The courts have imposed restr'ictive bail conditions on more than 80. per cent of all miners charged with an offence. This is an explicit attempt to slop 'miners from picketing. It has become common practice in ruiners' cases for court clerks to staple prepared hail conditions to defendants' papers before the police- solicitor even applies for bail condltions. Miners found breaching their bail conditions ar-e liable for instant imprisonment. Peter Davis told' us that the bail policy has-only hardened the miners+resolve: ' 'When we earrre am ,of the CGUn house we ripped lip the bail conditions, One of the lads from Tower Lodge was in' court and the magistrate asked him "do you understand rhe bail condi lion s?". "I understand them", he .said, "I understand

Permanent damage
Criticism of the police and the courts is so Tar confined to a minority, But even this minority is more than the: ruling class can afford, If disrespect fOJ the most cherished institutions of Br i rj.s h society sp.reads then the ver y foundations of capitalist law and order will be undermined, The Economist reeently warned its readers of the d angers:

Charged words
'Most actlvists have been arrested at Jeast once. Some have been picked up several times .7- Colin Dixon, .'.itr:ike,eader at l Ollerton in Notti.nghamshke, was arrested lhre" time'S within the first two months of the strike. Rank and me activists are m arked men, Those arrested can expect to

govern m ent: 'Now for the first time in pollee history that system which has been a major factor in ensuring the political neutrality of the police force is under threat.' Curtis went too far, and in his denunciation of the Labour Party, gave the game away. He was immediately pu I in his place by Chief Superintendent Stuart Anderson, President of the Police Su perin t eride nt s" Asso cia tion. Anderson categorically stated that 'the British pojice service prides itself on its independence from political pressures of any kind': The political controversy among leading police officers indicates the tensions within the ruling class, The- police are fighting a losing battle to maintain their image of neutrality. They are more and more forced publicly to take. sides. Yet they must. do their utmost not to be seen .as the agents of the bosses because their image of neutrality 'is one of the most precious assets of the ruling class.

The left and the law
Every leader of the NUM has declared his \)Iillingness to go to prison for the miners' cause. In the early stage'S of the st:rike the left-wing Jeader of Kent NUM Malcolm Pitt languished behind bars for !fays days that would have been better -spent organising effective action on the picket lines. In October Arthur Scargill responded to a High' Court decision ~eclarfng the miners' strike illegal in Yorkshire with a mixture of bravadoand defensiveness. He declared that he would rather go to prison than betray his members, but escaped incarceration when a mysterious stranger paid off his £1000 fine for contempt of court, At the same time, Scar-gill emphasised that the ..strike was 'offrclal' and that the NUM was acting. entirely within the law. TIre strike maybe official, but i! is not effective, 1\s Yorkshire miner Keith Hammond pointed out, 'while Seargill is outwardly defying the law, internally the NUM is clamping down to stay within the law' and undermining hard-hitting .actiom The NUM has been tightly scouring nil branch minutes. They've been getting their lawyers-to work through to see if anything is going on which the union could be sued for.' Striking minerscan do without self-made martyrs who mouth empty rhetoric. They need leaders prepared to take a stand against the law ana mobilise effective action in defence of jobs. The NUM has done neither. Labour left, wingers have also baulked at challenging the law. Left-wing councillors in South' Yorkshire announced that they were ifisbandigg the mounted police section and selling off the force's 18 horses and half its 34 dogs. They backetl down at the first .threat of legal sanctions. The left h as also capitulated on the issues The Soclallst Workers' Party has criticised workers' 'hit and run' squads, The S\Vp counterposes the 'indiv.idual terwr' of 'isolated militants 1.0 mass picketing and. demonstrations (Socialist Worker, 11 August). But intimidation and violence are as necessary as mass pickets to guarantee effective strike action. Random and isolated acts of violence are the inevitable consequence of the NUM's failure to organiseeffective resistance to police terror. Striking miners need to take an unequivocal position on the issues of violence and law ana order. The establishment is prepared to use every means at its disposal, including violence" to achieve its objectives. We should be .• prepared to throw everyt~ini back at them to defend our jobs, our 'piCket .lines and' . ourselves. .., .- , .,
[If violence and intimidation.

No way back
The problem facing' the ruling class is that to maintain Its power itis obliged to use more, not less, force. However, the deployment of force in the present conditions of Instability can only undermine its authority and imper it the. consensus that has been built up around its institutions. The miners' strike has put the Tories in a particular quandary because it is the first time since Thatcher came ttl power thai they have lost an important propaganda battle. Instead of miners' pickets becoming the universal villains, a significant section of society +ras turned against the police. The government has not won, but it has not yet lost. This is because the labour movement has not beenprepared to take up the e,ilalienge. While many are ready to criticise the violence of .the police, few are prepared to defend the force required to "maintain effective picketing. Many who. criucise the police locate the problem in a few over-zealous officers in the special riot sq uads despatched to t he coal fields. rather than in: the .nature of the. police as the agents of the capitalist state. The traditions of the past 8'tH! €lverw helm the labo.ur movement of today, There are too few who are neady V8 press home the 'Point tha t the violence of the-pickets is legitimate, indeed a vital necessity; for the survival of our class. Even many striking miners remain defensive

about the use of force and fear the hostility of public opinion. As long, as this state of affairs persists there is a danger that the bosses ca n reca ptute the ground they have.l ost, The panic of the British.establishment about the b reakdown of consen t indica tes. the depthof its crisis. They know that they have not succeeded in winning an overwhelming popular .mandate for their stand against the miners. They know that their position depends on the authority of the. British .state, the' courts. Parliament and thepolice. But that authority is not theirs by Fight. 'Without the consent of the Working class their institutions are exposed as empty shells protected only by naked force. Without consent their power is revealed. for what it really is: a charade of rituals based on the ownership-of capital.backed up by a bndyof armed men. Frank Richards

Fighting back
The miners have yet to orgarrise ,effective resistance to the state's police and legal onslaught. Yet workers in Britain and Ireland have shown in the past tha.t workers' organisation can take on the armed might· of the state and win. In South Wales in the years from 1910 to 1913, militant miners did not hesitate to use organised force against the. police, tbe courts and the employers. Houses and shops belonging ro loeat.maglstrates were attacked by striking miners and sabotage against collieries was widespread. The South Wales Unofficial Reform Committee, set up in 1911; and committed to an aggressive policy of class struggle founded on 'the recognition of the war of interest between workers and, employers', set up an embryonic workers' militia. In the 1913 Dublin Lockour, James Connolly founded the Irish Citizen' Army to organise.picketing and protect strtkers from armed polke and scabs. Workers marched into battle with the police in military formation, using hu~ley sticks and. wooden shafts shoed with a cylinder of metal to beat them off. The leA was reorganised into a proletarian army to fight for Irish freedom from British rule. police have proper clothing and riot shields to protect them. We, should form lines like tbey do, with arms linked, and use. proper weapons to defend ourselves. For instance when they use dogs against us, we should get all our dogs out too.'

Legal terror.
Miners' have also .had their fill of the courts, but the NUM has backed away from confrontation and kept its head down: Keith Hammond told us that the NUM has made it clear that it will have nothing to do with those miners arrested during the Fltzwilliam rior; 'Their court case is coming up on Monday and the NUl\{ circulated all _________ branches [;, the area disccuragiug mil!ers_....-""' from going to, ·the,)ooby-:-"6f their hearing.' Mkhael McKinley., NUM delegate at the - --Fishcross strike cen tre in Scotland, told us what' he thought the union should be 'doing: 'The government is' out 1-0 criminalise all miners. It is about time the union adopted 11 policy QI" challenging this. Fona start, whenever one of us goes up to court everyone else who was present at the time of arrest must be organised to go as well .as witnesses. The charges they dish out are just lies, They couldn't get away with that if everyone went along to the court.'

Iarm state
I'm living in a police state and you're _......-res·tricting my freedom of movement". 'They've put all these stupid conditions on us only because we're miners. But they won't break us. I haven't broken the law as far as I'm concerned. So these bail conditions -go·out the window,'

Kangaroo trials
Hundreds of miners have walk.edinlo the dock only to discover that the police have no evidence against them. Nonetheless, they have been bound over 10 keep the peace _ a requirement which, like bail conditions,

State terror up to October Arrests Charges On Court,bail Cases dealt with Convictions Acquittals Sentence after conviction Custodial ~entence Detention Cenfre .Day in police custodyu Suspended senl.enc~ Remanded in custody Youthcusto(:fy FineS: ~ under £100 over £100 Conditional en absolute discharge Bound over to keep tne peace

714.9. 6020

3839

195.3 1571 382 39
5

has the effect of curbing the right to picket. Nearly 200.0 miners have already-been dragged through the courts - often in sessions held· by spedally appointed stipendiary magistrates, Defendants and witnesses have been subjected to harassment and intimidation. Many have been forced to travel long distances, kepi wai'ting all day and then sent home again because there. wl!s 'no time' to hear the cases. Many miners, especially in Sc.o.tland, have been" refused legal aid. Magistrates have begun to . impose heavy fines on miners for picket l,inl! offences. The courts have warned that. miners who fail to pay fines will be imprisoned, Many miners are still in the dark about whether the NUM will help them to pay their fines when they fall due. The courts have also begun to remand miners in eustody and to dlsh out prison sentences, Eleven miners from t,he Fife pit of Longannet were the first to be refused bail in August. Since t,hen remands in prison have 'become commonplace, At. least 40 miners have so far received custodial sentences of up to nine months. duration. • Eight'een year old Ly.ndon Naylor from Kellingley, Yorkshire, was first arrested back in June, charged under the Riot Ad and forbldden to 'approach coal board property', He. did not appreciate that. this also included his ·own pit and when he was arrested at Kellingley 'be went straight to Armley jail in Leeds. • George Tait from Oakley in Fife was .sentenced to 1'20 days imprisonment for a 'breach of the peace' on a Bilston Glen picket line in August.

Battlelines
In 1984, miners have faced brutal police assaults. Thousands of miners have been prepared to beat the police at their own game But their leaders have limlted the action to set-plece controntatlcns. Keith Hammond (rom the Prince of Wales collieq in Yorl>shire. expressed his "fwstration; .
-i ,

Class war prisoners
Mo~e than 50 miners have been imprisoned, for fighting for the right to work, yet the N U M has done little 1.0 mobilise the working class to ser them f~ee. Peter Davis from Tower Lodge is unequivocal in ~is defence of imprisoned miners: 'The miners are all political prisoners. I'm surprised and saddened that there's not more being done about these cases, The men are ln jail because they're . fighting for their jobs _. that's 'thesort of society we're ti-ving in. You orrly have to be-a mirier ami they can arrest you. At Orgreave we were just walking across a football pitch whet! rhe police came and arrested people at random.' The NUM must organise protests inside and outside jails where miners -are imprisoned. .And it must mobilise working class resistance to a Iegal system whose sole purpose is to defend the rights of the bosses and keep the worklng class inchains,

"We're all a ware of the staged character of the picketing, the police herding us around most ofthe time. But .by now, after seven months of confronting the police, the average militant picket just wants to get his 0 wn back at the cops,' Bill Rennie, a young miner from Oakley in Fife, argued that violence against the police was entirely legitimate, but tbat rank and file miners had to gd organised;
'MacGregor and his lot don't have sleepless n tgl'l IS because I heir consciences are plaguing them about the violence they use against us, so why'sbpulrl we? 'I've been at Hunterstori, Ravenscraig, Orgreave, all the big ones. To be honest we could do with learning a few lessons from the other side, The shoving technique is just chaotic. All that happens is our 'boys get. hun in the crush. The

14 20

327 179 556

.tne next step, mo~ember 1'9S4 13

After two years, of predicting an upturn fn the world economy. the leaders of the m.,ajor Western nations are nGWhaving to COmeto. terms with the srmptoms of another Wave of recession. In Britain it's the phnnmeting p.ound and a jittery stock exchange. In the lJSA it's a soaring dollar, high interest fates and a massfve budget deflcit. In France its obsolete industry and stagna.IU'ptoductivify and in Italy it's rising inflation. In every Western country the ruling class has tried to put off the day of reckoning by expanding credit and state intervention in the economy. But these mechanisms have only fuelled finadeial instability and further=exposed the underlying problems of inexorably declining pmfitabiljty. The failure of the 'methods currently in operatioJ) to halt. the progress of the recession Ieads to the pursuit of more drastic measures. .The f;u~ng classes.are now tuming to enforce austerity programmes at home and score off their riyals abroad, To ensure their own survival the ruling-classes of the capitalist world are preuaring to declare war on the worlHng Class and on one another. Elsewhere in this issue of thenext step we look at the oonvergingeconomic and pbliticai crises confronting the. British ruling class, On these pages.Phil MurpJiy surveys the global capitalist recession and the conflicts generated b~ the Western powers' attempts to overcome it. In the followiug pages we consider the deep problems lurking behind the US election .campaign and tile difficulties fadng the labour mevehrenjsef France and Itab'.
'The present situation is notsustainable. The world's financial saf.ety is balanced on a knife edge. The greatest. Immediate danger of destruction is posed liy the risk that i:nt,erest wmnot be paid on the existing debts of the major developJng cpl,lntry borrowers.' . (Commonwealth Secretarfat-Report, Tile debt crisis and the world- economy) Tnn; CONSl' ANI THREAT of a major
debt default in the Third World and the fear . of a banking collapse inthe West expose the hoilowness of" claims that the. world economy is' pulling out of recession, Figures and predictions presented to the International Moaerary Fu-nd <lJnd the ' Organisation of Economic Coope.fad.m and Development last month revealsome harsh truths behind the tfpturn rhetoric of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic: Indeed they have only exp.o sed and exacerbated more deep-seated problems in the working of thecapitalist ·eooflom;y.

