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Shay Cody and anti-household tax protesters… a question. November 27, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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I’m really puzzled this week by a lot of things I’m reading in the media. But perhaps this is the most puzzling. According to the Business Post:

Impact general secretary Shay Cody, whose union was not involved with the anti-austerity march because its policy is “not to line up with anti-household tax protesters”, said he did not expect concrete proposals for potential savings in the public sector to be tabled before the New Year.

Granted the quote is ripped – one presumes – from a longer discourse, but given that the presence of anti-household tax protesters didn’t prevent other unions from having some numbers out on the DCTU march I’m curious as to what exactly is the principle he is applying here – does anyone know?
And yes, it seems Cody (who was once, like myself, a member of WP) has some form in these matters. But that aside, anyone know what the logic of his position is?

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1. Bartlee - November 27, 2012

The principle of being so far up the arse of the ‘Labour Party’ that his his ear is sticking out their nostril

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2. The Caretaker - November 27, 2012

There seems to be a great deal of hostility towards the CAHWT from the mainstream union leadership. I suppose a lot of this is down to their conservative outlook and wariness of anything as radical as mass non-payment. I doubt we’ll see another joint event between CAHWT and DCTU in the near future.

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CMK - November 27, 2012

The union leadership know that time is running out for them and that the direction of austerity means either a total capitulation that will set workers back here to the 1920’s or an organised fightback that will, of necessity, mean confrontation with Labour and the State. The latter will mean politicisation quite unlike anything we’ve seen here in 30 years. Union leaders are approaching the point where they have to make perhaps the most decisive choice in their lives: either lead their members into neo-liberal oblivion or resist, try to defend what we have and, consequently, take huge risks.

The CAHWT is the first organised anti-austerity platorm to emerge and sustain itself. The union leaders see an alternative pole of for opposition to austerity to rally around and given their failure to take any steps to organise to oppose Trioka rule they know that many of their members have either fallen in with the CAHWT or will do so when the property tax comes in, and when other austerity measures are implemented in the coming years.

How many people would have turned out if DCTU alone organised Saturday? 2,000? 5,000 maybe on a very good day. The bulk of those marching were their under the banners of groups taking positions that are actively loathed by the unions (i.e no property or water taxes, boycotting household charges).

People being drawn into the orbit of austerity (including many previously comfortable ‘middle-class’ professionals and middle income workers) and they’re looking for answers. The government parties will say ‘stick with austerity in the national interest and we’ll get of this by 2016 yadda, yadda'; FF will say the same but will say now is not the time for X or Y cut or tax; SF will say oppose austerity by voting SF but leave it at that (and hope no-one mentions their role in the North) or they can turn to the ULA parties, WP, left independents, Eírígí, WSM and others working the CAHWT who are offering a chance to fight back and maybe, just maybe, force a change in direction. No guarantees of success but it at least offers ordinary people some agency and an demand for political passivity that it central to the unions’ approach to austerity.

I agree with ‘The Caretaker’ there will likely not be any further co-operation between campaigns like the CAHWT and the DCTU but that will be entirely at the behest of the latter. The trade unions have cut themselves off from working people in their approach to combatting the single greatest danger to living standards and working conditions since the foundation of the state – i.e. Troika mandated austerity which, we know, has as one of its destinations a Greek style societal and economic collapse. The unions will say that passivity and caution will prevent us becoming the next Greece, the figures (debt to GDP/GNP ratios, growth rates, unemployment data) state otherwise and the bondmarkets have not had to assess Ireland since late 2010. Any attempt to re-access the bondmarkets in late 2013 will trigger another crisis that will require a second Troika financial package and brutal austerity (and that’s before we get to the austerity Treaty in 2015). The unions have consciously left workers to their fate and conclusions have been drawn by many workers arising from that.

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3. LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

Presumably IMPACT represents a lot of the local authority workers who are feeling uneasy about the cutbacks that are being enforced by the Dept’s of Environment/Finance on their employers due to the non-payment of household charges. It is scandalous that IMPACT would side with the employer perspective on this, and not point the blame squarely at the government for taking the grants away from the local authorities in the first place.

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4. Bartley - November 27, 2012

I’m curious as to what exactly is the principle he is applying here

The principal of wanting his members to continue getting paid, I would have thought.

CPA aside, seems to make sense not to further compromise a funding stream that‘s used in part to pay his members.

