There are two distinct strains of fascism. The first, what I call blackshirt fascism, comes about in the face of economic distress. This variant of fascism isn’t pathologically racist, inasmuch as minorities are willing to go along to get along and do as they are told there’s no problem. You can see this in Franco’s Spain or Mussolini’s Italy, as (respectively) Moroccans and Ethiopians were vital parts of both regimes’ militaries. That’s not to say that blackshirt fascists aren’t racist, but they aren’t genocidally so. The second, what I call brownshirt fascism, comes about in the face of national humiliation, which is where the Nazis came from. These fuckers are eliminationist when it comes to race and aren’t willing in the least to abide diversity, even when minorities are obsequious to the majority.
The difference comes in the nature of stress applied to a society. In a capitalist society suffering under severe economic dislocation that applies the kind of uncertainty that the working poor usually cope with to groups that don’t usually have to face it, like the educated and middle class, it causes society to turn to alternative perspectives on existing politics. The middle class usually breaks towards fascist narratives for a couple of reasons. It’s a vision that’s far more compatible with conventional systems of government than the end goal of leftist thought. It maintains (and strengthens) the state, plays on patriotism, and retains the existing economic power dynamic by retaining the capitalist mode of production. This compatibility reassures the middle class, who are by and large not used to facing these kinds of economic pressures the way the working class is. This desire for reassurance is also the root of why these groups are willing to cast away their right of self-determination and support a totalitarian form of government, as fascist societies always create rigid roles and boundaries for the people who exist within it. To this way of thinking, people who are fucked over by these boundaries deserve it for breaking these boundaries.
All of this applies to a capitalist country that has been humiliated as a nation, as economic stress usually follows a national humiliation. However, the difference comes from the motive for seeking reassurance. In blackshirt fascism, the motive is to feel secure again. In brownshirt fascism, the motive is to feel secure again by making the nation strong once more. This retrenchment towards ethnic and national identity takes the latent nationalism that is a feature of all fascism and makes it far more malignant. By binding the reassurance that a fascist society provides to national and ethnic identity, it virtually eliminates a fascist society’s already low level of pluralism, and reduces its tolerance of subjugation of those who share its ethnic identity: a German in 1927 might not give a fuck about the Sudetenland, but the same German in 1937 sure as hell does.
Which brings me to the Golden Dawn, a fascist party on the rise in Greece. From where I sit, they are a brownshirt fascist group. This is interesting because the economic uncertainty came before the national humiliation, as Papademos’ coronation as PM by the EU, the continual scapegoating of Greece for the eurozone crisis, and the damage to Greece’s sovereignty those two things represent occured long after the economic crisis set in. Their rise is extremely worrying and depressing. It’s worrying because they will likely not be tolerant of Turkish Cyprus or the way ethnic Greeks are treated in Turkey proper, which could lead to further instability in Europe as shipping to and from the Black Sea through the Med becomes uncertain. It’s depressing because Greece fought the Italians and then the Nazis long and hard during the Second World War, with people like Archbishop Damaskinos showing true courage in the face of such malevolence.
Some of this is the fault of the establishment left. PASOK is like most “socialist” parties in Europe: neoliberal shills who aren’t willing to take a stand for the average person. The KKE has been actively working against the trade unions, left-communists, and anarchists who are trying to fight the ruinous cuts being inflicted on the people of Greece. By not standing up, fighting back, and providing a genuinely left alternative to the existing neoliberal order, both PASOK and KKE are treading dangerously close to proving Walter Benjamin right: “Behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.”
I can only hope that the other leftists in Greece are able to do what the KKE and PASOK aren’t willing to.
After locking out 465 members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 27 in London, Ontario, Caterpillar decided last Friday to close its 62-year-old locomotive facility there and move production to newly “right-to-work” Indiana, where American workers will work for half of what Canadian workers would make. Caterpillar’s decision to close the plant after workers refused to agree to major wage concessions has provoked outrage across Canada in light of the fact that Illinois-based Caterpillar made a record $4.8 billion in profits in 2011.
CAW members, who have already been blockading a completed locomotive from leaving the London plant, have vowed to continue blocking any products from leaving there as they attempt to extract a better severance from the company. The CAW local is also considering occupying the plant. “The CAW has occupied workplaces when employers have shown disrespect,” Canadian Auto Workers Union President Ken Lewenza told Bloomberg. “It’s a tool. It’s an option.”
