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Raymond Challinor

Challinor’s Choice

(12 April 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 117, 12 April 1969, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Man of few words

CAPITALISM APPEARS to be speeding up everything, with the exception of wage negotiations. These are usually marooned for months amid muddy procedures – arbitration, conciliation, courts of inquiry, and other damn things – all carefully calculated to delay the worker a rise as long as possible.

Militants, fretful about such delays, should re-tell the story of the late Herbert Smith, the old Yorkshire miners’ leader. He was the Speedy Gonzales of pay claims. His fastest negotiation was conducted as follows:

Herbert Smith (putting his head round the comer of the boss’s door): ‘Owt?’

Boss: ‘Nowt!’

Herbert Smith: ‘We’re out.’

The strike was won. Herbert Smith proudly recounted this episode to union officials whom he believed were insufficiently belligerent towards the bosses.

Explosive reaction

AS YOU SEND your contribution to the Socialist Worker Fighting Fund, you may be interested to hear about the response to a previous call for financial assistance.

The author, Wilfred Scawen Blunt, wrote in his diary for February 19, 1905: ‘George Meredith has been appealing for funds to help the revolution in Russia, and I have subscribed £10.’

Then Blunt added: ‘Yesterday came news that the Grand Duke Serge has been blown up with a bomb, so I am subscribing again.’

Alas, Socialist Worker cannot claim to have instigated the bumping off of any grand dukes – they are so hard to come by these days – but, nevertheless, I am sure it will use all contributions to the utmost effect.

A dangerous game

THE INSTITUTE for Workers Control bulletin, specially issued for the recent Sheffield conference, contains a contribution from Danny McGarvey of the Boilermakers’ Union.

It would be interesting to hear from the Institute precisely how it considers Mr McGarvey is furthering the cause of workers’ control.

Did the agreement he reached at Fairfield shipyard on the Clyde, where he signed away many precious rights of the men, promote the cause of workers control?

Or could he be said to be advancing the interests of the rank and file when he sat on the notorious Cameron inquiry, which knifed the shop stewards’ organisation at the Barbican building site in London?


By publishing the left-wing phrases of trade union bureaucrats like McGarvey, while doing nothing to criticise their right-wing deeds, the Institute for Workers’ Control is playing a dangerous game.

Its role could easily become similar to the Anglo-Russian trade union committees of 1925, a body that gave a tinge of red to the TUC and so made its betrayal of the general strike in the following year all the more easy to carry out.

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Last updated: 15 January 2021