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5. Joe - November 27, 2012

I’m (still!) a member of IMPACT. But not active this long time. As far as I know, a motion of support for CAHWT or for non-payment was put to annual conference and roundly defeated. So the IMPACT position is effectively in support of household charges and water taxes.
Like people said above, IMPACT represents local authority workers and presumably believes it is protecting their jobs with this stance.
So that morphs into a handy excuse to stay in by the fire last Saturday and keep the union banner dry for its next visit to the Dept of the Taoiseach to sign Croke Park 2.

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EWI - November 27, 2012

I can’t really elaborate here on my experience with IMPACT, without giving the game away on who I am to those who are familiar with the story.

But the dirty, underhanded, divisive manner in which they have worked within the broader union movement to delay, undermine and marginalise any attempt at resistance in the past few years has been something to behold. I can only assume that such lack of shame and expertise in sabotage has been the result of long years spent by the leadership as apparatchiks in FF/LAB/WP branches and executives.

Now it may be, as people say, that the membership are not as educated on where their real longterm interests lie in these things. But that is what union activists and officials are supposedly there for – to educate and lead the membership.

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6. Ed - November 27, 2012

I don’t think it’s just a case of (misplaced) desire to protect local authority workers – Cody, as WBS says, really has form when it comes to brown-nosing the government. He pushed through a position of support for the fiscal treaty over the heads of the membership when there was a union conference due to be held in a few weeks. Cody and his allies pulled out all the stops to prevent any motions calling for a ‘No’ vote reaching the conference floor—a friend of mine was vilified by her branch chair when she tried to bring one forward; they weren’t able to stop one branch from proposing a motion to have the union take no position (i.e retracting the call for a ‘Yes’ vote, as that was the best they could hope for); then Cody went around ranting and raving at anyone who spoke in favour of the motion, demanding that their branch chairs take the floor to denounce them.

This was all going on in close session, of course, so there’d be no disruption of the story they were aiming for in the next day’s paper – ‘Union calls for Yes vote on Stability Treaty’. And of course, nothing to embarass their guest of honour, Enda Kenny. People can sometimes lay it on a bit thick with attacks on the trade union leadership, as if they were the only thing standing in the way of a strong fightback. But in this case, it’s well deserved – he doesn’t like the CAHWT because it’s causing trouble for the government; the impact (no pun intended) it might have on his own members is neither here nor there.

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Ed - November 27, 2012

‘Closed session’ – ‘close session’ sounds like they were all huddled together in a group hug.

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7. Mark P - November 27, 2012

The Irish union bureaucrats are a particularly timid bunch by European standards, allergic to any action and utterly subservient to government. This is a direct result of decades of “partnership”.

But quite often, the very worst of the bureaucrats have backgrounds in the Workers Party. They aren’t in the Workers Party, let me be clear. But there’s a layer of officials who passed through its ranks and, while abandoning all traces of radicalism during their long march into the Labour Party, they have often kept hold of a certain cynical ruthlessness and expertise in bureaucratic maneuvering.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

“they have often kept hold of a certain cynical ruthlessness and expertise in bureaucratic maneuvering”

Is this supposed to suggest that it was the very fact of being in the WP which bred this cynicism?? Please spare us the “Stalinist bureacracy” diatribe.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

LATC, it’s hardly a shocking statement that the Workers Party adopted a strategy in the unions and elsewhere (RTE, student unions etc) of seeking influence through getting their people into key positions and that they were prone to adopting a rather cynical approach to doing it.

So no, it wasn’t the very fact of being in the WP which bred this cynicism. Your average WP member was never particularly cynical. Instead it was the experience of the WP’s ruthless approach which bred a continued ruthlessness amongst those involved in implementing their strategy which has persisted even after every positive aspect of the WP’s politics has withered in their hearts.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

Give some instances of the cynical approach and compare and contrast with other approaches taken by other further Left parties in the effort to make friends and influence people within larger host organisations.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

LATC, go find your copy of The Lost Revolution. Go to “unions” in the index. Start with the pages on the Industrial Department and the unions, dealing with the creation of secret branches of union activists who didn’t carry out open party work. Then go to the later section dealing with their approach of seeking to fill appointed union roles with WP people, particularly those from a student union background. As supplementary reading, you can look at the parts on RTE and USI too.

