Yesterday I was talking with my friend who works in a local factory. He was extremely despondent about his work. They'd had to take a two and a half % pay cut, even though the firm appeared to be slowly expanding again. As the workforce have been reduced, increasingly bullying tactics are deployed by management to get them to do more and more overtime. If they refuse to do it, then they're forced into doing the worst shifts, invariably the night ones. He has tried to get people to resist, but there are no unions in the factory to organise them properly.

   This is the reality of private industry in this country today and I doubt it's atypical. More and more, this is becoming the reality of the public sector as well, with job cuts and wage restraints.

   As never before, the time is ripe for a complete and total change. Capitalism is bankrupt, yet the ConDems are returning us to its bad old ways of banker control and vicious austerity. Although the Stalinist 'Communism' of the 20th century  can be seen as an equal failure, that is not to say that socialism and anarcho-syndicalism are by any means dead. What could emerge out of the ruins - if the forces of the Left and unions take their protests to a conclusion - may be a form of it which nobody expects or could predict.

   Of course, I hope this emerges from below, unique to each country (as opposed to nation-state), yet united in its overall purpose. That purpose should be a sharing society based, not on profit and greed, but on complete democracy ( at every level, from schools to factories), a radical redistribution of wealth and methods of ownership which cease to be hierarchical.

   The old form of nationalisation clearly failed and when you advocate it you are dubbed a 'political dinosaur'. Calls for the nationalisation of industries such as water, rail and energy supplies must come from the trade unions and also political parties who claim to be socialist need to specify cogently why this should happen, how they'll be run and what differences will be made.

   For example, the Welsh people need to take control of our rail network to ensure that prices are affordable ; at present, they are out of control. We need to do so to create a unified service throughout the country, to open up more lines and to electrify them. Dare I say it, to invest in ancient and totally unsuitable rolling stock. Pensioner bus passes could then be switched to this rail service, the emphasis moved from road to rail.

   A Tren Cymru national company needs to be democratically organised, with elected management always subject to recall. It should be operated as a co-operative , with workers and travellers benefiting from its success because of their equal shares in its ownership. In other words, it will be planned and overseen by central government, but owned by workers and users.

   On the same journey when my friend told me about his factory, we paid £6 day returns from Merthyr to Cardiff. It was the second rise in a few months and we were gobsmacked. The ultimate irony is that Arriva Trains Wales is actually owned by Germany's state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn!

   I used to commute every day between Cardiff and Merthyr, but I'm glad I don't now. For the many who have to make that journey it must be hard times indeed. In my mind, there's no doubt what we need.

                                      FALLIN  LIVES

This factree's grindin me dead,
it's pummellin me down,
it's got metal treads,
my skin's jest dust.

They're wieldin ewge blades,
they're cuttin ev'ry wage,
they're swingin demolition balls
forcin us t work all owers.

My ead's a buildin crushed,
when I afto work night shifts
I ave nightmares when I'm awake
carn sleep with noises of the day.

Nobuddy's joined a Union
an nobuddy stan's up to em :
slike a 20th century never appened
in-a town of Dic Penderyn.

I ardly go out no more, mun,
all my money on food an rent ;
makin thin's but ower lives fallin,
carried off in trucks an dumped.

andrew herbert
09/18/2010 10:15

yes times are hard,all the money goes on bills and food,not much left for leisure.and all we read in the media is how the immigrants and many others get help from the state while those that are working struggle like hell and get no help,and my last thought is god i wish i listened harder in school so i can understand what anarcho-syndicalism means..


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