Monday, 20 May 2024

From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists – NLTU Points Of Reference (1)

The Tolpudddle Martyrs are generally considered as the founders of British trade unionism.

TRADE UNIONISTS will be aware that yesterday was 1st May.   Traditionally Spring festivals are held on this day.  However, it also marks an important day in the Trade Union calendar as ordinary workers take to the streets to celebrate International Workers’ Day.  Sadly, this year these celebrations were significantly muted due to Covid-19.  

Despite the ‘leftist’ origins of International Workers’ Day (the 1st May was chosen in 1889 for political reasons by the Marxist International Socialist Congress) we National Liberal Trade Unionists – NLTU – are more than happy to recognise & celebrate May Day.  

Some people may find this odd, given that the NLTU rejects socialism (as well as capitalism).  

We also have a slightly different take on class.  Here, we feel that it’s ridiculous to view and/or judge individuals solely in terms of percieved class.  This ‘be all and end all’ view is fairly restrictive.  Most importantly, it doesn’t take into account the nature & character of different people – irrespective of what their personal wealth is or what accent they speak with.  

With the above in mind, we find it slightly bizare – and completely hypocritical – that some on the ‘left’ absolutely hate those who have more money than they do, or speak with a ‘cut glass’ accent.  At the same time, they would (rightly) oppose anyone who hated others simply because of the colour of their skin, religion, sexuality or whatever.  To some extent, we’re all ‘accidents of birth’ and have no control over certain distinguishing features.  So why do the left entertain these double standards?  

National Liberal Trade Unionists also celebrate May Day because, in the past, there’s been a strong liberal tradition within trade unionism.  Also, we find it useful to study early socialists & non-socialists – particularly those who were patriotic in outlook.  The NLTU feels that it can draw inspiration from the struggles of others.  

With the above in mind, we’ll be looking at the Tolpudddle Martyrs, generally accepted as the founders of British trade unionism.  We’ll also examine early socialist pioneers like Robert ‘Bob’ Blatchford, Keir Hardie & William Morris.  Social reformers like William Cobbett & John Ruskin are also of great interest.   

It’s important to note that none of these figures will be placed on a pedestal, so to speak.  However, we do regard them as a ‘point of reference’ in that they did – or said – things that are of great interest to the NLTU.  

We mentioned earlier the tradition of liberal trade unionism and trade unionists.  Few people – including many trade unionists – will be aware of this.  That’s not surprising as this tradition hasn’t really been evident for years now.  However, that’s no reason to self-censor ourselves and ignore it.  On the contrary, we need to re-kindle & re-build this tradition.   

Whilst this may appear to be a daunting thought, the NLTU feels that it’s possible to promote this ‘alternative’ form of trade unionism.  For instance, we’re aware of many ordinary working folks who’re sick & tired of what they perceive to be modern day trade union double-standards – such as the huge salaries pocketed by many top officials.  Others are fed up with local officials who claim to be on trade union business when in fact they appear to be on ‘jollies’.  Still more workers are tired of listening to those trade unionists who appear to be on some sort of power trip.  

With all of the above in mind, why not learn more about the National Liberal Trade Unionist?  Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277840098977231

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