Jon Pike on the TUC.

Jon Pike’s letter in the Guardian :

Whatever the rights and wrongs of boycotting Israel, the debate in the trade unions has shown that movement in a dim light. Not one union has balloted its members. Not one union, let alone the TUC, has any moral authority in pursuit of this unwarranted exceptionalism against Israel. It’s worth speculating why the boycott supporters are so unwilling to allow members a direct vote on their proposal, in any single union. As they pursue this boycott, they express disdain for the idea that they should represent the views of their ordinary members.

Jon Pike

Hove, East Sussex

7 Responses to “Jon Pike on the TUC.”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Absolutely no argument with Jon’s sentiments, but the point needs to be made that not all unions ballotted their members because they believed that that was outwith their purposes and they would not be abiding by any such resolution if passed. Thus, the GMB has made it clear that (a) it has more important fish to fry – pay, terms and conditions, anyone?; (b) there are lots of tu movements needing support across the globe (Iran, for example); (c) such a resolution abandons their Israeli comrades, to say nothing of the blow it delivers to WB Palestinian tus working with Israeli comrades; and (d) the palestinian WB tus haven’t asked for such a boycott.

    The British trade union movement is far from monolithic, whatever the FBU and UCU would wish us to believe.

  2. johng Says:

    Perhaps the accusation that the TUC is an undemocratic and unrepresentative body will prove as popular and effective amongst trade unionists as the similar accusation levelled at the UCU…

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      The turnout at UCU elections is at most 14% these days. I think it was 10% last time. And there’s no will I can discern among activists to increase turnout. I find that very significant.

  3. modernityblog Says:

    It was noticeable that supporters of the boycott of Israelis in UCU never had the courage to put their views to the wider membership and call for a national ballot,

    And the reason is obvious, the pro-boycotters knew they would lose.

    The tactics employed by the pro-boycotters are to use the Union bureaucracy to achieve their aims, ignoring the wider membership and as a result they will eventually fail.

  4. Comrade T Says:

    As Jon Pike notes, any attempt to include the UCU membership on the question of boycott is fiercely opposed. Interestingly, when it was opened to real inclusive debate (as in the old AUT) the antizionism of UCU was rejected virtually unanimously. Indeed, so vehement was its rejection that it lead some pro-boycotters to imagine a conspiracy at some magic level beyond and within Israeli embassies.

    (Perhaps Johng can remind us how many individual branches supported the boycott? I recall now, none, zero, zilch, nada – see above).

    And one should not forget Sue B’s exclamation that the Union would be a better place of the “Zionists” all resigned.

    More recently, the hacks within the the UCU bureaucracy (johng’s “comrades”) showed just how irrelevant they were to both the membership and the issues at hand when they had to “recall” a ballot on an 8% rise. The idea that is was simply a “cock-up” was hardly inspiring.

    It is indeed a sorry state when the call for inclusion is dismissed as something reactionary (especially from a “comrade” whose own party mutters such nonsense as “democratic centralism” (although easy on the first of those terms).

    To paraphrase the (neocon) Brecht

    “After the uprising of the AUT special conference
    The Hacks of the Lecturer’s Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the union
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the union
    To dissolve the membership
    And elect another?”

  5. Absolute Observer Says:

    “will prove as popular and effective amongst trade unionists as the similar accusation levelled at the UCU”

    Love the equation: if it’s not popular and effective, it’s not true.

    Goebels couldn’t have summed it up better!

  6. Palestinian workers, unions don’t support BDS campaign « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] it all, and wonder why British boycotting union activists (because this is an activist-led boycott, not a membership led one) are so incredibly attached to the boycott […]


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