AWL gears up to face crisis

Submitted by martin on 27 March, 2009 - 10:51 Author: David Kirk

On Saturday 21 March 60 people, including many young workers and students, attended the Workers’ Liberty day school on “Capitalist Crisis, Workers’ Response” in London.

In the school’s opening session a RMT comrade talked about London Underground's plan to slash jobs and the tube and about how militant trade unionists can leading a fight back against these kinds of cuts (see back page). Sean Matgamna outlined why he thought all those who see themselves in the tradition of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky will need to sharpen and intensify our socialist intervention into the political movements thrown up by capitalism's crisis. The key propaganda arguments will be around the need for a workers government as the only alternative to the barbarism of capitalism in retreat and the renewed fascist threat.

The rest of the day was spent in workshops. A sharp debate on the recent construction industry strikes saw Mike Fenwick arguing that the Lindsey Oil Refinery strike had been a wildcat response to a real issue of national agreements being undermined. We were right to support the action while arguing strongly against the chauvinist slogans and for the union to organise migrant workers. Robin Sivapalan argued that racism and nationalism pervaded the whole action.

In a highlight of the day, Ruth Cashman gave a report from the recent Iraqi trade union congress in Kurdistan which she had attended as a British delegate. Iraqi workers are organising against a dreadful backdrop of foreign occupation and sectarian violence.

American author and socialist Kim Moody led two workshops on what can be learnt from the attempts to build rank-and-file organisation in US unions in the 1930s and in the more recent past.

Workers’ Climate Action activists led a workshop discussing the “Green New Deal” and how to win green activists to a working-class alternative. Rebecca Galbraith from Feminist Fightback talked about how the crisis will particularly affect women workers.

Thanks to the Ruby Kid and Revolutionary Discipline for the benefit gig at the end.

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