State Scabbing and Dirty Tricks

Two things are mounting, strikes by the score and blame by the shit shovel.  Two things are being hidden, the extent and scale of resistance and where the responsibility lies.

A while ago we said it wouldn’t be long until the striking public will be derided as the enemy within.  Perhaps it’s come sooner and more vociferously than we expected, as many workers, once hypocritically praised as heroes of the frontline of a pandemic created by capitalism have been moved from the category of ‘good’ workers to bad ones, inconveniencing the Covid exhausted public. 

This despite the evidence that the more than a million days taken back so far in the current strike wave demonstrate how interwoven the ‘public’ and the ‘strikers’ are.  Whilst strikes are increasing, many are actually deliberately being unreported as most mainstream news agencies are either ignoring all but a few “main” ones, while some, including the BBC as well as the right-wing press, are trying their hardest to turn the public against the strikes and strikers.

The press is concentrating on “pay deals” and how “reasonable” the pay offers have been in these times of financial crisis.  They are forgetting that the vast majority of strikes are also about conditions, safety and cuts.  As Reuters News Agency has reported:

“Workers across a range of sectors have gone on strike in recent months, from rail workers to teachers, postal staff to lawyers, as inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October, squeezes household budgets.

The responsibility for the conditions forcing workers to give up pay by withdrawing their labour lies squarely on the shoulders of the state – its anti working-class ideology practiced through its financiers and policy makers.  The government chooses rather than address hardship and distress, to face down every worker behind a screen of lies and defamations.

The nurse and the postie are traitors “..doing just what Putin wants”;  the train driver and station guard are “..stealing Christmas”;   ambulance staff are ‘bullying the vulnerable’, while firefighters, baggage handlers and the rest of us are “…holding the country to ransom”.  One comrade from the RMT has even reported to us unsolicited contact from his team suggesting he is “lower middle class” and on the wrong side!

Some smaller, mostly private sector disputes, have been resolved, but the government has so far refused to budge on public sector pay and is instead looking to tighten the already draconian anti labour laws to make it harder for those in key sectors to strike”.  Backing this with the rushed training up of military personnel under operation MACA (Military Assistance to the Civil Authority) to cross picket lines and break strikes

Strikes we are so far aware of (taken from various sources) include:

•           RMT – rail workers

•           RCN – Nurses

•           CWU – postal workers

•           Unite – Shelter staff

•           PCS – Driving Schools

•           UCU – University

•           Unison University support staff

•           Ambulance staff

•           Baggage handlers

•           National Highways staff

•           Bus drivers (various places)

•           Teachers

•           Paramedics

•           Physios, Midwives and Junior Doctors being balloted

•           FBU – Fire services looking to ballot

•           GMB – Energy workers

•           Teachers (in Scotland) in England looking at balloting

We know this list to be far from exhaustive and expanding, reaching, according to the Office of National Statistics, over 400,000 strike days in the last month alone.

The government by refusing or sabotaging negotiations while changing the law and bringing in the army is working from the 1984 playbook of the miner’s Strike, choosing the sledgehammer to crack the nut.  In doing so, the myth of consensus and liberal democracy is blown.  They know the importance of defeating working class resistance to their wealth and power, we need to match this realisation too!

If anyone is emulating Putin, it is the government cronies of the capitalist state, banking on the long winter and worsening conditions of life to cause despair and break morale.  Anyone who doubts their capacity need look no further than its barbaric treatment of refugees, turning the channel into a Berlin Wall and threatening Indefinite detention in camps of concentration formerly known as Pontin’s.

Meanwhile, Belarus is preparing for war under pressure from their paymaster Putin.  Capitalism has its eyes on the prize in the Ukraine war and whilst alleging all our woes are down to Russia, they continue their expansionist planning in the east.  Their war there is being waged necessarily against us here first. The more we fight to win here, the more they risk losing abroad.  We are their enemy within and we should prepare for more lies, more repression and escalation of our resistance.

By Dreyfus