As I reported last week, under the Investment Canada Act, foreign companies taking over Canadian companies must demonstrate a “net benefit” to Canada. Critics claim that the government allowed a foreign-owned company (Caterpillar) to buy a Canadian company without having any intention of providing any “net benefit” to Canada.
I really hope the CAW follow through with that occupation, because fuck Caterpillar and because Stephen Harper won’t stand up for them. They might not be able to save their jobs, but they might be able to make this a Pyrrhic victory for Caterpillar.
In addition, don’t think that the recent dues freeloading law passed by Indiana has absolutely nothing to do with this decision by Caterpillar, because it has everything to do with it. Caterpillar is staggeringly profitable, and the wages paid at this plant aren’t insane. They are decent, skilled-labor wages, but the environment in the US is conducive to a race to the bottom, the jobs go away and lives get just a little better for those in Muncie and a whole lot worse for those in London.
This whole sad story yet again proves exactly how morally bankrupt the existing economic system is. This plant closure will ruin people’s lives. It will unhome people, it will impoverish people, it will cause a whole swath of societal ills that won’t be addressed because of Mike Harris’ public sector cuts in the nineties. I remember very clearly supporting my teachers’ picket line in 1997 because of what Harris was looking to do was so repellant. What’s happening in London is the inevitable continuation of that neoliberal effort. There is literally no reason, none at all, to do any of this aside for sheer naked avarice.
The Liberals will probably try to make hay over this, but they have supported similar efforts in the recent past under Martin. The only party that’s in a position to really slam Harper and the Tories on this is the NDP, recently ascendant to the Official Opposition after the last election. However, I fear that the leadership vacuum within the New Democrats after Layton’s passing will leave them unable to really go after Harper for allowing and even supporting this kind of asset stripping. If Layton was still alive, they would have easily been able to absolutely shellack the Tories on this bullshit, but with their leadership election taking up all the air in the room, it will be an afterthought at best.
In the end, I’m hoping for the best, but I don’t think this turns out happy for the CAW workers. It’s really fucking sad. I hope someone burns down the house of Caterpillar’s CEO.
Greece is, to put it simply, fucked, and the Greeks realize it. The EU and IMF are meeting today to figure out how to fuck them over further in the name of preventing a default and thus triggering another crisis of capitalism when we haven’t even remotely come close to recovering from the last one. If anything, a Greek default could cause a bigger crisis because of how precarious things are right now.
Yet the Greeks have been remarkably resistant and the EU’s decision-makers have yet to figure out the best way to make Greece play by the privatize-and-burn neoliberal model that’s been forced down the throat of dozens of countries in the developing world. This is, to some extent, due to their unions and some of their left wing (their Communists are regrettably moving in lock step with the government). Lagarde, Merkel, and Zapatero had hoped, like in every other instance this particular model had been rolled out, it could be pushed through in an undemocratic fashion as fast as possible because ‘there is no alternative’ and ‘this is a crisis and you have to take bold action’.
Except that there is an alternative to what the European Commission and the IMF have planned for Greece, and some workers at a hospital in Kilkis have decided to take bold action, just not the bold action the international financiers were hoping for.
Health workers in Kilkis, Greece, have occupied their local hospital and have issued a statement saying it is now fully under workers control.
The workers have responded to the regime’s acceleration of unpopular austerity measures by occupying the hospital and outing it under direct and complete control by the workers. All decisions will be made by a ‘workers general assembly’.
The hospital has stated that. “The government is not acquitted of its financial responsibilities, and if their demands are not met, they will turn to the local and wider community for support in every possible way to save the hospital defend free public healthcare, to overthrow the government and every neo-liberal policy.”
As I’ve stated earlier, this is what Occupy here in the US will have to move towards doing. It requires a big leap of faith and a lot of courage, because the first successful one will be attacked by police just as savagely as Occupy Oakland was on the 28th and heaped with scorn in the media, likely in the vein of, “look at those Occupy hippies tryin’ to get jobs AND THEY STILL CAN’T DO IT RIGHT!”
