RMT decides not to back "son of No2EU"

Submitted by martin on 5 January, 2010 - 11:46 Author: Gerry Bates

Prospects for the "son of No2EU" coalition for the coming general election look poor. The Executive of the RMT rail union has adopted a policy on the General Election that does not include backing the coalition.

The groups which took part in the "No2EU" coalition for the Euro-elections of June 2009 - the Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star), the Socialist Party, and the Alliance for Green Socialism - have been meeting since then to try to agree on a new coalition for the general election.

RMT rail union general secretary Bob Crow has been taking part in the talks, but not the RMT as such, although the RMT did endorse "No2EU".

Now the RMT Executive has voted not to back the coalition. We understand that the chief reasons for this were that the RMT Executive wanted to focus RMT's election effort on winning the re-elections of MPs in the RMT parliamentary group (all Labour) and felt there was not enough broader trade-union support for the coalition venture.

The Executive decision leaves the door open for particular coalition candidates - if the coalition goes ahead - to get support from RMT nationally on the basis of endorsement by local RMT branches.

RMT activists are not unhappy with the Executive decision, but they are unhappy with the fact that there was no broader discussion in the RMT - virtually none over the whole seven months that "son of No2EU" talks have been going on, and virtually none when "No2EU" was being formed, either.

The political groups are due to meet again on 7 January, and maybe to announce a name and "core policies" for the coalition then, though that announcement has been promised before.

We understand that if the coalition goes ahead, the SWP will seek to participate on the basis of running a small number of SWP candidates under the coalition banner in selected constituencies.

Comments

Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 13/01/2010 - 17:59

According to this report on the Socialist Party website, the coalition is going ahead under the name 'Trade Union and Socialist Coalition' and has adopted "core policies". Can't see a website for it yet.

Submitted by AWL on Tue, 09/03/2010 - 12:03

Hi David,

I don't see how national RMT support for TUSC would prevent RMT branches from supporting other left candidates - unless you're talking about constituencies where TUSC is standing in conflict with another left candidate, and I don't know of any where that's the case (barring some crazy sects like the WRP who should be ruled out, it seems to me).

I think our point is that the discussion was conducted in a behind-closed-doors and undemocratic fashion, to prevent RMT activists from actually having any say or influence over what the union did. At every point RMT officials took part quite deliberately in a personal capacity - not because the union had already decided not to back TUSC, or because the discussion was still ongoing - but in order to discourage the discussion from happening at all.

We've had a similar experience in Camberwell and Peckham - where Workers' Liberty declared we were standing a candidate many months ago, and have been working on the campaign for about six months. We have approached TUSC and the Socialist Party to see if we can get a guarantee that there will be no TUSC candidate standing against us, and while it looks as if sanity has prevailed and there won't be, we've found it impossible to get a straight answer. All kinds of rumours have circulated about secret TUSC meetings discussing whether to stand against us, but there have been no answers to our inquiries, let alone attempts to meet up and discuss with us in a straightforward and comradely fashion.

If the experience elsewhere, including Salford, is different that's great. But this kind of chicanery is one of the reasons why we're backing most TUSC candidates, but very critically.

Comradely,

Sacha Ismail

For an article in the latest Solidarity about our attitude to TUSC see here.

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