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Belfast: Successful public meeting on the future of trade unionism

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Sunday April 13, 2008 19:49author by Belfast WSM Report this post to the editors

Thursday April 3rd

Jointly organised by Organise!, WSM and National Union of Journalists
Report from Organise! member

Thursday nights NUJ fringe meeting at the Ulster Peoples College in Belfast was attended by around 20 people. Some delegates of the NUJ, members of Organise! and the WSM and other individuals.

Donnacha DeLong read extracts from Rudolf Rockers "The London Years" and "Anarcho-Syndicalism" and highlighted the all too often forgotten but nonetheless important place of Rocker in the Union movement in Britain, particularly among Jewish workers in Londons East End.

Jason Brannigan spoke briefly on the history and development of the Union movement, including revolutionary and anarcho-syndicalist unions, and the problems with the current Trade Union movement. Asking how the ideas of Rocker are relevant to workers today, particularly with anarcho-syndicalist unions either not existing in many countries or where they do exist being quite small, Jason argued that we return to the concept of solidarity and working class self activity. It was argued that anarcho-syndicalist ideas and methods of organising remain relevant even given the absence of an anarcho-syndicalist union movement in Britain and Ireland and that building solidarity among workers based on their workplaces and extending solidarity across trades union divisions was the key to creating a movement that fought to improve the lot of workers in the here and now while aiming to replace capitalism with a society based on the needs of all as opposed to greed of a few.

Chekov Feeney from the WSM in Dublin then spoke about Anarchism and the media. He gave a humorous account of media representations of anarchists in the south at the time of the May Day 2004 demonstration in Dublin and addressed issues around the use of both independent and mainstream media by anarchists.

The talks were followed by 45 minutes of interesting discussion around issues relating to workplace organising and the media. Discussion was continued on a more informal level in the pub afterwards (up until the band came on and made sensible discussion almost impossible).

An audio recording of the event will be avaliable shortly

audio nuj_2.mp3 10.75 Mb

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