strikes

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The Working Class Response

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/05/2021 - 9:03pm in

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As we said in the last issue of Aurora, bosses are seizing advantage of increasing unemployment to reduce ‘labour costs’. It is encouraging to see a growing number of workers refusing to take this lying down.

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The Bosses' Assault is the Bosses' Recovery!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/05/2021 - 7:55am in

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Canada, strikes, unions

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Klasbatalo leaflet for the dockworkers' strike in Montreal.

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Solidarity with Firefighters, Paramedics, and Hospital Workers!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/04/2021 - 11:51pm in

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Leaflet distributed by the ICO at a protest rally in South Australia for firefighters and paramedics.

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Solidarity and Self-Organisation are the Weapons of the Working Class

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/04/2021 - 12:07am in

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Leaflet distributed by the CWO during the last round of strikes at universities across the UK.

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A Plague on Both Your Houses – The Position of the Working Class in the Current Crisis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 5:40pm in

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UK, strikes

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This pamphlet is product of our collective debate and conversations with fellow workers over recent months. You can read a summary of over a dozen interviews about changing power-relations during the lockdown here. Feel free to print this text as a pamphlet and share it with your comrades and co-workers.

One of the many symptoms of the disease in our social existence is that most people are isolated in the division of labour, not understanding what happens in other branches of human activity.

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Italy: The Capitalist Attacks Are Already Beginning

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/03/2021 - 5:56am in

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The following articles are translations of a statement and a leaflet issued by our sister organisation in Italy, Battaglia Comunista (Internationalist Communist Party).

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8 Historical Working Women Moments for 8 March

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/03/2021 - 10:55am in

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strikes, Women

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For what was once International Working Women’s Day, before it became International Women’s Day upon being co-opted by the UN and its corporate sponsors, we have written on 8 struggles throughout history in which working women played a vital and influential role.

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Strikes plumb the depths

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/02/2021 - 5:50am in

Although there have been plenty of reports of rising labor militancy in the US—teachers’ strikes, tech and delivery app organizing—it’s sadly not showing up in the strike data.

In its annual release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were just 7 major “work stoppages” (which include lockouts as well as strikes) in 2020, tied with 2017 for the second-lowest number since 1947, and beaten only by 2009’s 5. What strike action there was, says the BLS, was mainly against state and local government employers (5 of them), not private ones (2).

Here’s a graph of the grim trajectory. Over the period shown, total employment has tripled, meaning that the collective power of these strikes is a fraction of what it once was. If you adjust for employment growth, last year’s 7 would have been just over 2 by 1950’s standard. That year, there were over 400 strikes.

Work stoppages 2020

Another measure, known as days of “idleness” (a nice Victorian touch)—the share of total workdays lost to strikes or lockdowns—was immeasurably small: 0.00%, rounded to two decimal points, which is how it’s published. Last year the twelfth in the last twenty that scored a 0.00%; that never happened before 2001.

Idleness 2020

Presented with these stats, people sometimes point to smaller strikes as where the action is. That’s probably not the case, but numbers are hard to come by. Another agency, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, publishes data on stoppages involving fewer than 1,000 workers, but they’re presented in a very user-hostile format: monthly spreadsheets listing strikes underway that month, with no aggregated summary numbers like the larger-strike data. When I last looked at the data, in 2018, it was telling the same story as larger strikes.

I don’t want to come across as somebody sitting in a comfy desk chair lecturing, Spartacist-style, about what labor should do. US law and business practice have made it very difficult to mount strikes. Bosses and their politicians understand that without the option to withhold labor, workers are nearly powerless, and they’ve mounted innumerable obstacles to walkouts.

But for those of us who think you can’t have a better society without stronger unions, these symptoms are dire. Jane McAlevey’s mentor at 1199 New England, Jerry Brown, says that the strike is labor’s muscle and if you don’t exercise it regularly it atrophies. Strike just for practice, even if you don’t really need to, he says. The strike muscle is looking very atrophied. 

Radio 4 Programme on Friday on the History of British Fascism

Radio 4 on Friday, 19th February 2021 begins a new, three part series on the history of British Fascism, Britain’s Fascist Thread. The blurb for the programme in the Radio Times, which is on at 11 O’clock in the morning, runs

Historian Camilla Schofield explores a century of British fascism, from the formation of the British Fascisti in 1923, arguing that it is a central and ongoing part of the British story. The first programme takes the rally staged by the British Union of Fascists at Olympia in June 1934 as a keyhole through which to look in order to understand fascism in the years before the Second World War.

