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SALFORD TRADE UNIONISTS WALK OUT OF ‘BOURGEOIS’ ENGELS STATUE UNVEILING
 

Star date: 16th July 2017

SALFORD TRADES COUNCIL LEADS WALK OUT OF ENGELS STATUE CEREMONY 'DISGRACE'

This evening, Salford Trades Council, which was supposed to be supporting the unveiling of the Friedrich Engels statue as part of the Manchester International Festival, walked out and boycotted the ceremony after being met by the 'anti-trade union' Showsec Security...

"Also the event was attended almost exclusively by the modern bourgeoisie" Paul Kelly, President of Salford Trades Council told the Salford Star, who added that it was a "travesty" and a "disgrace".

Full details here...


It was always going to be a fraught affair. The Manchester International Festival is already regarded as an 'elitist' event, so when working class hero, Friedrich Engels was being paraded as a bit of retro Soviet 'kitsch', things were never going to be smooth...

Criticism was already raining down from those in Manchester and Salford who have been keeping Engels' revolutionary spirit alive during years of apathy and thinly disguised hatred from the powers that be.*

Then, this evening, as the statue was about to be unveiled, Salford Trades Council walked out and boycotted the affair, having previously been enlisted to bring its banner...

"It was Engels hypocrisy day" Paul Kelly, President of Salford Trades Council, told the Salford Star "Trade unionists were met by the site of Showsec security staff. Showtec is an anti-trade union firm and it was a disgrace that that its staff were in attendance when homage was being paid to one of the founders of communism.

"The event was attended almost exclusively by the modern bourgeoisie and trade unionists made a principled decision to walk away and have nothing to do with this travesty" he added.


*For a full background see this morning's Salford Star article on the Engels Statue – click here

The Labour Party Conference a few years ago was almost boycotted after Showsec refused to sign a union agreement with GMB and was due to do security at the conference – see here

Joe D wrote
at 11:03:17 on 20 July 2017
I didn't see the opening to this but visiting the statue yesterday I thought it was bizarre. You simply can't look at it as just a statue of Engels. The style is distinctly cheap and Soviet; right down to the intimidating pose and Cyrillic lettering on the base. The Ukrainian flag graffiti can't help but remind you of the war that's still going on there. Plus it just generally feels out of place in a modern setting. A statue of Engels made for Manchester I imagine would have gone for a younger depiction and a pose that emphasised his concern for the working class rather than angry dialectical authority. But maybe that's the point? Such a statue would erase the legacy of communism - a legacy that the current statue is completely overdetermined by. Wish I went to the opening. It sounded like a horrorshow.
 
Chris Wallis wrote
at 16:22:53 on 17 July 2017
I stayed for the first 20 minutes. It was condescending, badly managed and utterly undignified. And judging by the number of crew and the amount of kit, very very expensive. There should be an inquiry. The whole thing was completely misjudged, from the MIF's attempt to capture our data by making us register for free tix which in the end were unnecessary, to the failure to introduce anybody, eg Maxine Peake, and whoever that woman was swigging beer as she went live, to a failure to explore why Ukraine pulled the statue down and therefore why should we want it. A very very expensive shambles. Inquiry please.
 
Anne Fernie wrote
at 13:53:52 on 17 July 2017
Just a thought but why is the statue facing AWAY from the Little Ireland site which is only yards away from where the statue is sited?
 
Steve Hanson wrote
at 13:53:35 on 17 July 2017
The event was an absolute train wreck. But wasn't Engels part of an elite group of 'luvvies'?
 
Em3 wrote
at 12:29:55 on 17 July 2017
Yeah - it was a strange thing which tried to make politics into arty-fartyness + it seemed like only UNISON were allowed to wave banners. Some of the commentary was very patronising - but not everyone knows about this fantastic legacy. The film made by Phil was great + the statue is great, but I cannot in a million years understand why they didn't train security staff to understand the importance of inclusion. Agree with this anger. Hope Maxine passes it onto MIF leaders.
 
Rachel Broady wrote
at 11:29:31 on 17 July 2017
It was excruciatingly, painfully, condescending. It was Manc cliche bingo - drunk, swearing, Manchistoh crap. They thought we needed an episode of Shameless to understand communism. It was disrespectful and patronising - there was even a 'dress up like Mary Burns stall and Lizzie was written out of history. It was thick, white, middle class generic shite. The statue works - retrieved from Ukraine and now in the city (despite Engels not wanting one) and making people think about who he was. But whoever organised the event is an arsehole.
 
John Catterall wrote
at 11:29:27 on 17 July 2017
l was among the Salford TUC delegates who walked out last night , l also met a couple of months ago Phil Collins when he came and spoke at the Greater Manchester Association of Trades Councils , it was indeed not the outcome that he would have wanted after the work that was done for this event to get this statue over to its present site, But think of the main reason for this event..celebrating the man that was Frederick Engels , what would he think if he knew the people organising and taking part in a celebration of his life were utilising an elite group of "luvies" watched over by non union security , and cheered on by sychophants from the so called professional lefties that have always taken over such events....there were a host of other people who walked out of this "re-enactment " representing other organisations , and to cap it all when the other event was presented to the assembled crowds at the Bridgewatwater saw people there walking away mystified what the " red wig toting manc " fellow on screen doing an interview was trying to be ...certainly not a manc or Salfordian that we all know.........Salford Defo john Catterall
 
Sarah wrote
at 07:47:47 on 17 July 2017
I had several discussions with Phil who had this idea and passion to depict the journey of engels, his ideas,his impact and to show in today's context that there is still a great need for people to be working in such revolutionary ways as engels did. I'm really sad to hear it hasn't had the response I think Phil was working hard to achieve.
 
Bernadette wrote
at 19:45:50 on 16 July 2017
Well done Salford TUC! Shame on the rest of what is euphemistically called the Left for supporting it. We need a Festival of the Left to show the poor of the northwest that Engel's ideas are still relevant today. solidarity LSX
 
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