When Helen Kelly croaked you’d have thought she was nominated for beatification such was the wailing and veneration by media and politicians alike.
But wait, it appears that some socialists aren’t convinced of her credentials as a union boss.
The October 14 death of Helen Kelly, who led the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) from 2007 to 2015, has been followed by glowing tributes from the entire political establishment, the corporate media, and business organisations such as the Employers and Manufacturers Association.
Prime Minister John Key told TV3 on October 31 that Kelly “would have been one of the most worthy candidates” for the New Zealander of the Year award, had she survived. Several members of the opposition Labour Party noted that she was seen as a future party leader.
Kelly’s death at the age of 52 was a personal tragedy, but this fact must not be allowed to obscure an objective appraisal of her record. For more than a year, her protracted struggle with lung cancer was exploited in the media, with countless interviews and articles portraying Kelly as a champion for workers’ rights and as a national icon. In fact, Kelly is being glorified because she was a highly-valued servant of the ruling elite. She led the CTU as it collaborated with major attacks on the jobs and living standards of the working class.
In the light of the numerous accolades, the reaction of the pseudo-left International Socialist Organisation (ISO) to Kelly’s death was highly revealing. It published a three-paragraph statement on October 16 describing Kelly as a “brave” leader who “rejected the dominant narrative of bosses as society’s benefactors, and workers as beneficiaries, properly grateful for the boss’s largesse, insisting that workers’ contribution be acknowledged and rewarded and that their interests both in and out of the workplace be promoted.”
The statement completely falsified the role played by Kelly, whose career illustrates how unions have worked hand-in-hand with employers and the government to defend capitalism and suppress and betray the working class.
If you thought that was bad they then go on to explain why Helen Kelly was a class traitor.
The glorification of Helen Kelly by the pseudo-lefts is aimed at preventing workers from drawing decisive lessons from decades of bitter experience with the unions. To fight against austerity and militarism, workers must carry out a rebellion against these organisations by establishing new rank-and-file committees that workers themselves control. These must forge links with workers in Australia, Asia and throughout the world, who are facing similar attacks, on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program.
Viva la revolution!
I didn’t agree with Helen Kelly’s politics but that article really is a piece of work. Tom Peters is a thoroughly nasty little socialist oik.
With friends like that who needs enemies. Speaking of friends, I see Bryce Edwards follows the author on Twitter.
– World Soicalist Website