SWP storm Acas- what are your thoughts?

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gypsy
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May 22 2010 18:33
SWP storm Acas- what are your thoughts?
Quote:
Talks between British Airways and union leaders were brought to an abrupt end when protesters stormed the meeting.

Dozens of demonstrators from the Socialist Workers Party breached security at the London offices of the conciliation service Acas.

It is not known how much progress was made in the last-ditch talks aimed at averting strikes by cabin crew.

The latest strikes follow a long-running dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions.

The two sides sat around the negotiating table for more five hours on Saturday before the protesters interrupted the meeting.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside the building, saying they were there to show solidarity with BA cabin crew.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10140911.stm

no1
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May 22 2010 19:15

Don't know any details, but I can't see how his would help BA workers.

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Joseph Kay
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May 22 2010 19:48

at least one of them in the video is from Sussex. isn't this "ultra-left adventurist substitutionism?"

Steve_j
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May 22 2010 21:52

After watching the video, my main thought is "does the cabin crew support you?" If so then great, if not then they just made right tits of themselves.

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JoeMaguire
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May 22 2010 22:10
revol68 wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
at least one of them in the video is from Sussex. isn't this "ultra-left adventurist substitutionism?"

It would be easier to sympathise with this idiocy if they didn't get on like middle class brats off their faces on blue smarties.

I was lol'ling at the guy with the mohawk.

Otherwise I would love to know the class composition and otherwise of what now passes for the SWP.

no1
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May 22 2010 23:21
october_lost wrote:
Otherwise I would love to know the class composition and otherwise of what now passes for the SWP.

I bet half the country is going "Socialist workers party? they're a bunch of scummy students!"

no1
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May 23 2010 00:09

This has the support of the SWP CC as the following press release shows. Apparently the heroic vanguard did this because "BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures" - talk about substitutionism!

Quote:
Socialist Workers Party
Contact SWP National Secretary Martin Smith – 07904 157779 – www.swp.org.uk

Hundreds of people protested at ACAS headquarters today where negotiations were taking place between British Airways boss Willie Walsh and Unite the Union. The target of the protest was Willie Walsh, the union-busting and bullying head of BA.

BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures. At present, 48 BA cabin crew members have been suspended and seven dismissed for voicing their support for BA workers striking to defend their jobs and conditions.

Willie Walsh, the media and politicians have argued that in a time of recession and economic crisis, workers should accept huge cuts in pay and conditions without resistance. But only resistance can stop ordinary workers from being forced to pay for a crisis brought on by the bosses, the bankers and the politicians for whom profit is far more important than the lives of ordinary workers.

There will be more protests and strikes if bosses and politicians persist in making ordinary people pay for their crisis. Through strike action and protests we will continue to oppose these attacks on the poorest in society, unlike British Airways who rely on the undemocratic courts to block workers from using their basic right to withdraw their labour.

This is a fight for every job, every public service, and for the right to resist the massive cuts being planned by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

SWP National Secretary Martin Smith said: “The SWP believes it was right to protest and make a stand against the bully-boy and union-basher Willie Walsh. We don’t believe working class people should pay the price for their economic crisis

http://www.swp.org.uk/node/167

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Awesome Dude
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May 23 2010 00:28

What a bunch of idiotic cunts. I spent 5 days doing a Unite Shop Steward course two months ago at Heathrow, You could smell the millitancy of the workers approaching Heathrow on the tube. I met Unite Air Italia cabin and ground crew preparing for industrial action and the last thing they would have needed was a bunch of self serving trotskyist fuck wits.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 23 2010 01:29
october_lost wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
at least one of them in the video is from Sussex. isn't this "ultra-left adventurist substitutionism?"

It would be easier to sympathise with this idiocy if they didn't get on like middle class brats off their faces on blue smarties.

I was lol'ling at the guy with the mohawk.