It will get attacked by the cops because taking over a failed capitalist institution and turning it into a going concern outside that framework is intolerable to the employing class. An enterprise like reopening a failed business as a worker collective shows their method of organizing society to not be the only way, but potentially a less successful one. So out come the enforcers with tear gas and rubber bullets to prevent this from even making a short-term run at success. I’d also add that it’s important to take over a closed business and not start up a new worker co-op. Part of the point is to be provocative and confrontational, and by doing so draw attention to this effort.
Once the cops have cleared the reoccupied business, it then becomes necessary to figuratively poison the well, to keep people from trying something like this again, which is where the media reaction to this fits in. Occupying abandoned buildings for community centers and the like is at least noble in intent, which is why you barely saw why the OPD embraced their inner blackshirt on January 28th mentioned. If an Occupy reopens a shuttered business in this time of massive un-and-underemployment, that would be entirely too good of a story to just ignore, but the media couldn’t afford to depict in in a positive light.
The media narrative would be along the lines of, “Well, those Occupy hippies have done it again! They finally got jobs, but since they are dumb hippies, they can’t just do things normally like getting a job at McDonalds. Get this…they took over an abandoned business and started it back up again, and since they are dumb hippies, they decided to run it democratically! How crazy is that! How can they function without a boss! Good thing the cops went in and cleared them out before something bad happened.”
Granted, the actual phrasing would probably be a bit more subtle than all that, but that would be the general tone. Make no mistake: the Occupy protests in their current form have the employing class worried. The reoccupation of foreclosed homes has them alarmed. A shift to this kind of occupation, just taking over shuttered businesses and running them democratically, would scare the fuck out of them and push them to try and break up the Occupy movement for good. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s possible to win this particular battle.
So if I’m right about the reaction to such a workplace occupation, how do you successfully defend it? Firstly, you take over the space quickly and quietly. You don’t announce it beforehand, you don’t launch the start with a march. You pick out a dozen or so people from the group who are interested in doing this, take over the space, and get it up and running. Operate it quietly as any other business for a couple weeks if possible. Then launch it as an Occupy effort. Have the march, the big press release talking about putting power back in the hands of the people, the whole nine yards. When the cops come to clear you out, to hell with Chris Hedges’ liberal ass and fight them off. Make the cops go full-on stormtrooper to shut down the business and make sure you capture them doing so on video (this last part probably won’t be a problem) and slam them for physically assaulting ‘job creators’. Finally, when the media comes to pass judgement on this enterprise, have another two reoccupations in the pipeline that you can launch so you can prove them to be liars when they say it was unsustainable.
The next stage of this movement has to be reoccupying closed workplace. I’ve said that for a while, and I think this Kilkis hospital takeover hints at me being correct about this. I’m going to watch what news emerges from that like a hawk because it presages what’s feasible here in the US. A better world is possible, we just need to bring it into being.
On the other hand, perhaps this generation can still come out as good, proper kvetches. Witness this popular parable making its way through corridors, water-coolers, pubs, and internet boards about Generation Y’s situation on today’s job market:
The older generations told us: “Study hard in high school, because you need to go to college. You don’t want to be stuck flipping burgers when you get older, do you?”
Well we studied hard in high school, took out loans, went to college, and graduated.
Now the older generations tell us: “Get to work flipping burgers, you spoiled brats!”
This at least comes closer to identifying the real issue: everyone from the upper-middle class downwards has found themselves reduced to just doing whatever it takes to get by and pay their bills at the end of the month. With full irony intended, this is supposed to be how the poor live! But now everyone is poor, and Gen-Y’s 85% rate of moving back in with our parents post-graduation can only hide this fact for so long.
Everyone under the age of thirty who is underemployed should be forced to read this whole piece, because it quite accurately crystallizes a fair chunk of my thinking on the current economic situation. We are all supremely fucked, and there isn’t a way out of this mess within the existing system, and what’s more I think more and more of my generation realize this, whereas our parents and Gen X don’t. When talking about these political issues with my parents, there is a reformist streak to their solutions. If we elect the right politicians, things will get fixed eventually. If the employing class can just be shamed sufficiently, they will do the right thing.
