Unions & politics

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins from the early communist movement and today

Whole publication as pdf Introduction: agitate, educate, organise Producing Tubeworker Leafleting on the Manchester Ship Canal "Workers can't write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory" Essential tools (by Leon Trotsky) Extracts from a factory newspaper (Germany, early 1920s) A factory bulletin by Vladimir Lenin "Factory newspapers riled the employers from the beginning" Images from the factory bulletins

USA: the unions and the cops

Certain small US unions which are traditionally on the left, like the ILWU and the United Electrical Workers, have taken very strong positions — and in the case of the ILWU actually shut down the West coast ports. On the East coast the ILA docks union did nine minutes of silence, in agreement with employers. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has a large black membership, has also taken a strong stance, and many of its locals have organised action, including refusing to cooperate with police. The national AFL-CIO has had a number of requests from affiliates to kick out the police unions that...

British workers and American slavery

• This story is told in more detail in the pamphlet Workers against slavery: the US Civil War, the First International and the British working class • For a shorter version of the following article, see the PDF of Solidarity issue 554 In the 1860s, through a four year, 600,000-death civil war, slavery in the United States was destroyed. The defeat of revolutionary movements unleashed by the war, above all movements of the ex-slaves, created the system of white supremacy and racial segregation which endured till the 1960s and whose legacy shapes the US today. Solidarity has told this story...

US dockers strike for Black Lives Matter

On 9 June, on the West Coast of the USA, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) stopped work for an eight minute, forty-six second moment of silence (the length of time the cop had his knee on Floyd’s neck). On 19 June the ILWU will organise another Black Lives Matter strike, for a full eight hours. They picked that day because “Juneteenth” is the date slavery was abolished in Texas at the end of the US Civil War, and now a major commemoration and celebration. To get round anti-union legislation, they are also striking as part of their ongoing fight against...

"George Floyd was the trigger, but there's more to it"

Abdullah Mohamed organises with Sheffield Black Lives Matter. He spoke to Sacha Ismail. I’m the only organiser remaining from Sheffield Black Lives Matter back in 2016, when we previously had a demonstration. This time round we held a demonstration on 6 June – a peaceful protest with a range of speakers, some organisations and some individuals. We were united by anger at the killings of black people in the US, the UK and elsewhere. In the UK one black person a week dies at the hands of the police or in prison. We’re now doing broader work challenging various organisations and the authorities...

Cut the roots of racism

The Office of National Statistics compile statistics on the number of Hate Crimes reported each year. They have more than doubled since 2012 to 103,000 in 2018-19. Of those, nearly 79,000 were race hate crimes. Between April 2018 and March 2019 the police made 376,000 stop and searches In England and Wales, a rate of 7 per 1,000 people. The rate for white people, however was 4 per 1,000 and for Black people 38 per 1,000.

"The unions and Labour should be on the streets"

Jocelyn Cruywagen (pictured above left) is a worker at Lambeth council, a rep and activist in Lambeth Unison and an anti-racist campaigner. She spoke to Sacha Ismail. Black Lives Matter is about more than just killing and violence. It’s also about black people being denied jobs, rights and equal opportunities. We need radical, revolutionary change. Labour and the unions should be leading people onto the streets with our banners and flags, yes, with social distancing measures, but taking a lead. There is the pandemic, but there is also the much longer-term pandemic of racism. We have to tackle...

"Black lives matter! Black lives matter!" (Diary of a Tube worker)

I was in the mess room when the shouting started. I paid no attention at first. I knew the demo in central London [3 June] had been big, but didn’t really twig whether people would be out on a Wednesday afternoon and how they would get there and get home. “Jay, I think you should come out here”, F, who is covering on another station, radios through. I get into the ticket hall. It’s not normal peak-time busy, but its busier than normal. Yeah, people are shouting, but it’s not an aggressive protest in the station. The manager obviously feels differently and is rushing to try and close some of...

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