WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW?
The answer to that is, of course, "Keep going" because, although the savagery of the cuts will eventually dawn on the local population - and this is likely to be 'later rather than sooner' in Furness if past performance is anything to go by - it might just be possible to awaken a few and then a few more. It is slow, frustrating work, especially when the unions in Furness remain intransigent.
The local anti-cuts group has received assistance from the GMB which printed its posters for a public meeting - the group provided the paper - to be held at The Forum, Barrow, on the evening of Thursday 6th October. A few members have been distributing the posters and unions and community organisations have been notified. A 'street stall' on Saturday 1st October will publicise the meeting and further promote the local anti-cuts campaign.
It is interesting to note Ryan Shaw, secretary of Cumbria PCS, who had promised support for the anti-cuts campaign, appears to have hibernated and is not answering phone calls, or responding to email or text messages. It must be the way unions do (or don't do) things around here for this is exactly how Deborah Hamilton, Secretary of Cumbria branch of Unison conducts (or does not conduct) union business, the secretary of Barrow Trades Union Council never responds to communications and neither does the secretary of Barrow NUT. It has been asked "How do these useless officials remain in office?" I wish all questions were as easy to answer as this....it is because nobody else wants the job so it ends up in the hands of someone who wants the status but not the responsibility. What better set of persons could a lazy union member wish to have in place than a committee that doesn't organise regular branch meetings or pester them to campaign to protect their own pay and conditions of work?
What local trade unions and their members do not seem to realise is that when they are called upon to take any form of action to defend their jobs, pay and conditions (such as the proposed national day of action on 30th November) they are going to need the public on their side. To get that support means them being out on the street, weeks in advance, patiently explaining to the public why they are taking action - not just for themselves - but against the cuts that will affect everyone except the most wealthy. If they do not apply themselves to this task it is likely the general public will be antagonised by any union action that causes members of the public any personal inconvenience (such as schools being closed for the day or cancelled hospital appointments, for example) And this struggle against the cuts is one struggle that workers in Britain cannot afford to lose. As has already been explained in earlier postings, a one day strike may allow workers to gain some idea of their potential but, politically, is of little consequence.
Workers who will not defend themselves are easy meat for the boss class. If workers do not fight the greed of the capitalist class they will, as Marx himself put it, be degraded to one level of broken wretches past salvation. "By cowardly giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, they would certainly disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement."
K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol2, p.75
The people of Furness have certainly demonstrated over the past eighteen months that they qualify for such disqualification. Given this, there must come a time when persistently fruitless efforts to motivate them are discontinued. As of this date, I cannot envisage the anti-cuts campaign lasting beyond December.....
......but, for now, the struggle continues.
Terry McSorely, agent of our local member of parliament, John Woodcock, has written that the MP will 'not be able to attend' the public meeting. No explanation was provided.
Note: John Woodcock MP was also 'not able to attend' the previous Anti-Cuts public meeting held in March of this year.
OOPS! Last digit missing from phone number - 1405
Corrected as many distributed posters as possible even though it's most unlikely anyone will use it. Phone number required for authentication purposes so it had to be correct.