World in recession

~Crisis breeds conflict

.• In tile USiA state expenditure has helpedto finance a brief.consumer-Ied boom, This in' turn has led to an enormous budget deficit 'and record interest rates. The collapse of .American manufacturing has. continued apace. • world economie-growth could fatl by a ha,lf • Even .. Japan, the world's most dynamic in by the end of next year asa new slump looms economy,growth has sloW,ed every year"""" ahead . since 1979, ~early half of this .year's growth • the American, economy may slow down is attributable to the state-sponsored even more rapidly to a g,F@wth-rate of around . demand for goods in the USA. Japan's" trade four per cent next yean surplus is rhe flip side of the USA's deficit. • :J'apail -c'fJUlO retain its buoyancy and When the US economy slows, Japan too will maintain output - and become an even feel the effects. bigger th rea t to its old ri~aJs-in,E...1lrope and. In West Germany output grew by three per the USA ----......~, cent in 1983 "'- half the rate of the • European countries 'are expected to ~CQ,n!panfble .£irst. year after the 1974-75 hardest hit, with .growth falling to around recmi0n. t":o .per cent ana unemployment rising t(j 20· ~ '~.. ..; million by late 1984. Two years (j)f r,c'covery jima~th'e w0rld·s capitalists little better off !han they'w~e in the late seventies. In some ways they The recovery of the early eighties seems to _an. even worse position. The recovery has have been no more than a temporary delay done nothing to reverse-the decline of the in th.e capitalist system's slIde towards ruin'. manufaeturing sector 'in a nu mber of leading capitalist countries. The output of British The. fool's upturn manufacturing industry is stiil 15 per cent below .its 1979 peak. A vision' ofa future The global upturn in. the Tast -two years economy based around supermarkets, fast started frorri lower trough, if proceeded food restaurants and selling insurance more slowly and it has proved less durable cannot fill (he capitalist class with mueh than a:nrperioa of growth since I 945. In all o p.t.im ism. Even th e much-vaunted the Western-countries the recovery is based Information iecfindJogy sector has its on supedida;1 or' Shari-term factors that problems. Sir Clive SIl'lcla·ir and his cannot sustain expansion into. the eighties. colleagues can produce more and. better microchips and robots. BU.t as long as the • Consumer spending has "been the engi ne of rest of the. economy continues to lack. the growth in most countries - notably in capital to invest in new technology its longBritain ';fnd We,'ltGermany. Special term impact will be marginal. g ove r nrrrent measures, such as t h-e, suspension of 'hire purchase restrictions in Britain, have boosted spending in the shops. Workers forced to pay But at a time when real wages are stagnating Mitterra nd _in France, Kohl in Wes·t there are limits to how far >individuals can Germany, Reagan in the USA, Thatcher in afford to into debt·: In Britain consumer Britain, Nakasone in Japan - all have spending "ad already begun to fall off early introduced austerity programmes as. a this 1i.ear. central feature of government policy. They • R¢siocking isanorher device to promote. have all used the d'isdplin~ of mass recovery. Once there is a slight pick up 'in unemployment er its threat as a lever t.o economic activity, industry begins to build mtensify exploitation and force down li~ing up stocks of raw materiais and-other goods standards. In exery advanced capitalist in anticipation elf better lime.s ahead. But country the leaders-of the officia! labour once stocks have been raised to customary movement have proved no match for the levels the expansionary s\>imu)us loses. its class conscious o'ffens'ive waged oy the. effeet. This has already happened in Britain, employers and their state. West Germany and tbe USA Only in J"pan is restocking likely to make anx contribution to growth next .year. . • In (he USA real wages '\1-resrill below their j 978 level. Strikes 'ha ve been -ou t;l~Wed in; many- states-and union membership reduced These artificial aud liI}l,ited measures for to 20 per cent of the national workforce, In boosting output have-provided the W~:>t~.rn the autumn round of pay negotiations the ecorromies with only a short-lived respite.

are{r~~_

~

a

g;

14' t:henext step, November :1984

Mitterrahd in tlames: tlilis :was how Frernch steelworkers at Longwy responded to government plans to axe 30 000 jobs

PJlce-setting miners and, Cilr workers nave accepted' wa ge Cllts iW rertfrn"''I'6r better reGulldahcy terms, The w.iclel~~· elebrated c fISC in ernploymen! has ·c0m:e/db01'Hihr@l.J,gji rhe creation of predominantly low-paid, low tech jobs bringing down the average wage still fUft·ber. • in BFitain·cutting wages has nowbeeome a central government priority. In his recent speeches-to theIlvl F and to the Tory Party conference chancellor Nigel Lawson has nafped on the themes of 'pricing people back ·into jobs' and standing fiirm against' wage claims, British employers lead the world in the substitution of part-time for full-time jobs, Last year 358 000 full-time workers were replaced by part-timers, m-ainlywomen. The government 'recently reminded employers that -it -is usually .cheaper to employ two married woi11.~npart-time than even one full-time youngster. .- In Japan and West Germany tinit wage costs are stagnating or declining. In Germany :l.he latest figures .show that rea'l wages fel'! 'both in J ~g I and-in 1908.2 and rose only sligh fly in 1983.

• ,Brttaln has irrfposed quot as 'em textile imports to cover 9~ per cent.ofrrhe market. • Wi'thi;n the EEC spul'iaus· qHa)j't~' Slftfl'cl,ll.rqsRfeiten,t the fH:e movement of goods within the so-ealred "comm on marker', effec1ively, closes 0ff l'<lf"gesections of the market from foreign penetration. • In the USA steelrnakers have gained a reputation for spending more time in court claiming- protection -against the alleged dumping of sreel.by foreign wn)panies than they spend in their own plants makingit. They have succeeded _iD_hmitiA,gimports to 20 per cent of the market. A barely concealed trade war is now rag.i'ilg within the uneasy [raiemity 0f the .Atlantic Alliance. The war of words, broken a.g ree men t s-, co u rtea:ses and s peci al gQvernment measures -ex:~e·n(;jsfrom steel, s.h ip b u ifd i n g and t.e xf iIe's through a gricu ltur a I products loviclc·o.s and computers, The Western powers are also moving into sharper conflict over the CXPQrt of goods and capital to the Third World ..'"['he-USA rsnow , threatening te pull out of an agreemenr with erher Wesrern nations limiting the use of export credits to-subsidise exports. The main target of Washington's wrath- is the French government whieh has sidestepped tbe reguiarions. It has boosted its f0reign i nvesunents. by 65 .per cen t over the last til ree .yeans and secured some luc-rative, Third World contracts. But everybody is playing the same game. Throughthe eighties the capitalists' drive to secure new- markets, new spheres of investment and.raw material sources abroad wll} .g"fOW .in response to falling profitability a'i home. The confliers can onl/)' become mope intense. T'his is why rearmament with "more and more lethal weepenryis a major area of expenditure for every imperialist - ruling Glass. In ecorromic terms they cannot afford to waste money en weaponsvbut in politrcal and milieary terms they cannot a-rroro 1'0 be 0 u t.st Fi P p e d by the if competitors. The working class, I'he0nly trulyintemntionat class, cannot afford - on any terms - to allow them to Fcs0lve their crisis at our expense.

Their problems
The fragm!y of to-day's recovery H':,!!os,es the-deep-rooted problems facing the capitalist class around thc world.

• !ll

Japan

a

complex

bu r e a ucracy

- Rpofit·ab.ility i Profits are too low

The final.solution
Resr o rin g profita-bilily requ'lres the restructuring of capital on a world scale, TI:J~ recession and domestic 'sragnarien have made foreign trade and the-export of capital a 'key part of the Western powers' struggle [Glr survival. Tbis brings the big imperialist powersinto conflict not.orrly with the masses of the Thind, World, but also with one another. '\ Every foreign initiarive brings war among the imperialist superpowers closer. Ritual calls t 0 preserve f.[ee t rade a I every international gathsoing i,F1 the past decade are now universally ignored, Earlier this yea r- the Secreta ria! of the Gen era I Agreement on Tariffs and Trade admitted Hiat irs origi ual purpose of preven ling a new trade war had 'almost been los!'. Now GA TT sirriply tries to institutionalise protectionism and to hold off the erupjion of major trade- conflict. Behind GATTs tariff restriction measuresevety country is making greaTer use of qU'ot:as and other -non-IMiCr barriers t@ trade. Evero/ cO[!fl'(ry has its own methods of protecting its trading interests.

t6 justify the levels of inv'esiinent necessary to get the economy moving again. The long-term tendency for. the rate.of profit to falf undeHiesthe inilustvlal stagnation which has characterised the world .recesslon. Eher the last 20 years the capitalislS'> aVe(age rate o.fl.return on invest-ment (a rough guide to the r.ate ofpr6fit) has fallen sharply. It has declinedIrom 22 to 10 per cent fn the USA, from 26 to 12p'er ~ent in West Ggr'ffiany ani! from 11 per cent to four per cent inmr.itaitJ. Wheri falling profitability leads ('0 .a declinin'g mass of pEofits. investment is ·cut back -and -stagnation results. The recent widely reported increases ln company profits in Britain may appear to contradict this assessment, But a 25 per cent increase in profits in 19.,83, with a further 16 per cent expected in 1984 must De measured against the low starting point from which the, increases hegin. In real terms the figures suggest all increase in the rate of pFofit from four per cent to frye OF six per cent, This will not 6e sufficient to encourage new investment - especially, at a time when much . higher returns.may be obtainedwith less risks on the Eurocurrency mar-kets;

the replacement of worn' out equipment rather than expanding the capital stock. Instead of companies' gro-wing with new investment tbe trend has been one of -acceler.ating closures, In _th.e'USA companiesare going J,·ankrupt at a rate. of 24 000 a yea f. In the -first half of .1.9a4 in Britain there were 7000. liquidations, an 11 per cent rise on the previous -year, .Producth'it~ Declining investment has led-to falling productivity. The dynamism which the capitalist system temporarily regained (llIring· the fifties and sixties has now come to an end, British commentators _often make claims of substantial productivity Improvements . "But these are based on the effects of North Sea oil and major "I'·ationalisalionpr.ogrammes in declining- indusrries, not any real lmprovements :In productivity in productive indushy. Over the past decade. the annual growth in productivity has become smaller in every major capitalist power. hi the US>\ it has dropped from 3.5 to 2.1 per cent, jn Japan from 12.·] 10' 4.7. .pe'r .cent and hi Britain fr-om 4..f1: to 1.9· per 'cent. • Debt Since the 1974-75 recession the big powers have tried 10 inject some IjJe into thei r economies tbrougli the extension of credit. Credit played a majbr partin the recovery of the late sevent les. But the massive borrowing of Fecent: ye-ars has now become a threat to the- financial stability not only of Third WOFld coutJt'T-ie~,but also 'of Wester'n imperialist powers. For the Western nations borrowing has helped to finance measures of stare Interventlon to beat the crisis. orne USA is approaching the status of a net debtor for tire first time since 1914. 'File indebtedness of W~stern Europe has increased almosr three-fold since 1980. The debt problem-now acts as a brake on further state countercrisls.measures .

• _lnvestwent Declining profits lead to a decline in real.prod'uctive investment, leading to ~.stagn arion and decay in the economy. There has be·en an increase ln investment ln the recent upturn but it has been too little Investmeniof the wrong type to launch a Feat. recovery. Much of the..new investment has.taken place in response to state in-centives. These include tax incentives t~ business in the USA and in Germany and the abolition of capital 'allowances in Brltaln, . Investment lias been directed towards

the next step, November

1984 15

Reagan rejoices, Mandale on hisknees,

· P • f·· InSpiration .raying or
'G.od so loved Ronald Reagan;' so the joRe goes, 'that he sent him Walter Mondale as an opponent'. On the eve of the US presidential elections all the pundits-were predicting a landslide ¥lctory for ageing ham Reagan over the hapless Mondale. But Reagan's easy run back to -the White House cannot disguise the real problems c'onfr:onting the American ruling class.
'IT'S' SPRINGTIME F0R America -onee a g ajn ", declared Ro n aid Reagan -in -Septernber, celebrating a 20 per cent lead in the opinion pails. T·he Republicans were riding high in, ehe polls from the official opening of the eampaign oa Labour Day-in early September. After his brief surge.in the aftermath of July's Democratic Convention, Mandale alwa;ys 100-ked a loser, Reagan could point to the upturn in the economy since 1982, a stI'angdollar, falling unemployment and inflation, and 'Some of the be-st sta tistics on US economic performance in .the last 20 yeaH,':.to.suppont his claim that he is 'bringing America back'. The .key, to Reagan's success lies in the weakn e ss oj: his Democrat ic Panty opponents. The Republicans' had it ail their own -way in the election campaign. They chose the issues and dictated the terms. Reagan used ideological issues to great advantage to outflank the Democrats and to distract attention from the grave problems facing the American ruling class at home and abroad, The Democrats' inalDility offer a credible alternative- way aut of t4e recession meant that Mondale's attempts to make an issue out of the budget deficit and other aspects of the crisis came to, nothing. Reagan wiped tht; floor with his rivals as the Democrats, capitulated on patslesism aila religion, Jaw 'and order and family values, client regjme in Iran. Before he ever set foot in the White House, Re;'lgao' wrapped himself in t he 'stars and st ri p:e"1 and reasserted tradlticnalvalncs. He evoked the. nation's 'Manifest Desliny' and pr0mi:sed to make America great again. This summer's Olympic-parnes if! L0S Angeles provided Reagan with a golden opportunity to Plarade his success'. AcconHng to Ot yrrrp ic organ ising com mittee presrden t Peter Ueberrota, the Hollyweod extravaganza mar ked 'the b iggest ou tp o u ring 0 f patr1@tism since WQrld War Two'. Reagan hammer.~cl Mondale fmf his ,assaciatiqn with the f'liilure-saf the Jimmy Carter adminisjration in whish he was vicepresident. .Carter is still reviled in the.,hlSA, nat least in his own Democratic Party: Reagan's' policy ef finding Mondale guilty by association found a resonance with American voters. Reagan was merciless in recalling the former President's abortive attempt-to fescue the Us embassy staff held hostage in Iran after the fall of the Shah. He boasted h9W his administration had turned the tide of US decline: 'In the four years before we took office, country aft.cr. country fell under the Soviet yoke. Since January ~O 1981 not one inch .of soil has fallen to the communists. America is ';oming back lind is more -confioent dian ever about the future.' The Republicans depicted the Dernoorats.as th-e party of defeatism and decline, .doom and despair. Republican senator Boward Baker lambasted Mondale fOJ his dreary insistence tI:lat an 'economic Dunkirk' was just areund the comer: 'Misery has become ~'er'y important to Walter Mondale. When he's in office he creates it. When he's out be invents it, because Walter Mondale has nothing to offer a successful America.' The Republicans wheeled en. Democratic .dissident and United' Nations ambassador Je.arme Kirkpat rick at tli ei r .0 al las convention in August to d-eliver the most damning repudiation of the Carter-Mondale .administratio n.

Pulpit politics
of the election campaign when. he told .the Dallas conventior; th-at 'poli1ics and moralisy are inseparable and, as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics &.Fe necessarily related'. Religion has always been a key theme in American political life. Form'er Democratic President Carter was the first presidential carldid~te to proclaim his 'born again' Christianity. In 1976 he forged a populist alliance -0£ black ohurchcs and southern white evangelicals. In 1980, Reagan wen a big rnajorisy among white 'born again' Protestants. Mondale has not been slow to ma ke it kno wn tha t he is the son of a Methodist minister. His principal rivals for the Dem oeratic no mina tion were form er divinity s t u.de.n t. Gary Hart and compaigning clergyman Jesse Jackson. His vice-presidential running mate Geraldine Fefraro has been widely promoted as a Catholic mather of three. Mondale was 10.0 concerned about the God-fearing vote 16 dismiss Reagan's sermons-out of hand. Instead he accused him of 'moral McCaftliyi'sl)l': 'No President should attempt to transform po.licy debates into theological disputes. He must not I.et it be thought that political dissent I from him is un-Christian .... I don't doubt Mr Reagan's faith, his patriotism and hfs,fl,lmil.y values. And I call on him and his supporters to respect mine.' Mondale's meekness may help him inherit a

Reagan sparked the first controversy

place in the kingdom of'.heaven, but it is no way -to,win elections on this Earth.. American liberals have loudly cond-emned the influence of Jerry Falwell's extreme right-wing Moral Major ityun t'h e Republican campaign, But Reagan's brand of reaction owes little til Falwell's coalition of evangelical Christians and 'political crusaders, The. Moral Majority plays a useful role for the Republicans in focusing public attention on ideoiogicar issues which call disarm the Democrats. But Reaganrs anti-abortion campaign, h'is support' for voluntary prayer in schools and his virulent anti-communism reflect an ins rinet fer survival more than Messianic conviction. By whipping.up Rublicpreju'dices around moral issues the American ruling class hopes to cohere a consensus behind the drastic measures needed to ensure the survival of TJS capitalis,m. The recent series af firebornb attacks on aborti on clinics is a measure of the climate of reaction which -the Reagan administration has f,0stered.

