Friday, 13 June 2014

Busting the Budget in Melbourne: Where to Now?

by John, En Passant:

Workers in Melbourne rallying and striking against the Budget

Up to 40,000 workers rallied in Melbourne on Thursday against the bosses’ Budget.

It was a great display of working class strength and suggests the way to actually Bust the Budget [hint: voting Labor in two years time isn't the answer. It is too far away and the immense damage will have been done. And Labor is just another party of neoliberalism].

Many workers walked off the job to go. Already the Labor Party’s version of the attack dog on building workers is investigating to find out if building workers went on ‘illegal’ strike.

That could mean fines for individual workers doing so and the freezing of their  assets (including the family home) if the fines remain unpaid. Certainly that is what Labor’s attack dog is doing in Western Australia to building workers who went on ‘unprotected’ strikes.

Of course the union bureaucrats and Labor Party want to manage and control these actions.

In Melbourne the pressure from below forced the Victorian Trades Hall Council to call a rally against the Budget at 10.30 on a Thursday, a workday for most workers. It was in reality a untrumpeted strike call and many workers, especially building workers and maritime workers, responded by walking off the job.

In Sydney, Unions NSW called a delegates’ meeting to discuss what to do rather than a members’ rally.

The compromise from the bureaucrats is to have a rally on Sunday 6 July across Australia. Sunday is of course a day when most workers are not at work so the bosses’ precious profits will not be threatened.

Most of the union leadership fear their own members when mobilised more than they fear the bosses and the Liberals. So their compromise is to march out the foot soldiers of the class war in a big parade or two and then quickly return them to barracks. It is a strategy of defeat.

In an update that should surprise no-one, Mark Lennon, head apparatchik at Unions NSW, refused to accept an amendment calling for a one day strike. He was booed. Under his visionary leadership rather than strike action it will be letter writing and one rally on 6 July.

That course of action will no doubt have Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey quaking in their boots. As I said before, this is the strategy of defeat. The union time servers fear their members more than they fear the bosses and their governments (plural).

The working class fight against the Budget may give us the opportunity to clean out the shit of ages from our movement’s Augean stables.

Their side is serious and on the attack. It is time our side got serious too. We won’t beat back these attacks by one-off rallies or even stopworks of a few hours. The way to beat this bosses’ Budget is to stop work until the government capitulates or falls.

The magnificent response of workers in Melbourne shows not only anger with the Budget but a willingness to fight. Our task is to connect to that anger and willingness and if we can lead the movement forward or suggest ways for it go forward. We may get a hearing.

We will help build the 6 July Bust the Budget union rallies. We will do this in our unions, in our propaganda and in our other activity, actions, discussions and debate.

In doing that we can put the arguments for a working class response to the bosses’ Budget - stopping work until the Government backs down or falls.

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