The tremendous struggle as the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight excepted, we are clearly in the dead zone for political activity at the moment. Left newspapers seem to be on holiday, even where they are being published at the same rate as other times of the year, and with the exception of the CPGB’s Communist University, no major events are organised until September.
Even this post is shorter (and earlier) than normal, as I am off on my hols tomorrow. Apparently the pattern of the school year was set not by the demands of agriculture, which meant large numbers of absences more in September and October when children worked on farms, but by the professional year, which included a long break in the summer months. From this other jobs followed, and the pattern of the year is established which the organised Left has to work with.
Politically, I am looking forward to September and the resumption of activity once again. It makes more sense to take stock from this point of the calendar than any other given the close season now upon us. I think what sticks out about the past year is the resurrection of militant action, tactics and attitudes that we have seen at Lindsey and other refineries and power plants, Visteon, Linamar and now Vestas.
The demand for nationalisation has become a commonplace one (even dangerously respectable, as the Lib Dems seem to be advocating it for Vestas). While in many workplaces a defeatist attitude still rears its ugly head in the form of pay and hours cuts and negotiated redundancies, but the heads of many workers have been raised by the developments so far this year. The aim of the Government and employers that workers bear the brunt of the crisis has been made more difficult since last August.
I would like to see the Left hit the ground running in September, with the announcement of a conference to establish an improved follow up electoral front to No2EU-Yes to Democracy, more grassroots industrial action supported by the Left and by bodies such as the National Shop Stewards Network and avoiding the time wasting distractions of never-ending anti-war demos with dwindling attendances and permanent anti-fascist campaigning.
I am optimistic though, well, more so than last August at least. While I head to Bournemouth tomorrow, I’ll leave you with Bob Crow at the Vestas occupation. I will be back next week, talking about sex, drugs and genetically modified fish-monkeys.