Monday, 22 December 2014

Two men and a blog form a faction

Marxist World – Faction of the CWI

Oh well it is the season to be merry I suppose, so the news that two individuals have formed an open faction within the "Committee for a Workers International" (CWI) should provide brief entertainment for the trot spotters out there.

The CWI is of the course run by the Socialist Party (nee Militant Tendency) which will be familiar to readers active in the trade unions and Labour Movement. They're the ones who bankrupted Liverpool Council back in the eighties and have shafted the PCS union to near extinction this year.

So whats this lot about then?

Economic theory it seems. They claim the CWI/SP leadership know sweet FA about about economics and Marxist theory (that explains a lot), but lets hear what they have to say for themselves in the grandly titled:

Marxist World Faction declared

A struggle within the Socialist Party of England and Wales and Socialist Party Scotland (both part of the Committee for a Workers International) started nearly two years ago over Marxist theory, which soon led to a questioning of the ideas held by the leadership.

Two members, Steve Dobbs and Bruce Wallace, were declared “indefinitely suspended” by the CWI leadership in 2014 for spurious apolitical reasons, but in reality were expelled (in all but name) for raising Marxist ideas and challenging the wisdom of the Socialist Party EC- namely Peter Taaffe and Lynn Walsh.

Throughout the period prior to suspension, Steve and Bruce continuously enquired about the right to form a faction, which, according to the constitutions of both respective parties, is the right of all members. These requests were completely ignored and, in one case, facetiously rejected outright.

As members of the CWI, we have therefore been given no choice but to form a faction to defend the genuine ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky from centrist and reformist distortion. At the present time, our other supporters cannot identify themselves for fear that organisational measures will be taken against them.

This is a totally undemocratic response by the leadership of the CWI and utterly against the methods of Marxism in relation to party building which the CWI is supposed to uphold. We stand by the principles of democratic centralism and declare the leadership of the CWI in breach of these principles...........

In other words the usual Trotskyist crap then.

Other than Steve and Brucie, the other members of this faction are not revealing their identities.

Oh deary me.

I wonder what the working class they claim to really represent will make of all this?

Nothing I would imagine as everyone wraps their presents and sinks another ale or two in preparation for the capitalist festival that used to be known as Christmas.

Bruce Wallace has been writing a navel gazing website for some time which you can find here.


Hat Tip: Kevin Higgins

Sunday, 21 December 2014

PCS: Around the web

A couple of articles have come to my attention that may be of interest. The first was published a couple of days back on the Civil Service World website. The introduction reads:

Facing the coalition, the civil service’s labour movement is split between outright opposition and constructive engagement. Matt Ross examines the tensions between – and within – Whitehall’s unions
The article goes on to demonstrate the fallacies of the approach taken by PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka and his Socialist Party allies along with outlining the different approach taken by the two other main civil service unions Prospect and the FDA.

Whilst trade unionists may not be impressed with the thoughts of Francis Maude, much of what has been outlined in this piece will be familiar to PCS members, especially those who are on my e-mail list and/or are readers of this blog.

You can find the article here: Disunion in the unions.

Unsurprisingly when I posted this the the PCS union's Face Book Page the PCS Press Office responded in a rather authoritarian manner:

"I've asked the CSW newsdesk what remedy they suggest for this misrepresentative and unbalanced feature, including unchallenged claims by Maude that are either untrue and potentially libellous (allegations about Mark that weren't put to us before publication) or illogical (CSCS would have been unchanged if we hadn't taken the govt to court), among other things."

Not sure how it's "libellous" in any manner, but the author did interview one PCS official Paul O'Connor for what is was worth.

However it does seem a highly accurate assessment of the state of affairs in the main civil service union.

A second and quite bizarre claim appeared in an article published by the rather shouty crowd who form the Independent Left faction in the PCS union.

Their activists have been at the forefront of complaining about the cancelling of election by the National Executive Committee due the "sudden" financial crisis that has come to the fore just before Christmas when no one is around to challenge the decision.

The IL claim that:

Just a few weeks ago a senior member of the NEC/Left Unity/Socialist Party approached the PCS Independent Left for discussions about a joint electoral slate. Our National Secretary said he thought agreement to such arrangement would be unlikely but IL representatives would meet with the comrade to hear his proposals but we would need to do so before our impending AGM if we were to report there a detailed proposal.

Why Left Unity would need to do this, given there is no longer any opposition in the union is very strange. As is the decision by the IL to publish this "news" only now.

Finally the saga of the cancellation of the elections has led some reps to thinking of calling for  the intervention of the Trade Union Certification Officer. 

One activist has already set up a website to outline the case against the cancellation of the elections.

You can find that one here: PCS Democracy Deferred.

It seems some activists will be busier over the holiday period than they expected.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

PCS: Is this how a union ends?

On Thursday rumours began circulating of some drastic decisions being taken by the PCS National Executive Committee including the cancellation of all internal elections. This has now been confirmed on the website, though the title of the article posted may not have attracted the due attention from members that it should. The report states:

....the NEC has agreed to suspend NEC and group elections in 2015 for a maximum of 12 months. It was also agreed that this decision, and the NEC’s other decisions on measures taken to stabilise the union’s finances, would be put to ADC for endorsement.

No elections indeed. And taken at a time of the year most members will be heading off for their Christmas holidays and too distracted by festivities to bother with reading the PCS website. By the time everyone returns it will be too late to begin the normal processes and given that 90% of ballot papers are consigned to the bin will allow the leadership a breathing space to re-assert their control over the union.

