Bryce Edward’s issued a class challenge to politicians and the Left in The Guardian this weekend, Matt McCarten has answered…
He’ll publish stories on Martyn Bradbury’s Daily Blog, use a social media team to disseminate it further, publish their names, photographs, home address and phone numbers. “I am going to be quite hardline on this,” he says, “and I know there will be some pushback.”
The words of a warrior back at the coalface. McCarten, former New Labour founder, Alliance Party president and leader, Mana and Maori Party insider, Labour party chief of staff and Unite Union creator has set up another union.
His One Union aims to take up the cases of unrepresented low-wage workers in small businesses. It has two offshoots: it has consumed the Migrant Workers’ Association, probably the most significant of a handful of campaigning migrants rights groups, and McCarten has also set up Utu – his direct action squad in the red truck.
He says he has about 40 volunteers lined up, with veteran Unite organiser Joe Carolan as ‘captain of the guard’, with another 30 primed to run the name-and-shame social media. The idea came to him, he says, after first considering constituting a French Revolution-style Court of the People.
He expects he’ll be charged with vigilantism, like the judge-and-jury types who pursue paedophiles. He has an answer for that: he’d go after paedophiles too if they could make a small payment, never admit their guilt, be allowed to retain anonymity and continue as they did before.
…the activist left can either continue to squabble on social media over pure temple mantra purity tests or they can actually go straight to the economic frontline of exploitation and make a stand there with all the solidarity that generates.
Toxic political polarisation is coming, to inoculate ourselves on the activist Left we need to do less infighting on social media and more direct action alongside one another.
That is where Matt is taking One Union, because that is where the fight is.
Larger more middle class Unions fight for their members already well padded work conditions, One Union is alongside other working class unions in fighting not just for those exploited, but against the economic system that creates that exploitation in the first place.
This is where the fight line begins.
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