Independence maybe political indifference

The IL’s majority position is that PCS should affiliate to the Labour Party and Momentum. As the phrase suggests there is a minority in IL opposed to this position.

We put those positions to the 2016 PCS conference and lost both. In the case of Momentum we lost by 3 to 1.

Of course we have to ask ourselves why? No speaker said they wanted Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to lose the leadership of the Labour Party, indeed the opposite sentiment was continually expressed, the NEC claims that it does support Jeremy Corbyn and want him in power, yet why no vote to positively help John and Jeremy?

Firstly the union has form on this. Despite all the plates and vases it has given John McDonnell at every conference he attends and speaks at, PCS has not formally mobilised one activist, nor raised or given one pound of funding to John McDonnell in the last two general elections. Indeed in that electoral sense, IL has mobilised more PCS members to canvass for John McDonnell than the entire national union.

The fact is that the SWP and SP are opposed to the Labour Party and hence want Jeremy Corbyn to lose. Yet it was not the SWP and the SP ‘wot won it’.

Our impression is that many delegates from Scotland voted against Momentum for its links to Labour. For many in Scotland, Labour is still toxic, despite the election of Jeremy Corbyn, owing to its unholy alliance with the Tories in the independence referendum. Many delegates formally or informally now support the SNP and hence will oppose any perceived link with Labour. There will of course be ‘little scotlanders’ who are indifferent to what happens elsewhere in the UK (a plague on all their houses).

Then there are those who equate union independence with being equi-distance to all political parties. In this they have been aided by the union. For years, PCS has made it clear that all parties were the same or at least the Greens were the same as the Labour Party who were the same as Plaid and the SNP. Indeed the whole premise of Make Your Vote Count is based on the notion they are all the same; a Tory pledge by a local candidate is good as one from the LP.

All in IL believe that politics is vitally important to the union and its members, if not all of us equate politics with party politics. For the IL majority the election of Jeremy Corbyn was a pivotal event, hence our support for the affiliations.

The motion that was passed by conference regarding political activity tasked the NEC with reviewing the union’s political activity. Our comrades on the NEC will argue for throwing the weight of the union behind Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and replacing Make Your Vote Count with Place Your Vote For Those Really On Our Side.

One thought on “Independence maybe political indifference

  1. Jeremy Corbyn MP came to PCS conference not just offering socialist sweeties, not offering socialist sweetie jars, but in fact he offered PCS access to the entire socialist sweetie warehouse and got a standing ovation for it !!
    John McDonnell MP came (again!!) to PCS conference and on this occasion did not offer support to us as civil servants and public sector workers but offered us access to the determining process of the policy making of the Labour Party both in opposition and, please, when in government. He also got a standing ovation for it from conference !!
    So then when it came to making decisions about supporting them both in their battle both with the media and the Labour Party’s right wing Blairites, for socialist principles in politics and government, what happened ? We had three motions on offer

    1. support them now
    2. sit on the fence and do nothing
    3. Or the NEC’s usual option, boot the thing into the long grass of two years hence

    and conference voted for………………..

    Option 3 ???

    So when you are “the membership led, most campaigning union in the UK” as the story goes, why the “poo yer pants” response to a good bit of political fighting and campaigning when it is on offer ?

    If PCS was an individual, and that was the decision making that was on show, they would immediately be referred to counselling or something much more serious, as our colleague ably presenting the well being and equality agenda and motion at conference, would tell you.

    So now we know that you can attend PCS conference where many a speaker will tell you about the marvels of what the PCS is doing, and how committed they are to the cause of its members, but when they get the opportunity offered on a plate to sit at the big table, make big decisions in favour of our members and advocate and work within the Labour Party to get the policies our members are screaming out for, the SP and SWP brick it and scurry for cover making all manner of excuses.

    Conference is supposed to be the campaigners and branch delegates of PCS writ large. That is, the membership leaders and yet they have failed to identify the biggest opportunity in SEVERAL generations placed on offer to them. That of assisting Jeremy and John in their battles and advocating for their policies, which in essence could equally be our policies and we could find them as part of the next government’s agenda.

    Sadly, most of these so called leaders failed conference, and failed their members simply by not having the vision or the will to get on and act when it was necessary, NOW, IMMEDIATELY, ASAP.

    I commend all of those with enough vision and grit to advocate and vote for Option 1. Sadly, we will have to go direct to source and offer the support without the rest of the
    “Membership led, most campaigning union in the UK”
    who will be playing , for the next two years at least, somewhere in the long grass dreaming of a nirvana they will never have the will or inclination to vote for.

    Time for a change, definitely time for Independent Left !!

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