The WP, perhaps partly as a result of its conspiratorial Republican origins and all of the cynicism which having a secret “Group B” voting under military discipline in party decisions necessarily tended to breed, took a much more conspiratorial approach to winning influence than other Ieft currents. I’m slightly baffled that you think that I’m being unfair about this. At the time, it wouldn’t have been remotely embarrassed about it – it was a badge of honour that they were hard and ruthless and serious as they saw it.

In my view, quite a number of people who passed through this approach, but later abandoned all of the leftist political beliefs that informed and justified it, retained the ruthlessness and the cynical edge.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

I think we’re arguing over the use of the adjective rather than the substance of the strategy pursued by the WP at that time.

You seem loose with the cynical word when judging tactics used by other Left formations.

People could use the same adjective to describe entryism.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

Yes, the certainly could.

Although the Workers Party’s approach in the unions (and other fields) had rather more in common with what is known as “deep entryism”, where activists hide all or some of their political beliefs in order to facilitate advancement into positions of influence. That’s the sort of approach used by the Lambertist organisation in France, where they gifted Lionel Jospin to the world.

This system of secret members and the aim of gathering positions of influence necessarily bred an expertise in behind the scenes maneuvering and an instrumentalist approach which would always tend towards cynicism. The WP was different from every other left current in Ireland not only in its secrecy but also in its strong orientation towards appointed officialdom rather than lay activists. The combination of these two factors meant that it left behind a strong cohort of former members in union officialdom who retained an experience of and training in the harder aspects of the WPs methods but none of its political goals.

I really don’t see how anyone can seriously argue that the whole secret members / positions of influence strategy (in the unions and elsewhere) was anything other than ruthless and cynical.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

I don’t want to overstate the importance of this in explaining the particular uselessness of the Irish union leadership by the way. That’s largely down to the corrosive effects of decades of partnership, not to the remnants of the WP’s industrial strategy. It merely helps explain why a disproportionate number of the worst of them seem to have a WP background (but not, of course, WP politics).

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

“This system of secret members and the aim of gathering positions of influence necessarily bred an expertise in behind the scenes maneuvering and an instrumentalist approach which would always tend towards cynicism.”

Would it now? I’m not sure the relationship is necessarily as causal as you seem intent on insisting.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

The secret members system only serves any kind of purpose when allied with both an orientation towards gathering appointed positions of influence and a willingness to engage in continuous behind the scenes maneuvering both to facilitate that advancement and to use the positions gathered to further the party’s aims.

If you don’t think that necessarily tends towards cynicism I can only conclude that you have a very odd idea of what cynicism entails. In fact, I was under the impression that present day WP members tended to be very critical about much of the behaviour of the Industrial Department, secret branches, etc. Am I wrong? Is that still seen as something to be supported?

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

I’ll have to leave that to someone else more qualified than myself to comment on, but I would expect that approach was left behind many years ago.

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Jolly Red Giant - November 27, 2012

Let’s not forget that Jack O’Connor spent a small amount of time in the Militant ;)

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CMK - November 27, 2012

JRG, tell us more?

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FergusD - November 27, 2012

Bit like the “Broad Left” in UK unions? Of course many people track to te right over their life, Trotskyists included, but my experience of the “Broad Left” in the UK was that they were very keen, and good at, winning positions in unions, which in itself isn’t bad of course but I think it encouraged “careerists” who saw it (“membership” of the Broad Left) as a route to advancement. The Broad Left was basically the CPGB and Labour. MAny Labour politicians came via that route.

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Jolly Red Giant - November 27, 2012

There is a massive political difference in winning democratically elected positions within trade unions that requires building a base of support among the rank and file and secretively working to take full-time unelected bureaucratic positions within the trade union movement.

I mentioned Jack O’Connor above who joined the Militant as an elected FWUI shop steward – he then took a full-time unelected position against the wishes of the Militant’s national leadership. After prolonged discussion O’Connor agreed to actively promote socialist policies within the union and fight for the creation of open democratic structures including the election of all full-time officials. Within weeks he had left the Militant unable to withstand the pressures of being a bureaucrat and secuumbing to the dictats of the union leadership.

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

Tbh I’m no fan of O’Connor but I’m not sure I’d blame him or nyone for taking a union position against the “wishes” of Militant or any political party. Surely it’s precisely this sort of top down approach which we are critiquing some from the WP for doing…no?

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Jolly Red Giant - November 27, 2012

Oh WbS – in all honesty – do I really need to explain the difference to you?

