Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Keep the red flag flying

Such were the lyrics that my grandparents sung at Welsh labour meetings in the 1920s. And even though Fox would blow a gasket, it wouldn't be a bad libretto wherever American labour is trying to bring the global revolution to life in this reactionary country.

The protesters seem to have realised the need to trot out new lyrics, because the case is much broader than it may seem. Wherever it began, it is no longer about privileged public sector employees vs. the public. Public sector unions are the last bastion of a much-beaten and bloodied American labour movement. Pull them down, and all workers finish the march back in time to the 1870s, when working people had no rights at all, serfs struggling at the whim of their employers.

Why do you think the republicans are working so passionately to do just that?

Watching the signs in the demonstrations, I'm seeing a shift in labour's message in the right direction. One of the best simply said "end the war on the middle class." The American middle class, distinct from the traditional European bourgeoisie, exists because of unions. Rather than being a bourgeois entity, it's more properly a prosperous and autonomous working class.

Is this flippant or trivial, compared with the struggles in Egypt and Libya? Not exactly. Employment and eventual prosperity in those nations is ironically dependent upon sustaining prosperous working classes in the developed world. Take away the latter, as the republicans and business so want to do, and the global economy falls like a house of cards. Then the revolutions of this winter and spring will look like playground games by comparison.

We are backing the Middle West uprisings in this house, just as we support those elsewhere in the world. Such global stirrings have happened before, and we can only hope and do our part to see that these, unless some in the past, don't end in defeat and repression.

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