Anti-union pseudo-revolutionaries attack Tube workers’ struggle

I’m posting this just for the record. If people lie about me in public, I guess I need to set the record straight in public. This article – which tackles the lies with the truth – was published on the Workers’ Liberty website in February 2014.

The bizarre Socialist Equality Party has taken the opportunity of Tube workers’ ongoing fight against cuts to publish a denunciation of the RMT and of various “pseudo-left” socialist organisations involved in it – including us.

We have no intention of replying point by point to a group which has neither worthwhile ideas nor activity in the class struggle (except attempts to disrupt workers’ attempts to fight it). But since our organisation and one of our comrades in the RMT, Janine Booth, have now been attacked by name more than once – the SEP article follows a campaign against Janine in 2011, when they issued a leaflet – we want to go on record.

The quality of the SEP’s article and the extent of their commitment to telling the truth can be guaged by the following comparison:

SEP claim: “This [betraying London Underground workers’ struggles] is also true of Workers Liberty (WL), whose representative on the RMT’s national executive in 2010, Janine Booth, helped impose 800 ticket office job losses by calling off a series of strikes.”

Facts: Janine was not a member of the RMT’s Council of Executives in 2010. When she joined it in 2011, she proposed the escalation of the strikes against the 800 job cuts: this was voted down by the majority of the executive. Thus, what the SEP writes about Janine is a straightforward lie: it accuses her of doing the exact opposite of what she did.

As for the rest, Workers’ Liberty supporters who work on London Underground have consistently put forward ideas and strategies for Tube workers’ struggles – including the current one – and including criticism of the Tube unions’ leaderships as appropriate. For anyone who wants to verify this, some of it can be seen in the bulletin we publish along with others, Tubeworker (you can visit the TW blog here). But that is completely irrelevant to the SEP, who are attacking the RMT not because of any failings, real or imagined, but because they reject workers being involved in trade unions. (For discussion of the possible reasons for this stance, as well as their long history of this kind of anti-union “campaigning”, see here – we take no responsibility for the broader politics of the publishers.)

For all their limitations, trade unions are the basic, bedrock organisations of the working class, without which working-class self-assertion is impossible. We fight to transform them, including by challenging and changing their leaderships. Part of that fight is resisting, when the occasional need arises, anti-working class disruption from pseudo-revolutionaries like the SEP.

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