The additional piece by David Crawford about the series on the facing page, 132, reads

There have been fascist movements in Britain for almost a century now and, with the recent news of young teenagers being arrested for being a part of neo-Nazi groups, it seems as if this stain on our national character is not fading away. Historian Camilla Schofield, who has published a book on Enoch Powell and Britain’s race relations, argues that fascism shouldn’t be seen as something alien imported from abroad but a central and, yes, ongoing part of the British story. This three part survey of British Fascism begins at the rally by Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists at Olympia in 1934 then rewinds to 1923 when the androgynous, upper-middle class Rotha Lintorn-Orman formed the British Fascisti, supposedly after an epiphany while digging her garden. A warning from history not to take our precious democracy for granted.

Martin Pugh also argues that British Fascism wasn’t an import from abroad but a continuation of certain strands in British political history in his book on British Fascism between the Wars. This is based on the British Fascists’ own contention that their movement had its basis in Queen Elizabeth’s enfranchisement of certain towns in the 16th century. This formed a native corporatist tradition like the corporate state Mussolini was creating in Fascist Italy.

As for Rotha Lintorn-Orman, I think this very middle class lady was an alcoholic, who thought that she was in astral contact with the spirit of the Duc d’Orleans, a nobleman from the time of the French Revolution. This aristo’s ghost told her that all revolutions from the French to the Russian were the work of the Jews, who were trying to destroy European, Christian civilisation.

The British Fascisti were really extreme right-wing Tories rather than Fascists proper. They specialised in disrupting socialist meetings and supplying blackleg labour during strikes. In one confrontation with the left, they managed to force a van supplying copies of the Daily Herald, a Labour paper, off the road. I think Oswald Mosley described their leadership as consisting of middle class women and retired colonels. They were in talks to merge their organisation with Mosley’s until Britain’s greatest wannabe dictator asked them about the corporate state. I don’t think they knew what it was. When he explained, they decried it as ‘socialism’ and Mosley decided that they weren’t worth bothering with.

Pugh’s book also argues that the British idea that our nation is intrinsically democratic is very much a product of hindsight. He points out that there was considerable opposition to democracy amongst the upper classes, especially the Indian office. British ideas about the franchise were tied to notions of property and the ability to pay rates. The French notion that the vote was an inalienable right was rejected as too abstract.

British fascism is also shares with its counterparts on the continent an origin in the concerns of the 19th century agricultural elite with the declining health and fitness of their nations. The upper classes were appalled at the poor physiques of men recruited by the army to fight the Boer War from the new, industrial towns. There was an obvious fear that this was going to leave Britain very weak militarily.

It’s also struck me that with her background in race relations, Schofield will also argue that British fascism also has its roots in native British racism and imperialism, citing organisations such as the anti-Semitic British Brothers League, which was formed to stop continental Jewish immigration to Britain.

Oswald Mosley also tried telling the world that British fascism wasn’t an import, but then, he also tried telling everyone that the Fasces – the bundle of rods with an axe – was an ancient British symbol. It wasn’t. It was a Roman symbol, and represented the power of the lictor, a type of magistrate, to beat and execute Roman citizens. It was adopted by Mussolini as the symbol of his movement, Fascism, which actually takes its name from the Italian word fascio, which means a bundle or group. I think that Pugh’s right in that there certainly is a native tradition of racism and extreme nationalism in Britain, and that the British self-image of themselves as an innately democratic nation is a product of Churchill’s propaganda during the Second World War. However, Fascism proper with its black shirts and corporative state is very much an import from Mussolini’s Italy. But then, Mosley also claimed that socialism and liberalism were also imports. It will, however, be interesting to hear what Schofield has to say, especially with the really bonkers parts of British fascism, like Lintorn-Orman and her spiritual conversations with French aristocratic Jew-haters from the Other Side.

A Sign of Things to Come

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/02/2021 - 7:55am in

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The working class currently faces the challenge of the combined consequences of the pandemic and the underlying crisis of capitalism. Even though the health emergency is far from over, the wave of redundancies and restructuring has already started. The degree to which workers are able to not only resist attacks on their conditions but to impose their own interests on the ruling class in the next few months will shape the balance of class forces.

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