Out in the cold
As the Reagan camp pitched its tent on the moral high ground, the Democrats went on to the defensive. In Mississippiand Texas the Mcndale /Perraro team told the .erowds to put their faith in hard work 'and never to harbour a doubt about American excellence, Mondale's themes wene family values and the. need' for a strong '~~nsil;Jle' defence policy .. Ferraro surpassed Reagan in her demands for a la wand order crackdown and matched him hi her-calls to 'make America "No I'. In an effort to counter the Reagan offensive; Mondale emphas-ised that the election campaign was ab6ut issues; n-at personalities. This was an understandable emphasis - Morrdale manifestly lacked personal charisma arid, could not shake off his image as a lase-r. The media constantly referred to him as a wimp. His television appearances quickly earned him the .tirle of 'insomnia doctor'. Even Mondale's attempts

to

Radically rightLike his good friend Margaret Thateher in Britain, Reagan has taken the propaganda initiative and succeeded in shifting the political ground to the right. Reagan taok office in 1981 .after four failed presidencies and 16 'years of national humiliation, Th~ catalogue of disaster'S included defeat ,in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, the Arab oil embargo and the overtbrew of.Americaes

16 the next step, November

1984

advantage of Reagan's advancing senility backfired on the President's challenger, A campaign joke made the point that people might complain about Reagan. falling asleep in Cabinet meetings, but: if Mondale was in the chair he would be the only one to stay awake. Mondale's vsoporific qualities did not exhaust the problems facing the Democrats' image makers. Whim Mondale chose New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate she was hailed as the Democratic JOan of Arc. But, she turned out to be a campaign liability. She had to fight oJf allegations abo.ut her husband's corrupt financial dealings and mafia connections. She also became embroiled in controversy with Catholic bishops on the abortion issue. The preoccupation of the presidential campaign with vice and sin only exposed Mondale's biggest problem more forcefully. He could not shift the -debate from personalities to real issues because he had-no real alternative to offer the electorate. The crisis in the Democratic Party goes' much deeper than the personal problems of 'Mondale or Ferraro, Tile empty sidewalks Ihat greeted the two candidates as they marched down Fifth Avenue in New York's Labour Day parade summed up the Democrats' demise. It led to further speculation about the collapse of the Democrats' old base of support in the labour movement. The Democratic Party continues to thrive in Congress and at state and local government levels, But it can no longer assemble the coalition of forces at national level that it needs to win a presidential election. Once the USA's natural party of government, the Democrats have won only one of the laM four elections, That was in the wake of Watergate when Carter managed to beat stop,-g<tP Republican President Gerald Ford. The long-term disintegration of the Democratic Party's traditional base explains its electoral decline. The Democrats have relied on a broad coalition since the thirties ' when Franklin D Roosevelt became the party's most successful leader. Under Roosevelt the Democrats united workers,

10 take

farmers, immigrants and blacks behind the promise of social and economic justice, Factional strife among these diverse interest grou ps is npl hing new 10 the Democrats, But the recession has devastated their modern co a li I ion of t rad it io n a I So u t h e r n 'Dixiecrats' and union bosses.feminists and liberals, Catholics and Jews, blue collar workers and inner-city blacks. Another humiliating defeat at the polls can only intensify the forces tearing the Democratic Pa rt y a part. It is still too early to write an obituary for the Democratic Party. Yet its decline is nevertheless a source. of concern for the American ruling class. As the voice uf OS business put it, 'more is at stake than merely the health of th~ Democratic Party" (Business Week, 30 July). The Democrats have done sterling service for the US' establishment over the yean. They have helped to integrate immigrants, blacks and other potentially disruptive elements into the fabric of American society. The increasing inability of the party to reconcile the conflicting claims Of its different constituencies ;poses a threat to social stability: 'When a major party fails to fulfil .this coalition building function, the result is pqlitiCal instab!lity that makes the nation more difficult to govern.' (Business Week, 30 July) The problems of the Democratic Part)' have become a cause for concern in ruling class circles beca use they are a striking symptom of the broader social crisis threatening the American establishment,

Republicans

did 'not want

it to and _the

Democrats could nat make it one. - Therehave been rio Irans under Reagan, but nor-have their been 'any triumphal
descents from Camp Dav.id with diplomatic solutions to conflicts- in the world's trouble-spots. Under Reagan the US:A has failed to sort out continuing menacing strife in Central America and the Middle East. Reagan's only decisive intervention - the invasion of tiny Grenada in December 1983 - only exposed America's weakness. It threw into sharp relief the USA'a inability to deal with the internal threat to its client regime in E\ Salvador. The exit of the US marines from Beirut in February was an admission of 'American defeat in bringi ng the masses of Lebanon to heel. Reagan remains largely unscathed by his foreign policy setbacks. Mondale's efforts to trim Reagan's lead in the polls by homing in on international. issues succeeded only in revealing the common ground he shared with- Reagan, Mondale did not oppose Reagan's decision to send US marines to Lebanon. He offered full support to the President in any 'appropriate countermeasures=he might take against local people in response-to the rp:ent Homb attack on the US embassy in Beirut. Mondale was equally forthrighf in' defence of American interests in other trouble-spots. In a mid-election interview he told the New York Times that he would favour some form of 'quarantine' against Nicaragua if it continued to 'export revolution'. He favours continuing US military aid to El Salvador and Honduras and he endorsed the use of force in Grenada 'to save American lives'.

The enemy abroad
The underlying, if understated, theme of the election campaign was the fragility of Americ·anpower. Reagan succeeded .in wrong-footing Mondale on questions of domestic economic policy. But the-problems remain to be tackled by the new administration (see box). Reagan's. foreign policy never became an issue because· the

The enemy within
In addition to the mounting threat to US interests' in the Third World, the American ruling class aJs_p (aces an enemy within. Reagan's encouragement of union-busting and measures to drive down working class living standards have so far met with considerable success. One yardstick of the declining strength of the unions is the record of last year's wage settlements. The wage

increases won by union negotiators were the lowest in the 16 years since the Federal Labour Department began to collect detailed sta tistics, But Reagan is not ha ving it all his own way. The employers' offensive is beginning to provoke a working class fight back. After decades of collaboration with the bosses the trade union leaders have little influence or controi over the rank and file. The result is that when conflict erupts it often takes a very militant and even violent form. The 15month strike by Arizona copper miners over the Phelps Dodge Corporation's attempt to push t.hrough a sweeping 'giveback' wage contract - a wage cut - shows workers' determination to fight back. The bosses are also out to smash the workers' unions. The strike has led to violent clashes between armed strikers' and policemen on a scale tha t makes the British miners' strike look quite friendly. On the first anniversar-y of the strike at the end of June, police snipers surrounded strikers' rally, while state troops attacked the strikers with batons and tear gas in a battle thai continued late into the night. Similar ccnftontatibns occurred outside hospitals and nursery homes in New _York -City between hospital ancillary and .clerical workers and armed. police. The strike, which began in July, and involved 50 0(i)0 health workers, protesting over wages and conditions, was the largest and one of the most volatile strike-s .in the North East in recent years. The American ruling class, -is still the richest and most powerful in the world, But the impact of the recession on the USA means that the American government now 111lS to fight hard to ensure its survival. Reagan has had. a push-over wi~h Mondale, But he has still to reckon with the masses of Central America, the Middle East and Africa. And he has still to reckon with the mighty fOTce ef the American proletariat. TIle- working class has played a largely abstentionist role in the presidential elections, but it is the only force in American society that can resolve all the problems of the recession to. the advantage of the whole of society. Joan Phillips
c

a

Reagan may have beaten Mondale, but he has yet to overcome the deep-seated malaise of American capitalism.

Economic stagnation
Reagan has made much of the upturn in the US' economy (lver the last two years. Yet although industrial production in June was 20 per cent bigher than in October 1982, it was still only seven per cent above 1'979 levels. Industry's use of capa'dty h.a~ risen rapidly from 'its low point of 20 months ago, hut it still stands at. no mote than tile average level of the- past decade of stagnation. Economic growth hasrelled heavlly on credit and state and consumer spending. There has been no real capital restructuring or industria'! expansion. Capital investment has risen, but it 'has not been channelled into productive industries. Reagan, can wax lyrical about the upsurge of 'the sunbelt' Industries .in ' the South West. But the ruling class knows that the relatively small new technology sector is no substitute for the declining heavy- industry, in 'the rusthelt" of the North. The fragile basis of the US upturn has been underlined by the huge budget deficit, high inlerest rates and tremors in the bankiog system.

Financialiri.stability
High government spendlng has meant high government borrowing. This in turn has led to risi_ng interest nates and blocked industty.'s access to credit to finance new investment. Meanwhile foreign investment-In the dollar has rocketed, leaving it over-valued by around 30 per cent. Up 10 now the inflow. of foreign investment has helped finance the budget deficit and ail owed the gov.ernment 10 persist with its high borrowlng strategy, But these trends cannot be sustalned indefinitely. The 'super-dollar' is a' result of American bluffing: on the basis of an economic strength which it no longer possesses. The dollar stilLr;ules' the

world's money markets, but only because no imperialist power is-yet ready to caU America's bluff and challenge the dominant, position occupied by the USA since the Second World War. Leading US hankers live in fear that -political instability at home or a. blow to ~merican prestige abroad could result 'in a sudden collapse of conlTdencein the dollar. The result would be arajild return to recession,sky high interest rates and soaring inflation. The near collapse of one of America's largest banks - Contlnental Illinois - earlier Ihis year was symptomatic 01' Ihe underlying insecurity of the financial system. Despite government support,. more US hanks have failed this .year than at any time since 19,39.

Public spending
The American ruling classis under pressure to reduce spending and tackle the-budget deficit. Yet there are

constraints on Reagan's ability to do either. Leading economic commentators ha.ve argued that he must cut . government spending by $100 billion and raise taxes by $100 billion by 1989 to put the budget within striking distance of a balance, But Reagan's difficulty- is what to cut, where and by how much. Cutting arms spending would do wonders for the budget but it is. anathema to a Fuling class determined 10 preserve America's standing as the world's leading power. Defence spending is at its highest ever peacetime level. In his first two years in office Reagan managed, to drive up military spending by close to 10 per cent a year, Republicaus have railed against those who have tried to use the deficit stick to beat down the defence -budget. Increasing US military might is the only way to maintaiu confidence in ~merica's role as the guarantor of imperialist interests around the worJd. II also helps

to gllarantee conrtnued loicign investment in the dollar. Establishment spokesmen have warned th~t 'a great power that is unwilling to pay for 'its policies ends up as a country unable to preserve them' (Business Week, 26 March). The American ruling class has no choice but to endorse Reagan's military build-up whatever price it has to pay because the alternative could cost it its very survival. Runaway grants to American farmers are one of the targets favoured for spending cuts by, many government advisers. Major grant increases in recent years account for more than 10 per cent of the Increase in the total federal budget. Yet calls for sweeping· cuts_pose serious difficulties for Reagan, The gevernment can no longer afford to buy off t,he farmers for producing vai s t surpluses . .But the farmers are a strong _force for stability, and Ihey maintain .a powerful political lobby. In the .run-up to the election Reagan gave the. farmers most of what they demanded. Once the election. is over they can expect.harsher treatment as the government is forced to look hard for economies. The US ruling class faces even bigger problems in axing soeial security and welfare spending. Welfare programmes have already been cut by five per cent since 1980. Between 1979,arld 19.82 the population living below the official poverty line rose by 44 per cent to 29 million. Yet under new means test standards for food stamps and other henefits the' government will pay ,-e_5S for welfare this year than it did in 1980. The new standards are designedto ensure that only the most impoverished qualify for food stamps and that the level of ,benefits is barely enough to keep the recipients alive. Soup kltchens, are now an established institution in America's inner-city ghettos. Supermarket owners have tak.en to spraying their garbage with :we~d-killer to deteF 'scavengers'. More welfare cuts would risk provoking serious disorder without saving much money.

the next step, November

1984 17

:France and Italy
e..
Ai NUMBER DF ~OMMON featuresstand out iIi the class struggle France and Ital y,

ded recllon nee
.
l

The trade unio.ns and the communistparties in France and Italy have-shown that they cannot. defend Jobs an~ wages. A new direction for the.labour movement is now an urgent necessity, Sabena Norton and James Wood report.

in

Unpopular socialists,
Borh countries are led by socialists whose parties lack a base of popular support. • Francois Mitterrand won a landslide v; ,my in the 1981 presidential elections. 1" his Socialist Party' slumped to 21 peer cen ( of the poll in June's European elections. At first Mittenrand widened his base by including ,promi'ne.nt Cornntunisr Party mern bers in his til binet. But (his summer the communists finally withdrew from th.e government leaving the Socialist Party regim-e reliant on Ihe support of barely a fifth of the electorate. • Bertino Craxi's Socialist Party is even weaker than Mitterrand's. Although it has made some progress in recent years, the Italian Socialist Patty remains much smaller and more middle class than the mass, largely proletarian, Communisr.Party, The Socialist Party also slumped in the June elections from 13 to 11 per eent of the poll. Craxi holds power only because of the vagariesof Italian parliamentary politics.

the government's image -a boost over the ageing yesterday's men of the opposition. The.rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen's racist Front National has also put the right, especially Chirac, under considerable pressure. In June the FN won I I per cent of the poll equal to the Communist Party, • Italy's dominant right-Wing party; the Christian Democrats, has 'long been riddled with factional strife and corruption, It is the party of kickback deals in a erospace, tipoffs in earthq uake relief and shady connections with" the mafia, fre,emasonry and corrupt Vatican f'in anc iers. The Christian Democrats have succeeded 'in keeping the communists ou t of government, , but they lack the aujhoritj' or the popularity to rule themse! ves - so Craxi holds the-ring,

Recession strfkes
Both countries face deepening' economic crisis. Both economies weathered the last phase of recession ffli-rly well through a combination or' stale support for industry and austerity measures against the working class. But the structural weaknesses of both economies are how being exposed in the harsher climate of the world economy of the mid-eighties. • Up to the end of 1982 the French nation al productgrew at around the 'average for the advanced Western, economies. But in 1983 growth fell to 0,,7 per cent, w.tli below the. GECD average of 2.4 per cent. Devaluation of the franc in March r983 and the government's harsh austerity programme only temporarily narrowed the foreign I:~ade deficit. Injlation is heading towards 10 per cent, some three per cent higher than the average for France's main European COIll petirors. The problems of French industry .are at the heart of the crisis. The rate of return on industrial investment fe,lIfrom t6.'6 per cent in 19'75 to 9,9 per cent last year Sur)1ey, July 1-9:84). Low profits have meant low investmel!t. The rare of new-invesimen t by industrial firms more than halved over the vdecade to 1982. Last year 'industeial investment fell by fau r per 'cent. As a result, the steek 0( industrial equipment has aged dramatically. • Italy's tlrree per cent growth rate for last year afready looks threarened.Inflaticii runs

Right in disarray
In both France and Italy the vsocialisr premiers cling on to office because of the weakness and divisions of their opponents .. These in tum reflect a degree of insecurity and uncertainty within the ruling classes of both countries about the best course to pursue to stay on top. • The- French right was shattered by Mitterra rid's success in 1'981 and has yet to Fecov:er fully, Three figures 'compete (or the title of Mitterrarrd's top contender. Formes Prime Minister Raymond Baere leads the field in har-d-hitt'iug a t ta cks on the governrrrerrt.. Fortner President Giscar d D'Estaing is also in the running to replace Mitterrand, Both, are challenged by Jacques Chirac, also a former Prime Minister and leader of the more fight-wing -Gaulllst RPR parey, Mitterrand has skilfutly exploited splits and rivalries among his opponents, Through a cornbinasicn of concessions and manoeuvres Mitterrand wrong-footed the right this summer over hi's proposals for tighterring state control over education. The appointment iirf the dynamic .and youthful Laurent Fabius as Prime Minister has given The- scala mobile is theproduct ofthe past struggles of the Italian working. class. It reflects the mili tancy of the. Italian prolet-ariat - and the conciliatory role of its Communist Party leadership. The scala mobile was first agreed fn 1946' a! a time of turbulent working class activit,y and 200 per cent inflation. Worken won the bosses' recognition·that wages must rise in line with inflation. In a display of its commitment to the shaky Italian 'state, the, Communist Party agreed in return to a seven month wage truce and took a, hard line against unoffiei al strikes, The ~'calfl mobile was ratified after fhe 'hot autumn' o,r 1969. Aftei'- fil)'e years of speed-ups, productivity deals and' wage cues, a wave of strike action shook Italy. Workers responded aggressively to the bosses' ,a'Uempts to make them p~y the price when crists followed the- country's miracolo boom years of tlie early sixties, Factory 'committees were formed all . over the country. The bosses had to _ concede increases in real wages -of more than 20 per cent. The reaffirmed scala mobile formed the basis of an Italian social contract. 'The wage,index,afion system was held

Facln'g the crlsl8:' France's Francois Mitterr.and (above) and Italy's Bettino era,xi (Tight)

roect:

at one of the highest levels .in Europe. Ioterest nates have been raised twa punitive 1.6.5 rer cent to prevent the baiance oJ payments from funning deep into tfte fed. At nearly J 0 per cen I qf gross national product, Italy's public sector borrowing requirement last year was the largest in the Western world. Because nearly half the country's im ports -and all its oil purchases are counted in dollars, the strong dollar has produced a soaring trade deficit. Bankruptcies are taking- place on a scale not seen since the,

Depressiun

days of Mussolini.

