[yikes: day of QC Strikes & return of the crackdrive]

.. greetings, the ol' server has been down with a crackdrive, the second failure in a month (!). We've replaced it with a mirrored system, and tomorrow we move the box back to the safehouse and the direct plug to the 'Net.

Needless to say there's a billion things in the pipe to post.

First, a word of support to the strikers here in Quebec and BC, and an eloquent big finger to Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, who spoke in the most condescending manner today, treating those on strike as if they were children, to behave like good slaves to the system, and protest with decorum... Has anyone forgotten the roots and point of protest and strike? The misery that organised labour speaks from, the doldrums of working for the factory, at the dock, and so on, the very history of its slavery in the industrial revolution?

The force of the strike signals that there's a problem with the system. In the past strikes have formed the very constitution of what we still claim is the welfare state. Today the welfare state is becoming eroded in favour of international corporate or private control. According to popular media, however, the reasons for striking are often 'petty', and the strike is viewed as a mere inconvenience or the butt of numerous talk show jokes. The strikers are often criticized for striking 'when they make so much money already'. The entire issue is trivialized--which is why a serious strike or serious protest today is the all the more inexplicable to the 'public' the popular media apparently speaks to. It exceeds these frameworks, like the thunderstruck expressions of many a network journalist, on-air, in Seattle at the WTO, 1999. They couldn't believe their own eyes, they couldn't understand what so many people were on about--because, in their comfortable worldview, they know nothing about it. It's a rip in the shift of consensual reality that maintains the spectacle of capitalism.

While petty disagreements might be the tick that settles or sparks the score, the very idea of the strike is one of utter rejection of the mode of work as the goal to life. The only way to win over a neocon is absolute pressure through the only channels they understand: money. Disruption that hits the economy hard, disruption in a General Strike that paralyses the Province, disruption that shakes such a force that its symbolisation reflects a massive repercussion in media representation--the people are angry, and this is the message to be broken. Let's make it clear, Charest: your neocon gov't is out to break the unions, rape organised labour, destroy the confidence of the working and immigrant classes--through subcontracting, the breaking of contracts, and other neocon tricks of the trade. Don't be surprised when these working classes move to strike back. As I wrote awhile back, the mistake of BC's organised labour was not to call a General Strike. Quebec, on the other hand, is proceeding ahead. And Quebec's organised labour ought not to fear the threats of the Charest gov't. The only way to reverse and detour the slow slippage of Canadian Provinces to the corporate monopolisation and privatisation of all life that is so advanced in the US is to embrace tactics beyond the negotiating table. At some level--and unfortunately--the neocons cannot be negotiated with because they have no interest in meeting the demands of the public, or the demands of the working classes to autonomy, support, job security, and quality of life through wages. The neocons are simply not interested. This lesson has, unfortunately, been learned through ways most torturous. Is it only now that in 2003 labour is catching onto the extent to which the neocons have been waging war on the very concept of 'equality for all'? A major step forward is for labour to realise that this is no longer a case of negotiating for a 'better deal', or even a 'new deal'. Fuck -- read this interview with Gore Vidal.

Speaking of BC, ferry workers are now on strike out West, leaving an approximate 800, 000 daily passengers without ferry service. Due apologies for those stranded (check here for info on the dispute). May I recommend joining the ferry workers in demanding human accountability from the Campbell Liberals. The Liberal gov't has ordered the strikers back to work under new 'cooling off' legislation, but it looks like the the Union will disobey the order. This means that the Union faces penalties and jail time for disobeying.. which should call for some thought: this means they are willing to go where they have not gone in some time. The strike comes as no surprise; BC labour is pissed after getting, to use a phrase of HST's, 'raped on all fronts'. BC Ferries used to be a Crown (state) corporation; now it is run privately by US airline executive David Hahn. Apparently no one (in the popular media) can figure out what the strike is about or even what the demands are. This is, of course, a convenient masquerade over the deeper structural cracks now manifesting in Canada--international and US corporate control of ex-state services (see chronology of BC Ferries).

The reasons are clear enough. After two years of neocon, BC Liberal Provincial Gov't, featuring highlights of privatisation, union-breaking, corporate tax breaks, reduction of services, and so forth, frustrations have run rare & high--hot enough that the paradigms of rational negotiation are breaking down. A politics of anger is taking hold. This is a dangerous proposition. While Europe--and the rest of the world--is used to this kind of spontaneous rebellion, a rebellion always reactionary yet often necessary, Canada is not. Canada, image of the developed nation, is shocked to its conservative core when faced with massive dissent against neocon policy that serves to slowly exterminate its own people. With all speed, then, to BC--may the rest of the unions quickly follow suit. A General Strike in BC and Quebec would paralyse both the West and the East. Perhaps it will be the Dominion's Boxing Day surprise.

posted. Thu - December 11, 2003 @ 05:32 PM           |