The biennial delegates’ conference of the NZ Rail Maritime Transport union is currently underway in Wellington. Among the matters being considered by delegates is disaffiliation from the Labour Party. The RMT is one of the small handful of unions currently affiliated to Labour, an affiliation which took place following the collapse of the left social-democratic Alliance Party.
The disaffiliation motion comes from the Lyttelton branch, one which has been in several significant stoushes with the Lyttelton Port Company in recent years. As we’ve noted on this blog, and previously in print publications such as The Spark and revolution, the ‘conventional’ Trotskyist analysis that radicalism in the working class would be expressed through the unions and then taken through the unions into the Labour Party was and remains wrong.
The Labour-union links simply provided a conduit for the bourgeois economic and political ideas of Labour to infect the unions and keep them subordinated to Labour and thus to capital. Radicalisation in the unions, far from leading to attempts to reform Labour, lead to breaks with Labour as a capitalist party.
Below are links to some of the articles we have written on why unions should not support Labour.