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Colin Barker

In Brief

(June 1973)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.59, June 1973, p.26.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Odd friends one picks up – Ernie Roberts, AUEW assistant gen. sec., has published Workers’ Control (Allen and Unwin, £4.25 hardback/£2.25 paper), full of long quotes from an old IS publication. Incomes Policy, Legislation and Shop Stewards, by Tony Cliff and myself. The subject of the citations? The union bureaucracies, no less. As Bro. Roberts clearly approves of us, we should perhaps comment on him. ‘Union officials’, he quotes us as saying, ‘are becoming less and less the leaders of the workers, and more their foremen.’ Yes, Bro. Roberts, very true. Anyone in doubt should have seen this official critic of union officialdom last autumn at the Fine Tubes Conference, where he sat advising the chairman against taking resolutions calling for local support committees for the strike. Opportunism, thy name is Ern....

Two welcome paperback issues: Penguin’s end-of-May list includes E.P. Thompson’s The Unknown Mayhew (£1.00) and Hobsbawm and Rude’s Captain Swing (£1.40). Other reprints readers might like to note are Wal Hannington’s Unemployed Struggles (E.P. Publishing, £3.50), David McLellan’s editing of extracts from Marx’s Grundrisse (Paladin, 50p), and Chris Searle’s The Forsaken Lover: White Words and Black People (Penguin, 40p). Masochists can writhe under The Essential Stalin: Major Theoretical Writings 1905-1952 (Croom Helm, £3.00 hardback/£1.50 paper); Lenin once called him ‘a marvellous Georgian’ – that curious expression on his Red Square mummy is him trying to eat his words.

Readers might be as sorry as I am to have missed, till now, the magazine Race Today, which at 10p a month is a good buy (from a few bookshops, ours included, or £1.60 a year from Towards Racial Justice, 184 King’s Cross Road, London WC1).

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Last updated: 10.3.2008