London Education Workers' Group: we can challenge union divisions
At the 12th September rally in support of the striking Tower Hamlets College teachers leaflets were distributed by the recently formed London Education Workers Group. The leaflet called for solidarity with the striking workers. In particular, and in contrast to the sterile bombast of the union speakers at the rally, the leaflet emphasised the need to go beyond union divisions "The most important thing is to continue spreading the struggle, to continue getting support and solidarity from other colleges facing cuts and anyone else next in the firing line. Part of this means going beyond the boundaries set by membership of different unions and professions. Having meetings open to all staff regardless of union affiliation increases our strength as workers and keeps actions under our control. We must seek out each other's support, even if that means not waiting for the unions to make those links for us and doing it ourselves." We wholeheartedly agree with this approach! In the period to come it is vitally important that the working class is able to wrest control of its struggles from the unions.
It's clear that the LEWG is a product of the search for forms of organisation which have a tendency to go beyond the unions. It says in the leaflet "The London Education Workers Group was established so that education workers throughout London can come together to oppose the coming assault on education. We reject the division of workers into separate unions and recognise that politicians, political parties, and union bureaucrats have nothing to offer us. Instead, direct action must be our weapon. Power comes from the grass roots and we, as education workers, must democratically and collectively controlled our own organizations". The leaflet also looks beyond purely immediate concern towards longer term, more political goals: "In the long term, it is only through opposition to both capitalism and the state that we can solve, once all for all, the problems that face us as education workers". We support this initiative and helped to distribute the leaflet at the rally and at a meeting held in another college where delegates from the THC strike had been invited to speak.
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