Vote goes overwhelmingly to Beckett as group commits to campaign for his leadership and defend him against smears
Labour Black Socialists (LBS) members have voted to back Howard Beckett to be the next general secretary of the giant Unite union when incumbent Len McCluskey resigns. Skwawkbox understands that the vote was near-unanimous, with only three absentions and no votes for other prospective candidates. Beckett’s record of anti-racism and his agenda for the union played a key role in the decision.
The group has issued the following statement:
LBS have reviewed both Howard Beckett’s track record of fighting for workers rights and his commitment to active Anti Racism.
Howard Beckett has a truly transformative agenda for Unite.
He will organise workers who are in “stable employment as well as those who are precariously employed.
He believes that the trade union should not be neutral on anything that affects workers.
He campaigns against austerity.
He is consistent in his anti-racism. His socialism recognises the inalienable singularity of human dignity of all people irrespective of differences in class, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age or immigration status.
He believes that NHS and workers in the Care Sector require decent wages and salary increases. He believes that the steel industry can be supported in the same way as the banks in 2010.
He will fight for a commitment to build social housing and controls over the private rented sector to be enforced.
He believes that the trade union must be a radical voice on climate change.
He believes in a foreign policy that promotes peace not war. Since the government has 143 military bases in 42 countries, money that could be spent on reinforcing flood defences, making sites available for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, support for youth within communities, support for women suffering from domestic and gender-based violence.
Howard knows that the Union has to make its case to young people so that more of them join the union. He will fight for the future of a diverse and secure workforce.
Therefore LBS will campaign for Howard Beckett and will urge its members to organise events for Howard to speak to Unite members and to urge their Unite branches to do the same and conscientize, organise and mobilise their branches to vote HowardBeckett4General Secretary.
Labour Black Socialists believes that Howard Beckett has a truly transformative agenda for Unite. In fact, he aims to take Unite closer to the members in the workplaces, in the regions and nations. Union power should not be centralised but be devolved to where the members and organisers and representatives of the union are. He sees his role as being a supporter and facilitator of that frontline reality of workers and the trade union representatives, organisers and educators.
Howard Beckett wants to organise workers who are in “stable employment as well as those who are precariously employed. For the former, currently bosses are using Covid-19 as an excuse to fire and rehire the same workers on worse wages and conditions of employment. Howard is on the frontline fighting to defend and protect those hard-won victories in the workplace. There are also workers in the gig economy and zero-hours workplaces. Howard wants to bring the union into these under-organised spaces because this is a significant sector where workers are being exploited.
Howard Beckett believes that the trade union should not be neutral on anything that affects workers be it in their places of work, in Westminster and local government or within communities where workers and their families live.
Howard is also campaigning against austerity because this is a case of workers having to do more with less. Bosses want to cut pay and conditions and the government wants to cut social support. Workers are caught in the middle. They are not alone. Howard wants Unite to stand with these workers because the union makes us strong. Howard is neutral on nothing that affects Unite members.
In a country where institutional racism is being argued away by the government and the self-declared leading anti-racist party enacts and embodies a hierarchy of racisms Howard is morally consistent in his anti-racism. His socialism recognises the inalienable singularity of human dignity of all people irrespective of differences in class, gender, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age or immigration status.
Howard believes that NHS and workers in the Care Sector require decent wages and salary increases. We cannot give them a clap every Thursday and then cut their living conditions with a real salary cut with a below-inflation salary increase. Howard notes that the MPs gave themselves a double-digit salary increase, clapping hands for the NHS.
Howard Beckett also believes that the steel industry can be supported in the same way as the banks in 2010. There is no need for steel workers to lose their jobs. British steel should be used in the post-Covid-19 reboot of the economy. Other sectors deserve similar consideration.
Howard Beckett has a progressive policy of social housing because it does not make sense to fight for better wages and conditions and then because there is a lack of social housing, and because Housing Benefits are cut (even with Universal Credit) and then those increases invariably go to the unregulated private landlords. Howard Beckett wants a commitment to build social housing and controls over the private rented sector to be enforced.
Howard Beckett believes in a foreign policy that promotes peace not war. Since the government has 143 military bases in 42 countries, money that could be spent on reinforcing flood defences, making sites available for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, support for youth within communities, support for women suffering from domestic and gender-based violence. Currently that money is used to support monarchies in the Gulf, dictatorships in Africa and Asia and an avoidable hostile posture in Europe. Money spent on maintaining the British Empire 2.0 could actually be used to raise the living standards of workers in their communities.
Howard also believes that the trade union must be a radical voice on climate change. It must argue for the workers who are in industries that have significant carbon footprints today and will have to change. If not, those workers will be left behind. Howard argues for their interests. Also, Howard wants the UK to take its climate change commitments seriously. After all, the poorest of the poor, today and tomorrow pay the biggest price even though they have the smallest impact on the climate. Howard argues for workers in the UK who are currently affected, others who are likely to be affected as well as solidarity with workers abroad. His creed is “workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains”.
Howard also believes that the Union has to make its case to young people so that more of them join the union. We have seen his commitment to young people and their education through his unfaltering support of Show Racism the Red Card which seeks to establish all our futures in a fair and democratic society by engaging with young people from “knee high to a grasshopper” upwards.
LBS believes that Howard Beckett’s personal values, his track record in the union as well as his radical agenda will stand him in good stead should members vote for him to be the General Secretary of Unite.
LBS will campaign for Howard Beckett by urging people who have the right to vote in the election to actually do so by #Vote4HowardBeckett
LBS will actively campaign for the policy platform of #Howard4GS.
LBS will actively defend #Howard4GS against any smears and false allegations.
LBS will actively promote unity amongst Unite members during the General secretary election campaign.
LBS will actively conscientize, organise and mobilise its members and supporters to get Unite members to urge their branches to arrange online meetings for #Howard4GS and for them to vote for Howard Beckett.
Ultimately we have been won over by his unparalleled integrity, moral consistency, honesty, decency and courage in defence of workers in their workplaces, the agenda of workers within the Labour Movement particularly in the Labour party and the broader interests of workers in communities.
Skwawkbox has also backed Beckett for the role.
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