The Solution by Bertolt Brecht

In the wake of East Berlin’s (repressed) working class rising in 1953 the regime said that the people had forfeited the government’s confidence. The dramatist Bertolt Brecht, who was not exactly a critic of the regime, responded with the following poem. Although written in 1953, it was not published until 1959 and then only in West Germany.

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writer’s Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Of course the PCS leadership is not the East German regime of the 1950’s…but the PCS leadership (which at the highest levels is paid a fortune compared to members) does:

• Declare its right to remain in control of the Union by suspending elections – the NEC has complete confidence in itself even if the rest of us don’t;
• Effectively tell us that it has the constitutional right to over-ride Principal Rule 9 (“The NEC shall be elected annually”) without actually telling us the constitutional basis for doing so.
• Tells us that one reason for it suspending our right to vote is so that we, the activists can focus on the direct debit campaign (as if membership voting really would fundamentally distract branch representatives from the DD campaign).
• Not admit to one single fundamental failing with regard to its stewardship of the Union – it does not admit to its crass failure to launch the direct debit campaign immediately after Eric Pickles launched his failed attempt to remove all PCS members from check off in DCLG.

Clumsily re-working Brecht’s poem we can say:
The Secretary of the PCS
Had leaflets distributed
Stating that the members
Had forfeited the confidence of the NEC and so couldn’t be trusted to have a vote
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts to collect DDs. Would it not be easier
In that case for the NEC
To dissolve the union
And elect to join Unite?

A terrible re-working we admit, but Brecht’s basic point about the workers having to win the confidence of the powers that be does stand.

We, in stark contrast to the union leadership (to the 13) do have confidence in the membership. Even if we knew for a fact that we would lose badly in the next NEC election we still would urge it to be held. It is not for the leaders to have confidence in workers but it is for workers to give confidence to the leaders by voting for them and holding them to account.

Let the members have a vote!!

2 thoughts on “The Solution by Bertolt Brecht

  1. Pingback: Coverage | PCS - Democracy Deferred

  2. Pingback: PCS Elections: Round Up | Employment Writes

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