Last weekend’s Indymedia conference was held in the new Unite offices, on the top floor of the Queen St. ASB Building. The view from the top is quite impressive: you can see all the worker minions — potential Unte members — going about their daily business far down on the street below. There are plans to hang huge red flags from the flag poles at the top of the building, and to brand the top of the building with the Unite logo, though I was told the $100,000 required to do this the whole way round was too much even for Unite, and for the mentime the branding would only face Queen St.

While at the conference I was pulled aside by two organisers to have “a talk” about my comments about the Unite and Wananga deal which, as far as I was concerned, merely amounted to a restating of our positions. One tried to explain to me the “tension” between the effectiveness of the union and democracy… I didn’t even try to explain the difference between union democracy and self-management.

While they acknowledged that what I wrote was correct (and tried to get my sources too), they made it clear that it had been particularly damaging. It turns out that my comments somehow managed to come within reach of the Te Wananga Crown observer who promptly cancelled a number of Unite classes mainly in Palmerston North and Wellington. No doubt this is only a temporary respite, but in any case it does absolutely nothing to actually resolve the real issues of democracy within Unite or transparency, among many others (such as Matt McCarten’s empire building).

After our “talk”, the two organisers then offered me a job as an organiser for a week, which I politely refused. Can you say co-option?

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