Monday, June 06, 2011

The Old Activism And The New In Liverpool

The old, unsuccessful way of doing things. Photo: Graeme Lamb
Phil Dickens' account of the "Liverpool People's Assembly Against The Cuts" is a very interesting one, for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a thorough description of yet another union-led cul-de-sac. Secondly, as a member of the Liverpool Solidarity Federation, Phil suggests an alternative way forward, of the kind that is now being utilised by the mostly young 'indignados' in Spain, which has borne fruit throughout the 'Arab Spring', and is actually an embryo of a new society, in the shell of this old, decaying one.

Despite its grand title, the event at the Black-E community centre was quite poorly attended, with the attendance largely "made up of the ranks of the professional left." Absent were representatives from the city's various anti-cuts groups, who are busy fighting their own particular battles to save their own particularly favoured resources from the axe. The meetings were literally talked down to by the panel on the platform. The event had hardly been publicised, with the exception being leafletting at the local TUC's similarly-sized May Day event. This was not a recipe for the formation of an all-Liverpool anti-cuts group. Instead it was a recipe for more inter-left squabbling, and nothing concrete being decided. Read Phil's article for a blow-by-blow run-down.

The shape of things to come in Catalonia. Photo: callafellvalo
Liverpool SolFed's proposal is decidedly more revolutionary stuff. It calls for a "democratic, broad-based anti-cuts campaign" - the direct opposite of the status quo, where anger and energy gets stifled by a union bureaucracy and its fake left hangers-on. There should be "a delegate council - NOT a central committee", where "mandated, recallable delegates" from each group put forward their organisation's position. There would be a separation of administration and decision-making, with admin roles again being subject to "immediate recall". The structure would be federal, with "individual groups to continue to exist autonomously and act upon their own initiatives." The result would be a solidarity network of campaigns based on "on class interest, NOT political affiliation."

Whatever the immediate effect of Liverpool SolFed's call, the pattern they propose is the inevitable outgrowth of the new resistance movements, as the horizontalism of the Spanish protest camps is currently demonstrating. The task of the old, top-down trade union structure is to hold back the tide of anger as long as it possibly can.

Please read the full Liverpool SolFed proposal here, and distribute it throughout your networks.
See Graeme Lamb's write-up and images here.
Post a Comment

Disqus for Infantile Disorder