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International Socialism, Autumn 1967



Letter to Readers


From International Socialism, No.30 (1st series), Autumn 1967, p.23.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The dispute at Roberts-Arundel, Stockport (reported in The Notebook) is only one of a number of a similar kind that have occurred over the past year – for example, at Myton’s, Sunley’s, Square Grip and so on (the pattern of disputes was discussed in IS 28’s editorial, Taking Stock of the Wage Freeze). They are some of the modest fruits of the Government’s wages policy as well as reflections of the intensified competition within the world and domestic economies: in the Stockport case, the tactic, of US capital is crucially involved. Apart from the political significance of such disputes, basic issues of trade unionism are at stake – indeed, the rhetoric of reformist trade unionism is under challenge. We hope to carry further reports on such disputes wherever our readers are involved for the perspective evolved in the experience of such disputes should guide socialist activity in the coming period – even if local features seem to make each dispute ‘unique’ and not part of any general pattern. In addition, we hope a rather fuller analysis of the management campaign that temporarily defeated the steward organisation at ENV factory (North London engineering) will be possible in IS. In the meantime, readers should try to help the strikers at Roberts-Arundel in whatever ways they find possible (some of the ways are outlined by Colin Barker in The Notebook).

Another result of the general decline in real wages over the period of the Freeze has been the creation or strengthening of local tenants’ associations in a wide variety of places – Haringey, Sheffield (cf. The Notebook), Islington (reported in The Notebook, IS 28), Colchester, and, a hitherto unorganised area, York. There must be many others, and we would be grateful for reports by any readers involved (the next press date is 20 October sharp). These could be important areas of activity, and – to use a pompous phrase – transmission belts that can carry people from opposition to a particular practice of a landlord or Council (and rents are certainly not the sole issue) to a fuller political consciousness that incorporates the work-place as well. Both issues of local bureaucracy, the role of finance and interest rates, Government policy and, in certain key areas, race, are involved. Anyone who sits on the sidelines and says nothing can be done is abandoning the major opportunity that presents itself for socialist activity.

Our contributors this time are already known to regular readers. The previous contributions of Jim Higgins and Chris Harman can be seen, respectively, in IS 14 and 27, and IS 21 and 24.

P.S. One Northern Young Socialist branch (normal attendance of about 10) attracted a meeting of 60 on the simple slogan of ‘Justice for Jagger.’

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