Friday 23 July 2010

Memorandum No. 2

"Forward, and remember, what our strength always was and shall be! In famine and in plenty, forward, and remember, it's solidarity!" - Solidarity Song by Bertolt Brecht

FROM: Chris Trotter
TO: The CTU National Council
RE: Your decision to fight back
DATE: Friday, 23 July 2010

CONGRATULATIONS and thank-you to all the affiliates of the CTU for your unanimous decision to organise a broad-ranging fight-back against the National Government’s assault on workers’ rights.

There will be many other decisions that you will have to make in the months ahead, but this – the first – was the most crucial. The decision to fight – as all trade unionists know – is always the most fraught with risk. A wrong choice at this point precludes so many others.

I hope you will forgive me for listening to the fear-driven rumours – now proved to be false – that the public sector unions’ hearts were not in this fight. I allowed the dark shadows of the past to unnerve me, and for that I offer you my sincere and deservedly embarrassed apologies.

In the bright sunlight of a new day, let’s remember the words of Bertolt Brecht:

Forward, and remember
What our strength always was and shall be!
In famine and in plenty
Forward, and remember
It’s solidarity!



Tiger Mountain said...

No need for prostrating Chris, your concerns were real. Blogger Pablo (Kiwipolitico) raised years back the co-opted military term “asymmetrical”.
The NZ working class is potentially involved in exactly such a contest if sufficient leadership and support can be developed. Hence short sharp stoppages, working to agreement, invoking consumer power, community and family engagement, social media, international involvement e.g. IUF have all gotta be condsidered.

A positive movement will require the small but reasonably experienced hard left to dial back the rhetoric and practically assist the newly and sporadically militant social democratic sections. The graveyard of the NZ left has always been about the relationship between reforms and reformism as an ideology, and International affiliations as opposed to internationalism. Time to determine who the main enemy is I say for once.

Madison said...

Does this mean I get spit at and pushed into traffic by the PSA members while I'm biking to work? If the ERA fostered better working relationships with employers then why were the Unions so happy to trash those by running what even Andrew Little called a recruiting drive with the 5 in '05. Many strikes and stoppages to show people unions were strong and to try to make their case that Union members deserve more simply by political affiliation, no other reason.

It's good to see people wanting to fight for their rights but have some dignity. IF I get treated like I did by the last PSA strike (I don't work at the office, but a block from it and they were walking past doing their laps) and get pushed into rush hour traffic, spit on and screamed at I will probably return the favor. Stand strong if you want, but that doesn't mean aggression towards me as I'm not an employer.

Love the title of the new campaign though: Fairness at work. Almost sounds like they believe it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's concentrate on the main enemy.
The main enemy is capitalism is capitalism. That is not a piece of hard left rhetoric, but an uncomfortable fact. Controls on the working class are imposed to extract more profit. They are not the ecentric product of warped individual imaginations. If there was really such a difference between Labour and National as some would like to have it, the last nine years of Labour could have completely dismantled the ECA,

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Good grief! You'll all be in time for the Crimean War if you hurry.

Robert Winter said...

Indeed. As I have noted elsewhere, an "outbreak of unity" around a clear strategy, with strong buy-in, including the ranks of the white-collared. The Kelly-Conway team is performing well.

Chris Trotter said...

It's exactly that sort of fatuous comment, Adolf, and the ignorance it displays about what is really going on in New Zealand society, that is going to make the next few months such tremendous fun.