Sunday, 1 July 2012

History tells us otherwise

Here's a link to a letter from me which appeared in yesterday's Guardian:

As you'll see it is a rebutall of Simon Jenkins suggestion in the Friday edition of the paper (link below) that there was some form of moral and historical equivalence between the behaviour of Barclays Bank and British trade unionism.

Jenkins' piece:

I won't labour the point that I made in my short, terse response, but it is plaintively obvious that British trade unionism (with all of its inherent historical and contemporary faults) serves entirely different aims and ambitions from that within the rotten core of modern financial services.

As a simple illustration of the deep faultline in Jenkins' logic I spent a highly rewarding day yesterday in the company of fellow and sister black trade unionists (pictured above) who had come together to attend a day school organised by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU).

We came together in the Birmingham office of UNITE (hence the TGWU banner in the background) to discuss how best black trade unionists could serve the goals of the UK labour movement by ensuring the wider interests of black workers and communities were at the centre of what UK trade unions campaigned on and fought for.

The concerns around lingering racism, high levels of unemployment in black communities, attacks on employment and trade union rights etc., were discussed in detail as were approaches to community activism based on an analysis of succesful campaigns of the US civil rights movement.

I am not sure where the Barclays Bank investment bankers were yesterday, perhaps Simon Jenkins could find out, but I am pretty sure that it wasn't spent given up time voluntarily and willingly in the goal of shaping and building solidarity with communities in the UK increasingly exposed to economic and social exclusion woven by the ugly sisters of Coalition policy and the raw greed of corporate financiers.

In Solidarity


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