Sunday’s Postal Rank and File online meeting was one of the most important for two reasons. Firstly, it comprehensively nailed the lie that Falconer Review has delivered “justice” for reps and members victimised during the year-long dispute at Royal Mail.
The Communication Workers Union(CWU) has openly lied to its membership. As a victimized CWU rep has said on the wsws.org, the union has trampled on the time-honoured principle “an injury to one is an injury to all.”
The second reason is that it discussed the question of leadership. Leadership is an art and takes time to develop. It will not happen overnight. It is clear from the meeting and the numerous articles on wsws.org that the CWU is now an arm of corporate management. The betrayal carried out by the CWU is unprecedented in the postal worker's history. It will undoubtedly become a template for other union bureaucracies to carry out similar betrayals. The question posed in the meeting is what can postal workers do about it.
Again, as was raised in the meeting, it is not a question of lack of fight. The numerous votes for official and unofficial strike action proved that postal workers were itching to prosecute a fight against Royal Mail but were saddled with leadership from day one that worked to betray the strike.
This brings me to the point raised by Simon that postal workers were “sheep” unthinkingly following their leadership. Leadership is a complex matter. As the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote, “Our author substitutes mechanistic determinism for the dialectic conditioning of the historical process. Hence the cheap jibes about the role of individuals, good and bad. History is a process of class struggle. But classes do not bring their full weight to bear automatically and simultaneously. In the process of struggle, the classes create various organs which play an important and independent role and are subject to deformations.
This also provides the basis for the role of personalities in history. There are naturally great objective causes that created the autocratic rule of Hitler, but only dull-witted pedants of “determinism” could deny today the enormous historical role of Hitler. The arrival of Lenin in Petrograd on April 3, 1917, turned the Bolshevik party in time and enabled the party to lead the revolution to victory. Our sages might say that had Lenin died abroad at the beginning of 1917, the October Revolution would have taken place “just the same.” But that is not so. Lenin represented one of the living elements of the historical process.
He personified the experience and the perspicacity of the most active section of the proletariat. His timely appearance in the arena of the revolution was necessary to mobilise the vanguard and provide it with an opportunity to rally the working class and the peasant masses. Political leadership in the crucial moments of historical turns can become just as decisive a factor as the role of the chief command during the critical moments of war. History is not an automatic process. Otherwise, why leaders? Why parties? Why programs? Why theoretical struggles?
To conclude, Postal workers work extremely hard and are a very disciplined bunch of workers. They have not always followed their leaders and have on numerous occasion sought to break the strangled hold of the bureaucracy but to no avail. The meeting posed the question of a new type of leadership. The CWU is dead. It is just that nobody has buried it yet. It is down to the most politically conscious workers to create a new leadership. Those in attendance in the meeting must now give that lead.
 The Class, the Party-and the Leadership-https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/party.htm