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50 years ago

50 Years Ago: The Founding of the Trades Union Congress

The Trades Union Congress was founded in the Mechanics Institute, Manchester, on June 2 1868 by thirty-four delegates who had responded to an invitation sent out by the Manchester and Salford Trades Council. In every way the aims of the founders were strictly limited, and in some important respect those limitations are still to be found in the TUC to-day, in spite of its vastly greater representative capacity and the widening of its activities.

This was not in any sense a revolutionary body and even its structure reflected a falling away from earlier attempts to form a unified National Trade Union body with power to act in strikes. The delegates came together only to discuss matters of mutual interest. It was, as George Woodcock describes it in the recently published History of the TUC 1868-1968, no more than "a small debating society". (…)

50 Years Ago: Martin Luther King

50 Years Ago: Labour's New Race Law

Attacks on wages and the trade unions, defence of profits and unemployment, bringing back health charges and now, again, a colour bar law. Thus, one by one, Labour abandons its old principles, partly under pressure from capitalism, but partly also from a desire to stay in office. While economics has been responsible for the failure of Labour’s futile attempts to make capitalism work in the interests of all, politics is behind this, their second, capitulation to colour prejudice. For, as they themselves pointed out in 1962, if anything economics demands free immigration: there is a relative labour shortage in Britain which could delay expansion. (….)

On February 22 Home Secretary Callaghan announced Labour's Bill to stop the Kenya Asians. These unfortunate people were holders of British passports so the Bill had to provide for the extension of the immigration colour bar from Commonwealth to British citizens. (….)

50 Years Ago: Black Power in the United States

THE AMERICAN black power movement is a child of frustration. Thousands of civil rights supporters, having long since absorbed the few sops that capitalism can afford to give them, are running squarely into a sociological brick-wall—a wall they have termed the “white power structure.” Their response, the concept of black power, indicates that they have learned many lessons.

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