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

Well which part are you critiquing in my statement, the point about not taking orders from political parties as regards ones job or the difference or otherwise as regards people in unions relating back to political formations beyond the union?

I’d certainly like to hear your thoughts on both those points.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

The problem with the WP orientation wasn’t at all that they expected their union activists to argue their line. If people don’t want to argue WP politics in their unions, they can after all simply cease being WP activists at any time. And indeed that’s what they should do. Expecting your activists to argue for your politics and approach is utterly standard across every left wing organisation and rightly so.

Being a union official is not just a career move. It’s a political decision. Attitudes towards people taking unelected union positions vary a little on the socialist left. It would get you slung straight out of most groups. The Socialist Party doesn’t go that far, but it does strongly discourage people from taking on those sort of roles unless they are going into a situation where they can openly argue their politics.

The problem with the old WP approach is almost the exact opposite to the one you mention: It was that they ordered their supporters to hide their political outlook, and their criticisms of union leaders, in order to facilitate the capture of official positions, which could then be used in a manipulative way. The basic orientation towards unelected officialdom rather than lay activists was also problematic, as were the uses they put those positions towards.

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

I’m not sure if that’s entirely true about hiding their political outlook. It certainly was no secret to me in the 1980s who were WP, or actually SFWP, people in the unions. It was plastered across Magill on a regular basis and I find it incredible that other parties, ie their rivals in the LP etc wouldn’t make hay of it. The ‘student princes’ jibe was very old indeed. It seems to me that in the main one would have to be a very credulous union member not to have at least an inkling of the orientation of WP members who contested positions.

And my sense is that the secret branch stuff was more typical of places like RTÉ and parts of the civil service where there was a significant issue with overt party membership. Not saying that that attitude didn’t bleed into other parts where membership could be more open but that that was its central function.

Of course it’s standard to argue for a party line, but having been in unions of one sort or another I also know the limitations of that, that memberships can be fairly leery of those with too overt ties to (as they perceive it) external formations. There is a sense with many memberships I’ve been involved in that the union or union rep should be ‘theirs’ in some sense. Not always, not in every instance, but in many in my experience.

I see the point you’re making re a political decision but whose political decision is it? In fairness the SP seems fairly sane in accepting that ultimately the decision rests with the individual.

There’s also the issue given the structure of most unions in my experience how to build a bridge precisely into that unelected area where recall etc cannot be exercised.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

I wasn’t around at the time WbS, but as I understand it, Magill’s investigations into WP influence in various fields was about as welcome to the WP as a fart in a space suit.

You are right though that many of the people who were appointing WP affiliated officials would have known very well who they were: There’s a bit in the Lost Revolution mentioning one union GS who was by no means a WP sympathiser but who was very keen on them as officials because they’d work their arses off (and, of course, because they were unlikely to engage in oppositional activity).

As for political decisions, ultimately it is of course up to the individual concerned. Political organisations have no power to compel them other than by force of argument and, at worst, removal from the organisation. And in the case of the SP it doesn’t really go in for that option. But it is a political decision and an important one. Appointed union officials, even those with the best intentions in the world, are very seriously constrained by their jobs and by the pressure exerted by the union machine. And they can very easily find themselves working in a manner that’s directly contrary to their best intentions.

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WorldbyStorm - November 28, 2012

Indeed they were unpopular, but detailed…very detailed. Thing is and this is a tangent from our discussion it makes the subsequent protestations of surprise from various quarters over certain matters not being known ring very hollow.

Yep, I genuinely get your point re the problems with people joining union structures, it’s a finely balanced one, and in a way mirrors the problems with engagement with other structures. Useful if people stay on line, obviously not if they move away.

I remember that story from TLR…

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8. Bartlee - November 27, 2012

“But quite often, the very worst of the bureaucrats have backgrounds in the Workers Party. They aren’t in the Workers Party, let me be clear. But there’s a layer of officials who passed through its ranks and, while abandoning all traces of radicalism during their long march into the Labour Party, they have often kept hold of a certain cynical ruthlessness and expertise in bureaucratic maneuvering…”

For once Mark P hits the nail on the head – in Ireland we got the cynical, self-centered party apparatchiks without the mass communist party that could have driven through change. This is to in no way condemn the WP – it was the WP itself who were this group’s first victim

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

” This is to in no way condemn the WP – it was the WP itself who were this group’s first victim”

There’s a lot in what you say. I’d also add that there was another half group centred on a certain newspaper columnist who did a lot of damage too in terms of inculcating a culture of maneuvering too.

