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Grass Roots Left meets

On Saturday 31 March the elected leaders of Grass Roots Left, a national rank and file grouping in Unite, met in London, writes Paul Silson

The first point up for discussion was the Open Letter from the Communist Party of Britain, which proposed unions withhold their funding from Labour in order to strengthen their demand that the party starts supporting workers’ struggles and unions’ demands. It suggested that if this doesn’t produce the required result the unions break from Labour and form a new party.

It was agreed that this was an interesting step forward and GRL broadly welcomes it. We agreed to watch what further developments take place and to participate as appropriate.

After the victory of the sparks, a motion of support to the construction rank and file committee was passed. The motion notes “the very powerful sentiments against the agency employers and that a priority must be given to rooting them out of our industry. No agencies wanted, direct employment only.”

The motion also specifically supports Mick Dooley in his struggle against the UCATT bureaucracy in expelling him and preventing him from taking part in General Secretary’s election.

Tanker drivers
Alongside this, GRL also proposes to make contact with, and offer support to the tanker drivers in their battle. At the moment we do not have any contacts among the drivers, a real disadvantage compared to the situation on the sites, where rank and file bulletins and blogs were already in existence. Nevertheless, once a campaign is started and efforts are made through oil refinery building site activists, we are confident we can make an impression and help them to victory.

Following George Galloway’s victory in Bradford West, GRL is sending a message of congratulations. While some members have serious criticisms of Galloway, it was agreed that the vote of 56 per cent – more than all the opposition votes combined – and a 10,000 majority marked a truly remarkable by-election victory in a traditionally safe Labour seat.

This must be seen as massive indictment of the Labour Party. It is noted that Galloway’s victory was on the back of principled policies such as “Tax the rich”, “No to the privatisation of the NHS”, “End attacks on pensions, jobs and services” and “Bring the troops home” – a clear message to the ConDem coalition that people are not prepared to accept their attacks without a fight.

Other messages of solidarity are to be sent to Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish and all other trade unionists in struggle against austerity.

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