They aren’t idiots, far from it, and they are also far from being alone in falling into that kind of trap. Reformism and gradualism are basically ways to reduce the impact of the problems being created by neoliberal capitalism so that people don’t actually get pissed enough to solve the root issue, and that’s capitalism itself. Reformist programs like welfare is treating the symptom and not the cause, and so long as people treat it as a legitimate alternative to actual revolutionary change, we’ll be back in this mess even if a robust welfare state gets pushed through, be it five years from now or five decades from now. Nothing frustrates me more than otherwise decent and honest people saying, “we have to work through the system first before we try anything else,” because we’ve already tried working through the system and it’s failed miserably. It was called the post-war era, and virtually every single program implemented then is under a sustained attack now. You doubt this? Look at the entire austerity hysteria sweeping the West and then talk to me.
You have the UK Tories dismantling the welfare state and the NHS bit by bit and the Labour party sitting by and half-heartedly endorsing their actions. You have the Canadian Tories starting the pull apart their universal health care system by starting to privatize it. You have Social Security and Medicare under threat as Democrats have endorsed plans that amount to the demise of those two programs. And these are only the most visible examples. You give me twenty minutes and I’ll turn up more, because there’s always more and it’s always worse. Oh, and in most cases, the groups doing the biggest damage to these programs are usually the ones that implemented them a generation and a half ago.
The fact of the matter is that the programs like Social Security, Medicare, and labor protections were compromises that only came into being because there were a lot of folk who had learned how to fight between 1941-45 and weren’t about to come back to a Depression-era existence. The people running the show realized this, and gave some ground realizing that it could be clawed back later on down the road. So they gave ground, didn’t fight too hard against Medicare or Social Security, and negotiated decent contracts with labor unions once those institutions had been purged of most of their radicals. These compromises gave birth to the American ‘middle class’ mindset, and ultimately neutered any chance for genuinely radical ideas to gain any traction within the body politic.
Until the latest crisis, which has shown an upswing of interest in economic models that are genuinely democratic and egalitarian in nature. Hopefully the Millennials don’t fall into the trap our grandparents fell into and start to push for genuine change to the way society is organized, because otherwise nothing will get better.
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
As with my previous piece about Apple, this is par for the course and an inevitable outgrowth of capitalism, particularly neoliberalism. When people are talking about making America more competitive in the global market, this is what they are talking about: making everyone live in company barracks so that a foreman can come and wake you up in the dead hours of night to work twelve hours straight with no break on the whim of some egomaniacal asshole who doesn’t like that his phone screen can scratch when he has his metal keys in his pocket. This is barely a quarter step up from chattel slavery.
Let’s not forget that the contractor in question (Foxconn) has had to put up anti-suicide nets because it treats its workers in such a degrading and horrific fashion, and that recently two hundred workers threatened to commit suicide in the face of a manager breaking an agreement. It’s this kind of degradation and autocratic behavior that enable the kind of ‘flexibility’ that has Apple’s executives going on about how they can’t onshore these jobs again.
Fuck every single one of these people and those that benefit from the wealth they gain by abusing their workers. They should be reviled for doing this. They shouldn’t be able to show their fucking faces in public. They shouldn’t be allowed to eat out at restaurants. Their children should be ostracized in school. People should turn their backs on them when they speak, and every single business that isn’t a gigantic conglomerate should turn away their custom, because if they had their way, these executives would bind us so thoroughly to a cycle of poverty and serfdom that it would be impossible to escape from.
However, these people are beyond shame. As I said earlier, they don’t eat at restaurants and drink at the bars we do. They don’t fly aboard the same planes as us, they don’t live in the same neighborhoods as us, and their kids don’t go to the same schools as us. You can’t embarrass these people because they aren’t a part of the community. The only answer is to dispossess these bastards by taking control of the system so it can be run communally and for the benefit of the worker, and not the executive.
The way forward is organizing the industries that remain here, and building new ones under communal control. Until we break the control these wannabe feudal lords have on our lives, nothing will get better. For my part, I’m done ever giving my money to Apple ever again. I will not put my money in the pockets of scum like this, not a dime, not ever again. I’ve used a Mac since I was 3, and I can’t stomach making the people who are unapologetically doing this any richer.
Trumka, one of two union leaders on the council, said the body is too narrow to provide recommendations to President Obama that are balanced between the interests of business and other groups such as labor.
He specifically took issue with the report’s calls for lower corporate taxes and fewer regulations, saying they would not lead to more jobs.
