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THE WORKERS PARTY

No2Nato: trade unions and war

We caught guest speaker Andy Hudd of ASLEF outside the venue before his speech at last Saturday’s No2Nato rally.

Andy Hudd chairs the Workers Party Trade Union Group

Andy and trade unionists like him are under sustained pressure from the warmongers. Inside the trade union movement are those who seek desperately to serve the interests of British imperialism rather than the interests of working class members. Some do so because they believe it will make the Labour party look credible and fit to take power, others do it because they sold themselves long ago to the police and security services. The British state, through its agents and servants hopes to bully the labour movement into the same position they have bullied every member of parliament – one of subservience, where everyone is forced to wear a Ukraine pin badge and forget about those murdered in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa 2014.

Amongst those lobbying hard to send weapons to the Ukraine regime, a regime that allows its people to be cannon fodder in Nato’s war on Russia are those like Paul Mason with known links to undermine freedom of speech and the radical press. Mason and others have shamefully declared “We demand… the gifting to Ukraine of all the surplus UK military equipment due to be replaced, especially the 79 Challenger tanks, 170 Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, all Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, Typhoon fighter aircraft – to help Ukraine win more quickly, with less suffering” (Ukraine Solidarity Campaign). There is nobody who seriously believes Ukraine can win.

Trade Unions and War

The Labour Affairs magazine reviewed the various positions taken by a number of trade unions at the beginning of February. Their observations are insightful and we reproduce a section of them below:

“The British trade unions are in a difficult position.  The political establishment and its powerful media outlets say that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was an unprovoked attack.  Without doubt the vast majority of union members will have accepted that account.  If you rely entirely on the mainstream media to form a view of the Ukrainian conflict how could you think otherwise?  Indeed, the executive committees of the unions may broadly share the views of their members.”

“The United States has for many years been worried about the revival of Russia under Putin and more specifically about the strong commercial relationship that had been developing between Russia and Germany.  This developing commercial relationship would have undermined America’s raison d’être in Europe.  The US set out to destroy it by expanding NATO eastwards up to Russia’s borders and provoking the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  There is no doubt that the American policy has been very successful.  Russia has been provoked into a war with Ukraine that it did not want.  But, more important from the US perspective, commercial relations between Russia and Europe have been terminated for at least a generation.”  

“This context has rarely been mentioned by any of the unions fighting to defend their members’ standard of living, yet it is unclear that it will be possible for unions to defend their members’ standard of living if the war continues.  The sanctions that Britain and the US and their NATO allies announced against Russia are damaging the European and British working classes much more than they are damaging Russia…”

“Will the unions dare to raise the issue of NATO’s role in this war?  It would be a brave move, given the political parties’ and the media’s uncritical support for NATO’s role in this war.  But it may be necessary if they are to successfully defend their members’ standard of living.”

“If they do dare raise the issue of NATO’s role, they should be prepared for the backlash.”

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