(fwd from Liz Ross) re: Australian maoists and the BLF

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Thu Aug 8 06:15:31 MDT 2002


Some of them went to the right, working for the union bureaucracy; one
former BLF organiser and CPA-ML member has even made it to become the
Premier of the state of Tasmania.

One Victorian ex-BLF official is now chief industrial relations
officer for Grollos, one of the biggest building firms in town. His
main achievements to date seem to have been to cause more industrial
action amongst the firms' workers than they've seen for years. On the
other hand his longer term goal seems to be to make the company
'non-union' within five years.

On the other hand, the BLF tradition has survived, Victorian
construction workers are by far and away the best organised and most
militant in the country, and their current union inherited the
extremely democratic structure of the BLF.

The construction workers union- the CFMEU - structure is actually a
direct descendant of a far less democratic union - the BWIU. This
union was one of the driving forces behind the smashing of the BLF in
the 1980s and has dominated the CFMEU structures ever since. The
structure is now more democratic than that of the BWIU's, but it
wouldn't be hard - and it took some time after the BLs were
'shanghaied' into the CFMEU, itself a very undemocratic process.

Just as a bit of forward publicity I'm writing a book about this whole
sorry episode - smashing the BLF - particularly apt right now when the
construction union is under attack by an ideologically driven right
wing 'tory' government through a Royal Commission and a 'back to
feudal master/slave relations' Minister Tony Abbott. I'll keep you
posted when it comes out. Liz


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