. Late For Class or Did the Dog Eat Your Homework? | London Progressive Journal
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Late For Class or Did the Dog Eat Your Homework?

Mon 23rd Sep 2019

Here in the UK we’re trapped yet again by that old mantra: Hurry up and wait. It’s such a familiar fallback by now we tend to regard it as the norm. Whichever direction your finger is pointing, though, the stasis is a political ploy. Sometimes the condition passes us by, having little effect on our own small lives. This time, however, it’s costing big bucks and the results will impact on all of us.

As I write this we’re all hanging by a thread while others make up their minds. Any of their decisions may render this outRageous! rant redundant, but such is the tenor of the times.

So, Beth, [as many ask me], with so much at stake, why do you keep banging on about the UK labour unions? Trust me, it isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, but here goes…

With a backward glance at the struggle endured by the working class for centuries, no one could argue for a return to the obscene exploitation inflicted by those who’d usurped power over them. Pharaohs, Emperors, Tsars, Generals, Premiers, Prime Ministers, cheating Presidents, Colonel Sanders… okay I made that one up.

Brave men – not so many women, but a fair few nonetheless – risked their lives to challenge The Man, the Boss, He who must be obeyed.

The problem we face today, though, is the intransigence of the labour unions to look forward. Leaving aside the most vocal of their spokespeople to support the policies of the Labour Party, as well as their financial backing, the sine qua non of their justifications for action is about jobs. Lost or gained. And that opens up a whole tin of wiggly worms. They’re all capitalist worms and they’re all class-based.

Over all is existence itself. Our collective existence. Because, - as XR supporters understand with profound conviction - Planet Earth may eventually re-seed itself, but as we copy the hippo, the profligate lifestyle of our wallow is already producing unavoidable consequences. Our choices, domestic and corporate, cannot be curtailed quickly enough to prevent our destruction and everything we assume will last forever.

One of the most potent drivers of this climate of waste is the economic con of inward investment. Sadly, this policy which benefits the wealthy over the poor, has consistently been touted by labour unions on the basis of job provision. Scores and hundred and thousands. This has led to local polarisations, pitting the working class against itself. Not very helpful.

Another example of scandalous union behaviour are the attitudes toward women, ethnic minorities, and the choice for those over retirement age to carry on making a significant, paid contribution to society. I see little evidence of change by any union pronouncements, let alone even a hint of addressing the problem at all. What I see – or at least what I’m allowed to see by the print, online, and broadcast media – is a rush to justify mistakes, crime and misdemeanours worthy of the MeToo revelations. We expect such conduct from the proto-fascist Tories. It is unseemly from the umbrella organisations pledged to protect the working class.

The upshot of these 19th century sticking plasters applied by labour unions to current socio-economic wounds, is the advocacy of slavery. That is certainly not what they say they’re doing, but in fact, they are. Within the context of that other con-job austerity, union policy across labour sectors includes getting embroiled in the minutiae of higher education, hospital parking charges, or the structure of the Labour Party, among a slew of other diversions from the main issue.

For, if the ruling elite are being supported in the maintenance of their privilege by the very unions which should be challenging their very existence as a class, then their reduction of issues to the bottom line of jobs and wages is a priori assuring the conditions of slavery.

The ERG and their ilk fiercely defend the choice to avoid or defer university in favour of trade apprenticeships. What nonsense! Well, somehow I can’t see Rees-Mogg installing a new boiler let alone changing a plug. Can you?

Though it’s untrue of Putin’s entirely flawed revamping of the victory over the Tsars, Soviet students were taught theoretical analysis as well as practical skills to produce both a healthy regard for manual work and the courage to debate its place in society.

I know personally of such a journey – in his teenage course to prepare as a classical stage actor in pre-WW2 Moscow, my own father was tasked to take a car apart and re-assemble it, writing up an essay of the benefits and disadvantages of motor transport in light of the Great Depression of 1929.

When Karl Marx posited the withering away of the capitalist state he foresaw the flexibility of the future. Fundamental change moved at a rate which could absorb it into the fabric of society. For the reasons we’re all by now familiar with, that’s no longer the case. Climate change has usurped the agenda. It’s claimed all the agendas. I believe it’s borderline criminal that the unions cannot address that. From now there’s only one class, and they’re running late. What’s your excuse?
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