The reaction to this news has been mixed. NEC members and their supporters are doing their best to justify this decision but considerable disquiet and outright disgust has been expressed on the PCS's Face Book page. Matters are not helped by idiotic suggestions by the likes of Clara Paillard who claimed "We're not skint" in one of her contributions.

Yeah right.

Some activists have finally joined the dots and realised that the attempt to merge PCS with Unite at the beginning of the year was down to financial difficulties.

The union has had a major deficit in it's Pension Fund dating back god knows how long.

During the summer the leadership quietly applied for planning permission so that HQ could be sold off.

Chris Baugh the Assistant General Secretary has in the past claimed there was no "crisis" and despite the proclaimed emergency has not commented himself leaving it to his "beau" Clara.

The end of "check off" was bound to cause problems but what the leadership obviously didn't realise was how unwilling so many members would be in re-signing up for membership. The Home Office Group managed barely half before their department removed the facility. In the HMRC where the union will shortly face a challenge from a new union only 20% have signed up. This despite the "leaked document" from Management about dealing with PCS.

It is the political stance of the far-left run PCS that has led to it's downfall.

Serwotka, the Socialist Party and the rest of the Trots have no idea about negotiation or compromise. They are as a friend of mine Rick Johansen wrote on Face Book "absolutists".

That is ideological motivation comes before all else.

This is how a union ends.

No elections, no headquarters, few staff and a political programme based on the ideology of long dead Russians.

In the New Year members will need to look for new solutions, probably elsewhere.

PCS really has had it.

The only people to blame are the far-left leadership.

The members deserve better and can't even vote them out.

This is how a union ends.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Comedy Interlude with Dave Allen

It's Friday night and I'm now on holiday until next year! Only a few days but putting it that way sounds so much better.

It's late and in lieu of a political or anti-theological rant I thought I'd post a quick sketch from one of my all time favourite comedians the late great Dave Allen.


Also new posts on Captain Stone is Missing and Solitary over at my other blog Howie's World of Comics if you're interested.



By Christina McCormack & Liam Sharp

The world's first and only superhero has disappeared after undergoing a cataclysmic fall from grace in the eyes of the world. Middle-aged and unable to support his operations he had made a preposterous claim that the world was in danger, a notion derided by the media and the public at large. 

But what if the claim is true? 

Outcast writer and infamous murderess Charlie Chance, AKA The Pet, finds herself searching for the one man who was able to bring her to justice-- Captain Stone.

Get yours today!Solitary

Thursday, 18 December 2014

PCS suspends internal democracy as financial crisis deepens

The breaking news tonight is the (as yet not officially confirmed) report that an emergency meeting of the unions National Executive Committee has suspended next years internal elections. 

This shows how far the unions financial crisis has deepened with little to no information about the true state of affairs being given to the members by Mark Serwotka and the unions far left leadership.

Debate has been raging on the unions Face Book page for over two hours as I write without any response from members of the NEC or their supporters despite at least a couple of them known to have viewed the discussion.

That in itself is a disgrace.

According to emerging reports the other measures being taken include:

* Conference to be bi-annual

* The number of delegates cut

* Headquarters staff to be reduced

* Headquarters building has been sold for £25 million

The NEC has yet to make a statement on the outcome of it's meeting today and there seems little desire on the part of the Grandees to comment given the extremely serious nature of their decisions.

The decision to suspend democracy in the union is shameful.

Members are being denied a say in the way the union has been run. Run into the ground by Serwotka along with the Socialist Party and it's other far-left allies.

The fact that this has taken place at a time when members and reps are preparing to go on leave for Christmas is disgraceful and reminiscent of the underhanded way they decided to get planning permission for Falcon Road (PCS Headquarters) and not telling anyone they were thinking of selling up.

Or should it be selling out?

No wonder members have lost confidence in the union.

So much has obviously been kept from us.

PCS obviously does not belong to it's members any more.

No wonder the campaign for direct debit subscriptions is faltering.

What the hell are we signing up to?

An update will appear in due course. Watch this space. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Taliban justify murder through "Hadith".

Came across this disgusting statement on Face Book.

Savages. No other word for them.

This just says it all about these people.

And yes it made me angry, as it should make you all.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Islamist savages murder children

Terrorist attacks are not uncommon in Pakistan, or indeed much of the Muslim world where reports emerge daily of atrocities carried out by Islamists not only against other Muslims, but other minorities as the barbarism of ISIS has highlighted.

This morning like every other civilised person in the world who heard the news I was horrified by the murder of children, in a school by a group of militants who claim to be part of a religion of so-called peace. This evening the numbers of dead have been reported as 140 including several teachers.

Indiscriminate murder of children, militants going from classroom to classroom just killing.

The Taliban justified their attack by saying the Pakistani military had "targeted their families". Even if that were true that does not justify their action at all and further have people forgotten these are the people who tried to kill Malala Yousafzai for the perceived "crime" of wanting to be educated.

Educated as a woman along with other girls?

She survived  and has been an inspiration to us all in the fight for women's rights, not just in Pakistan but across the world.

Neither she, nor any of her school friends ever harmed them or their families.

Thing is these scum do not need an excuse to kill.

The Taliban are worse than medieval and like their co-thinkers in ISIS, Boko Harem and those in Chechnya  who you recall committed a seemingly forgotten atrocity in Beslan where some 300 people, mostly children were killed in 2004.

There is no justification for the deliberate targeting of children.

The Taliban and their Islamist allies and co-thinkers around the world are a danger to us all.

They must be stopped.