Light Some Fires! – Tolpuddle 2008
Along with Paul Nowak, our partners, kids and thousands of other trade unionists I spent the weekend at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. Amongst the highlights of the festival which for me were the march, the wreath laying at the grave of James Hammet and the generally good vibe (sorry!), was a session in the Martyrs Marquee on Organising addressed by some key figures from the international trade union movement – Elaine Bernard and Michael Crosby from the US and Australia respectively, Wilhemina Trout from South Africa and our very own Paul Nowak.
No doubt Paul will have his own thoughts on the session but for me Elaine Bernard, who runs the Harvard University Trade Union programme managed to crystallise what organising means when she observed that for too long unions have spent most of their time putting out fires but now, through organising, was the time to start lighting some!