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

It was the same “half group” wasn’t it? According to the Lost Revolution, the secret branches of all sorts were reporting to Smullen.

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

I was thinking more of he student princes but yes there were lines back in that direction from the SU later TU people too…

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9. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - November 27, 2012

Mark is being polite and Left Cross is being over-sensitive. The WP union strategy involved secrecy and gaining position, but not essentially to move the unions leftward. Controlling the unions not making them more militant was the strategy and this attracted the likes of Cody- if you were always fighting the union leaders you would never get a chance to take their place. Criticism of union leaders was considered ‘Trot’ and unofficial strikes and rank and file activity denounced. This dovetails neatly with becoming a cynical union hack yourself (once you’ve abandoned the WP’s politics of course). Doesn’t apply to all ex-WP officials either btw.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

“but not essentially to move the unions leftward.”

What was the point then, if not to move them Leftwards, or does that depend on one’s definition of ‘Left’?

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10. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - November 27, 2012

Fair point. Not to make them more militant then.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 27, 2012

Ok, but is making the unions more militant or otherwise not subject to other considerations, one of which presumably at the time was to facilitate the capture of a significant degree of control by the WP, with a view to reaching the stage where militancy becomes more focused as part of a bigger narrative than purely making the sort of traditional trade union demands that have limited the scope of trade unionism as a vehicle of political action?

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

Branno’s, I think the processes were less self serving than that, even on the part of those who moved furthest to the right. It’s a traditional story, people starting out early in life as radicals and then as time went that radicalism sloughing away to a greater and greater degree. But in a society like this where we don’t even have a mass formerly social democratic party being on the left is a minority thing. Being activist on the left even more so. I’ve tried through unionisation to push people leftwards in a private sector employment and it was next to impossible even when people learned to be activist on their own behalf. Scale that up and it’s easy enough to see how eventually people might just give up, go with the flow, and particularly in the 1990s and 2000s when times were good and expedient choices that didn’t seem to be quite so expedient could be made, slowly align with the orthodoxy. Of course they’d never (or almost never) go over to the right lock stock and barrel but functionally they’d be orthodox through and through. And to be honest I think this is probably going to continue to be the template for quite some time to come. Of course there are opportunists everywhere but I doubt all the ex WP union people started out as such.

A genuinely important question the Irish left has to ask itself is what is the process at work here – that layer after layer of people who are activists can shift functionally rightwards – and how if at all it can be short circuited.

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

BTW, +1 LATC in your last comment. The bigger picture was the thing. but that ties back into my point about the isolation of the Irish left. You get to a certain level in Irish unions and realise that that too is a minority thing as well, focused far too much on the public sector and far too little for real political gains in the private sector. Though they did less than nothing to avoid that in the early 2000s.

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FergusD - November 28, 2012

I can’t comment on the WP in Ireland but it strikes me that the CPGB followed a similar strategy in the UK. And I don’t think this was so that they could build a “bigger picture” really, at least no in terms of an overt political movement. Shop stewards seemed to have regarded the CP as a good pro-union organisation which could bring them together and a useful paper (the Morning Star) for reporting union news, rather than a political organisation with a broader political strategy. Apparently this is why Alan Thornett (British Leyland shop steward) left the CP for the SLL/WRP – for political direction. You can’t call those CP shop stewards careerists, that would be clearly way, way off, but the CPGB/Broad Left did like to influence (?) union leaderships/bureaucracies which often did enable career advancement (through CP/Broad Left organisational support for those weren’t party members I think) for quite a few whose commitment to the cause was, well, suspect. Small Trotskyist groups didn’t offer such wider opportunities, we just got a fair smattering of egomaniacal nut jobs (Gerry Healy).
Mind you it is worth considering that if ever there was a revolutionary change and a left party came to power, it would inevitably attract the opportunist and careerist. Surely that was part of the problem in the USSR, and elsewhere?

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Mark P - November 27, 2012

I also agree that it mostly wasn’t personally self-serving at the time when people signed up to be secret WP people in the unions. I suspect that it was mostly people who sincerely agreed with the WP and/or its union policy, at least when they started out. It’s just that it was a seriously problematic approach that they signed up to.

I say mostly though because if any organisation becomes known as a possible route to advancement it will attract people with at least one eye on the main chance too. I understand that once in a while people apply to join the Socialist Party in PCS in England with shall we say not entirely altruistic motives and attempts have to be made to screen them out.

