Friday, 1 July 2011

With our brothers and our sisters in many far off lands

I don't really use twitter, but every so often I get mesmerized by a hash tag. Tonight it was #J30 and #isupportthestrikes (with an occasional check out @Ed_Milliband - just to enjoy the many ways to say "fuck off"). A large chunk of British teachers and public servants are out on strike. Schools, courts and benefit centres are shut all over the place, and there are rallies and marches across the country. There are really awesome connections between struggles, with those protesting benefit cuts, joining the picket lines of the people who work in job centres.

Everytime people chant "The Workers United Will Never Be Defeated" in Wellington there are about 25 people there. I always make the same joke: "I agree with the general principle, but don't see it's application here. But when you've got more than half a million people out I think it's fully justified (although the workers aren't quite united, who is on strike and who isn't seems super complicated and doesn't make any sense to me).

The picture is from Elephant the best site I've found for live reports.

Of course Britain is not the only far off land in upheaval (The Daily Telegraph had a headline "Strikers Should Learn From Greece" - a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with, although I suspect we mean slightly different things). It is the easiest one to find good info in a language that I speak though. I'd welcome links in the comments. libcom did have good info from Greece, but it hasn't been updated in a while.


Matthew (Elephant Editor) said...

Hey Maia, thanks for your kind words regarding our coverage, it's great to hear a positive reaction to student journalism outside the student community.

Please follow us on twitter at @elephantstudent (myself am @MattieTK) and we'll broadcast all the events we cover across the city.

We wouldn't have any motivation to do better every time were it not for people like you mentioning us so please spread the word and once again thank you :)

Matthew (TK)
Elephant Editor

Carol said...

I'm pleased to see the extent of the UK strikes. I went out on strike many, many times over the years I was teaching in the UK, as well as going on demos and leafletting around local streets. Unfortunately it didn't do much good under Thatcher's regime.

I'm pleased to see the coverage the current UK strikes are getting. If I was still in the UK, I would join the protests. I now get a bit of UK teacher's pension, based on what I paid into the scheme. I wasn't really aware of paying it at the time, but I now value it. I think that current teachers, and other public sector workers in the UK should get the same benefits I do. They make important contributions to the country.

It's a scandal that the wealthy speculators and bankers who created the financial crisis are not not being asked to pay for the financial crisis they caused and less well-off workers, who help to create the socity the wealthy benefit from, are expected to carry the burden.

In NZ there seems to be more complacency about union action and protests amongst my work colleagues (albeit in different job than I did in the UK- I have a part time weekend job). More people seem to join unions for the benefits it gives them & don't seem to understand the importance of collective action. Some do, but they seem to be smaller proportion of people in my workplace than in the UK.

However, the bigger population in London, means that the numbers that turn up to protests can be quite motivating.