Sunday, 23 May 2010

Adventurist antics: getting a few facts straight

SWP members are, misguidedly, seeking to justify their unjustifiable silliness at BA-Unite negotiations yesterday. Judging by comments I've seen on Facebook and Lenin's Tomb (sorry, I'm not giving his dishonest tripe the honour of a link - you can find it yourself!), there are some dodgy deceits and dubious distortions circulating.

I was at yesterday's Right to Work conference, which directly preceded the 'protest'. It was due to finish at 5pm. I left shortly after 4pm, but at no point when I was present was this action proposed or even mentioned by anyone. It's therefore important to stress it wasn't an initiative that came out of the conference.

I'd estimate 75% of conference attendees were SWP members. This wasn't a broad-based event with the SWP at its core. It was a 'SWP plus' conference. I would be very surprised if the non-members at the conference had anything whatsoever to do with the stunt later. Any claims this WASN'T 'just' the SWP should be treated with caution.

I'd also be amazed if any BA cabin crew staff were involved - there was a cabin crew worker who spoke early in the day, then had to leave immediately after speaking. Neither the SWP or Right to Work has established the kind of relationship with strikers that could enable a genuinely collaborative solidarity action. It was substitutionism, pure and simple.

It would also be wrong to suppose this was newer, younger members getting carried away (as some have claimed). It's clear from photos and video that full-time party workers were there, probably en masse. It therefore appears to have happened with the approval (perhaps active involvement) of SWP Central Committee members, who obviously instruct full-timers in what to do.


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