It's a tribute to all those who have campaigned for Palestine, especially in the last year over Gaza, that the TUC has passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Israel and criticising the Israeli Histradut union.
At the first hint that this had been accepted at a meeting of the General Council - by a majority of one - the Israeli embassy was on to Downing Street trying to get the Brown government to pressurise the general secretaries of the unions to soften their approach. Or at least that was the very strong rumour going round the conference in Liverpool this week.
Doesn't this add up to unwarranted interference into the affairs of the TUC? And isn't it shocking that the government immediately does the embassy's bidding.
But however much there are attempts to water it down, the resolution shows how deeply solidarity with the Palestinians runs within the British working class movement, as we saw over the demos in Gaza and the twinning and boycott campaigns which have sprung up everywhere.
I was in Liverpool for a Stop the War meeting which was to raise money for the Palestinians. The 600 strong meeting raised £4000 but also heard speeches about Palestine (George Galloway put a strong argument for a one state solution) and Afghanistan. The meeting was by far the biggest of the TUC fringe - held in the Adelphi hotel and also with a large number of Liverpudlians.
We were there the same day as Gordon Brown addressed Congress, where he devoted one sentence to the war in Afghanistan. As one speaker said, he couldn't even come and defend to the unions why he supported the war. My suggestion was that if he wanted to cut public spending he could start by scrapping Trident and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If the experience of Liverpool this week is anything to go on, war and occupation remain key issues inside the working class movement. The shame of Brown is that while Tony Blair really seemed to believe in these wars with a messianic fervour, Brown doesn't - but he still carries on with them .
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
- The perpetual failure of Keir Starmer – weekly briefing
- Privatisation is the engine of cronyism and corruption – weekly briefing
- The price we pay for the prince – weekly briefing
- The Individual and Collective in Women's Liberation - video
- Police bill: the protestors aren’t for turning – weekly briefing
- Vaccine bounce or Starmer slump? – weekly briefing
- How do we end violence against women? - video