Matt Wrack: "Build unity around demands"

Submitted by martin on 19 November, 2008 - 1:27 Author: Matt Wrack

Matt Wrack is general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). He spoke to Martin Thomas at the Labour Representation Committee conference on 15 November.

The main policies need to be based around defence of the working class - rejection of privatisation, defence of jobs and wages. We need to put on the agenda a genuine nationalisation of the banks and financial institutions.

These demands require government action. But we face a New Labour government which is plainly not going to do anything like that, and a Labour Party conference where the unions can't even put down motions...

I don't think there's any easy answer. There's a whole range of views: reform the Labour Party, create a new organisation... I do think it's possible to build some unity around demands which could be put to people in elections to decide if they're worthy of support.

The rail union RMT has called a conference on working-class political representation for 10 January. What's your view on that conference, and what would you like to see come out of it?

I am aware of the conference. Officially, we have not had any discussions in any detail within the FBU yet. We are disaffiliated from the Labour Party, so clearly we'd have a lot of things to discuss in relation to that conference, but I'm not in a position to give any official response from the FBU.
Personally, I think it's an opportunity to start a debate. My concern is that I don't think that there is any easy answer, like the immediate creation of a new party. I think there needs to be a broad discussion, and a broad strategy, finding points of agreement between people who have very diverse views.

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