“Overall, I disagree that reforming our regulatory system and reducing the statutory corporate tax rate are crucial elements of ‘competitiveness’ for the United States going forward, nor does empirical evidence support the claim that significant net new job creation would result from such ‘reforms,’” he said.
Maybe there’s hope within the AFL-CIO yet. Substantively speaking, the AFL-CIO is going to fall in behind the Democrats come November, but that they are willing to shoot a raspberry at Obama and lambast the Jobs Council’s neoliberal idiocy is an encouraging sign. This combined with Trumka talking about the split within the labor movement around the Keystone XL pipeline and not taking a federation-wide stand on the project, the AFL-CIO seems to be recovering from its moribund centrism and is charting a more aggressively progressive course.
If I were Trumka and wanted to build on this, I’d invest my resources in both new organizing and modernizing the AFL-CIO. Part of the problem is that the labor movement has waned in relevance to most people, and the only way to change that is to increase the number of people affiliated with the unions and to open up the AFL-CIO’s decision-making process. My generation is starving for this kind of progressive advocacy, and the labor movement is the logical group to push for these causes. If they don’t take up the banner, then some other entity will come into being to do so.
The pessimistic side of me wants to say, “no, nothing will happen, death is certain,” but I hope Trumka realizes that if he doesn’t get the unions moving soon they will cease to be relevant. He’s not a dumb man and managed to carry off one of the more militant strikes in modern American history when he ran the UMWA, so I think he realizes the necessity of breaking the unions away from the establishment as much as possible. In any event, it’s good news and I hope more comes of it.
For context, La Senza is a subsidiary of Limited Brands that specializes in high end underwear and lingerie, similar to Victoria’s Secret. The workers in question were basically fired in a snap after La Senza UK filed for bankruptcy. Through some legal fuckery, La Senza was restructuring in a way that would allow them to reduce the amount of money it owed in wages already earned by sales associates for their hard work. These women weren’t going to take this news without a fight, nor were they going to wait for a legal system slanted against them to make its decision. Several workers took over their now-empty stores in protest, and occupied them for all of a day and a half until the bankruptcy administrator announced that they would be paid their back wages.
This story echoes the success of the Republic Windows And Doors occupation in late 2008. In both cases, workers getting screwed out of wages and severances took over their former jobsite and held it until they got satisfaction. While both stories are inspiring, the La Senza story is especially inspiring to me, as I work in the service sector. To see people working a similar job to myself undertaking a collective action that would protect their interests stirs my heart and gives me hope that such tactics can be used to boost wages, restore cuts to hours, and end abusive practices by management.
This is what I was talking about when I discussed occupying closed workplaces in this post. The actions of the La Senza workers in the Liffey Valley are exactly the kind of thing needed to get society working for average people again and not the wealthy. Now I’m waiting on fired workers to take over a shuttered workplace and start it back up again. That’s the next inflection point, the shift from occupation to reclamation, and it will be beautiful to see when it comes.
State governments have taken a number of different steps to balance their books in recent years. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (remember him?) proposed a new tax on strip clubs, for example, and a Utah state rep. suggested saving $60 million per year by abolishing the 12th grade. But no proposal struck as much metaphorical gold as Arizona’s decision to sell off the state capitol (and a whole bunch of other state properties, such as maximum security prisons) for $735 million in 2009. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed off on the deal, and the state now leases the House and Senate chambers from a private real estate company at a considerable long-term cost.
The best part? Arizona sold the building for $81 million dollars and is having to buy it back for $105 million. So, not including the money they spent on leasing the building from the private company they sold the capital to, Arizona’s highly right-wing government just gave $21 million dollars to this company and gained precisely nothing for it. This story is a microcosm for privatization of public services overall: it always costs more money and you don’t get any better service in return for the extra money spent. Oh, and it’s also worth noting that this government’s run by the hard-right wing of the Republican party, y’know, the ones that are supposed to be ‘fiscally responsible’.