Austerity

plans

Both socialist premiers nave launched procapitalist austerity programmes to beat the crisis. • MiHer.ran@'s 'September budget cut taxes paid by corporations, raised indirect taxes paid by workers and announced a freeze on real wage levels for teachers and other public' sector workers. The government has also the past year ita]y has suffered the lowest ever number of days lost in strikes and we must build on .this' (Avanti, 18 September). The socialists need have litti~ fear about the (loromunlst officials leading 'industrial action tei maintain wage levels. They have-already approved in practice much o~'Craxi's decree; The party's feeble criticism of Craxi's attack on wages was that it, was likely to prove 'ineffective' (L'Unita, 21 February). The party leaders' main objection is to the lack of consultation from the government over its' wage-cutting plans. Their referendum cai'J:Jpilign and public protests arc designed to allow the rank and file to let off steam, They also have the object of 'putting pressure on the authorities to continue to recognise the labour leaders and uphoM Ihejr high standing in society. The leaders of the Italian labour movement offer notbing but blind alleys 10 the, working class. This, year strikes have faUen to a new low. Itaflan workers need to break :with 'the collal'IOMtionist approach of their- existing organisaticus 'if they are going to 'maintain their Ih>in~ standards thFo.ugh the battles ahead.

war
out to low-paid workers as a moc," reliable means of securing pay rises than unofficial strikes. Union representatives received management recognition at workplace level iii collabo~ationisi works councils. The CGIL was drawn.into national level consultations on taxation, health care, pensions, housing and aid for the, impoverished South. Top union officials were given posts on numerous quangos, lncludlng tbe tsipartite-councll to which economic and labour legislation is-referred and thee body runn ing the unemployment relief fund - the aptly named cassa integrazione. The scala mobile is now coming under direct attack from the bosses and the state. In a 14 February decree the government readjusJ'{\d the qU!lrte[Ly wage indexation system to reduce wages. The Confindustrta, Italy's cm, ' is demanding that the proportion of pay
packets covered by the scala mobile be

reduced from 80 to 20 per cent. The Italian labour hureaucraey is fighting back, but to save its own intimate relations with the state, not to defend working class living standards, When the govemment issued a decree restricting the scala mobile; the communist-hacked ,COIL called a mass demonstration of defiance. The Communist Party launched a campaign fOf a national referendum to reverse Parliament's decislon. This gesture led to conflict with both the Ghl'isti'im Democrat-Inclined .ersL and with a socialist mlnority within the CGIL. General Secretary of the smaller, Socialist-dominated Uff, Glotglo Benvenuto op.posed, the referendum declaring that 'we must be reallsts ... ovcr

18 the next step, November

1984

L___

~

~

~~

------------------------------------~=

backed a savage restructuring programme for Prance's traditional manufacturing industries, Threatenedredundancies incl-ude 80 000 in (h~, motor industry, 57 000 in coaI~~i~g, 25000 in steel. and 4500 in shipbuilding. The government's refusal to bail o-ut tbe bankrupt Creusot-Lo ire engineering consortium-threatens to turn the Burgundy town of Le Creusot into a. French Corby, ,," • Last month_ Craxi's' government formally. presented its 1985 budget to Parliament. It aimsto.curb spending on bealth, education, social security and 'on support for industry. It a-Illd aims to introduce a freeze on real w<!-ges_ f'or three milljGln government e"'mpI0yees, TlYi,s further' attack on, ,wages follows the gQvei'nment:s earlier drive to read} ust the scala -lJ1ob'ile system ef .raising wages in line with price-rises; The effect of the _gover.nment's changes iil .the pay indexation system at a _time when-inflation is running at 13 per c-ent will be to remove the equivalent of around -£5 a week fromevery y.'orke,r's pay packet by the end of tile year.

Bureaucratic

paralysis

Both France and Italy have a weak and ineffectual Iabo ur b urea ucr a cy. Th e response of the unions and the major labour movementpaFtjesto the ern p loyer s ' .offensive -has been to seek any compromise that will secure their own position. They are discovering that once they have betrayed their members their is nobody left to defend them or even vote for them, The memb~i'ship of the French CGT-

e

the Communist Party-linked trade union federation - has slumped from 2,J million in) 984t0 1,5 million today, The CGr is the m'ajor unbn for 'Q)ue collar workers i~ manufacturing indus-tl')' --=- "the sector tnat has -beeh 'hit mOS'1heavily' ey the recession. Its response to the sha ke-out- of jobs has not be,en tJ"lead a fight for ili~ right to w0~k, bur to appeal for import controls and the repatriation of French investments abroad, As the government stepped up its attack over the summer, CGT leader Henri Krasucki reaffirmed his commitment to the modernisation of French industry, In a m-ajof newsp-aper interview he assured 'the public of his 'serious, loyal and above all ' fldible' approach to the country's economic - problems (Le Monde, 24 August). ~ Meanwhile the Communist Party-is disintegrating fast. Its membership has fallen by. mote than half since tfie late seventies. Its electoral support has slumped, particularly in key working class centres such as the area around Paris and big provincial cities like Lille and Marseilles, In its three years in government the CommunistParty.gave the government vital sooperation in pushing through thousands of redundancies in manufacturing-industry, When Oie communists pulleg but of the government in July, party leader Georges Marchais threatened to unleash a mass working class revolt 'against the government's rationalisation programme, But workers have become cynical and demoralised. Three months later there is no sign of revolt - only an inerease in the tension between the party and the CGT, as

both wings of the decaying bureaucracy pursue th e ir _OWn desperate survival stra tegies, • In Iraly the overall level of unionisaeion _)'las dFoppe8by 15 per cent over the past three ~·e'fFs. "In tfre' seventies the unions -expanded to cover more tlH!,n_ per cent-of 50 tOe Working class, They are now downsbelow 40 per cent. While the membership of the Christian Democrat-backed yellow union, CI$L has remained buoyant, the number in the Communist Party-controlled CGILhas fallen to 4,5 million, Yet though the CG1L has lost members, the Communist Party itself has retained popular support better than any other Stalinist organisation in Western Europe.iWhen party leader Enrico Berlinguer collapsed and died during the European election campaign in June, his funeral was attended by one million people, The Communist Party went 011 to win nearly 12 million votes in the election - the.highest of any party-in the EEC, The Communist Party's success rests on a number _of factors - its record in the wartime resistance, itsbllse in local government, its strong organisational, ties to the Working ylass and the weakness of competing parties. The party h~s ~ore than 3000 full-timers ana a further 10 000 members in municipal office, It ha-s kept up its popularity by runnrn.g p-opulist campaigns around issues like drugs. the mafia and corruption. But the Communist Party's long quest- for respectability has rendered it 'irrelevant to the. needs of fhe working class, It. presents _itself as 'the big national and popular party which fights for

Italy's modern development". It still calls itself communist, yetit stands to the-right of the British Labour Party, It survives only through the, absence of any working class alternative,

Room for a change
The disirrtegration, .of the old labour bureaucracy-as a major capitalist offensive opens up reveals the urgent need for a fighting alternative leadership, T.he workers of France and Italy have 0ften displayed their combativeness, They' have, shown that they are not mhibitedabour using force-to fight force when ,they go into bar de w.itfi the bosses, The- fragmentation of the labour .movernent' in Europe creates dangers and .difflculties. It leaves workers ill-prepared and poorly organised against the employers and the state authorities. It allows one section of the bureaucracy to blame another as co nfl icts among socialist and communist trade union federations and· thdr associated parties illustrate. The weakness of the official labour m0vementa]S0 creates scope fer the emergence of an anti-capitalist alternative, Th_e ruling classes have set about weakining the labour bureaucracy aspart.of thejirocess of attacking the working class" Bur they have ·also removed a crucial buffer between the state and the working class, Europe's rulers calculate that they are strong enough to take on the working class directly, The working class of Europe needs to develop the anticapitalist strategies and organisations that will prove them wrong, higher preportton of lndigenous French workers - in the Paris area less than 10 per cent of the workforce is black. .lt also has a tradition of p-atemalistic management and c1ose-':elations with the union leaders . Renault lias already got rid' of nearly HI 000 workers this year through early- retirement and voluntary redundancy, with full union cooperation, ~ CGT chief Henri Krasucki recently told the press, that the situation was different from Peugeot because 'Renault workers arc French' (Le Monde, 3 October), The Communist Party daily paper 1,'Humanite regularly features R<tnault .as a model employer and the bureaucrats are keen to preserve good relations. However, when Renault announced its package of 15 000 redundancies last month the CGT hail' to.make some sort 01 stand. But its call (or token strike action met with very little response from Renault. workers, In fact management stepped in 'at the very moment the strike was beginning to' run out of steam' -to' save the union's face. The Times astutely summed up the bosses' skilful use of the union: 'The Renault management deliberately decided to provide an honourable exit to a union which was in danger of seeing its action collapse, Renault has no desire to _humiliate the CGT, It is the strongest union in the company, and management needs it's cooperation if-its modernisation plans are to succeed with a minimum of disf.uption: (5 October) The union's gesture effectively demoralised :resistance and the company went ahead with its plans. These include a big productivity drive as well as redundancies and_repatriation for immigrant workers. Token retraining is also a .central part of the Renault package, The debacle at- Renault, following the defeat at. Peugeot" amounts to 'a serious setback to- the Erench working Class. It should -alert French workers to the disastrous strategies recommended by. the leaders of the official labour movement. The labour bureaucrats" subservience to the French establishment can only lead to deeper racial divisions and further demoralisation in the working class. French motor workers. need, a strategy that can give their often displayed militancy-the sort of lead against the , employers and the government that could halt the tide of job losses and strike defeats. oG(lreth Evans

In the first two rounds of the fight for jobs - at the big car plants of Peugeot ayd Renault - the bosses- have won hands down, Workers have shown a consistent determination to take on their employers in stnikes and occupatlons to save jobs, But they have been divided and demoralised by their unions' eollaboration with thebosses' rationalisation plans., The- unions ha,ve given way on _point after point and have ended up spra~ling in the comer.: , 6etM'~e'Jt,.,thw, Peqg:_eotand Renault provide .job.s directly ,for 230 000 people-and injliregtly for ~atotal of nearly one million. liheir directors have deeideil that to survive the recession in the motor trade, they need to cut theworkforce by 30 per cent within three years. The bosses' firs!: stl'ategy has been to target the high proportion of immigrant workers in the industry for redundancy and repatriatioQ. They have then tried to. buy off the Femaining_ immigrant and Indigenous workers-wrth spurious 'retraining' programmes. Thanks. largely to the' unions, the bosses have up to now been fairly successful, -

II's a knockout

C<lged In: French workers need to make a break with the past

Redundancy and repatriation
j.'

I
j

Round one was fought out in the Peugeot groupo (which produces Peugeot, Citroen and Ta-Ibot cars) in the first eight months of this year, Peugeot is privately owned, relies heavily on immigrant.Jabour and has a tradition of _aggressive management teehniques, The struggle began at the end of last year at the Talbot plant at Poissy near .Parts, Worker.s who occupied the factory in deflgnce of redundancy plans were attacked by riot police and company scabs. They were evicted after fierce. battles and 6500 workers finally went down the n)ad- ~ and in manv cases out of the country altogether. . The main union in the car factories the ~GT - refused to put up even 'token resistance to the redtiudancles, It signalled its approval for the governmeIlt's 'volui!tary' repatriation scheme. the CGT's main complaint was that> it had been excluded from talks between management and government on the rationalisation programme. The CGT's other concern was that it was being outflanked by the socialist-inclined CFDT, which tried to- recruit disillusioned CG'r members by calling for opposition to redundancies, However, the-CFBT backed down as soon as it became clear that the strike was lost .and that pursuing this line further would mean confrontation with .the government. The workers' judgement (In the <;:GT was expressed in the March union elections

at the plant, when its share of the vote feU from 42 to 26 per cent: The nex,t target in the Peugeot chain was the Citroen factory at_.Aulnay·sousBois, .also in the industrial belt around Paris, When the- company demanded 2900 voluntary redundancies, l'ncluding 700 voluntary repatriations in May, the CGT saw an opportunity to restore its pattered credibility. It won 'massive support for a strike and -occupation at Aulnay which spread to the other Citroen plants in the Paris area. The workers direct action delayed the redundancy package and it was two months- before normal working resumed. The govemmen,t tried tcsmooth the course of the redundancy programme by -inSisting that Peugeot proceed more .slowly, beginning with a smaller number of joq cuts. The company bided its tinre untilthe summer holiday break. The government now agreed that 1900 redundancies would be a reasonable start The CGr capitulated for the pathetic concession of a fe)\' months retraining on 70 per cent pay - and seats for the CGr leaders on the Board supervisin-g retraining. Retraining may sound good to the union bureaucrats, but it offers nothing to, the WOFKers;Since there are- no jobs to retraln for, the -scheme is just a delayed redundancy /repatriation scheme. , The C::GT leader at Aulnay, Moroccan-born Akkit Ghazi, indicated his union's low expectation of success in opposing repatriation by registering his candidature for the Iorthcoming elections in Morocco, Ghazi has assimilated the outlook of the French labour bureaucracy so fully that he ~ustoma-..ny concludes speeehgs with thee cry 'long live France and its industry!'.

