I’m a member of Unite, the union. As someone whose politics have all his adult life been on the left I’ve struggled off and on with my affection for the trade union movement. No one can deny that we owe them a great debt but I’ve also always held them partly responsible for Thatcherism. In the late 70s and early 80s they played right into the hands of the evil Thatcher and her henchmen. I often think the union movement and the Labour movement in general has never fully owned up to their part in failing to effectively fight the Thatcher Reich. I’m no Blairite but Tony Blair certainly ‘got it’ in terms of understanding the Thatcher rise to power.
I’ve long maintained that the remit of trade unions is far too narrow. I don’t like what Thatcher did to this country but we are where we are. With a continuously crumbling industrial base unions need to branch out into the wider community. I don’t support violence or mixing religion with politics but I do have a slight admiration for the work of Hamas as an organisation not only do they strive for political power but they try to look after the welfare of the people they seek to represent. We still have some semblance of a welfare state despite the debauched excesses of the current Tory government but it might not be too long before organisations do what David Cameron wants and caring people start picking up the pieces of Tory Broken Britain.
My union, Unite, has recently started something called ‘Community Membership’. It’s union membership for those not in work. The idea is to encourage those in the wider community to organise and fight the injustices in our society. It’ll take a lot of hard work to establish something that can challenge the moneyed establishment and counteract the lies of their lackeys in the press, but if enough people get to know about community membership and actually get involved things could change for the better. It’s a big if of course. Getting people to get involved is an uphill struggle. But if an organisation like my union could pull it off the lives of so many people could be transformed for the better.
You can’t fight the establishment on your own!