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strikes

The Strike and the Vote

 Although Socialists do not exaggerate the importance of a General Election, much amusement and instruction may be derived from a consideration of the antics of the various parties involved. At the time of writing the Conservative leaders are endeavouring to insinuate into the minds of the workers that their position would have been much more favourable had several millions of them not participated in the so-called general strike of 1926.

      That Strike was directly responsible for the loss of trade and consequent failure of the unemployed to evaporate; the Labour leaders were responsible for the Strike, and have thus contributed to the sufferings of the workers.

 Thus argue the Tories.

 Of course, the leaders of the Labour Party resent this attack upon their respectability.

The Strike and its Lessons

 A million miners are out on strike. From the ferment around us one might think they were asking for the mines. Every foul epithet and calumny is being hurled at them by the hireling Press. It is they who are unpatriotic; it is they who are ruining the trade of the country; it is they who are bringing the people to starvation. No one suggests that the mine-owners, who cling so tightly to the last atom of profit which they can screw out of those who go down into the pits, are culpable.

 Of course not. Is it not only fair and just that capital should have its reward? and who can say that the mine-owner is any too well recompensed for his risk and his labour? Not the capitalist papers, certainly.

Woe to the Vanquished


 Evidently the capitalist class were convinced of one thing by the railway men’s strike, and that is that under the present conciliation scheme the long, dreary delays in dealing— or pretending to deal —with matters in dispute gave a good excuse for a strike. Hence the appointment of the Royal Commission to investigate the workings of that scheme and to report changes with a view to the prompt and satisfactory settlement of differences, directly the men had been swindled over the strike and persuaded to return to work by their treacherous leaders.

 This commission has, after examining a number of witnesses, issued its Report, and the most satisfactory result has been the derision and repudiation by numbers of the men of this document, signed though it is by Arthur Henderson, “Labour” M.P., as chief decoy duck for the Liberal party.

Allah Under the Bed

In January a number of strikes broke out in the French motor industry resulting in a shortfall, for Renault, of some 42,000 vehicles. This worried the government, both because of the loss of production and as it was clear that the dispute would be settled only by a wage increase above the 8 per cent norm they had laid down for 1983.

In other circumstances the government would have blamed “communists” (as Harold Wilson did when confronted with the seamen’s strike in 1966) but this propaganda ploy was not open to the French government since it included four ministers from the Communist Party. But another scapegoat was to hand. It so happens that the majority of shopfloor workers in Renault’s two factories in the Paris area are immigrants, mainly Moroccans and Algerians from North Africa. At Flins, the centre of the strike, 53 per cent of the 17,000 shopfloor workers are immigrants while at Billancourt the figure is 55 per cent of 12,000.

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