4. Politics

It was a point of principle that the DIWU was open and democratic, which was fine, but made us vulnerable to a take-over by Trotskyists. They are infamous for crowding in on bona fide workers organisations, then ruining them. However, despatch riding involves hard, dirty work over long hours which the middle-class Trotskyist would not like at all. Consequently only a few independently-minded working class members of the Socialist Workers Party ever joined, which was a relief. Incidentally, one of these people told us that the SWP had been spreading rumours amongst their members that the DIWU was like the UDM and EETPU (two strike-breaking unions) which is the most outrageous lie and insult possible. The only other contact we had with the SWP was after the DIWU dissolved in 1992 and they persistently demanded the names and address of all past DIWU members, allegedly to start a union under the auspices of the TGWU. They were too lazy to do the legwork like we had done. Of course we told them nothing because people had given their names and addresses to us in confidence.

Adam: There were quite a few couriers around that described themselves as socialists or anarchists who did not join the Union. For example, I had one discussion with an Australian anarchist courier who said he liked everything about the DIWU except the word Union’. Another anarchist said he couldn't help the DIWU because Monday evenings were ‘cheap night at the Rio Cinema.’ How pathetic can you get? You can give me your normal working-class courier with mortgage and kids over one of those airheads any day.

There were plenty of other trendy lefties and anarchos who would not get involved in the Union for some supposedly high and mighty reasons that they conjured up in their heads, to avoid getting their hands dirty in the real class war more like. I am very bitter towards these people now, and I think of them as traitors. It was a real shame and a wasted opportunity because just a few more activists in the DIWU could have produced really dramatic results out of oil proportion to our small numbers.

Various lefty and anarcho groups occasionally wrote to the Union arrogantly criticising us. Their criticisms usually boiled down to saying we were not revolutionary enough. That was funny coming from those student-dominated organisations. The DIWU was living proof that an anti-authoritarian workers organisation could win bread-and-butter issues in the present and be the potential basis for a social revolution in the future. This is like the CNT in Spain, and unlike the Leninist parties everywhere. Also we did not need to pass resolution after resolution against racism, sexism, etc. It was obvious from our day-to-day actions that all couriers (black, white, male or female) belong on our side, and all bosses (black, white, male or female) are the opposition.