- Created: Thursday, 22 February 2018 13:28
- Written by FRFI
In a completely sectarian action, Manchester branch of the ACORN tenant union has said it is banning members of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) from attending its meetings and events. It follows an incident where Manchester ACORN members, led by supporters of Plan C, a self-styled autonomous revolutionary organisation, stopped a member of the RCG, a social tenant, from selling Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! outside an ACORN meeting after it had ended, and told him he was banned. When another RCG comrade and local tenant tried to attend a subsequent public ACORN training session on tenants’ rights, he was told that there had been a ‘democratic decision’ to ban the RCG from attending ACORN meetings. The ACORN organiser told the comrade that ‘ACORN had experienced trouble nationally with the RCG and that there was a blanket ban on RCG members attending ACORN meetings’. The organiser further commented that this was a democratic decision by the union and no member of RCG would be allowed to any of their meetings or events.
The organiser lied. There has been no national ACORN decision to ban the RCG, let alone any ‘blanket ban’. There had been no national consultation or vote to ban us. The RCG has worked with ACORN in both Bristol and Newcastle; there has been no ‘trouble’ with our comrades. There has been no ACORN meeting in Manchester to decide on such a ban: the branch was only set up three weeks ago. The ‘decision’ has been made by an unelected clique involving Plan C, Jonny Butcher, Sheffield’s full-time ACORN organiser and a few others. Plan C wishes to lead Manchester ACORN into a close working relationship with the Labour Party. It wants to make sure it does not face any challenge to this political strategy. It cannot do this through open democratic debate, but only behind closed doors. Plan C and this clique therefore want to vet tenants on their political affiliations before admitting them to Manchester ACORN, to ensure that communists are excluded. Lying to ACORN members about the relationship between the RCG and ACORN is essential to justify such a ban. A subsequent suggestion by Butcher that the ban was only ‘temporary’ as a sort of compromise is nonsense: there are no grounds for such a ban regardless of duration.
The RCG both locally and nationally campaigns on housing, helping to organise in campaigns like Focus E15, and in solidarity with Grenfell. Locally, it has been involved in a ‘Yes to DSS’ campaign, Save The Grange in Salford, and supported others such as Manchester Activist Network and their struggle for decent housing for homeless people. RCG tenants have also participated and helped to organise with ACORN in other parts of the country. RCG comrades who are tenants will not allow themselves to be excluded from a tenants’ union because they happen to be communists. The RCG fights for democratic and open campaigning and rejects any attempt to censor socialist and working class voices.