It comes to something when its easier to go on strike in China than it is in good old Blighty. A post on CiF by Zhang Hong about a taxi driver's strike in Chongqing suggests that maybe its not quite as difficult to dissent in China as you might think. Of course, we all remember Tiananmen Square and what happened in 1989, and so it is assumed that trade union action must be so much tougher in China than here.
How about what is happening in the UK in 2008? We have seen the increasing deregulation of businesses and the private sector by New labour over the past decade. In fact, New Labour have done things with big business that would make David Cameron and the Tories blush. Before New Labour, the Labour Party always had an arms-length relationship with business. But, after eighteen years in the governmental wilderness New Labour, like an enthusiastic virgin bride, has given its all for Capitalism ever since May 1st 1997. Never was a wedding so enthusiastically consummated, and the love affair has continued unabated since.
New Labour has enthusiastically pursued the regulation of citizens as much as it has made certain that workers are prevented from defending their livelihoods. While Capitalists are allowed to do what they want through deregulation, workers and citizens are increasingly controlled and restricted by a reactionary, authoritarian government.
Just a reminder - the trade unions have bankrolled the Labour Party since they created it in 1900 to represent working people. And they still do even though now the party represents the interests of the Capitalist class. It was the Thatcher government that in the 1980's introduced legislation which restricted trade unions from taking industrial action. The legislation ensured that businesses had the upper hand and that workers were unable to support each other and show the solidarity which is crucial to workers power. Nothing has changed since. A decade of Labour government has favoured the interests of the Capitalist class against working people.
But maybe its time for change. As working people suffer from the excesses of the Capitalists and their credit crunch, maybe its time for UK workers to strike back. If taxi drivers in China can strike with impunity - so much more can we. Its time to ignore the repressive class war-based laws that restrict trade unionists in the UK and fight back to demand an end to restrictive anti-trade union legislation. As businesses, like Woolworths, fail, workers should take control of them just as they did in Argentina in the 1990s.
But let's make no mistake, We can't expect the trade union leaders who have continued to bankroll New Labour to support such action. They are as much the enemies of working people as New Labour are. Trade unionists are weak because they are on their knees. Let us rise!