The Workers’ Liberty workplace activists’ school took place over the weekend of 2-3 March in central London.
The school, which is held at least annually by the AWL, brings together members and supporters of the organisation to discuss and develop socialist political activism in their workplaces and trade unions.
Saturday 2 March was a day of practical skills workshops for workplace activists.
The “Beyond ‘organising’” workshop discussed whether “the organising agenda” had replaced partnership as the new orthodoxy of the union bureaucracy and looked at the positive aspects, and limits, of “organising” as understood by trade union leaders. Participants shared their own experiences and worked together to develop socialist responses.
A second workshop, “real life problems”, looked at building collective culture in workplaces based on real grievances felt by workers, no matter how small, and discussed how to build links between those issues and “bigger” political questions.
Another workshop focused on arguing for socialist ideas in the workplace, looking at both positive and negative experiences of raising revolutionary arguments in often hostile workplace environments.
There was also a stream of workshops on writing and producing socialist workplace bulletins, in which activists involved in Tubeworker, Tower Hamlets Class Struggle, and Lewisham Hospital Worker — three of Workers’ Liberty’s regular industrial bulletins — shared experiences and took part in exercises aimed at improving the bulletins’ contents and organisation.
The second day of the school was dedicated to political discussion: assessment of the situation in the class struggle, and practical plans for AWL’s industrial work. Much of the discussion focused on how our comrades in other industries and unions can learn from the work of AWL members in the National Union of Teachers, who played an integral role in launching the Local Associations National Action Campaign (LANAC), one of the only genuine rank-and-file initiatives in the British labour movement in decades.
For workshop notes from the Saturday of the school, see here.