99% sure he's a Goldsmiths student. If so, he's not an SWP member, but a confused - if amiable - nihilistic drunk.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 23 2010 01:33

Calling the SWP middle class is counter-productive though. I'm middle class and I haven't done anything that embarassingly po-faced in at least 12 months. wink

Seriously, it makes you sound like you're just jealous that they got some inches and got to harass Willie Wanker.

A better critique would be that it is horrific substitutionism. What's the fuckin point of solidarity if it doesn't have the struggling workers at its centre, dictating its direction?

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Entdinglichung
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May 23 2010 13:58

a purely substitutionist, adventurist and opportunist publicity stunt by a decaying organisation trying to attract those young people who aren't attracted by the EDL and who are looking for adventure

Caiman del Barrio
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May 23 2010 15:42

TBF #2, the SWP and the EDL's respective demographics are VERY different...

RE Revol, I think context is everything and you're being way too irritatingly postmodern. I'm not quite sure how you can square your wanky postmodernism with some vague implied reference to General Public Opinion...or are you just saying they look "cringeworthy" to you (which would not be really very relevant or interesting IMO)?

To give an example, LCAP (overlapping with AWL, RMT, etc) held an ongoing campaign against a contractor's victimisation of Tube cleaners. We assembled outside the offices of the contractor while one workplace militant went in for her disciplinary, chanting and whatnot. At one point, her manager arrived - alone - and was recognised by the woman concerned as the chief instigator of the bullying. He was surrounded and heckled with "SHAME ON YOU" chants. In the end, all charges were dropped.

Not necessarily implying causality there, but it is an example of a completely different context.

Boris Badenov
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May 23 2010 17:05

"If you support the cabin crew then SHUT UP!!!"

lol, this is one of the most hilarious things I've seen in ages. Nothing like a good old fashioned leftist circus.

Quote:
I was lol'ling at the guy with the mohawk.

I bet he and pony-tailed Kropotkin got totally sloshed afterwards. "That was a good protest bro. You banging your head, me chanting, that's what the workers need. LIKE SOLIDARITY AND STUFF MAN! WOOO!"

Caiman del Barrio
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May 23 2010 17:20

Revol stop trying to derail the thread and stop being so condescending. For someone who squawks so much about his working classness, you sure have a middle class postgrad superiority complex on you. I mean, half of your posts could be lifted directly from the Guardian site comments. Seriously, everytime you come back, you try to make everything about you you you. Get off your self-imagined pedestal and quit talking down to your imagined audience (or at least do it somewhere else: the internet is full of spaces for self-righteous, obnoxious preachermen like you...get a Facebook, a Twitter or maybe even a Blogspot).

(Admin: I know the above will probably get deleted, but at least let him read it first, please.)

For anyone else who might have wondered why I mentioned postmodernism, I was referring to him ignoring the political/tactical rationale of the "action" and instead focusing on "how they appeared on the telly".

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Juan Conatz
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May 23 2010 18:45

This action has made me fascinated about the UK authoritarian left. I can't imagine any group here doing such a thing. What are the other Trot groups saying?

Caiman del Barrio
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May 23 2010 20:18

did you lose your admin duties all of a sudden? Since when was Revol waving his cock about how Noone Understands Stuff But ME ME ME conducive to good discussion?

And the point about looking like dicks would only be relevant if we weren't prepared to do so in certain situations towards a specific end. You've both managed to completely ignore my point about LCAP in favour of some kinda superiority complex slur about how they appeared on telly.

Do you really think that Revol68 looks cool to the outside world? Honestly? Even after all these years we've all spent tolerating his self-esteem issues and complexes?

gypsy
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May 23 2010 20:22

Fuck sake ppl this thread is all getting rather bitchy.... sad

On the LCAP issue, I understand your point. That if the workers wanted support from groups to do such activities to help support there struggles then its a completely different matter to what happened yesterday.

Boris Badenov
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May 23 2010 21:17

irrelevant histrionics - ur doin it wrong (see above video for how to do it right).

