The Art of Protest on Vimeo

In the 80s I was a full time union activist and I was involved, obviously, in occasional industrial disputes. One, in particular, is relevant. It was the classic typical pay dispute. Various actvists were calling for one day strikes, two day strikes, campaigns of one day strikes, works to rules, overtime bans and all that usual bollocks. I was branch secretary at the time and I drafted a four page circular to my members telling them the truth. The only way they could guarantee winning a pay dispute with the government was to be prepared to remove that government by making it impossible for them to govern. I pointed out that the Civil Service striking on their own could not achieve that and that if we were serious, we had to try to co-ordinate our activities with the other public sector unions and campaign for a massive public sector strike. My favoured strategy was to pull out key workers only, while the remainder stayed in work, collecting wages which could be used, in part, to fund the strikers. I emphasised that, should this strategy work, it would bring down the government and that they should only support my proposal if they were prepared to go that far. I got just under 70% support on a high turnout. I still believe precisely the same thing. Unless you’re prepared to make it impossible to govern, you are wasting your time with “Protests”. Naomi Wolf describes in painful detail how the modern authoritarian state has learned to contain “protests” and, in the process, to emasculate them. But it’s our fault for letting the bastards get away with it…

About Harry Stottle
Refugee from the Stumbleupon Blogicide of October 2011 Here you will find my "kneejerk" responses to the world and what I happen to bump into. For my more detailed considerations and proposals, please visit my website or my previous main blogging site.

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