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Wildcat strikes - an open letter to the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement

John, Jon, Steve and Rach | 01.02.2009 20:36 | Analysis | Anti-racism | Workers' Movements

Below is an open letter written in response to the recent wildcat strikes

An open letter to the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement

We have watched with interest and extitement the unfolding wildcat strikes across the country. The radical left has responded with both support and condemnation, but overwhelmingly, silence. For several reasons, including the complex nature of the strike actions and also our obligation as anarchists to struggle with all exploited workers, we feel that it is important to both open a dialogue and apply an anarchist critique to the situation. The BNP are agitating to subvert these strikes towards a racist agenda, and we think it's imperative for anarchists to support the strikes from an anti-capitalist viewpoint and fight the racists away. Facism is divisive and an enemy of the working class - we, as anarchists should be standing shoulder to shoulder with all workers whilst arguing and acting against reactionary and facist tendencies. The basic call for workers' rights and for capitalist profiteers not to outsource disputed jobs to cheaper workers is fair, and not necessarily racist. We do not see this as a freedom of movement issue, as what we are seeing here is the forced movement of people as disposable commodities at the whim of global capitalism. Most situations like these lead to sweatshop conditions, union busting and brutal working conditions for the foreign workers and unemployment and the destruction of working class communities for British workers. Also, supporting these workers, and listening to their concerns and viewpoints will enable us to start a dialogue with them on the subject of who the real enemy is i.e not other exploited workers, but greedy bosses and politicians ruthlessly persuing a free market race to the bottom in terms of wages and working conditions. Dialogue with all workers is important because there will be other issues we need to discuss with them in a friendly way in the future, such as enviromental issues many of us would advocate which may affect their jobs. Different traditions within the anarchist movement will always have dificulties initially agreeing with the standpoint of some workers, but a friendly and open dialogue in the spirit of solidarity is an important key to building a movement genuinley capable of confronting capitalism and the state.

In Solidarity

John, Jon, Steve and Rach from within (but not on behalf of) Bath Activist Network

John, Jon, Steve and Rach
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02.02.2009 20:44

Don't believe the bosses media that seeks to divide us! The demands of the strike are:

No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action.

All workers in UK to be covered by National Joint Council for the Engineering Construction Industry Agreement.

Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members,with nominating rights as work becomes available.

Government and employer investment in proper training / apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers - fight for a future for young people.

All Immigrant labour to be unionised.

Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members.

Build links with construction trade unions on the continent.

The mass meeting overwhelmingly voted for these demands put to them by the strike committee. It's governments that are our enemy; Gordon Brown used the fascist slogan “British jobs for British workers” while the employer, French oil giant Total, face a Belgian investigation into support of Myanmar's military regime. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Myanmar made systematic use of forced labour in the 1990s to build roads and military camps and little had been done to halt the practice.

Freedom of Movement for all
Not Wage Slavery!

One of No Borders