28 March strike: Why are we not united?

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28 March strike: Why are we not united?
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: 28 March strike: Why are we not united?. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

This is a good leaflet which

This is a good leaflet which gets better and better as you get towards the end and has a delicious inner logic that leads from teachers grumbling in the public sector, to the pensionless disaster of the private sector, through criticisms of the divisive unions who work for the bosses, ending up with calls for action outside of the crippling bourgeois laws against workers self-organization and - if only by implication - calls for the self-emancipation of the class. Let's hope it gets lots of readers, and proper receptive responses. FORWARD!

What a great pamphlet.

What a great pamphlet. Deceptively simple but loaded with "decilious inner logic" as my cde above says. Great job!

I love you p_p because your

I love you p_p because your "decilious inner logic" is so much more intriguing than the merely delicious kind. (Please note. This is meant to be a joke.). But what Fred neglected to point out is that the leaflet's thoughtful flow goes from London, to the wider UK, on to various European countries, and finally out to the whole world. "Because the crisis of this system is world wide and terminal.".

And it should be pointed out here, that there's another article new on this site, written in a similar style to the leaflet above, which exquisitely summarizes the main events of the year 2011 in terms of it's gains, shortfalls, and indications for the future of the class struggle. This is called: "Statement on the social movements of 2011". It is very good, makes lots of points, and is decilious too.

I support Rajeevan's liking

I support Rajeevan's liking for more articles about class struggle, and how to spread it.

But how about this? "Red Len plots petrol strike by militant fuel tanker drivers to cripple UK." No, this isn't today's news - though it is really - because it's a headline from the Daily Mail, January 2011. But such a strike today, though threatened, is hardly necessary. The Coalition Government has itself has more or less crippled the nation - with no help from any workers - by causing panic buying and emptying the petrol stations of their life-sustaining lubricant. Why have they done this? Do they intend to pre-empt any strike action? But this is hardly necessary as the arse-licking unions, already hand-in-glove with the bourgeoisie and its democratic parties, left and right, are bound legally to give 7 days notice of such a strike, thus rendering it pointless in advance; and the army is on standby to break the strike should it ever happen which it won't anyway.

What does his all mean? What it shows is the immense power of even a small number of workers without them actually doing anything at all of a militant nature. Yes, they can bring the bourgeois nation to it's knees, and in only three days according to some commentators. And if all of us workers were truly to unite internationally ( rather than the phony nationalist set up of the Unite union, which would be better named Divide) then the glorious possibility of a proletarian revolution, for the freeing of all humanity from the ongoing madness of rotting capitalism, would be back on the agenda.

There's nothing revolutionary about Red Len, he only wants to embarrass the Coalition and try and maneuver his labour party cronies back into office, the better to con workers into more austerity. So he thinks. But none of this is of any significance for the working class, whose interests are no longer served by any politicians the bourgeoisie throws up. In fact our interests, and our desires for a better life, will only be served when we defeat the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie - expressed in their phony democracies and legal entanglements - and establish our own working class rule. This will not "cripple" the nation. Far from it! It will get rid of all the nations, and their crippling, competitive and warring existence, which they have as the creations of the bourgeoisie, and replace it with the power of the workers' councils organized internationally. Then we will discover the strength and compassion of collective action.


I agree with Fred about the latent strength of the working class - it's something we do tend to underestimate here and there. There are several large sectors of the working class in Britain (and other major countries) that could "bring the nation to its knees" in probably less than three days but this underlines the essence of the conscious extension of the struggle from the workers themselves and not just a "shut down" strike. The strongest strikes historically have been those that have kept significant elements of industry going. It also underlines the fact, against those that see "something" in the unions, that all these sectors (fuel, power, water, electrical supply, etc.,) are all heavily unionised and where there is "advice" to join the union. Of course the unions and government are on the same side, but the division of labour within the bourgeoisie is not one that we should ignore.

I think that the government wanted to "take on" the tanker drivers and make an example of them - though I think that so far they've fucked up. There are lessons to be learnt from the French fuel dispute about a year ago (?), which turned into a similar set up. Before the Unite strike ballot result the government was talking to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) industrial division about cracking down on picketing (unlike the electricians) while at the same time publicising the potential strike (unlike the electricians). They had also begun training  RAF and military personnel in scabbing activities as well as briefing against tanker drivers over how much they earn (for days out on the road, a sleepover and more days out), the  bad effects on other workers and so on. But the "we are all in this together" is wearing a bit thin from what increasingly looks like a bunch of amateur aristocrats and this emphasises the importance of Labour and the left to the bourgeoisie. This was no well thought out Thatcherite set up of the miners but something of a bungle from the right that has once again emphasised the importance of the left.

post mortem on libcom




On libcom I published these impressions in a thread about the public sector campaign on pensions:


There was a strike at our college today, by NUT and UCU (which has very few members)joined by a few others, UNISON or non-union, who won't cross picket lines. The picket was quite small compared to the Nov 30 strike and, despite some mutterings, was unable to prevent a group of 'outside' SWP people to put themselves at the front gate as if they owned the place. They were made up of an older building worker and two younger guys. The building worker was OK as an individual but being in the SWP certainly imparts a certain and very negative style. Quite a lot of NUT people went into work and no one was dissuaded from going in. However, we do seem to have established a situation at the college where people who refuse to cross a picket line, even if they are not officially on strike, will not be penalised except by losing a day's pay (luckily for me I don't work Wednesdays any more but Miles had to forgo his pay today...).

The lead up to the strike at the college was rather chaotic. People had already been through the negative experience of the sixth-form college 'action' a couple of weeks ago, and now we had this mess of a strike with the NUT/UCU going it alone, in London alone. One interesting thing I learned from the SWP builder on the gate was that the reason the PCSU wasn't calling its members out today is that the Socialist Party, which has a majority on the national executive, told its members to vote against striking today....

At the college there had been a small NUT meeting on Friday. Neither Miles or I had been able to go. Some of our mates on the inside told us that they had decided on a 'leafleting campaign' to try to get others to join the strike, but this turned out to be the NUT writing to itself - copies of the local branch's advise for NUT strikers were put in everyone's pigeon hole or left on tables, with not a word about why people not in the NUT should join the strike. The legalistic habits of trade unionism run very deep. At work and on the picket line people could once again see that it would have been better to have called a meeting about the strike for all employees but from there to actually organising it is a big step for many.

After the picket Miles went to another local college but there was not much doing there. I met up with jaycee and we went to London, to join the march and give out the ICC leaflet. It was as you would expect: a pleasant stroll in the sun, no more. I saw Battlescarred, and a long standing contact of the ICC, who told me he had been doing some work with a Solfed member in one of the schools he works at - I wondered from his description whether it was Chilli Sauce - and in fact the latter mentions something to that effect on his post about workplace practice. Anyway, that's a good thing....

There were some expressions of solidarity from other sectors - some firemen who watched us go by and said they supported us, and a group of (former) Visteon workers, some of whom had come up from Wales.

The SWP leaflet for the day says this strike was positive because it keeps the campaign about pensions going, but this kind of divided-up action is rather more likely to waste people's energies and lessen the possibilities of unified action in the future.