At the start of this year, Workers’ Liberty member Janine Booth was elected to represent London transport workers on RMT’s Executive. Workers’ Liberty members on the Tube decided to set up our own separate AWL branch, become more organised, and prioritise recruiting new AWL members.
We were already in a good position to recruit. Over years, we have built up a group of activists around our rank-and-file bulletin, Tubeworker, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year. While other left groups had been preaching left-sounding slogans, or cosying up to the union leadership to advance themselves, Workers’ Liberty have been listening to and discussing political ideas with serious rank and file militants.
We began our branch with five members. We soon recruited a sixth, a young woman whose energy, commitment and skills were an instant asset. By March we had recruited an excellent RMT rep, who last week convinced another excellent RMT rep to join us and we hope to recruit more people in the coming weeks.
Our branch meets weekly. With the responsibility of having a Workers’ Liberty member on our union executive, it is important that we discuss collectively what to argue for within the union. We are now more confident in arguing our position at union meetings.
Our political intervention has also become more effective. We have prioritised political discussion in the branch, increasing our confidence to sell the paper to more and more people. Together, we discussed, wrote and moved an amendment on Libya to last month’s regional meeting. Although we lost the vote, we impressed some people by articulating clear, distinctive and thought-out views.
On winning the Executive election, Janine Booth summed up the reasons for the campaign’s success: hard work, good organisation and stating clearly what we stand for. These qualities have characterised our work on the Tube for years, which is now bearing fruit. If we continue in this vein, I am confident we will attract more members and intervene more effectively in our important area of class struggle.