Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 in bureaucrats

Whether they're trade union bureaucrats, Labour Party stooges or just desperate to become one of the above, those who claim to "lead" the working class are parasites. Aside from having entirely oppositional interests to our own, making sell-outs an inevitability rather than an exception, they also tend to be really fucking annoying.

In honour of these cretinous gobshites, here's a quick run down of the top 10 bureaucratic wastes of space who plagued us in 2011.

10. Liam Burns

Having only recently come into the role of National Union of Students President, Liam Burns hasn't really had much time to flaunt his bureaucratic credentials. At any rate, he was never going to match Aaron Porter this early on. He's given it a bloody good go, though, saying he wouldn't support strikes "if it affects our final year assessment and ability to graduate" before threatening to withdraw support for action over pensions because "there is no need for further or escalated action if employers are willing to return to the table and find an acceptable solution." Outing himself as a scab only seven months into the job is pretty good going.

9. Joe Anderson

It might be just me, having the misfortune of him as leader of my City Council, but Joe Anderson has really gotten on my tits this year. A self-proclaimed "socialist," he's currently overseeing the several hundred million pounds of cuts to jobs and services in Liverpool, yet still had the cheek to lead an anti-cuts march in February - because he was denied the chance to speak at a previous trade union march!

There is some satisfaction in the fact that, since his little moment in the sun, his actions now face protests at every opportunity. Most recently, his attempt to belittle a protester against Francis Maude at a demonstration outside the Conservative Business Forum was drowned out with cries of "scum," and he felt so intimidated by hecklers at a council meeting that he cried assault - even though he was never touched.

8. Sunny Hundal

Neither a bureaucrat nor a Labour stooge, Sunny definitely comes into the "wannabe" category. I've previously written of my utter contempt for the man and his risible attempts at political analysis, whilst others have explored his credentials as a scab. But being a piss-poor writer, a self-aggrandising liberal and all-round annoying aren't what got him on here. After all, Lisa Ansell isn't on this list.

No, the reason Sunny's on this list is because he's an utterly venomous cunt. As he proved when his reaction to the Telegraph's hateful exposure of a member of Brighton Solidarity Federation, nearly costing his job, was to sneer and applaud. The reason? Because the victim of the exposé had said some nasty things about him on Twitter. In essence, "if you want a vision of communism, imagine a boot stamping on Sunny Hundal's face, forever." Which, apparently, justifies being outed, smeared and having your job put at risk for the "crime" of being an active anarcho-syndicalist.

As Sunny later tweeted that anybody who didn't vote for the Alternative Vote "deserves a beating," and failed to get the irony, his own logic dictates that we can be smug and self-satisfied if he's ever carted off to a gulag and worked to death. For being a complete bell-end.

7. Philip Parkin

Parkin is the General Secretary of Voice. He stands apart from all other union bureaucrats because Voice, for "education professionals," is a scab union. They don't take industrial action as a matter of principle and you can gather that people join the union largely because they are ideological scabs. An utterly vile, contemptible scumbag in charge of a contemptible and scummy organisation.

6. Nick Lowles

The main figure in Searchlight and Hope not Hate isn't a bureaucrat as such, but in collaborating with the state and making an "anti-fascist" argument for government bans and repression he plays at least as reactionary a role. Responsible for re-defining "standing up to fascists" as "tying ribbons around lamp posts and getting as far away from the nasty men as possible," and for playing up to a government eager to clamp down on dissent, his organisation continues to be a real problem in the anti-fascist movement. Most of the details are covered in this post, but suffice to say I'm really not a fan.

5. Len McCluskey

The General Secretary of Unite, the biggest union in Britain and Ireland, "Red Len" has gained a reputation as something of a militant. From his calls to civil disobedience on the streets and admitting that the student protests "put the trade union movement on the spot," to declaring his support for the Sparks rank-and-file group, criticism of him is a lot less obvious than of other union leaders.

Nevertheless, it must be made, if only to drive home the point that even the "awkward squad" in the union movement have diverging interests from ordinary workers. McCluskey's words have not translated to action in the streets because, for union tops, talk is action. Thus whilst he is certainly at the more militant end of the mainstream union spectrum, he is still governed by the same pressures. Despite his words, his is the union which continues to funnel the most money into the Labour Party, his officials dubbed the Sparks "cancerous," and his union wasn't willing to join the pension strikes until November after four other unions had already taken action.

If nothing else, Len McCluskey is on this list as a reminder of where illusions in "good" bureaucrats get us.

4. Ed Miliband

This is all that needs to be said on the leader of the Labour Party;

3. Dave Prentis

The General Secretary of UNISON stands out as particularly contemptible amongst trade union leaders for his attitude to the fight against the cuts and to the pensions strikes. Libcom offers considerably more detail here, but it is worth adding that - after being pushed into November 30 by the anger of his rank-and-file members - he didn't just jump at the first deal he could take. He encouraged others to do the same and managed to not only sell out his own members but drag others down with him.

2. Aaron Porter

Aaron Porter's downfall wasn't that he was a bureaucrat - it was that he was particularly shit at managing and co-opting the  militancy and expectations of the rank-and-file. This led to a severe backlash against him which, in many ways, only helped the student movement grow in confidence and opened the way for arguments against trust in official leadership. If he hadn't been so quick to label the Millbank Occupation as "despicable" and to publicly climb down on his support for student occupations, things could well have been different.

Still, there aren't many things that will surpass the sight of him being chased off the student demonstration in Manchester in January, kettled by students in Glasgow and generally harangued until he essentially surrendered the NUS presidency. What a laugh.

1. Brendan Barber

The grand-daddy of them all.  The General Secretary of the TUC is a bureaucrat par excellence. His achievements this year include calling the biggest trade union demonstration in a generation then doing everything possible to demobilise it, running around at Tory Conference trying to strike back-door deals whilst thousands marched against the cuts and of course leading the great pensions sell out.

Gloriously, he did face a small taste of the backlash that Aaron Porter received when, speaking at Goldsmiths in February, he was met with a banner that said "TUC: Tories' Unofficial Cops," heckled through his speech and egged at the end of it.