Educate, Agitate, Organise! Morning Star event at #TUC2022


“It’s great to see us (the trade unions) fighting back, and long may it continue.”

Jane Stewart, Unite the Union member

A lively Morning Star fringe meeting at #TUC2022 entitled ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’ looked at the Labour Movement Media’s Role in the Fight for a New Deal on Tuesday, writes Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook.

Chairing the event, Carolyn Jones opened by contrasting the role of the Morning Star as our movement’s daily paper with that of other dailies which are currently more interested in attacking workers taking industrial action than covering the issues trade union members face in their lives each day.

First speaker Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) General Secretary Sarah Woolley highlighted the need to tackle the myth perpetuated by much of the corporate-owned media that giving workers a decent pay rise was to blame for inflation.

This myth was just one example of why we need to work out new ways to communicate with people across communities and explain the truth about the vital role trade unions can play in our economy and society. This means getting union members’ “real life experiences and struggles out there.”

Dave McCrossen, The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) Deputy General Secretary, explained why it was so vital for the Labour movement to have a voice like the Morning Star in the current moment of deep crisis.

Arguing that “we are facing crisis after crisis,” but the Government has no answers, he illustrated why we urgently need to be aware that the Tories are now going after what little rights workers and their unions have left.

This means that we need to stand united against these attacks and organise the unorganised, building on “the real appetite for change that is out there.”

Jane Stewart, Unite the Union EC member, highlighted the union’s continued support for the Morning Star, and the paper’s important role in covering the numerous successful recent industrial disputes of Unite and other unions, concluding that “it’s great to see us (the trade unions) fighting back, and long may it continue.”

Kevin Courtney, National Education Union (NEU) General Secretary, said in a powerful contribution that mass organisations, including trade unions, need to understand how wide our potential is to change public consciousness despite the overwhelming hostility of the right-wing media.

He also spoke on the recent NEU preliminary ballot, which took place over 23,400 schools. An indicative ballot of 261,522 teachers in the NEU found 86 per cent supported strike action on a 62 per cent turnout. A separate ballot of support staff had a turnout of 68 per cent, and 78 per cent said they would vote to strike.

Appealing to the audience, he said “we need you to tell the truth and support our campaign,” which is about defending education’s future.

He concluded by praising the Morning Star as a vital voice for standing up to racism and the unity of the working class.

Morning Star Editor Ben Chacko concluded the event by showing that the labour movement mustn’t limit our vision – or support for anti-Tory resistance movements – at a time when Jeremy Hunt and his chums in the corporate media are trying to argue for a massive new wave of austerity.

They are “piling on another round of crippling cuts,” which will hit already completely overstretched public services, at a time when food banks are normalised and benefit claimants are demonised.

He concluded by assuring attendees that the Morning Star will not only stand by our unions and all those resisting the Tory offensive, but also for the systemic alternative and transformative policies that we need.

The ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’ fringe event at #TUC2022, hosted by the Morning Star on October 18th, 2022. Photo credit Labour Outlook.

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