Black production- line workers returning-from-holiday to Aul.nay found thesite sealed off by :riot police, St!;_el mesh cages were-set up at th-e:--fa~tory entrance. Workers were forced to enter the cages for Indentlflcatlon-aml.a body search before entering the weeks, Wor.ker.s on the redundancy list were turned away and those who objected were clubbed and. arrested. Those hospitalised included ~the unfortunate Akka~ Ghazi who tried to make a late gesture of defiance by climbing over the fence. Leaders of the CGT and the Communist Patty professed their outrage at the bosses' terror tactics. But fhey had already given the green light to redundancies, so they were in a weak position to object to the methods used, to enforce them,' In August, CGT official .Andre Salnjon explained the ~bureaucrats' view: 'We don't want another uncontrollable strike on our hands, Onthe other-hand we don'r.know hQW the immigrants - 'inpartrcelar at Aulnay - will react to the offer of si-x months" training without job guarantees,' (Le' Canard Enchaine, 22 August) . The CGT's fear of losing face with its black members was now far outweighed by its' desire to be seen as a moderate and responsible for~e. It did n"ot want to' be associated with the militant actions of immigrant worker.s;'

The retraining fraud
Round two of the redundancy struggle, took place Iast month, at the state-owned Renault company. Renault retains a "

the next step, November

1984 19

Oedipus' complex?
Andrew Taylor, The politics of the Yorkshire miners. Croom Helm 1984, pp332; hbk £19.95

The right stuff
John Lea and Jock Young, WHal isto be,done about law and order? Penguin 1984, pp284, pbk £2,95

THE FIRST FOOTNOTE in Andrew Taylor's study of the Yorkshire miners touches on the key Controversy in the National Union of Mineworkers sincenationalisation. It also' indirectly raises issues at the centre of the current miners' strike. Taylor, the lecturer son of left-wing Yorkshire leader Jack, attempts to define the terms 'left' and 'right' in the context of the modern NUM, He defines the left as 'believing in industria I action as essential for the defence of miners' interests and opposing too great a reliance on party-political action', He identifies tlk right as 'believing in the disutility of industrial action and supporting negotiation and conciliation with management', According to Taylor, the right is characteristically pro-nationalisation and proLabour Party. The left traditionally puts a higher priority on maintaining wages than saving jobs, while the right emphasises saving jo bs even at the eXI?€nse of accepting low wages. A glance at the record shows the inadequacy of these definitions. The most successful industrial action in the history of the NDMin 1972_a,nd 1974 was jed. albeit reluctantly, by a right-wing leadership, On the other hand, the presen t leftwing leaders have always upheld the procedures of negotiation and conciliation. They have never questioned the NUM's commitment "to public ownership and the Labour Par:ty.lndeed, Taylor's own account provides much valuable background information [rom the post-war history of the NUM which throws light on the- extensive common ground between right and left in the union, Let's look a bit more closely. In his first chapter Taylor looks at the impact of nationalisation. He rightly emphasises the key point that it gave rise to 'a conviction that there was n (jl disti nctiori between the inrerests of the' govern rnent an d the interest, of the m ineworkers and. their union', The Yorkshire leaders promoted a 'Help the Nation' drive for higher-output and denounced unofficial strikes as 'sabotage' national level the left was an even more ardent supporter of higher productivity and opponent of unofficial action than the right. In Yorkshire a solid right-wing leadership was consolidated. The outlook of c!ass collaboration was shared by right and left alike. It was summed lip in the national executive's statement that 'there are now no opposing sides in the industry'. In 1956-57, oil began to replace coal as a source of energy and the long' decline of British coalrnining accelerated, Taylor notes two key aspects or the NUM's response, In 195H the Yorkshire area put a resolution (0 tlie NUM conference to remove a clause in the union's constitution that effectively ruled out national industrial action. Right-wing area leader Sam Bullou.gh moved the resolution 'OF! the grounds that it would -enfrance the NUM's bargaining power', The second aspect or the Nl.Ijvlsresponse to the contraction of the industry was 1O press the government to adopt a national fuel policy embodying a commitment to increase coal output. A un ion special conference in ,1960 adopted 11 Mrget of200 million tonnes a year, When-the Torv government rejected the NUM's proposals, th~ union looked to a future Labour government to 'pursue .its strategy for the industry. The policy of using industrial-action to push the government to adopt a d iffcrent co rporate stra teg), fo r rh e industry t b us emerged u nder the NU M 's solid 1 v right-wing leadership in the fifties, In the sixtie:1 and.seventies it became the defining characteristic of the rising left which now rules the union.

faith in the return of a Labour government. At their first meeting with Fred Lee, the newminister responsible for the industry, Taylor records that the NUM was 'speedily disabused' of any notion that the Labour government would raise output or stop pit closures. Lee told the N U M conference that 'efficiency, costs and the resulting prices are absolutely paramount'. In terms strikingly similar to those used in recent months by t he Tories, he insisted that 'uneconomic pits, not just exhausted pits, would be closed and the rem ..inder would be modernised and then employ fewer miners'. I nstead of sa ving jobs, the Labour govern merit speeded \I P the pace of closures. Wi thin a year or its election the government announced that it had abandoned its promised 200 million tonne target in favour of a cutback to 170-180 million ronnes, When the NUM turned to the TUC for support it backed the government. In its 1965 report the TUC declared that the government 'had gone as !a,~ as could be reasonably expected in existing circumstances' to meet its commitments. Any miner who is impressed by Labour politicians' promises and TDC offers of solidarity today should recall this record of betrayal. The effect of the Labour government's rationalisation policy was particularly traumatic in Yorkshire. The area had bee n relatively spared in the earlier shake-out of tire industry. In 1965 the il!ofkshire Coal Board announced that 18 pits 14 of them in the Barnsley area - would close within three years, Another JO were earmarked for later closure. At the same time the bosses introduced t he Na tional Power Loading Agreement which meant cuts in money wages for many Yorkshire miners. Rank and me miners were bitterly resenrfu I at the policies of the. La bour government. They were increasingly critical of union leaders at national and area level who proved unable or unwilling to defend miners' Iiving standards. Pressure mounted steadily f:o~ industrial action.'

period of decline. It preferred negoriauon to industrial action wnich it considered could only' -weaken the industry further. It became imbued with moderation ;nd remote from the rank a~d file. The Middle East oil crisis gave the new left in the early seventies a rnucf more optimistic assessment of the prospects for British coalmining. The Jeft was closer to an increasingly restive rank and file. Taylor explains how the 'panel' system of linking up groups of NUM branches in a particular area helped to form a leftwing alternative to (he existing area leadership in Yorkshire, The left argued that industnial action was necessary to push the government into realising the ind ustry's CuJl porential.

Consensus
What the right and left had in common was tltat both their strategies for defending miners' jobs began from assessment otthe market prospects of the National Coal Board. What really changed was the wider economic climate and the mood of the rank and file. The left's approach was simply a shift of emphasis within the framework of collaboration set up over the post-war period. the rightC could also lead rindustrial .action when pushed, And Scargill's Plan for Coal is only, an updated version of the old expansionist fuel policy produced by the right in the fifties. Taylor comments accurately that the object of the tripartite process that finally endorsed the Ptan for Coal in 197>1was 'to secure the cooperation of the NUM, negating the possibility of strike action'. Taylor goes far in revealing the political weaknesses of the NUM left. But he fails to trace them to their origin in the NUM tradition of identifying miners' interests with the market position of the coalrnining industry. This outlook has dominated the NUM since nationallsation and t he Ieft has yet to challenge it. Th.is is why today's left leadership cannot put forward a coherent strategy to defend miners' jobs in conditions of deepening recession in the industry. .For all his insights, 'Taylor ends up apologising for the left and, exaggerating its resistance to rnanagemenr. and government attacks. II is not the case that rhe left's-opposition to the Social Contract and productivity deals in the seventies was 'absolute'. Scargill objected to the terms of Labour's deal with the unions - not the coltabojationist principle behind, it. The Plan for Coal was no mere than a Social Contract on a smaller scale and it led directly to productivity deals, Scargill argued [Of national rather th an local deals. But. having conceded the principle of linking pay to out pur, he ended up having to accept area deals introduced by back door methods, Nor was the left any more 'absolute' in its resistance to pit closures, Closures have continued apace both in Yorkshire and nationally under Scargill's leadership as under his right-wing predecessors. Taylor's book contains much oj" interest and value. He examines critically the relationship between the miners and the Labour Party, especially in Yorkshire. He shews that despite giving solid financial, organisational and electoral support to Labour feT decades the miners have received precious little ill rerurn. Taylor documents the contemptuous a~t,itude of even NUM-sponsored MPs to the miners. The Yorkshire miners particularly resented Barnsley MP Roy Mason who refused to sponsor a demand . for earl y retirement, condem ned unofficial strikesand became a minister for pit closures under Hanold Wilson. Yet Taylor notes a continuing 'refusal to challenge Labour in deference to the party's electoral strategy',

an

Ai

Labour's betrayals
A, Taylor shows, the experience of the "1'964-70 Labour governments sontributed decisively to the rise of the left In Yorkshire and in the national N UM. In the early sixties the miners placed their

In March i966 the NUM executive called an overtime ban over the rejection of the union's wage claim, This was a significan I step beca use it was the first official i ndustrial actio n p'roposed by the executive since the formation of the modern ·NUM in 1944, AI a special union conference a young Yonkshir e delegate called Arthur Scargill emphasised the need to use industrial action to press the government to re-adopt the 200_mlllion tonne output target. The executive, still under right-wirrg control, agreed that it had \0 'do -sornething dramatic, something salutary, to compel the NCB, and if necessary the government, to face the sit uarion in the industry'. By the late sixties the leaders of the NUM were forced into taking a more aggressive stand. They had to show the employers and the government that they meant business. More importantly, they h ad to keep on top of the risi ng tide ot anger and militancy at rank and rile level. Unofficial action erupted in Yorkshire in 1969 and 1970, but loyalty to the Labour government still restrained the union at national level. The miners finally won redress for the grievances ofthe previous decade in the.victorious 1972 and 1974 strik es in which Yorksbire played a leading part. The miners were now no longer held back hy loyalty to Labour. The left rode to power in the NUM in the late seventies on a wave of rank and file hostility against employer" governments and moderate union leaders. The post-war leadership of the N UM accepted limited horizons. The old right was sffongly influenced by a fatalistic assessment of the prospects for the industry, formed over a long

Taylor also goes into.some detailon the conduct .of recent rnajor.srrikes-in the Yorkshire coalfield. He includes the unofficial strikes of the sixties and the big national actions of 1972 and 1974. He notes the key to the success of the 1972 strike was rank and fiJi: initiative:
'The conduct, of the strike was-in the hands of the branches who created a network Qf contacts with other union branches which were- so vital to the, miners' success.'

This element of grass roots, involvement and control has been sadly lacking in the current dispute. . Taylor's account of the Yorkshire miners i',; well worth reading by anybody grappling wi t 11 the problems of the current dispute. Yet it lacks a coherent analysis. Taylor seems inhibited from drawing the conclusions towards which his book unmistakably points. These are that the future of the miners depends 011 break ing with the collahorati onist strategy of bot h right and left wings of the bureaucr acy and cu tt: ng the union's ties to the Labour Party. Perhaps he.cannot face slaying his own ,father. Mike Freeman

WHAT [S TO BE DON'E about John Lea and JOCK Young? Since the 1981 riots these two academics have made a virtual industry out of radical criminology: Their latest offering, published under the auspices of t he Socialist Society's What is 10 be done. series, is a systematic presentation ·01' their policy proposals €>nlaw andorder for the Labou r Party. Lea and Young make two points: first, that the left must take the issue of crime more seriously; and second, that until. it does so it will be incapable of breaking the fight's political monopoly over the la wand order issue, Lea and Young take, t he Home Office, the police and 'right-wing criminologists to task far underestimating the erirne fate and ignoring the 'dark figure' ef unreported crime. At the same time, they are critical of the right's. dramatisation of the problem and disagree with its shock-treatment solutions. They castigate the left for its 'idealism' and for romanticising cri me as ariti-esta blishrnent when in reality it is individ ualistic and directed prim arily at the working class. Lea and Young insist that crime is a burning issue for the working class and that 'a new left realism' must attempt to come to grips with it. The le(t must face up' to the truth, they argue, and recognise that 'it is in the interests of working ctass people that crime is controlled and ,it is in their interest that the agencies of the state deal with crime in a just and effective fashion'. The ta w is not merely an instrument of 'ruling class domination', they continue, 'it has a legitimate component to it, in terms of the protection of working class interests'. Lea and Young like to keep their distance from 'the 'hang 'em and flog 'em' brigade and media hysteria about the 'decline into barbarism'. Yet their pleas fop the left to take the issue of crime to heart - already a fait accompli in the Labour Party only play into the hands of the establishment and strengthen its law and order offensive. Cri me is nOI a worki ng class issue. Establishment hysteria about crime, rnuggings, violent picket lines and intimidation serves a specific purpose. It is designed to rally the most backward sections of society behind state-attacks on' blacks, miners Or anybody who happens to be chosen as the state's 'enemy within'. The .establishment USeS the issues-of cri me and law and order as an ideological, weapon to cohere a public consensus in favour of increased repression against the working class, Rather than expose 'the anti-working. class character of the raw and order debate, Lea and Young indulge it. Crime is a loaded word - and the ruling class can give it any meaning it likes, But it is obvious that most crime, such as robbery or shoplifting, is committed by individuals for personal gain and is not anti-establish ment. It is also obvious that crime is the natural consequence of a system that degrades, impoverishes, atornises and does violence to the working class, Acts of crime may well affect the working class more than any other section of society, but it doesn't automatically follow that the working class should take up the cudgels for the establishment'S law and order lobby. It can never be in the interests of the working class that 'the agencies of the state deal wit h eri me in a just and effective fashion' as Lea and Young contend. To endorse this view is to give the state a free hand to strengthen i,ts repressive apparatus. It is inconceivable that the law can be, on the one hand> an instrument of 'ruling class domination' and on the other hand the defender of the working class. Lea and 'Young would like to have it both ways, bur most workers k now whose side t he law is OIl. Any discussion about crime today can only legitimise state repression against the working class. Rather than go along with the state's criminalisation strategy and its radical apologists like Lea ,md· Young, workers should direct their energies against the system that bra rids the oppressed as criminals a nd keeps t be worki ng class in chains.

Frail Eden

~o the

next step, November

1984

Still searching
Madhu Kishwar and Ruth Vanita eds, In search of answerst.Indian women's voices from Mmlli.fhl, Zed Press 1984, pp312, pbk £6.95, hbk £18.%

<

Boon the level of drunkenness- and violence against women.are major problems in Indian life. But women do nor get beaten up and raped simply because men get drunk. Men beat up women because they occupy a n inferior positi onin society and because they are forced to be-so dependent upon men. The fact that violence against women is much more pronounced in India-than in advanced eapitalist countries is a reflection of the greater intensity of women's oppression in the backward capitalist world, Indian feminists argue that the. class violence of the rich peasants and capitalist farmers should be met, not wiih organised resistance, but by building 'social pressures so that the possession and useof weapons become a matter of shame and social disgrace, rather than, as at present, a symbol 01 social power andstatus'. Ultimately, the very backwardness of India is seen-as a force for women's liberation. Mahatma Gandhi. has become the hero of the women's. movement: "Gandhi was one the few people to make creative use or' OUT powerful cultural traditjons. He was able to inspire people to perform difficult contemporary tasks, using age-old symbols .. ,.Our cultural traditions have tremendous potential. wUhin them to combat reactionary and anti-women ideas.' Gandhi preached the harmony of tile oppressed and the oppressor, lauded the virtues of the traditional farnil y, and sa II' the solution to India's problems in a ret urn to a pre-capitalist mode of production, That the women's movement should turn to him for inspiration Sli0WS the degree: 10 which it is out of touch with the 'realityof the lives of Indian women'. Gandhi's India is in turmoil. From Kashmir to Tamil Nadir, workers and peasants have taken 10 the streets in a plethora of struggles against the state. Those .in search of an answer to the. oppression of women will find it in these struggles, not in the women's movement. Kenan Malik

home. Although women were later drawn into social production, their primary role was as domestic. Slaves, reproducing mafe labour-power for capital at no cost. M.en are merely agents in the oppression of women. Capitalist social rela tions Cast -li'agelabour as the preserve df IDj:n, as serious and producrive of value and of profit; and they cast domestic work as the pastime of women, as uni rnportanr and not productive of value arid profit. The, widely held belief" that men are responsible for women's oppression is not only fatalistic, it also contradicts historical fact.

