Monday, July 04, 2005

It is very easy for those on the left to sink into defeatism and despondency. For instance, the feeling that the trade unions are hemmed in by their bureaucracies and false loyalties, that strikes are a relic of the 1970's and the defeat of the NUM was the death rattle of 'old labour' trade unionism. The cynicism of the electorate to politicians who have arrived at a middle ground concensus is manipulated and portrayed by the media to be voter apathy, without any real analysis about why people are disillusioned. It is easy to slip into the feeling that everyone has accepted the law of the free market, that trade unions are no longer relevant because we've got a national minimum wage and that talk of socialism is confined to far off third world regimes in South America.

Well, I know the Live 8 stuff was about a rock concert, but as skuds points out, and he was there, it is difficult to imagine that the people who were there were not positively affected by the experience. Certainly the tens of thousands marching in Edinburgh are not there just because some pop star told them it was going to be fun. As for the labour movement, it is not dead, nor even sleeping. All across the world, every day, trade unions are fighting for workers' rights. As Eric Lee points out, the fact that the mainstream press and 24-hour news channels don't even murmur the word 'union' doesn't mean nothing is happening. So, if they won't tell you what's going on, get out there and look for it yourself. Go to LabourStart a couple of days a week, and while you are there, click on the UK site in the left hand column. Hopefully it will cheer up your week... it certainly lifts my spirits.