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Notes on Today's Strike

I shall flex my awareness of capitalism thus. So this is just an intellectual exercise to keep my socialist spidey senses keen...

There's a strike on today, in London. I don't know the full details of the dispute because of course the BBC have no interest to inform me. A dispute between ASLEF, the RMT, and some private transport concern within the city. What the BBC does have an interest in, of course, is playing clips of commuters in varying degrees of consternation and disgust.

Note that the BBC doesn't bother to ask the workers why they are striking, nor does it advocate - as it should - that said commuters go visit the picket line and ask the people themselves for the facts. Given how the working class are viewed these days, doing so would only lead to people becoming suspicious of these facts. We are in the post-factual age of course - who needs experts!

These are the issues that I have:

Firstly I mention talking to the workers themselves for a good reason: it is important to foster relations and ease division amongst the working class. This is the biggest weapon we have against the capitalists. They rely on these divisions, so by communicating with other disgruntled people in our class we can find common cause and build solidarity.

Secondly, the BBC is interested in pursuing a rather childish narrative. By talking to each side in the dispute (at different times, I notices, preventing actual dialogue), they can play them against each other. So they first (perhaps tactically) interviewed the boss of the transport provider who said that he was willing to get round the negotiating table. By talking to him before the union representative, they are able to put him on the backfoot. This they did by putting to him the claim that the boss was willing to talk, something that had never previously been the case. The rep then agrees that this is a good idea, but is confronted by the idea of calling off further disputes - if the boss is willing to talk and you are likewise then you have no reason not to call the strikes off.

But this is dangerous: calling off the strikes is a lot easier than creating them, due to our appalling anti-union laws. If the rep agrees to this - and there is no reason hie should do so given that he has only just been confronted with only the merest claim of good faith on the part of the boss - and the boss goes back on his word, then the boss can score a victory. This is because of the amount of hassle and legal nonsense required to get the strike back on. So really, the rep is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: he's damned if he agrees because the power lies with the boss (who would only lie about reneging on a meeting - and who could prove otherwise?), and he's damned if he doesn't, as the public has been conditioned to see this as union intransigence. Back to the bad old days of the socialist lefty labour 1970's (themselves a myth).

Even if they get around the table, there is no guarantee of good faith on the part of the boss, nor that he will use this to just string things along.

However, and more insidiously, this all works in favour of the capitalist class anyway. I mentioned at the start the clips of commentary from angry commuters. Among these alleged horror stories are lurid claims (which may or may not be true) of people losing their jobs because they cannot get to work.

Of course that's awful, but who's really to blame there? No one had to sack the commuter, did they? I mean, surely their employer could see that it wasn't the employees fault and not sack them and instead work on a compromise. It's not as if the unions are striking every day is it, they couldn't even if they wanted to I imagine. So this is a plain sighted admission of the failings of capitalism, couched within what appears a reasonable claim and concern on the part of commuters. The employer would argue they have no choice but to sack, why - because of capitalism! Profit! We need a more reliable employee to maintain that bottom line! So what if you lose your job, house, family, can't feed your kids eh? That's not talked about on the BBC, only these alleged concerns.

However the real capitalist knows that by letting someone go in this way they can further the interests of their class. Sacking people only leads to more division: the commuters versus the striking transport staff. Blame is apportioned incorrectly thanks to a dog whistle blown by the capitalist class as a means to inspire further legislation, and I wasn't about to hang around to hear that rat faced dead eyed shit disturber, Chris Grayling (the transport minister) make this point. Sack the worker, sow division, call for a 'tightening' of strike laws to keep the unions in line.

Comments

  1. https://www.rmt.org.uk/home

    It took me 30 seconds to find this. I get your point but 30 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok.

      But I'm not sure what point you're making?

      Delete
  2. The effort of being informed is minimal. I agree that the BBC failed in it's reporting but the information is there and surely if you're going to argue about how uninformed you are by them you could take the 30 seconds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair enough.

      However in my defence, the article isn't meant as a detailed analysis of the strike per se, but to use it as an example.

      Delete

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