Privatization doesn’t save tax payers money whether it’s prisons, schools, or health care for the elderly. A prime example of what the public sector can do is the closure of I-405 in LA in July. The I-405 closure was done by state and municipal authorities and finished under budget and ahead of time. Compare that to the I-540 loop here in North Carolina, where you have several contractors fired over the years and the project so staggeringly over budget that twenty years on from when ground first broke on the project the government is going to have to switch the rest of the expressway to a toll road to pay for finishing it. Of course, they’ve already selected a company to run the toll collection system, because trusting the private sector to do public sector work has gone so well on this project already.
I defy anyone to find a single successful example of privatization of a public service, with success defined as either saved money while maintaining service or improved service while costing the same. If you find a success, let me know in the comments. I’ll be waiting.
Last week, more than six years after Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began mailing out notices to victims of the storm that ripped through the Gulf region. The message: Give us our money back.
FEMA is asking more than 83,000 recipients of aid to reimburse the government an average of $4,622 each, BlackAmericaWeb reports. The agency says that clerical or employee errors may have resulted in some victims receiving more compensation than what may now be allocated.
David Bellinger, a 63-year-old legally blind former New Orleans resident who moved to Atlanta after his home was leveled by the storm, said he “nearly had a stroke” when he received his $3,200 bill, with 30 days to pay. “I’m totally blind; I subsist entirely on a Social Security disability check. If I have to pay this money back, it would pretty much wipe out all the savings I have.”
I don’t know even to say about this that doesn’t reduce me to angrily sputtering an excessive amount of profanity. These people have suffered enough already. New Orleans is gradually being turned into a Disney version of its previous self that includes much fewer poor folk and minorities, and these people who have had their communities and support network shredded by the storm, the flooding, and the evacuation all across the United States have suffered enough. These folk had to get their feet again in strange cities in the middle of the worst economic crisis since 1929. If they got a bit more cash than they were supposed to through no fault of their own, LET THEM KEEP IT. Hell, it will probably do more to stimulate the economy than any of the tax cuts Obama has put through.
I don’t know why this is even being considered as an option. Someone should have considered exactly how shit-awful it’d look when this went out. It’s good to know that FEMA continues its tradition of incompetence no matter who is in the White House.
Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest and most profitable companies on earth has announced it is closing its pension scheme for new UK employees. This is despite having record high share prices, a turnover of over £360 billion, and having much more money paid into the pension scheme than is taken out. Shell has one of the most financially sound schemes in the UK, with a £1.1 billion surplus. There needs to a be a genuine joining up of pension campaigns between the private and public sectors.
Again, if you have any doubts, any doubts at all, that the prevailing economic order isn’t one of exploitation and degradation, look at this story. Setting aside for the moment that Royal Dutch Shell has literally ruined people’s lives and livelihoods in Nigeria and is currently trying to evade all responsibility for doing so by trying to argue that the Alien Torts Statute only applies to individual people and not corporations and like Caterpillar trying to break the CAW in London, Ontario with a fifty percent pay cut, Shell has absolutely no reason to do this aside from turning an even more absurd amount of profit. Their pension is entirely sustainable for as far as can be predicted with any kind of accuracy. They could sustain this pension for decades and not feel any pain.
However, the employing class is beyond shame. It can’t stand any limit on its actions or (in this case) having to share any of the wealth it acquires. This pension is, to the people running Shell, an unacceptable drain on money better spent on executive bonuses and money for the board of directors, so it gets wiped out all in the name of increasing profits for the people running the show. You can’t embarrass the people of the employing class out of doing things like this because they live in a parallel world to the one people like me exist in. Such soft forms of accountability as shame only function when the people it’s being used on exist in and care about their standing in the community. But with gated developments with excellent security, high-priced restaurants, and private jets, these people defy such measures because they don’t actually have to live in the communities their actions harm. Because of this, industrial action is the only way that these people be brought to account for this kind of legalized theft.
This story is basically a warning for everyone who is working and isn’t in a union. At least in a similar situation that is happening at Unilever the workers getting screwed out of their pensions have the ability to kick back against it because they are members of Unite. Whether they’ll be successful remains to be seen, but there’s at least a chance they can stop this. The workers of Royal Dutch Shell have no such representation and no chance to prevent this affront from happening. When you come right down to it, if you aren’t organized, you have no rights.
As long as the working class remain scattered and, by extension, inactive in defending our own interests, these same bastards will keep fucking us over. This is a fact, and one that everyone needs to get around to accepting so we can actually do something to change it.