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May 23 2010 22:30
no1 wrote:
This has the support of the SWP CC as the following press release shows. Apparently the heroic vanguard did this because "BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures" - talk about substitutionism!

TBF, there are situations where it's helpful to get someone who can't be disciplined to act on your behalf. When I was a claimant, I always thought that places like A4e would be a good target for militant disruptive stuff, but I wouldn't've been able to do it myself without getting my benefits cut off, so if my comrades had come in and caused some kind of disorder I would've thought it was brilliant. Does that make sense, or am I just a nihilist who wants to see stuff get wrecked but is too cowardly to do it myself? Obviously, though, there's a massive difference between requesting that someone else do actions that you're unable to be part of, and crap like this.

no1
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May 23 2010 22:53
Farce wrote:
no1 wrote:
This has the support of the SWP CC as the following press release shows. Apparently the heroic vanguard did this because "BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures" - talk about substitutionism!

TBF, there are situations where it's helpful to get someone who can't be disciplined to act on your behalf. When I was a claimant, I always thought that places like A4e would be a good target for militant disruptive stuff, but I wouldn't've been able to do it myself without getting my benefits cut off, so if my comrades had come in and caused some kind of disorder I would've thought it was brilliant. Does that make sense, or am I just a nihilist who wants to see stuff get wrecked but is too cowardly to do it myself? Obviously, though, there's a massive difference between requesting that someone else do actions that you're unable to be part of, and crap like this.

Yeah I agree that solidarity action can be very important, but I think the situation with BA is fundamentally different from the one you describe: (1) BA workers didn't ask the SWP to do this, most likely they'll feel their struggle has been used by opportunistically ; (2) having a disruptive protest outside ACAS doesn't do anything to stop victimisation of militant BA workers; (3) The SWP stunt won't stop Unite selling out BA cabin crew (if anything the disruption of negotiations might give Unite bosses an excuse), which really is something only Unite members can address.

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Farce
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May 23 2010 23:05

Oh, yeah, I completely agree on all three points, I was just saying that because the excuse they gave for their substitutionism in this situation was bollocks doesn't mean that it might not be valid in others.

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May 24 2010 01:07
wrote:
Socialist "Unity" blog gives a good idea - http://www.socialistunity.com/
Quote:
UNITE the union were engaged in talks aimed at averting the need for strike action that was going to cost their members considerable amounts of money in lost wages. I don’t know how likely the talks were to reach a settlement, but clearly the union were doing exactly the right thing in talking to management to seek to make the strike unnecessary.

And also seem to be putting across a cross-class position.

Alternatively the SWP's Press release

Quote:
PROTESTERS SHOW WILLIE WALSH SOLIDARITY WITH BA CABIN CREW
Hundreds of people protested at ACAS headquarters today where negotiations were taking place between British Airways boss Willie Walsh and Unite the Union. The target of the protest was Willie Walsh, the union-busting and bullying head of BA.

BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures. At present, 48 BA cabin crew members have been suspended and seven dismissed for voicing their support for BA workers striking to defend their jobs and conditions.

Willie Walsh, the media and politicians have argued that in a time of recession and economic crisis, workers should accept huge cuts in pay and conditions without resistance. But only resistance can stop ordinary workers from being forced to pay for a crisis brought on by the bosses, the bankers and the politicians for whom profit is far more important than the lives of ordinary workers.

There will be more protests and strikes if bosses and politicians persist in making ordinary people pay for their crisis. Through strike action and protests we will continue to oppose these attacks on the poorest in society, unlike British Airways who rely on the undemocratic courts to block workers from using their basic right to withdraw their labour.

