Saturday, July 02, 2011

reflections on J30

Miliband on BBC yesterday

I must admit to heretical thoughts in the lead up to J30, the first concerted national strike action in response to the Condem assault has been the subject to paeons of hyperbole from the left press whose salivating coverage was mirrored by the fake horror of the right wing press at what one might have thought from the coverage was the presage to the establishment of a revolutionary commune.
the truth was that a one day strike by teachers, civil servants and college lecturers involved far less strikers than any of the TUC 'days of action' that peppered the early years of Thatcher's reign, all of which were derided by the Left at the time as tokenistic and ineffectual.
the day to day roles of those who were taking action was also problematic. the PCS, UCU, the NUT and the ATL all benefitted from the rapid expansion of white collar trades unionism in the 1980s, the majority of contact that the working class are likely to have had with their members is almost uniformly negative ; from the engineered failiure of the school system, its indoctrination and petty rules in preparation of a life of regimentation as a wage slave, to the policing of the undeserving poor by the fortnightly humilitation and sly vindictiveness of the Job centre interview. Those on strike on thursday would be back at their desks by friday investigating 'dole scroungers' and arranging the detention and expulsion of asylum seekers; there was little to promote solidarity from the wider working class, and much to permit their demonisation by the Goverment and press.
But that isn't the way it worked out. The ham fisted attempts to accuse the unions of greed in demanding high pensions at the expense of the private sector tax payer faltered as private sector workers recalled the bankers and bosses that stole their pensions and now sit pretty on the ConDem benches.
As Rick Dutton pointed out on facebook-
"I hated most of my teachers when I was a kid, always got shit off the Jobcentre when I went to sign on, regularly took crap from the housing office when I was homeless, have had bad experiences of prison officers, hate the police, despise careerist Trot trade union fact most public servants I've had contact with are c~~~s...but I wouldn't cross their picket line ;)"

Basic solidarity.

the Tower Hamlets ALARM website reports from the London demonstration:
I felt a bit funny marching with lots of teachers, they deserve a good pension and good money, but whenever I’m around teachers all I can remember is getting detention for some pointless reason, sexually repressed RE teachers flying into rage at homework not being done, art teachers thinking their class matters, French teachers convinced they can teach another language to a group of kids that are mostly failing English…the list goes on. But I marched with them, avoiding detention.

Clearly no one was expecting anything more than a few pickets and a fun family march, but the police hadn’t got the message, after a bit of walking and a few speeches a group began to move up Whitehall. A kettle sprang out at the crowd. Police lines formed to the shock of everyone. Snatch Squads (a gaggle of police out to snatch people away from the crowd) circled targeting anyone under 18 who wasn’t white, and then moved on to just grabbing anyone.

Here I saw teachers at their best, not the scum from my childhood, but concerned teachers jumping forward and grabbing back their students from the claws of the police. Teachers willing to confront the crazed uniformed thugs, a real solidarity between the EMA kids of last year and the striking staff off today. Brilliant.

Basic Solidarity.

In fact the only person in the country who appears to have swallowed the ConDem Bollocks is the sad sock puppet that it is rumoured is in charge of the Labour party.

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