Friday, October 27, 2006

RMT disaffiliate from the SSP

I noticed this little fact in the news. The RMT has taken the decision to disaffiliate from the Scottish Socialist Party, although Bob Crow has made clear he has no intention of changing affiliation to Solidarity.

The decision, taken by the national executive (reported here), comes after a consultation with Scottish members. Although Bob Crow's statement leaves the door open to reaffiliate in the future stating "We will of course be monitoring political developments and the question of any possible future affiliation will be decided" this is unlikely to be in the near future and is a set back for the left in general.

The RMT's decision a few years ago to affiliate to the SSP openned the debate in a number of unions about the future of the political fund and led to other unions funding alternative electoral candidates and occasionally affiliating to parties other than Labour.

The unions need a political voice that goes beyond the restricted sectional demands of traditional trade unionism and they simply cannot get that voice through affiliation to Labour.

It's interesting to note that since being expelled from the Labour Party the RMT have actually increased the number of sponsored MPs and they actually exert an influence over them - unlike the bad old days of affiliation when Labour MPs could take the money and stick two fingers up to the union's policies.

The old Socialist Alliance demand of democratisation of the funds is still the right one in my view - let the members decide what happens with their money on a local, regional and national level. If some of that money goes to Labour candidates then I'm happy with that, because at least it isn't a blank cheque to attack workers, but money given selectively to those who represent the union members' interests.

The unions need a political voice, but more than that left political parties need to feel under pressure in a direct and concrete way from the unions to behave democratically, responsibly and in the interests of working class people.


Jon Rogers said...

The unions need to fight hard for their politics in the Labour Party!

Jim Jay said...

Labour doesn't listen - and how many Labour members are there building the kinds of grass roots camapigns we need - on the environment, against war, for social justice - precus few. Labour doesn't deserve out support or our money

morbo said...

Jon you a respect dude now or still labour?

Jim Jay said...

jon's a labour party member