Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Ealing points the way

On Monday night John McDonnell and I spoke on behalf of LEAP at a packed meeting in Ealing on the financial crisis. The meeting 'The Real Issues of the World Financial Crash' was called by Ealing Trades Union Council and the Convention of the Left.

The meeting was everything that a good meeting should be: participatory, comradely, well-chaired, wide-ranging yet focused, and with the right balance between theoretical discussion and planning for action.

There was also a varied range of constructive contributions about what is happening in the crisis and what we can do about it. The discussion ranged from the paucity of the minimum wage (and Ed Balls' recent comments about the London living wage), through the effect of tumbling shares on pensions, the attacks on jobs (including the disgraceful actions of the Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham), and how in Germany the privatisation of rail has been put off, while in Argentina pension funds have been nationalised.

One suggestion I particularly liked was to create spoof posters of the grotesque DWP campaign on 'benefit thieves'. What about 'tax thieves - we're closing in' with pictures of Branson, Green, et al?

Another concrete idea was to picket or occupy banks that were repossessing people's homes - or acting as human shields in people's homes against bailiffs. Such actions need to be replicated across the country - and it's no surprise that the Poll Tax campaign was invoked.

Another major task - discussion of which peppered the meeting - was how to get our unions to start fighting. There was agreement that this needed grassroots mobilisation to push the bureaucracies into action . . . or out.

If you would like a speaker from LEAP at your meeting, email leap@l-r-c.org.uk.

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