Friday 20 March 2009

Economic League, economic hooligans

I'm very glad to see the shutting down of the Consulting Association, an employment blacklisting organisation which kept files on political activists and trade unionists, and even people who raised health and safety concerns (Socialist Worker: Construction blacklist: Bosses pay £2.20 to destroy lives). And I will be very interested to see what legal action is taken against those who ran, and those companies which subscribed to, the Consulting Assholeciation.

If you think you may be on the Construction Association blacklist, you can check with the Information Commissioner's Office. Their Consulting Association info page tells you not only how to check your details, but also lists the companies which suscribed to the CA.

Personally, I'd like to see every company who subscribed to them raided, and their bosses prosecuted for not only blackisting but also for aiding and abetting a blacklisting organisation. Let's face it, 'just looking' is absolutely no excuse in the case of, for example, kiddie porn. And a number of organisations, including the NSPCC, have cited a link between unemployment and poverty - the end result of blacklisting! - and child abuse. So I'd just love to see all involved locked in a cell with Gary Glitter, Ian Huntley et al. And the key recycled!

I know, that's hardly likely to happen. Especially when you bear in mind that the state has an unhappy history of keeping files on political dissidents; back in the 1980's (and probably more recently), MI5 kept numerous files on socialists and even used to infiltrate left-wing political parties.

At the same time, the laws passed in 1999 banning blacklists are welcome - even if it did take a f***ing decade for them to be enforced! Back in the 80's and before, a blacklisting organisation called the Economic League used to operate legally. And, whereas the Consulting Association seems to have most of its subscribing companies in the construction industry, the Economic League had a much larger range of subscribing companies, including Ford motor cars, Tate and Lyle sugar (who also subscribed to Caprim, the first 'son of Economic League'), and McDonalds (citation on McSpotlight).

One of the major factors which brought down the Ecch-onomic League in the early 90's, was consumer boycotts of products made by subscribing companies. In the case of large construction companies, direct consumer boycotts are less practicable. But that does not mean there is nothing we can do.

Pressure must be put on councils and public service bodies, through the unions, to stop using the services of companies which use blacklists. Such companies should especially be banned from PFI projects - such as Academies. If such a company ends up running an Academy (construction firms have already sponsored academies), how would we know that kids attending such schools, who showed signs of not agreeing with the capitalist Establishment (and who could blame them ???), wouldn't end up on such a blacklist ?!?

Apart from anything else, this is yet another argument against academies and the creeping privatisation of education! And we shouldn't stop at re-nationalising our schools, hospitals, etc.

Every company which has used such a blacklist should also be nationalised. Without compensation to their criminal bosses!

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