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Sheffield Left - For Socialism - 'For the many, not the few'

A bulletin for Socialists – both inside and outside the Labour Party – supporting transformative, socialist policies and progressive campaigns.

SL E-Bulletin #83 - 24 June 2022

Solidarity, Solidarity, Solidarity
 
Tony Blair (spit!) famously began his term in office as Prime Minister with the exhortation “education, education, education”. 
 
Keir Starmer, if he aspires to follow in his footsteps, needs to adopt a more basic mantra of solidarity if he wants to succeed.
 
The RMT railway dispute has thrown into sharp focus just how far Starmer and his right-wing allies have wrenched out the roots of the Labour Party and replaced them with a neoliberal lite version hell bent on power whatever the cost.
 
Right wingers are wont to say that you cannot achieve anything without being in power but Starmer’s compromises (read purge of any mention of socialism for that) has led the Party into a neverland where nobody – most importantly including the electorate – knows what it stands for.
 
RMT leader Mick Lynch has been elevated to icon status in just a few weeks by taking on the establishment with a no-nonsense explanation of why today’s Britain is going down the tubes.
 
Meanwhile Johnson clings to power after two earthquake by election results letting his Party chairman take the rap for his partying leader.
 
So whither Labour now? Starmer has played a hand so far of wanting to portray himself as everything Johnson is not. But “not being Boris” only works if Johnson remains and even the liberal commentators at the Guardian are beginning to question what Starmer actually stands for.
 
Policies, policies, policies – they cry! But before you can set out policies, in the current world of celebrity politics, people need to respect you and have a basic understanding of what you stand for.
 
If Labour MPs are being scolded for having the temerity to support a group of workers in an industrial dispute, it appears that Starmer and solidarity have never had a meaningful relationship.
 
The Labour right’s desire for power looks ever more like a flirtation that will end in carnal disappointment.
 
Never has the Labour Party needed to decide as to what it stands for. If it cannot show solidarity with working class people during one of the worst cost of living crises in the last 70 years and stand up for the poor against the venal greed of the rich, then any claims to be the party of compassion – or dare it be said socialism – are redundant. 
 

Sheffield Left


Sheffield Left (SL) is a network of socialists to help co-ordinate the determined left both inside and outside the Labour Party across Sheffield.

We have a page on Facebook (
https://www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 80 bulletins.

Want to get involved with SL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.

The motion below was carried at the National Trades Council conference in Leicester at the weekend of 11/12 June, where two of the five delegates from South Yorkshire were Sheffield Left members, and will be the Trades Council motion going to the TUC Annual Conference:

'Organise the Unorganised – Linking with Trades Councils 

This National Trade Union Councils Conference calls on the whole trade union movement to join with us in a mission to organise the unorganised and bring trade unionism back to all workers in our towns and cities. For far too long we have witnessed the collapse in union membership and the demise of collective bargaining as the main vehicle for setting wages and conditions. With rapidly declining living standards and a tight labour market, there is now a historic opportunity to recruit and organise workers to fight back and strike for higher pay and better conditions. 

Conference applauds efforts made by some Trades Councils e.g., Sheffield TUC’s “Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise” to form a partnership with BFAWU to put a Union Organiser on the streets. This model has now been extended to Leeds and Rotherham. BFAWU is now keen to extend this “Union Towns” model with other Trades Councils elsewhere in the UK. However, it does not have to be an exclusively BFAWU model. We call on other national unions to explore similar relationships with local Trade Union Councils. 

Trades Union Councils are an essential link for the trade union movement into our local communities. Organising on a town or city basis across different employers and economic sectors can have a significant impact on levels of union consciousness and activity on local workers who become inspired by local victories. The experience of Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise is that workers get to know of union breakthroughs in similar workplaces and want some of the same action for themselves. 

Organised workers in trade union branches who are affiliated to their local Trade Union Council know that de-unionisation of their local labour market has led to a collapse in wage rates, the rise of zero hours contracts and other forms of exploitative employment practices, insecure employment, minimum or no sick pay or holiday pay. We have been horrified to see bullying, sexual harassment and racism go unchallenged in such workplaces. 

We cannot afford to let this become the norm whilst multinational employers rake in the profits. That’s why local union branches have proved their willingness to help fund a Union Organiser in their local town or city. The key is to work with Trade Union Councils at a local level to rebuild trade unionism and we call upon the TUC General Council to advertise this motion to all its affiliates as soon as possible after this conference, highlighting the key sentence “We call on other national unions to explore similar relationships with local Trade Union Councils.'

Labour movement events and meetings in June/July


13th June to 9th July:  PalFest.  https://palfestsheffield.co.uk/programme/

Saturday 25th June:  Solidarity with the RMT.  11am outside Sheffield train station.  Organised by Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC).

Monday 27th June:  Commemoration of Bill Ronksley.  10am to 12 noon outside the town Hall, and then inside for refreshments and reflections on Bill's life.

Tuesday 28th June:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  Held at Trades and Labour Club, Duke Street.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Wednesday 29th June:  'The truth about Israeli Apartheid and the importance of Divestment - a UN perspective'. Michael Lynk, who has recently completed his term as United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, will summarise his report to the United Nations.  Rana Shaheen, Head of International Relations for the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, will outline the difficulties faced by workers in Palestine.  6pm to 7.30pm.  Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9345399217

Tuesday 5th July:  NHS 74th Birthday Rally.  4.30pm - 6pm outside Sheffield Town Hall.

Saturday 9th July:  Sharrow Festival:  Visit the Sheffield Cuba Solidarity stall and the ACORN stall.

Thursday 21st July:  Sheffield Left Monthly Open Meeting
.  Details to be confirmed.

Tuesday 26th July:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  Held at Trades and Labour Club, Duke Street.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Labour Party Constituency Meetings:
Brightside & Hillsborough CLP monthly meetings held 1st Thursday of the month.
South East CLP monthly meetings held 3rd Friday of the month.
Central CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Hallam CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month
Heeley CLP monthly meetings held last Thursday of the month.
 
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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