Given the recent resurgence of talk about a general strike, and how awesome it will be when the unions call one and it’ll beat those nasty Tories and austerity will be no more and stuff, I’ll direct you to two blogs I wrote last year.
In Lobbying for the limited yet impossible, I laid out the arguments as to why the TUC was unlikely to ever call a general strike again.
In Towards a general strike, I expanded upon the problems that would arise in the event that the TUC did actually call a general strike and why it was no substitute for building a movement from below that could generalise struggles independent of the union tops.
Between them, I think they cover adequately why relying on leaders will get us nowhere. We need to be building a real movement from below, one organised horizontally based on direct democracy and direct action which gives no succour to politicians or bureaucrats of any stripe.
If we look to the TUC to fight our battles, we can look to it to sell us out when the time comes.
If we look to ourselves and our class and take direct control of our own struggles, we win or lose on our own terms. And if we win - then we can sweep away the present conditions and build a new world in the shell of the old!
The nonsensical nature of the idea is given away by the fact that the stoppage is planned to last just 24 hours. Or what is otherwise known as a day off.
So long as employers remember to dock the wages of whichever troublemaking staff decide to join in then such a venture will merely serve as a further landmark in the trade union movement’s loss of common sense.
More on the video posted yesterday which showed stewards (identified as SWP and Solidarity (Scotland Socialists) members) at the Glasgow Bedroom Tax demo attacking people (predominantly women) attending the demo who were expressing their disgust that rape apologist SWP disputes committee member Dave Sherry was speaking from the rally platform.
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that, though I didn’t think about this at the time, I probably started a blog because I need somewhere to vent my boundless rage that is not random people’s Facebook walls. I mean, one thing among the many thousands of things that are guaranteed to raise my blood pressure is when folks get all “the internet isn’t real, and it’s not a viable platform for communication,” but also like, Facebook fights are dumb, I’m supposed to be an adult now.
So here’s the thing that got me all het up this week: gay marriage.
Specifically, these goddamn things:
Heavy ass day in the resistance, and then this.
Stand Up in Bootle - a grassroots campaign group based near Liverpool organised a demonstration in Bootle town centre against the Bedroom Tax on 28th Feb. 2013. They are also campaigning for those who claim benefits and live in social housing associations such as One Vision and Riverside Housing. Police estimates put the number on the demonstration at 1200.
The demonstration began at a One Vision office on Caspian Place, which was closed at short notice for a ‘training day’. And then following a campaign van, headed on to the main street, The Strand, where it got good support from the general public, passers by and lots of horn honks from passing cars, taxis and bus drivers. The march concluded outside Council Offices with a number of speakers addressing the crowd.
From the 1st of April 2013, the Government will cut the housing benefit of over 600 000 social housing tenants, if they are considered to have a ‘spare room’. If you have one spare bedroom the cut is 14%, while if you have two it is going to be 25%. This is known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’.
But what I want to know is, if you’re planning on hijacking a grassroots campaign and using the popularity of decentralised days of action as a vehicle to promote your party, shouldn’t you at least know what the fuck you’re doing?
For a start, the whole point of a decentralised day of action is, well, that it’s decentralised! One group may call the day, but that’s as far as it goes nationally. Local organisers decide the details where they are, put out the call outs, pick the targets, etc, and it goes from there.
Instead Dr Eoin Clarke Ph-fucking-D has not only put out the call for a day of action, but set up every single one of the local events. Local “organisers” have been appointed after the fact, almost invariably unconnected with the actual ongoing campaigns in the area.
Secondly - pick your targets. I mean, really, pick an actual fucking target for fuck’s sake. UK Uncut held their occupations at businesses which avoided tax. Boycott Workfare picket places which use workfare. The Labour Left … err, well, they’re just choosing a random spot in town to stand about and wave fucking lolipops. Like that’ll do any good.
Occupation of a housing association which will be enforcing the Bedroom Tax versus standing about listlessly in an entirely random location? No fucking contest is there?
Okay, yeah, so Labour don’t want actual resistance to the Bedroom Tax and they definitely don’t want direct action. We all know that. But surely if you want to divert energies towards electoral uselessness you have to at least make your cynical opportunism slightly appealing to the newly radicalised and angry?
From their point of view, I just don’t see the benefit. Those easily swayed into “voting for change” and bollocks will be won over by Dead Ed’s words as much as by some shitty, piecemeal protest. The large and growing number of people demanding direct action and non payment are generally switched on enough to see through Labour’s bullshit. Not to mention that those initiating the campaigns and putting in the hard graft will be long schooled in it and able to warn people off with a great degree of credibility.
The only possible benefit is to delude some poor, sappy grassroots Labour supporters into thinking they changed the world by being admin of a Facebook event.
And at the end of it all, all they fucking want is the shitty fucking policy delayed by but a fucking year. So that as ever they can shit on the fucking backs of the working class whilst pretending they’re our fucking friends.
Fuck off Labour. Fuck off the Labour Left. And fuck off Eoin Clarke with your qualified opposition to things only when its the Tories doing them and your fucking piss weak candlelit vigils and your Twitter avatar with the fucking Labour rose photoshopped onto your fucking t-shirt.