Monday, September 10, 2007

 

Unions Need Someone to Lead them from the Wilderness

In the seventies, I recall, many political scientists wrote on trade unions as they wielded the power of the moment; in the eighties, they wrote shelf-fulls of books on Thatcherism and in the nineties it was the EU. These days the unions don't merit much attention, the received wisdom being that they are still at the cleaners where Maggie took them via the Miner's Strike. However, the actions of Bob Crow, of the RMT, has caused unhappy memories of union power to resurface(see picture). Will Hutton perceives Crow as a throwback to the days when left-wing unionists sought to overthrow the whole capitalist system.

Hutton sees a crisis in unionism as the TUC conference convenes. Since 1980 it has lost over 6 million members from 13 down to 6.5. However, the worrying aspect of membership is that while public sector membership has held up, private sector members have not, meaning that the national union movement is now severely lopsided and lacking in credibility. Hutton wonders if they have any clear sense of mission at the current time and warns against Crow's atavistic militancy:

Above all, they have to break away from the idea, beloved by Crow and his fellow awkward squad members, that they remain central players in a live socialist project to transform the ownership and control of capitalism.

Hutton urges unions to pursue the cooperative route with capitalism which has been so successful in Scandinavia and Germany. A weakened movement might find this hard as employers have become used to ignoring unions and marginalising them. It really needs a major figure to emerge to offer genuine leadership towards a new constructive role in our society. The alternative would appear to be further decline and retreat from relevance. Scargill believed he was such a figure- he put up a fight but was wrong. Is Bob Crow a more likely candidate? I really don't think so.

Comments:
Ytrcyr The best blog you have!
 
Gn0JlU Wonderful blog.
 
Nice Article.
 
Magnific!
 
Hello all!
 
Hello all!
 
Thanks to author.
 
Please write anything else!
 
Hello all!
 
Thanks to author.
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Jsxb9i write more, thanks.
 
Wonderful blog.
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Good job!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Magnific!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Thanks to author.
 
Good job!
 
Hello all!
 
Thanks to author.
 
Wonderful blog.
 
Good job!
 
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!
 
When there's a will, I want to be in it.
 
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies
 
Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.
 
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
 
A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.
 
All generalizations are false, including this one.
 
Magnific!
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?