Letter from Ernest Mandel to Ken Coates (September 1969)

On organisation and factory occupation


This important letter from Ernest Mandel to Ken Coates addresses two seperate questions. Firstly Coates, along with Tony Topham and other activists in the Institute for Workers Control (IWC), were working with the Shop Stewards Action Committee at GEC/EE in Liverpool planning an occupation to resist redundancies at the plant. The letter offers some observations by Mandel on the issues involved in occupation, the potential for continuing manufacture, as well as running 'an iscolated plant under workers' control'.  The second issue, and the source of tension between Coates and Mandel, was the relationship with Social Democratic parties. While his membership was suspended on a number of occassions, Coates tried to stay within the UK Labour Party.

The GEC/EE shop stewards proposal for an occupation was voted down at a mass meeting of the workforce, and also added is a document (from the same source) written by activists from the IWC reflecting on the failure.