THE leader of one of the UK’s biggest trade unions has had his vote in the Labour leadership election rejected. His voting paper has been returned to him, presumably along with his £3.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, is the leader of a union that is at the sharp end of the struggle against the Tory privatisation offensive that threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also their welfare cuts that are making the life of the poor and the disabled a living hell.
Not just that, the PCS is one of the unions that the Tories have set out to crush and destroy, taking away the automatic deduction of unions dues to try and ruin the union, as well as making clear that one of the first targets of their new anti-unions will be the PCS.
Excluding Serwotka from the vote is a declaration of solidarity with the Tory government by the Labour Party right wing! Serwotka is among 3,200 people who have so far been purged, and prevented from voting in the leadership election after signing up as supporters, with many more expected to follow.
Labour MP Ian Austin has urged that ‘tens of thousands’ of people should be barred. The right wing definitely don’t like to see the working class coming into politics. At that point the champions of democracy become its butchers with their hysterical purge politics. In fact, Miliband’s plan to move to an individual ballot for the leader that would be open to supporters of Labour values was welcomed by Labour’s right wing as a move to knife the trade union bloc vote. They hailed this prospect as the new era of democracy.
What they did not reckon with, is that the move to knife the bloc vote was coinciding with a move to the left by the working class against austerity measures in the UK and all over Europe. Hundreds of thousands in the UK have seized the opportunity to pay £3 so that they could support Labour and help to decide who should be the leader.
If they were going to get Burnham, Cooper or Kendal, the right wing would have remained supporters of the widest possible democracy. However the masses have registered to vote for Corbyn. The right wing were aghast and are now hysterical at Miliband’s ‘mistake’, which they all initially cheered – they didn’t reckon on the working class exercising its democratic rights to bust up their ballot.
When that happened, they metamorphosed in days, from being supporters of democracy to enthusiasts for mass purges, and for splits if Corbyn becomes leader, and tries to stop them supporting the Tories. Their democracy was a bourgeois democracy dedicated to preserving capitalism – as soon as this was threatened, its content, a massive hatred of the trade unions and the working class rushed to the fore.
They want freedom from the working class and the trade unions because they intend to support the Tory austerity measures and are prepared to form a national government with the Tories should the latter come unstuck. They are already preparing legal challenges should Corbyn win, and a coup to split the Labour Party for good measure, modelled on the SDLP split in the early 1980s that kept the hated Thatcher government in office for years!
The result of the election is to be announced on September 12th, one day before the start of the most important TUC Congress for many years. A Corbyn victory means that delegates will be meeting in a situation where the power of the working class has manifested itself inside the Labour Party, and where the right wing of the Labour Party will be organising a split to follow on from where the Gang of Four left off to keep Cameron, Osborne and the other bankers’ men and women in office to create austerity havoc.
TUC delegates must put down a motion for the conference that the TUC must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism. Now is the time to act decisively. We urge workers and youth to lobby the TUC on its first day on Sunday 13 September to urge delegates to act for the working class and to call an indefinite general strike.