Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, May 07, 2007

Alan Johnson - a New Labour lieutenant of Capital

Former trade union bureaucrat Alan Johnson, standing to be deputy leader of New Labour, has recieved £5,000 towards his campaign from Baron Sainsbury of Turville, an old Etonion billionaire owner of the supermarket chain Sainsbury's and one of the many rich people who have given money to the Labour Party and been rewarded with a position of political power (Baron Sainsbury sits in the House of Lords). On the one hand I suppose this is a beautiful marriage of labour and capital - a partnership that epitomises the whole ideology of New Labour. In return, Alan Johnson now has this to say to those in the labour and trade union movement: 'The notion that Labour was in the pocket of the unions, or vice versa, did damage to both' - no doubt Johnson is proud of the fact that after ten years of New Labour, the Tory anti-trade laws remain in place and trade union rights remain incredibly weak compared to Europe. However, despite this, Johnson wants Trade Union leaders to be even more loyal to Brown than they were to Blair, despite the fact that Brown is showing no signs of letting up in his attack on public sector pay and conditions at work. 'Labour ministers shouldn't be made to feel like recalcitrant mill owners' by Trade Union leaders who 'must do their bit' towards creating a harmonious relationship to New Labour. But surely if Alan Johnson no longer wanted to be made to feel like a recalcitrant mill owner in the future, one option might be to refuse to take money from recalcitrant supermarket owners - and to support those resisting Gordon Brown's attack on public sector workers' pay?

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