For worthwhile action on November 14th: Close Crossrail!

This Wednesday will see co-ordinated strike action across a number of different European countries. Of course, one-day actions are never enough, as the defeat of the pensions dispute and the 20+ general strikes in Greece over the last few years both demonstrate, but action on such a massive scale is still quite inspiring. If nothing else, shows of international solidarity are important to promote the idea that we need a class-based fight against capital, not a nationalist fight against the EU.
So, if I lived in one of the countries where there were going to be mass strikes happening, I’d be supporting those. Sadly, that’s not the case here, so for most of the UK there’ll just be protests showing solidarity with the strikers, which I think is a worthwhile message, and calling for the unions to call a general strike, which I think is a waste of time, since it’s based around the illusion that the same unions who ran the pensions dispute into the ground might suddenly turn around and fearlessly endorse the kind of action that would definitely be ruled illegal under the UK’s notoriously harsh anti-strike laws. I think solidarity protests in the UK are still worth attending, but I don’t think lobbying the unions is any more worthwhile than lobbying any other top-down, unrepresentative institution, so where possible we should try to make the argument that a real fightback against austerity has to mean wildcat action.
Luckily, in London at least, there’s also some more effective action taking place: by far the most important is the mass picket of the Crossrail site on Oxford Street, starting at 7, called by rank-and-file electricians. This is a mass picket, aiming to shut the site down, that’s not controlled by the union tops: in other words, exactly the kind of action we need to win. I can’t find much information on the subject, but the Coalition of Resistance claim that Unite members working at Amnesty International, the British Museum and Arriva buses will also be out on the day. The mass picket at Crossrail sounds like the most important action on the day, but any other strikes happening deserve support as well. Also in London, there’s a protest at the Home Office at 1 in support of the London Met students threatened with deportation, which may be worth going to.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the Civil Service Rank and File Network’s callout for the day: I’m not sure where 15-minute walkouts’ll be happening, but anyone can join in the communications blockade of Francis Maude’s office by emailing him at, ringing him at 020 7219 2494 and 01403 242000, and using to send faxes to +4420 7219 2990 and +4420 7219 2990. In contrast to the ineffectual approach of just calling on our leaders to take action, the rank and file civil servants have demonstrated how you actually influence union leaders: first, they independently called for walkouts, and now the union leaders are having to put out a call for protests on November 30th to avoid being outflanked. Whether we’re trying to put pressure on politicians, bosses, or the bureaucrats within our movements, rank-and-file action is always the best way to go.


About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Internationalism, Protests, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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