Work, work, work
To afgue that women's oppression is specific to capitalism is not 10 call on women to take on preca pi t a list life's t,yl es. Withou.t ca p.it a l is t industrialisation women would riot now make up 40 per cent of the US workforce. Without it, Cowan also shows, there would for instance be no nickel-cadmium resistance coils lor domestic toasters, irons, hot water urns arid haircurlers. However, ·as Cowan. proves, the Good Housekeeping vision of freedom through the domestic appliances pumped out by ca pitalist industry i~ spurious. An individual.gadget may save time; out as gadgets mult iply and productivity in the home rises, women find that they are still spendingjust as much time doing the housework. Between 'the 'wan, -even middle class Amer-ican housewives spent 56 hours '3 week doing h'ousew.ol'k,despite the advent of wooden Kelvinator fridges. By 1965 the average American housewife aia 54 hours a week, The spread of computers into American homes now promises to make-the high prod ucti vity, long hours synd rome even WOrse. Horne computers may well force American women to take on low-paid commercial work (word processing, etc) in addition to their farni ly responsibilities. Cowan fails to follow through the logic of her argumerns. She concludes that the alloeation of housework to the female sex is 'cast in stainless steel', and that s.aJ\'att~fl lies oniy in disrespect for manufacturers' instruotiohs. More work /1))"mother has a fascinating chapter on attempts, under capiralism, to socialise domestic work. Despite herself,. Cowan shows ~h~t the industFiaHy-organised clea ni ng of domestic floors and domestic linen failed only Because i"t was not profitable. She tries to. make out that collectivist -arrangernents are alien to her coun try's psychology: 'Americans act .1·0 as. to preserve family life'. But Cowan herself'tecognises the primary function of the family as an economic unit 'under capitalism. Revolutionary communism will turn domestic workinto a public industry, abolish the-family as an. economic unit and S9 leave peoplekee to choose how they wish to live. Cowan's refusal to forge ahead to this conclusion reflects the isolation of the ID0re honest kind of American Ieminjsm from t he_struggks of the .interna tional worki!lg class .. But More'- wor-k far. mother is a fCM of science and strongly recommended.

of

IN SEARCH OF answers is a collection of articles from the influential -Indian feminist journal Monushi. ln her introduction, one of !he founders of-Mal/ush;: Madhu Kishwar, notes the imbalance in feminist writings on Indian women: 'A large Rart of the tltinking~ writing and efforts to change the conditions of .the lives of Indian _ women is confined to a narrow stratum of urban, educated middle class women ... while the realiti\' of the lives of the vast majority of Indian women has been I'argel)' ignored.'

maintain theirrule; the Israeli and South African stares must deny the Palestinian and South African masses even the most basic of democratic rights. In Israel, Hie Jewish National Fund (JNf) owns or administ ers most of the land, Non-Jews, e.ven_if the,' are israeli citizens, are forbidden to own, live on or open a business on JNF' land. Israel and, South Africa are caught. in cycle of violence and repression, as black Soutb Africans a nd the' Palesrinian masses continue to fight back against the states which oppress.them, Both owe - their existence to the imperialist powers for-whom they provide a ~itaJ service. South Africa plays an important role inpolici ng the whole of Soufhern Africa. Israel does asimilar job for imperialism in the Middle East. Without imperialist backing both states would-be in trouble. The ties that bind South Africa and Israel are .perfectly na tu ral. The reiationshi p ea n not be explained by analysing (he importance of South Africa's Jewish community as Adams' dpes.· Zionism and Apartheid are compatible because they have ill lot in common. That's why South Afl1ica's General Smuts was one of the earliest sponsors of the Zionist movement, Both countries have an interest in helping each other police their regions more effectively. Over the-years, they have esta blishcd ci('l'''€ pol itical, econorn ic and rni Iita ry links. 'The unnaturat alliance is a good piece, of investigative journalism. It details the ins andouts of the Sourb At'rican-Israeli relarionship. especially since t he collapse ot "l·he POrtuguese empire in Southern Africa in the mid-seventies. It also confirms that we have every interest in breaking up this happy couple.

a

Dante!

NIJ,\·.\'im

Backing Britain, but ....
Arthur Garston and Desmond Rice, The sinking of the Belgrano, Seeke rand WatBurg 1'984, pp218 hbk £8.95
v •

7n search of answers, unfortunately,

does little to

break with this tradition. Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More work for mother: the For the majority of women in India life is ironies of household technology from Ihe olJen indeed grim. The backwardness of the Indian hearth to the microwave, Basic Books, New York economy subjects women to a far greater inrensity 1983, pp257, hb~ $17.95 . of oppression ihan in the advanced capitalist countries, Eighty per cent of India's population live in rural areas; most are peasants and landless labourers. Wo men's lives cent re aro un d the constant struggle for surv.ival--proc.uring the ,mast~asi£.necessities St;_;haV~d, fuel.and water. Tlie tnadequacy of tecJffiol1)gy mean, tliat fe" many WOmen a working day of more than IS houns .ts nerrnal. H.undr~Qs of thousands of villages' have .no source of elean water. Obtaining it requites hours of toil by women. Mace than three quarters of .all illnesses ill backward capitalist countnies are ca used 13y polluted water. Intli a.has one of the highestinfant mortality rates in ihe world; in at least 80 p!.'r cent of these deaths, diarnhoea, chiefly caused by contaminated water, plays a major part. The high infant mQrt"lity rate adds yet another burden on women: tfiey are f creed to bear more children so that at least SOme may survive into adulthood. Millions of women die each year from tetanus and other infections developed during childbirth because there' is no clean water, or because rusty; dirty knives or stones are used to Gut the umbilical cord, or because they have to carryon. their long hours of work right \I p to giving birth. The maternal mortality rate in India is one. of the WOMEN'S MAGAZINES such as Good highest in the world. Housekeeping are full of advice to their readers As well as enduring long hours of domestic about what-son of kitchen gadgets will lighten.the work, most women .are forced to find wage-la bour burden of cooking in the home. By contrast, to survive. Women perform the .most menial, fern inist 'magazines such as Spare Rib arc full of e xha us.t-in.g jobsi n agricu l't u re, such as complaints that the division ('If labour between the transplanting paddy and stone picking, for sexes in the nome has always worked to womerrs . exceptionally low wages. Nowadays even these disadvantage. They argue that men have always jobs are increasingty denied to women, oppressed women and that revolutionary particularly in areas like [he Punjab where new communism, therefore, "will offer women little technology has been introduced in to agriculture. recompense for their struggles .. Ruth Schwartz The oppression of women in backward - Cowan shows how short-sighted each of thesetwo capitalist countries is directly rooted j'n the perspectives is. backwardness of the economy and the social relations imposed by imperialism, Only by smashing imperialism and developing the forces it wasn't always that way of production to Ole extent that women can be freed-from domestic servitude, will' we be able to Cowan, aNew York academic, has taken asher fight for women's liberation. subject domestic work in America. She confirms Yet this is something that the w0men's that there, as ,in otlier oountries, 'liousework' movemen tin J "dia has failed to confront. III flrose asa_category differenfiilled (ro.m othcrkind.s search oj' answers· locaies women's oppression of werk only with the rise of capItalism and tlie within the family. The family is seen as an social, collective system of labour that ahistorical instituti.on which in itself is oppce.~sive, cl:\araderised it. Before the AmeFicall ~ourge0i~ The state oppresses W0men only indin;ctly by reVolution of 1716, the English word 'husband' )egitimising the family: accurately .refl.ected the role of American men: wbile they busballded agricQlllIre outside the 'An exploi,tative family str'uctllre receives crucial home, this was intimately related 1.0 work inside it support fr(lm the governmenLand (lie state through - men were hOllse-bollded too. various laws and rules of.behaviour which legitimise n was capitalist industrialisation wbich-ma,de the authorit·y of m.en over the lives 9f the 'women women oppressed. Instead of tending his cattle, members of the (amily.' tanning their hides and making leather into shoes for his children, the Ameri,can man l~ft his wikat The oppre'ssion of women,is reduced to 'powclJul, home and went out to make sh0cs in .faelories. It invisible forces at work', and the fight against was men, not women, wh0 enJoyed social women's oppression is reduced to a fignt a.gainst inlerGOUrse thmugh factory work because the. particula.r forms of oppress·ion rha t Indian women's.role as chlld·bearers and house-cleaners women suffer. Thus a major focus of t be w0men 's ti~d them to the home. While men's traditi:Onal movement is t;llC struggle'aogainst drunkenness in work became' part of the social and collective men. Indian feminists spend much of their time labOur of the factories, women's' domestic work smashing up liquor pots- and picketing breweries. £emained as prlvatise.d, individual toil in the

Still slavilng

Gem IIIa Forest

The perfect match
James Adams, The unnatural alliance: Israel and South Africa, Quartet Books 1984, pp2 I 8, h 15k £9.95

JAMES ADAMS could not have chosen a more inappropriate title for his book. In commo.n with malJY British liberals, Adams cannot un'derstand why Israel and SmIth Africa have developed sue,h a close relationshi p. He views Israel as a stare which was est·a.blished as part of the 'st[uggle against anti-semitism and South Africa as a state which rests on institutionalised and virulent ra<lism. Adams; pw;, mater.!al goes some way in helping to resolve (his appanent paradox. IscaeJ was ne·Ver meant to fight- a Ilti-se.mlliS"m. Zionism - tnc belief in an in_dependent Jewish state - was a reaction to anti-semitism. Botn movements have in common rbe beli,ef that Jews and non-Jews .can Il.cver h",e ioget'her in peace. Indeed. Zionists accept tllat anl'i-semitism is a natural phenomenon. The collaboration between Zio'nists and anti-semi tes is well docum,elited in Lenni Brenner's Ziollism {11th? age ofrhe i/iClalOr4_ (8rown Helm. In]). The Zionist anti apartheid regimes both involve the oppression of the indigQnous population. To

ACCORDING TO GARSTON AND ·R1CE·and a host' of Labour Mils, the sinking of the Argentinian cruiser. The General Belgrano; was an act of British bloodletting. Two years ago on I May the Argentinian Air Force attacked the British fleet. That night the Belgrano was sunk by a single torpedo frorrithe HMS Conqueror and. 365 Argentinians were killed. This event occurred in the middle of a war in which Argentina challenged British imperialism's claim over the Malvinas, Yet two years later, Labour politicianshave nor let the issue sink. The .recent Hurry of parliarnen tar)' and journalisticdebate, Cabinet leaks and calls for a full public inquiry into the sinking ofthe.Befgral/o_ reflects the vulnerability of the Tories in the .rriiddle of the miners' strike. But most. of ali, it indicates [he stupidity of the Labour Party. Por 'two years Labour MPs have conducted a senseless campaign to discover some ulterior motive for the sinking of the Belgrano. Labour MP Tam Dalye' has made the Fal k la rids War his pet parliamentary preofcupa rion. Books like this one and a score of Labour left wingers bave hel ped > him keep the issue alive. Dalycll opposed ihe war fmm the start be,oause he did not think it. was in Britain's best interests. Like Garston and Rice, he sti,ll has n6t grasp,ed that Br.itish imperialism had no choice but to lead)' Argentina a lesson. The Labour Par.!y backed Britain all the way in its war against Argentina, only baulking at the bloodshed. But if you back Britain's imperialist objectives i.n a war then there's no point complaining about the measu[es necessary to achieve those objectives. As defynce secretary Mi.chael Heseltine punt so succinctly at the Tory Party cO'nference, rhe Be/grano was a legi timate mi litary target. Even .the Argel)t.inian niilitary h~s accepted what Labour cannot stomaCh, stating that it would have sunk a British ship in similar circ,umstances. Afte.F nearly a cenfury of loyal service with Briiish i.mperialism, theLa bour Party should ha",e learned that backing Britain means backing British butchery against the oppressed.