This is a fight for every job, every public service, and for the right to resist the massive cuts being planned by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

SWP National Secretary Martin Smith said: “The SWP believes it was right to protest and make a stand against the bully-boy and union-basher Willie Walsh. We don't believe working class people should pay the price for their economic crisis.”

compete
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May 24 2010 01:36

Quite a few comments have attacked the SWP's action as 'substitutionism'. But in reality it is a 'situationist' approach out of the classic Anarchist tradition, and Guy Debord would have been proud of them. We shouldn't blind ourselves to correct political actions just because it happens to be the SWP carrying them out.

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Joseph Kay
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May 24 2010 01:58

au contraire, it's exactly the kind of embarrassing stunt i've grown to expect from anarchists. the surprise is to see the SWP doing it, since they're usually embarassing in other ways.

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888
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May 24 2010 02:44

Whether it looks embarrassing is really quite unimportant, we should only be concerned with whether it's substitutionist and whether it's effective.

Boris Badenov
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May 24 2010 03:48

What's wrong with saying that these people behaved like a bunch of attention-seeking self-righteous dickwads and leave it at that? I doubt most of the BA workers who witnessed or heard about this incident would describe it as 'substitutionist.' I'm not saying it's incorrect to call it that, but it seems like an unnecessary degree of theoretical abstraction for such a trivial thing.

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Entdinglichung
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May 24 2010 08:22
compete wrote:
Quite a few comments have attacked the SWP's action as 'substitutionism'. But in reality it is a 'situationist' approach out of the classic Anarchist tradition, and Guy Debord would have been proud of them. We shouldn't blind ourselves to correct political actions just because it happens to be the SWP carrying them out.

of course, not only the SWP but also members of other political currents do sometimes hijack struggles, demonstrations etc., I can remember a school students demonstration of 20.000 against spending cuts in Hamburg in 1994 where ~ 30 self-proclaimed anarchists tried to lead the demonstration into a confrontation with the police, thinking, that they could achieve French-style riots while on the same time denouncing the main agenda of the demonstrators with a leaflet calling for the rejection of "state money"

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Entdinglichung
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May 24 2010 08:48

it was Germany 1994, not Greece or France

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Entdinglichung
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May 24 2010 09:28
revol68 wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
it was Germany 1994, not Greece or France

20,000 school kids anywhere should equal some sort of riot. German school kids must be some dull motherfuckers.

the British kids are different, off course ... smile

Boris Badenov
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May 24 2010 14:12
revol68 wrote:
Entdinglichung wrote:
it was Germany 1994, not Greece or France

20,000 school kids anywhere should equal some sort of riot. German school kids must be some dull motherfuckers.

Or maybe they have better politics.

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Elly
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May 24 2010 17:57
Quote:
no1
Don't know any details, but I can't see how his would help BA workers.

Probably about as much as people on here urging others to sign a petition or write a letter to a head of state to free those from the IWA imprisoned for 'terrorism'. But I'm sure the imprisoned appreciated it nonetheless.

Quote:
no1
Apparently the heroic vanguard did this because "BA workers are unable to speak out in person, fearing draconian disciplinary measures" - talk about substitutionism!

Don't be ridiculous.

As the article stated "At present, 48 BA cabin crew members have been suspended and seven dismissed for voicing their support for BA workers striking to defend their jobs and conditions."

So that threat isn't immaterial. if we're to trust the facts of the article. Certainly, if I was contemplating action but was discouraged with the prospect of being fired, I would appreciate it if some third party raised the concerns that I myself have but may not be in a position to voice. I wouldn't feel like some third party is substituting themselves for me, but rather they're acting in (a very limited form of) solidarity and advocacy.

Seriously, when anarchists write an article, or argue in solidarity for whatever, are they substituting themselves in place of the workers, or are they advocating the struggle of those particular workers?

The SWP may have substitutionist ideas, but frankly storming around like a bunch of idiots isn't proof of that, otherwise most anarchist groups would be substituionist.

The problem is, not that they're arguing on the side of workers, but that that it comes across as childish, pathetic chanting which really is fairly limited in respects as to what it will actually achieve, apart from pissing that boss off.