The current situation with the strikes is not good enough at all, not going far enough and sadly it appears to be a lost cause – but they do highlight the fact that it’s us versus them. And striking workers themselves are rightly dissatisfied with how things are at the moment – we need autonomous collective action, revolt from below, militant grass roots sabotage and subversion, workplace occupations, popular assemblies and worker’s councils, or coordinating committees, workers’ resistance groups and things like that. Not unions – not reformist ones anyway.
And really, trying to make workers content with capitalism by trying to get them better pay and conditions is not truly sufficient or effective. We need proper resistance to worsening capitalist barbarism and real, militant revolutionary upheaval from below. And the current strikes very much seem to be going nowhere and stand to put people off of unions and strikes altogether. The TUC unions are also centralised, bourgeois organisations, and cannot be relied on. The independent unions do good work, but are also basically reformist in practice and therefore limited – though they are much smaller than the reformist unions.
The strike wave should really have been a starting point, but this doesn’t seem to have happened, at least not yet, and it seems very unlikely that this will change. Mick Lynch has been great at showing up pundits and commentators on telly for being the idiots and stooges of the establishment they are, but it was people such as him who called off the rail strikes when the queen died. The reformists and union bureaucrats have deliberately failed to make the most of the strikes, which does the ruling class a huge favour. People like Lynch are too close to the Labour Party and are getting behind Starmer for the next general election. They are also, in their own way, part of the establishment – union leaders whose job is to divert and pacify discontent and negotiate social peace with the bosses. It’s up to workers what they do, but if the reformist unions are not doing what is necessary, lacking militancy and escalation, then we advocate the idea that workers can always organise and fight outside of such organisations.
As things are, we have the unions and they are clearly bourgeois and frankly useless. The strikes are going nowhere and look completely hopeless. We’ve even got Unite helping the smooth operation of an atomic weapons manufacturer (AWE/NG Bailey) by representing the electricians in such an industry and winning them a pay deal. We desperately need some real militant, autonomous, grass roots collective direct action and people need to completely reject this system and genuinely resist it.