The idiot slogan British jobs for British workers is doing just what the ruling class wants, divide and rule schmucks. Phil adds some nuance but it does come down to that nationalist slogan is a poisonous and self defeating one. Lenin said a lot but Dave says it best, (he tells me it is the SWP statement, so anyway, it says it best) here’s a taste-
The slogan accepted by many of the strikers is “British jobs for British workers”. That comes directly from Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference in 2007.
Update: Gordon has just reiterated it, utterly shameful.
And it has been encouraged by many in the higher levels of the Unite union. Derek Simpson and others at the top of Unite have done nothing to encourage resistance to job losses, or a fightback against repossessions or against the anti-union laws. Instead they go along with a campaign that can divide workers.
But it lets the bosses off the hook and it threatens murderous division at a time when we need unity in action to fight back.
It’s not Italians or Poles or Portuguese workers who are to blame for the attacks on British workers’ conditions.
Construction workers have always been forced to move far from home for jobs, whether inside a country or between countries. How many British workers (or their fathers or brothers) have been forced to work abroad from Dubai to Dusseldorf?
When workers are divided it’s the bosses who gain. Total Oil, who manage the Immingham refinery, make £5 billion every three months! Jacobs, the main contractor which has then sub-contracted to an Italian firm, made £250 million in 2007.
These are the people workers should be hitting, not turning on one another.
Those who urge on these strikes are playing with fire. Once the argument is raised it can open the door to racism against individuals. Already in some supermarket warehouses the racists are calling for action against workers from abroad.
We all know what will happen if the idea spreads that it’s foreigners, or immigrants or black or Asian people who are to blame for the crisis. It will be a disaster for the whole working class, will encourage every racist and fascist and make it easier for the bosses to ram through pay and job cuts. Already the BNP are pumping out racist propaganda supporting the strikes.
Everyone should ask themselves why Tory papers like the Express and the Sun and Mail – which hate union power and urge on privatisation – are sympathetic to the strikes.