AngryWorkers held our planned get together in Sheffield over the August Bank Holiday weekend. There were signigficantly more comrades attending than in November 2020, with something like 40% being first-timers. It gave us all a chance to get to know each other better face-to- face, have a great time together and enjoy Bob’s incredible pasta putanesca. Besides that, we also had good discussion about the recent past, present and future of working class struggle and the role of AngryWorkers as a collective of militants.
Over the weekend, discussions were had on a series of topics. Look out on our site in the next few weeks for texts from the weekend.
* Current moment
Our first discussion was around the current situation in Britain where capitalist society is facing a ‘perfect storm’ – the continuing global crisis, the Covid pandemic and the dislocations caused by Brexit. There was a wide-ranging discussion covering the various developments that had affected the working class and also the responses by the British state, where massive interventions had taken place to preserve capitalism’s viability. The meeting agreed that further inquiry was needed to further explore the UK’s perceived “labour shortages” in numerous areas of the economy, from logistics and food production to social care, retail and hospitality.
A review session was held which attempted a ‘stock-taking’ of AngryWorkers’ recent activities. As the supporting text said, this was to move “towards an understanding of what has been done well, what could have been done better and maybe what should have been done but wasn’t. (Missed opportunities).”
In that spirit the meeting took a look at:
– How the ‘Editorial’ articles on the site had worked (we decided to change the name of this as ‘editorial’ implied a common organisational position)
– The commencement of Podcast production – 2 to date (good response so far and would be good to do more)
– The continuing monthly Zoom Reading Group (which we felt had been productive and we would need a new series of books in the New Year, perhaps more closely linked to the areas of interest/further research)
– Internal discussions that had arisen, sometimes flowing from items posted on the website and sometimes emerging from responses by comrades involved in group activities
– International work had been ongoing, including the discussing and sharing of information with comrades in other areas and a number of themed zoom meetings involving AngryWorkers supporters and comrades based in other countries (China, India, US, Brazil)
– Involvement with strikes had been a crucial part of our work. During this session there was discussion about our interventions in struggles at Heathrow, Croydon, Tower Hamlets and around the NHS pay dispute. We discussed how the development of the Health Workers’ network was going and how we can move forward given the lacklustre workers’ response in general to industrial action).
Comrades also agreed that there had been a number of struggles where comrades had been unable to make meaningful contact with the workers. There were further discussions on previous experiences with and future prospects for Solidarity Networks (SolNets).
* Liverpool UCU strike
A paper was presented by a comrade involved in a lengthy struggle against redundancies at Liverpool University. The meeting felt that the paper should be finalised, distributed further and used as a basis for a meeting aimed at also involving contacts from elsewhere in the Higher Education sector.
*** Future plans
Comrades came away from the weekend with many plans for the future all aimed at strengthening our discussions and involvement with fellow workers.
Bristol public meeting to constitute a group there: https://workerswildwest.wordpress.com/2021/08/31/class-power-in-bristol-discussion-and-making-plans-with-the-angryworkers/
Heathrow workers initiative meeting to help develop a solidarity network in the area: https://heathrowworkerspower.wordpress.com/2021/09/04/heathrow-meeting/
Local ‘Class Power’ book presentations, possibly involving other discussions will be held in various venues during the next 4 months. Details for these will be advertised on the website in due course.
* Broader gatherings
International Summercamp 2022
Discussions will be held with International contacts to arrange this event somewhere in Europe
This is a longer-term plan with further discussions to be held on whether a ‘militant workers’ meeting might be held as an intermediate step.
* Shared study
Comrades also identified that it would be useful, depending on resources to systematically explore issues such as Labour migration affecting UK, the stresses and strains between UK and the ‘big powers’ (primarily EU, US and China), and the arrangements around major capitalist investments such as HS2 or the planned new electric car battery plant.
* Reading group
It was agreed that we postpone the Serge ‘Memoirs’ discussion to October.
Wednesday 13th October 7pm. Memoirs of a Revolutionary, by Victor Serge.
We also plan a series of readings/discussion of articles from the Operaismo tradition in Italy 1960s and 1970s.
10 future articles for publication were identified with nominated volunteer authors. These will appear at intervals after the publication of the text on Northern Ireland that will be posted in the first half of September.
The meeting agreed to meet up again for a weekend early next year. Once again we hope that more new comrades will come along who have become involved with us in the next few months. Please contact us about joining us at any of our meetings or activities. If you have other ideas or would just like to find out more then send us an email.