Friday, July 29, 2011
The anarchist (broadly speaking) critique of mainstream trade unions is well known, and valid. Big unions are arbiters and enforcers of social peace, supporters of the Labour Party, which is part of the system of electoral liberal democracy, and as such a reinforcement of business as usual. They are a neo-liberal force, a partner to normalising the market, wage labour, money, and jobs.
Is there a structure and scale at which unions are no longer representative and participatory? Is it a question of keeping small and grassroots, as if this is the only way to be worker-lead and radical? A series of branches, conveners, reps, a wider regional council? Doesn’t this exist already? In many ways, the criticisms of big unions are self-contradictory.