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WorldbyStorm - November 27, 2012

I think that’s a very fair point too re the dangers of the ‘route to advancement’ dynamic kicking in.

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11. Joe - November 27, 2012

Hmm. I think I’ll leave the WP’s secret branches and getting people into full-time positions in unions to one side.
But just in terms of IMPACT, the last three general secretaries have been a full-on Provo, a Fine Gael supporter and now an ex WP, DL and current Labour member.
And all have been equally adept at having pretty much total control over the union and ensuring that the policies they support/want become the official policies of the union.
And finally their current deputy general secretary (and thus probably the next gen sec) is a former member of the SWM. And he will be just as good at controlling policy as the previous three – unless there’s a revolution in the mean time.

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12. Tomboktu - November 28, 2012

I would have assumed that Shay Cody sees the CAWHT as an emanation of the SWP/PBPA, and opposes anything that would support a competing party.

(I too assumed that the CAWHT is essentially a SWP/PBPA campaign, and was surprised at the opening speeches on Saturday, up outside the Municipal Gallery, to see Rory Hearne given space on the platform. I didn’t know if my assumption about CAWHT’s nature is wrong or if the co-operation between groups that atother times are fiercely competitive or protective of their patch was being demonstrated. The booing later suggests that any co-operation is limited.)

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Mark P - November 28, 2012

I think it’s more usual for its opponents to smear the CAHWT by claiming that it’s secretly controlled by the Socialist Party than by the SWP, but either way it’s wrong. It is a genuinely broad campaign involving pretty much the entire socialist left in Ireland and, more importantly, a hell of a lot of other people.

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Mark P - November 28, 2012

I’ve just realised that my comment reads as if I’m accusing you of smearing the CAHWT. Obviously, I don’t think that was your intention!

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Tomboktu - November 29, 2012

No problems — I didn’t read it that way.

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13. D_D - November 28, 2012

The joint protest for 4 pm pm at the Dáil on budget day, announced at the March on Saturday as the next step by the new anti-austerity coalition of forces, seems to have become (according to a ULA bulletin circulated today) “an anti-budget demonstration on December 5th, led by the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes. The protest will meet at 4:30pm at the Central Bank and the march to the Dáil.”

There was dismay at this evening’s meeting of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions at this departure from what was reported to be a pre-march agreement with the CAHWT to follow up the march with a rally at the Dáil on December 5th. It seems from the above wording that a broadly based anti-budget demonstration is in fact envisaged by the CAHWT which is to be “led” by the CAHWT, and not the four pronged alliance which organised 24N.

The united effort was announced publicly from a jointly-chaired platform at the GPO on Saturday. By Tuesday leaflets and posters for a separate and leading demonstration are out and up. Is this a case of crossed wires or a reconsideration?

Anyway, the DCTU gave a very positive review to Saturday’s march and are resolved to carry forward, with the new broad band forming against austerity, a movement which looks to follow up the budget day protest with a focus on the payment of the IBRC Promissory Note in March 2013.

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14. Ghandi - February 11, 2013

Occupations of Council Offices taking place now, Dublin, Swords, etc now occupied

Occupation of lobby of Fingal County Council underway – meeting suspended

Labour Party councillors call for the Gardaí!

CAHWT campaigners against the property tax have just brought Fingal council to a standstill by occupying the council lobby in Swords. The campaigners occupied the council lobby and disrupted the council meeting chanting against the new home tax.

Eileen Gabbett from Blanchardstown, said : “We have to bring these austerity taxes to the attention of the politicians. Unfortunately, they have ignored us and not attended our meetings. So they have left us with no option but to stage this type of protest. They won’t come and listen to us, so we must come to them. It’s a sad day that we have to occupy public buildings to be heard.”

James Faulkner from Balbriggan said : ” Property tax will tip thousands of families into poverty. FG and Labour politicians seem oblivious to reality. We can’t pay this and the water tax — where do they think we will get the money from? We can barely pay our mortgages.”

The protesters said they want to send a message to the political parties that this is only the beginning of serious protests against the property tax if its not withdrawn and that they will be building a boycott of the tax forms when they are sent to householders next month. They also called on unions to take a stand against the tax. They asked people to get involved in the campaign through its hotline 1890 989800.

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15. Ghandi - February 11, 2013

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