4

,

Gran! 'Frellch

the next step, November

1984 21

Write to

the

nexl
Ntly bee resolved in the context of ehe revolujionary overthrow of Germa n capitalism. It wH~1 J lso invol ve a major working class upheaval in Eastern Eur-ope against the bureaucratic dictatorsh ips. The scale of polisical insta bil its t ha ttfl.e drive towards r eunific-ae i o n will prCldu€e throughout Central Europe-will be enormous, The wmking class wilt only be able to play an independent role: in this precess if it - develops an anti-i rnperia list o U,ll.0€1k. Only o n ce ij).d,ependent working classpolitics lrave taken root, amo.ng a section of the German wO-f,king class can its Justified aspir ation for uniey rake on a progressive anji-capitalist character. . The first step in this direction TAust be to start bui Iding that movement by organising around' a e m and s wh ic h ch a 11en ge German impenialism, racism and chauvinism. Raising the demand fXl r Ge r man r e- u n i (ic a t i o ri achieves t he precise opposite of v,.'ha t is required :..rr lIhites .,'iorkers behind the b,?sses, Sahena Norton Glasgow civil servants is beginning to intensify rapidly, and when staff in'DHSS pff.ices are increasingly Being forced to take str-ike action against 'In aggressive management (such as- in Poplar, Stoke Newington and Westrninstej ), it is pointless to condemn as extreme the tactics of claimants who are figbting back.' , The claimants cannot win on their own. The fight against the Sccujn cannot be WOI] frern the. outside. It is up uo the DHSS workel's in the offices to lake the I~ad in wmoating the Sconni's d ivi s iv e and cri m i na l is,;.ng 'strategy. In the first place, con nter Staff should make a point of advising' all new claimants oUhe presence of the unit. They shou Id' also Be infarm_eGi that they Me nat r.e q.u ired LO a.d mi t Sc eu m snoopers iBt0 their homes. Se con d] y, the) s h 00·1 d, be prepared to pass to claimants' rep res en t ari ves a II roeIevan t i nf'o r m a.t io n about Scc urn intentions in their area, Thirdly, and most importantly. C'PSA and SCPS millt·ant·s sllould bGgifi b.uildi .. g s u pp o r't in t heir workplaces behind the, demand ror the complete abolition of (he Special Claims Control Unifsand rhejr Department of Employrneur equivalents, the .RegiClnal Benefit InYestigatien Teams (Rabbilsj. In the interests "r the wbole of om class, ",ivil serva n t-s have a responsibility to l:kf~nd thos~ settiOIJJ (he SliHe considel'S it easiest to wnsign' 10 pen urI', ltJisery and des.pair. Mick Sum.'an London weapon we had i'n defence 01' pay, and jobs. If the ci vi I service unions elllb~ rk on a course of imi ustria) act ion in 1935 to obta in a accent riving. wa.ge for aJLcivil servants. then they can"'i tie an e hand behind thei. backs in a struggle with such il ru(hies>.ene>my:as (his government. Selective action can only be a st.eppi ng stone in any d ispu tc. Any course of action which diminishes the effect of a stri ke .only helps rhe employer. IT we are forced to t~ke acricn over [Jay it must be a 'no-halds-barred fight to the en~, in volvi ng everyone. Many rank aridIile members of [he IRSF and other civil senvice unions were disgusted by the acceptance of this 'I'eac's 4.5 per Hint otfer 0)' the Council of Civil Service Unions .. This means a fu rther em in il'ca-l terms in the Iiving standards of our mern bel'S. The effect 01' this decision bv tlre leadership is that many ral'!R and ii·le members ha ve drawn further, away fro.m supporting'the unions. We have to tHm rhe ride by involving th,e wliole m-embersliip throaghou r !-fie civil service ina campaign 10 rega inth is lost ground. Defea t ror the seeon d ti me in four years would deoima t e us, a nd, lead to I a rge~s.ca 1e vi£timisation:s. SCl if an·y group witlrin the unlon seeks to. minimise the effects of indu5_t.ria·l a(.aion, then we would be defeated ber o,~e we e-)len S(ilrL lRSF branch. committee me'mb~r Yorkshire, organising food collectio 05~i~n~t~b:e~==::;;_...,...2'~!__--~~~~~j Brighton miners' support grou p. in 1947 was .generally Seen by a.ue now working witth the Rep, miners as a progressive step. This week we set 'U p J negular, A lthough they rock strike acti on collect ion outsi de a superruarket after nat: orta lisat io 11, it was st ill where we not only stock up an seen as 'their' indttstry . tood and money for the miners, Sca·FgUJ ,lIld McGahcy may not bnt also argue for (he active call [or speed-ups at' work, Th e suppOrt which will win tlre strike: CP- may support the current Liz G~ov~s miners" strike. But rhe Stalinists Brighton still see (he int erests of the miners as synonymous with t hose oT the coal induscry, 'Fhe problem does ,nOI rnerel y lie with rhe C P Or f!"llow I"avclle,"s like Scar gil]. Colla boration is rife 1.1rl'Ougholit the NUM. 'I t is this legacy of the the-next s-i.'·Pand The minus' next I~:i.ditional left' if] the labour Step have pointed' out the dangers movement that is the main @f the NUM's i:i)ilabnrllli011isl problem in the, miners" 'trike appnoach in tlle present miners' today'. .strik e. Other pu blica tions and Paul Faster onganisations either do- not see' it London as irnportan l Or are full_y in favour (This letter has been shortened) of it. TIle Communist Party in

German nationalism
In t he final form in which. i[ went i~to print, my art,ide en Germany (,Germany -, a Reich once again? rile next step, September] did nel make sutficieo tLv clear ,\"li_~re we srarrd in re.liHjo~ 10 'the q ue s t'i o n of Germa.n r eu nif'ica t i'"n. In, fact, rh e ta·st sentence, suggests that GermaA workers should fight '~Gr the reunifica 1ion 0 f thein count rv and 'link up 10' take on G~rman imperialism and its supp.",rle.s 'East and West and set about reun.ir iug Germany under t he control of the w,ark:ing class'; In the copry 1 submi t~eQ The last paragraph contained rio mention of re-unification: It stated only that the German working class should take on West German imperialism. The dr iv e t ow a-r d s. an imperialist l'ecliMi,sian oft-he world has placed the German national qu!,s(.ion fil'll,)y on rhe hist.orical agenda. It is Jmportant (nat the worki ng class' adopts a- clear position on (1)Js confusing .issue. Atrer theend of the Second World War' the German nation was dismembered, i'ls Western and Easter.n hal ~'e$ 'r,spectiyely taken und"f US a.lld Soviet dominatim:). The diVision -Qf GermailV was a tlagrant dei1'ial 0~ t'he Ger~a'l peapJe's righ! to, self.~defermina ti.o·n. No! sllrp'd'singl y, it' deeperued natIonal resentmen tin the working class, 'fhe rui~ng elass and the la00ur bureI.ucr-aev ~aAY' to it thaI waches' "Pl?osllfon to the paniti'on of their ,ounuv was channelle.Gi imo chau vinist . antiSovietism a.rid anti-~ommunism ;lnd. to a lesser e;;tent, an tiAmenicanism. Th,is ldeo.lGl,gy provid'cd rhe ba.,kdf'"p f0r (He reC(;lUs.tfuGl'ion of West Geiman imperiali.sm under US ime]ag<;:. As lONg as Ge.rmanv r.emains di vided the~e i\;_ an obje~tive basis for na'liona I resentment if ng Ger,man "'aTkers. In t,he a-ilsenGe of an indej)enoe'Iit working class outloQk, German nationalism is and always has been used by the Germa n ruling elass to where dDmestic support.. "Fhi,~ facwr has to be a major consideral·ion in determini ng ,"ur a'(itude to t he de ma nd fo r Gum,an re·-unifi.carion, Th,e ani de in the ne.:f/ y/ep showed (hm West Gcr,many is an aggressive l'm pcciali·st pOw,er, in ten t' o'n expa'nd'i'ng it5 intl u ence over the East. To call I'm German rcu"ificalion 'now can On Iei''TIl~aJJ calling f1:>r re-Ilnffieation !ind.er ,mpetialtst COll! rol. To add phrases weJ\ as 'u n der worke,s' con tr_ol' does not sol ve' tme problem. Th~ cianger·s 0f adaplationw G'e r man n a r_( a fl ~ lis mar e unde~lined by the experience of the Gee-man workin.g class m0vemenl in the twemi'es. The Cammunist Party tried to relate to the nationalist resent men t again sr the 'ioIersailles Trea ty, which rati~ied Germany's defelH, after Ihe First World War. by promoting a pro!fram m'e of 'na liona·1 f,evolut10n' in .direct £ompelition with the fascists. Tile Tesu I·t was thai class poli t·ics were su omergcd in a dae of p,a t rio tic fe [YOU r, Th:e Co m m u nls t Pa"rt y b e,c'a m e ma:rginal'i-se'a b5' the more consist~n\'!lat iooal ists in 1h e Nazi p1Hty. The Ge~man revolutionary movem.ent 'was des\,ro.yed. Today r.he German nati0nal guest io n i~ agai n a potential dea \h trap for German workers, To ~v()id paHl ng ;nt-o i·t, revd1 u t iCl0arie, m U5! advance an indepcn <!lent approach to the issue. The Ge-rma'" nafio_[lal que:;tion wiH

]

Servants

mo

I

·

On Monday I OctobeHhe Special Clai.ms Control PHil came ro SI.epney. Popularly knawn as the Sj3cum. they are the roving section of the Depa flment of Healt'h and So~ial Secl'rif% cha'J"ged with llnro\'e-ri,hg fruuQuier.l1 S0",ual seem_; t y cla,lms" 1'h rClllgh out the past m on th they have been o pera·t ing 0 u,t of t he local supplementary benefi't office in ])Ie]50n Street. Tilie S,;;cum do m:H posses,l any dicect means by wh iell they C3']] idmtify illegfrl cl~j'ms. Instead; lhey praG:eed by a Slralegy or 'selec,tive harassmeNt of s'l"ecit:ic'ally t al'geled:j:roups within the lorality. In Lonaon'5 .fa>! E_nd such priorilY, targets i.rtclu.de slogk parent families IP8tentlai G",ba t>i,a tlan cas,es) ao d Asia 0 women (pote'n t ia I h 0 mew0rkers in St e'lin e..y '" twilight swe,ated rag tradel, 'fhe n umber 0-[ fraud:l.ll~1lI dpim, succeS'sfully proseG,l,Jl-ed by the DRS.S prOVides no re_al indicalion of t,he true valu:e €I(; I·he Sc~u-m"s acti vitie.>. The esseN ria I ~ervlce They perfo"rf.\l is in their policing and' cri min alisa tion of t.he most \'ul nera ble sect,ions of the work i·og cJas,l th e u,nemp.loyed,. women ana blacks. SCGum ex r~ts to help fO$!·er the division, fhm alkiw t'he snHe to implement ip ant;-wQrkingcl!,&s, pl'Ogrammes, includil'lg pri-Va tisalion and massiw cutbaeks i'n publ ie sect or jobs and sepvices, In Stepney th,e arrival of l'he Sccum was g·.eNed with a de m o'n S Ira t ion by 10 ca I claimants' activists, which W;lS designed to intimiaatt and harass the h:arasSers. Eadfof tile unit\ four members wa> phoJ,0graphed as he enterea Ihe office on the Monday maming, and e"ch was d'ogged in his tra:,cks a~ he left. An .aHemj!!t was Made to record ~l\e .license plate numbel's oftheir'ca~, for ci rculal40n. Trade "nionists fr,orn-th~ CPSA SCPS at ])Ielson Str~et <;hawe·d their support for the da.imant>'de.ma,rrd.l' - fin enulO all Swum activi.ty in the area by joining the dem onstra t ion_ a~ -they a,frived for work. But fu;l;i of them wCore willing to endorse th.e oraimants' tactic,;, wllich were deseri bed a's e xtre_m e and prov0ca t·i've. At a rime when the govern ment '5 offerrsive against

I am ~eatling Fdkiug_ 't"'<TOr ;lfld l'fa\'~--'f0UAd this book one of lhe _m.ost useful gui,des for trade unionist5 tbat J have yet come ac,oss. I work for Ihe !n land R~ven[!e. In Septem b·er, the Broaei Left of t he In land Revenue Staff Federa liQn (IRS F) held its third naii0n.~1 meeting, The main ropie: was the 19S5 paj' daim. After lasl )'~aT'5 debilcle, there was a €onsenst\s of OpiH·ion that aUf .nem'bers wO.l:!la bea:Rprpac heCi wilh a view tD tak ing ind ust mal ac.1.io.n if n~\a!;israNory offer was made. However. at the meet.i.ng I·here wa:s no clear ou tli n,e of What .aG(ion to' lake if tlie [,J,ecmber~hip was wiHing 10 hght. The only plan put forward was <m e fom.m Militant su-pporte,rs, who argued thai a t lea~t the acGO·u nts oHi£es s b au I.<l b'e broughr OUI because 'a·nyoile WOllld fat-her ,i·t ~-1 h'Omer00 £ull pa.y than go'to wor,R·. Tfii:s anitUde reveals a lack oJ ,ontact wi th the rank and fil e in t he,rev.e n ue co-llettion see!i on and se~ms to i.gn'" re the liii ii se,v,j£ev Gii"pule oT 198'1 when tbe whole of Ih'" tax gathering madl-ibery W1]S stOPRed for 26 weeks and st,ill the government d.id not move. NN oni y (hal, bu.t lu ppo,rt [rom othel' civil serviee unions understandal5ly diminished 'as tim'e went on bc£au·~c i ndust rLai ac'ti()n was ,eletti vt. The end nsu 11 in 19~ I was d~feat ana jobs -;n the (0 Ileet io.o ,ection wc~e ·c.\)t fro rn 9000 to a J;lpro~j,m a tely 700(}, wi th a ~urther 2000 reduodancies planned by management (with union a-g~!tem_elJt)' ib €om e ()ye'r the next hVG>yea rs. Some mem be]"> at the Brf)ad Let't meelin·g opposed a ca'll to involvc DHSS worke,.,. The}' af<gued't.hat the pUbll~ -woulGi be al ien aled by wh a r wo uld be seen as an aI'tack on t,he old a-nGi (m-iployci'l. I a rgllcd tba t 5t r~ke act iob Wil-Sn0! <!Iesig..-ed to attack other section, of i'lie work; ng cl ass. It was the eml y effect·i ve

A tax

Careerists
Yon r a rtiele .Labour and t'he miner,' .Iui·ke , (Ihe /lex/, wei'. Seple;m-ber) h.ighligHkd II," w_ay the Labour lea'dersbip nationally h as exploited the sol ida.riq' work of i:iar.ty ae(i viSl,S t'o bu iid its Qwn infl uerme ov~r the c:ou j'se of th'e strike. I wa nI to lell you he)W this has workecd a'U! in practice in my arert. In Brightoo tb;·, ,·ummer, su perma Eke,t coU eel ions were or,ganis-ed by peopk ift t¥ild around the La bour l:>lrty in tli"¢ loca I Illi ne]",' SUpp0rt grallp. Al the Sa!\le ti me a, lhes'e''Go.llections a ttract·~d t,he at tention of l,h e-10cdi police. leadet\ of the- cJlunci I'" minority L,lbaur gmnp "potle(,j the opportunity 1.0 "nil'ance their ow.n ie,putat iO'n s. Despiole. the wrg,umcnts of S0me <teli,vists Upt there ,,'h()uld b'e ml di scu:;~i(!)n,l \l'1t'1l the p01i e~, ou r aspi ring si·a\esmen wro.tc I'G Bri.gh ton's po I ice chi d to' est a tli'ish,guldeli nc, on the I~g<!lit I' oj' st r@et c.oliection" 1'h ey t'hen organ1s:ed a '-mw;s' food E0lieciien invo_lving the majoTity of L,abO'ur counci·llo1's. Coun.cillor Stev:e BllSSJ m da,imea a great victory and proml~ed In.at 'Lab"oll, gl'OU'P members will cO'n!iou,c with simi rar ev~nt,1 'over (he week S J nd month, of the displl.t~', Nee'dless to >ay~ t'hey h~v, not ()rga n iscd any more co flectfons. Their objective ,of capturing sevp,r·aI col 11m n, in th e iocal p~cs,i had al;eady' been achieved, Some Labour Pany me'mbeT-' made e~cu.ie., b~.' a'rgu,ing t'hat at lea>t the exercise had p'ubl'ici.~,e(,j tl)e Ininers' Slrike. But the coancili0'> had o:nly u'sed the std Re to pu blicis.e them~;d\'C, a Ild t hei'. p.osition of moral'i"tic sllfJport far mlner.s~ frt mi'l res. My e~periencc 1n - Brighton ha;' ,hil\yn that the 6nl y way to fight for job~ i$ ouL\lcl'c tl'!c Vabo u r Va rt y. b u i.ld i tl'g an indcre ndent pany rather than ~hc rep.ll l~ t ion $ ,0 I' the l;d,ou
etllieerist_".

