THE TUC CONGRESS yesterday managed to avoid an open split over the issue of Palestine, by allowing two motions to be debated, voted on, and carried.
The FBU motion called for a boycott of all Israeli goods, while the TUC General Council motion called for a boycott aimed at goods from the illegal settlements and at companies involved in the occupation and the wall.
The General Council’s motion emerged out of a split within the council over the FBU motion on Wednesday night.
This row continued and prevented congress beginning on time on Thursday morning.
The General Council motion was then produced to prevent a right-wing walk-out over the issue by limiting any boycott to the settlements, and letting Israel off the hook.
The FBU then voted against the General Council statement because it correctly felt that it would be used to try to halt the development of a complete boycott of Israeli goods.
Such a boycott would cripple Israel and bring it to a halt, since the Zionist state is an unviable entity that lives off billions of dollars of US aid.
The GMB, however, refused to preserve what unity there was at the Congress by voting against the FBU resolution.
News Line urges the entire workers movement to take up the call of the FBU, and to implement its passed TUC Congress motion, to impose a complete boycott of all Israeli goods and services, and thus make a real contribution to the liberation of Palestine, and the development of an independent, secular and socialist Palestinian state.
This will see the ending of all of the settlements, and see east Jerusalem as its capital, with all Palestinian refugees having the right to return.
Israel will never concede the state of Palestine. It will have to be fought for and won. A complete international boycott of all Israeli goods and services is a vital weapon in this struggle.
This is why the FBU motion brought the TUC Congress to the point of a split.
However, the fault line through the unions at the TUC Congress does not just relate to the issue of Palestine.
Brown’s speech on Tuesday, with its insistence that we are ‘working together’, flattered union leaderships like those of Unite and GMB by giving them the idea that they are indeed in some kind of partnership with Brown and Mandelson. However it cut no ice at all with the civil servants, firefighters and other trade unions such as the RMT, CWU and even the huge Unison trade union.
They know that far from working together, they are in fact some of the principle targets of the government’s slashing cuts programme to eliminate some £175bn of government debt.
The leaders of the industrial trade unions are meanwhile in bed with the government and appealing for aid to keep some industries going, and pledging that they will do nothing to rock the government’s boat. This is why they refuse to fight for the nationalisation of collapsing manufacturing industries.
The public sector trade unions face losing hundreds of thousands of members in the period ahead. Many of their members are already arguing that they should no longer pay the political levy to the Labour Party, since Labour represents the bankers.
The TUC split is deepening. Unite and the GMB are supporting the Labour government while the remaining trade unions are being driven into fighting it.
Some unions are already discussing ending the political levy to the Labour Party and organising a trade union alliance to fight the government’s pay and job cuts.
This winter will see the class struggle flare up in Britain. The working class will be faced with bringing down the Brown government and going forward to a workers’ government and socialism.