pa rricular has ide-itt]:ried the intc.ests workers as being the sa me as t be coal i nd ustry; It's instructive to see Where such a view li,!5Ieq' the Cf" in !hepast. The CP scabbed on miners' str ikes throughout the Second W6fld War-and did allit could to gel mi ners back to work. The Stalinists, did not step pia yirrg foreman when hoseilities ceased, I,n August 1945, NUN! bureauc(al and leadi '1 g 3t a Ii niSI Art h u r Horner was .J RPoinled t h e~ uuion', National Caal 'Produ0tioo OU'c.eL The Doi!)' Worker (foTel'u nnd oj the Morning S~or) calle€! thi~ 'a splenqid initia!'i~'e·. Tbe mincfs' anion al~o paid for eight aJea I?"ociuotiCln of-fice"s, wlilo we"e \!O ensure that every feasible liTe;'(-wH icm ,rnigh t h"'~1P

or

Video
Perha ps this suggesri on mig,ht be of some usc. Maybe the, NUM can video Or fi 1m all the meetings they have with ehe coal board. The video COlli d be shown to s trik ing mi ners directly after meetings wit h the board. ft's possi ble the t:il.m_i-ng of negotiations would have a tWQ-way use. FkstJy, it, could keep mi ncrs ill the know regard ing wha) t.hei r tepreo;en{(HiYes and 'the coal board are II p to, l'he' film cou fd als() be a v,aluable- boistorica! record for 'Eul'llre us,c. Leona rd Buck 1ey De.rby

i"Flcrease pn:)d uct ion .j~ exa mi !led

1

aCGordi'ng io f-) orner. The result was a!;p~edLlfp drive ~@make miners wnrR i'a.lh,r and harder. In such a dangerous industry tilis' only led to more i nj urie's and d.d! ths, H opner daimed tirut workers,·supervisors and hlanager'. 'can no longe'r afford 10 ['e,gani eacb othcr as enem ies, but rather as "Servant;; 01 the Sta'le" called upon to . undenake vilal s..,rv;ce,on iti' behalf (Labour Momilly. October 1'945). ' Fifteen months later, Homer r",vea lea tr.rat rhi·s exercise in cla~s collaBoration had cost his unIOn £2Q ODO - a "Iuarler of a mi1lioo pounds 'at toGia y'S' prices. 'Thi_s', lw said, 'give,s itt·he disti.nc!ion oj' being the only trrtdc union in the cauntry IO<v(:[-0 ·h,lve utilised it~, [ funds w advan ce producti@n'. Tnth'e .summer of. 1947 CP General Secretary Ha rry Pollitt rC,llected I" his pamj'll'ikt Look.fng

Victory
At Glasgow School of An in early OCL",beF, Revolutia.n;lry Com.munist 'SrudenW won an im ponan! viet ory ·in su PPOFt <ill' the mi nets, ,despite Opp()~ltion lrDm bo.th Labour and Tpry supporters. at the first gen'ejiaI meeting oJ term, l'he. agenda origi'flally re,volved a[aund the usua I snbjects 'Of .canteen food. hoslel wl\sliing machines and an _at tempt \0 get a ba~ in lhe scheol. The RCS were alane in raising politipl <'leba te ",round the fight for mine;rs' jot>s. The Res argued that the, college ,h0!,I(j twin with Oack ley colliery and the 'miner~' wives 0r,gam5at]Ofl It sh.ould aho' dantne the slim of .£250 for the mine" ~ nd their fam il'ies. An !he r.... cilities of the <lQllegc cONld be open·ed u.p to rhe mi n'el's, indudiNg 'cmllsporr. Finany, week Iy collections of food and money sh ould be instiTuted. In attempting to amend t,He m'(>1ion, r,." hou r support ns wamed the collections. to be cha nnellecl t'luough the unio n bu-ieaucr,IlS who nm Glasgow Trades Council. We srren uOllsly im;i"ted that, on t'he contrary. sU,pport sl)ou Id go where it was mqst needed, to tile m.iner" and theif w]ve~. Uu,iOIJ of.ficiJls control most of lhe mi,n;ers" funds and Ihey have been ]".Iumant to cough up f0f lransport Tor pickNS thtougho u[ the dispute. La b-our's ~I'--J~ive amendment. was summarily reject-ed'by the st·,.dent body. When the right . wing' insisted that stuae·nts -resent-cd money going to t-Ile miners, ~h"y were proved wrong by, a mass ive majority, Studemsarc in·a goaoi p.osition to (lIT"," p~act i~a.l solidari Iy with tlie 111i Ilers. When the C[\lie for effcHive a0!ion is put, H\ere " eve")' pos~ib_i-lil,"' ",I' wilming SUPP@1'1. Alison Hill Glasgo,w

aheali:
'During (he wholdight (tom the dill' ",a_" ended to Ihn d,g y na:iionalisation of t~t mines beeame a rae!, our comrades set the personal example ill the pits in inci-easing output, in eli m;nat'ing alispntc~ism, in trying tQ ]nl!ke pit pmductiQnCQmmitte~, wor.k. lIIid ()lir comrades 'get :my l)Ququcts for (his activity? Th~y did not. Thl'Y were called "pacemakers" and' "sp eed",,' up'" 'by their o,,,n calleagues.· . Wh a tc·vel' thci r efforts on bell a Ir ol'the C()a I magna tM, ',,-oJ hi-t-er{lie n,t\ t io-n,d ised (;0'<1'[ ill d.ust ry, Ho,rner and hi, cohort, Go u 101 not p"cven·t ,tri k es fro rn break.i ng out .. Mlnl'rs we,," respons]"ble for SO pel' e,ent oJ more th·an tW0 millio]] w,,)];king days lost clue tn in.dnstri,rl actioJ] in 1946. The mi nBrs wh 0 rebelled against tJrcir leaders i'n the late fo it ies we·re. I\.()w e ~ e r, ()]] 1y [cact ing (() llie conoe'i uences ~f the NUM's policies, rat.iter t;han chal[.enging the llnian's coi'lab'oralioni"t OU[-]<)Qk its~lf'. TIte na ti.o~a Ii,al ion 01"'\ he mines

c'

Myself ant! anOlher former Li bou r pilet); su P)'Jo rt'e.r. wh 0 were b.oth .prominent in

22

the next step, No.vember

1984

Meetings
Become an Rep supporter
"Wha.tyou glive
• tinanolal support to the-party • eornrnitment to sell the' All meetings 7:80pm Ttiursday 1 November Portsmauth Po r t s.m 0 u t h 8 e n t ra I Library Guild Hall Square Brightor) Springfield! Hotel Splringfield Road '(near t.orraon station) TuesdayS

Activities
Fight to the finish
Tuesday 13 N'0vember

next step

National Speaking Tour: Victory to the miners No sell-out
Wednesday 7 N~wember- Thursday . Nottingham
Fagin's Gold~mith Road}

N~wcastle Friends Meeting f10US& 1 Archbold Tei'ra:ce ( cp p 0 sit e J e srn 0 n d Metro Stati0nl London

Wha"tyou get
• membership of a supporters' WOU~ • weekly political dlscussion and activities • monthly bl.:llietin
OR party

Road

November Leeds
TradesClwb Savile Mount

8 November

Holborn

Library

news-

Theobalds R<oad (near bloll;lorn"9) Wed;nesday 14 Nov:ember B,radford

Want fo join? Rep supporters' groups meet in
Ashton Birrningham Bradford Brighton Bristol Every Tuesday Every Wedmesday Every Monday Every Thursday Phone 0'1 - 729 041 4 Every Thursday Every Tuesday 8v:ery Friday £;;very Monday

Coventry Barras Green Club
Ceventry street

Social

(O'ff ChapeltGwn

S'tr.eet

Glasg:aw Birmrngham Dig[')eth Civic;: Hall CiligQ_eth Sheffield The Hallarnshire Hotel West Street Sheffiel.d 1
McLellaad (Wesf Hall) ~alleries

C_entra..l Library

EdinbiJ~gh Trades Council
Picardy
Place'

City Centre Thursday 15-November

Sanchiehal! Street Manchester Star and Garter
Fairfield Sireel

Wakefield
Raven Bullring

Cardiff
Coventry Doneaster

Pub

LiverpoOl AUEW House
Mo.un! P.leasant

Manchester

1

Edinburgh
Glas§ow H ud dersfield LeBQS . b.iverpQol LOQdon Manchester Newcastle Npttifl@Ram

_Every Tuesday
Every Wednesday Every Thursday , Every Tuesday Every F~iday Every Monday' Every Wednesday

.oldham
Portsmouth Hether'ham Sheffield Wakefield Wytnenshawe

~~::;;::~:--~E;;ver.y

Wedne'Sday
EvefY We~r.1esday E'Very Thursoa).C

South Wales trade union dayschool Saturday 10 Novembe'r 10am - 6pm plus social The Law Building University Cc;>lIege C.ardiff M_llseum Avenue

Half

meeting for striking miners Sheffie'ld Saturday 17 N'ovember 2pm - 6pm plus saelal Students' unlon, Sheffield Uni'versity Western Bank

day

E;;.ery Wednes€lay Every Thursday
Every E"ery Thursday Th(,Jrsdg_y _

Phone 01-729 0414 fOfset-aiJs

New supporters' groups are being formed In a number of of her areas. Phone Judy Harrison on 01-7290414 for details orsee sellers of the next step.

Revolutionary

Communist Studenlts

Back to school? Or starting at a new col,lege? Join the Revolutionary Communist Society and take part in meetings, debates, miners' solidarity work, antl-imperlallsta.ctivlties and social events. ReS meetin,gs on e,;erythlng born 'what is theR9P?' te the miners' slrl,ke and the Irish W~r are happening In colleg,es pl:1over Britain. Come along and sign up. Phone 01-729 0414 for details of REVOLUTIONARY COMMIUNIST SCDCIETIES at ,colleges In vour 'area.

Women and the unions Weekend conference Saturday 3 November
10am-8pm at Emmanuel BrooM.lelgh Street and London NWS (nearest -& Saturday night social dancing

TAKING CONTROL
Evenin,~ classes
A seriES pf evening uasses for trade unionists in Londoll. The course, which [u os thmugh November, is being tun b~ Mi ke freeman -author of Takifl.g- Control. It looks at the problems faced by trade union ists today and how t9 ftgnt lack effectively. The 'Classes are open 'ta everyboay who wants to start rebu ildi og in the u.nions. Every Monday, 730pm at john B'arnes u brary, 275 Camden Road, N~ If you would like to attend contact Kirk Williams on 01·729 0414.

LONDON

Hall, corner of Dorntell Street, West Hampstead) feod drink and

£4 (£2 un waged) or £2.50(£1 unwaged) for one day only. A creche and refreshments will be available. Phone Kate Marshall on 01-7290414

1 Subscribe 10 Viexi step 'I 1 II
Please send me / he next Sf ,'I' every month. I enclose a cheque/postal order for £. , (Make cheques/postal 0~d(!t's payable to Junius Publications For subscri ption rates see page 2.
NAME., ' . . . . . . .. . , -- . - - - . , , ,

p---_._-------,
Ltd) ,
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1 I
I

Join 'he
TAe Gener.al Seoretarv B-M RepLOfJId0F1 we1 IX! 3XX or phone

If you would like to become a supporter of Hie Revel'utiGFlari Comrmmist Party or wQul01iketofind out more about us, please writete.

ADDRESS.

.

. . ..

"

. . . . . . . ..

_

I

~ 2~~/~:~:~::~::;'OCM

JP UdLOOO~WG1N3XX

__

j

I

01-729 041~

Kate Marshall will answer-a II enq u iries by return ef post

the next step, November

198423

lrlsh Freedom Movement Conference

FOR ·RISH
l
I

IGHT

Sat~rday24 M ..... the ~ /l/;C'.b.· . IAz ovember,Oi ' tJ,f/ The 'ObelhCtvic It ' ' ClJ War and II. I.' 'all, 8IfminflJ.~ Ii ule aw ' ~I/Q'lll en years of the,.. , In Ireland, 19/14 tram Birm~revenl!on of 1: Ingham t terrorism Irelaod an'" . 0 Brighton Act u the m.' Ticketsf2 nection? - Whats the aVe! Br~iain:~Dd/£1 unwa ~ - w(lte to B~~neMicfc rI. TranspOrt !J "I IFM l lI1e on 01 l- rom all s aOdon WCIN' ~ '290414
can'
me..

Zessonsof·· ....

vi?'

rs' Sf ·IT!n.e
71,

B~

,

3XX

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At 2.548m on Friday 12 October, an IRA borne ripped apart Brighton's Grand Hotel, kilied tour people, and almost t_ore the heart out of the Tory government. The IRA's audacious attack on the British war Cablne! pierc.ed the security fo'r.ces' mscn-vaunted 'ring of st-eel' around the To~y Party conference_, It highlighted the mortal threat the Irish Iibef'afi0:fl st,(.ug:gle pifses' 10', Ute follf.iClalions of the Brittsh-"-state. -In the seventies, l.abou r Prime MiJ;lister Hamid WiISQr:Jwa~ned tt;Ye British establishment that the struggle for Irish freedom- wascloser to horne tnan any 'backyard': 'it was in Britain's 'f,ront rQoAil'. Last montb the-I RA rnase the same p0ir;lt more forcef.ljlly by carrying the Irish War into Margaret Thatcher's bathroom. All sides of Briti$.:!lPQlitiGSrallied to back the establishment against what the "inaneial Times canedtho most vrelent ohallenge to constitutional auJflorilY in modern British political ~ist0rf Lab0t1f leader Ne;! I Ki nnook gol up early to condemn the republican attack. Tory baeksenchers resurrected- demanGls, Tor hanging IHA vofunteers, The Sunday Times railed against the'kHiing of a 'harmless' Tory MP. Fha Dliil.y Mirror vowed to put aslde its differeflG'e5-with Thatcher aVId back her against the Irish ffeedom fighters, 'The rf\ad bombers', dectared the pro-Labour Mirral, 'must not win', These histrionics trom Westminstef and Fleet Str,e.el $eek>to mask the real .issues if! the If-ish War. The IRA is no collection of 'mad bombers'. And, as r-ecent events in Northern Ireland show, the British ruli'ng class is far from being -'harmless'. In- thl:! days that followed the Brighton b·OJTIbit'lg, Britain stepped up its war a'gain·st the nationalist community iA' the Six Counties, On Tuesday 16 October, two lrtsh youth joy-ridiAg, in West B,ellast were rammed by a joint British Army/Royal Ulster Constabutary patrol. As 18 year old Stephen McMenamin tried to escape, a British soldier-shot him in the back, The criticatty-inlured Bellast youthcarne clOSE;) being the twenty to

thi~d victim of the .seleetlve execution pOli,by operate-d by the Crown forces .over- the past two years. On the same day superqrass Raymond Gilmour began giving evidence against -37 Irish nationalists. accused, on his word alone, of republtcan activities. Gilrrio_ur'slirst act in the witness box was to get his own -date of birth wrO_flg.But the 'evidenpe' oj paid p-erjurers who don', know when tRey were born is good en0lolgjA to sen€! Irish men and women to jail in the noj wry courts which Britai(1 r!;lAS in occupied Ireland, In B ritai n the state used the Prevention of Terrorism Act to pick ~p two lr-ishnieA within hours of the b.ombing. P'olice announced that neither was suspected ofinvolvement in the attack. Their detention was meant as-a warning to Irish peopte and anti-lmpe~ia:lists in Britain to keep their heads down in tlile wake of Brighton, After ·suffering British terror for 15 years, the Irish people have lsamed the hard way that they have to fight for their freedom. The IRA attack in Brighton aimed to take the Irish liberation struggle to the centre- of Br-ltain's imperial power, The Irish Freedom Movement gives unconditional support to those lighting to free Ireland from British rule. We stand shoulder 1'0 shoulder with the Irish people ifl their battle to deteat the Britis~h warmongers. Every .aot of violence in fhe Irish War is the responsibility of the, British state. And ttlking sides- with the Irish people in a movement to drive trnpertatlstn Qui of lreland is the responsibility of the British working class. Ofl 24 Novem.eer the Irish Freedom Movement conference im Birmingham NiH mark the tenth annlversasy of the intreduotton 01 the Prevention of Terrorism Act, The aim of our conference and campaign is 10 win British workers to the snuggle forIrerand's victory, and t,he BriHsh establishment's defeat. TAe lesson of the Irish War is that those who are oppressed and exploited by the British ru-ling class have no choice but totiqht for freedom. .

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