Tag Archives: News/Opinion/Discussion

Repost: Furious telecoms workers barricade own firm in a dispute over unpaid wages

From the Daily Record:

“Telecoms employees parked a lorry with a digger arm over the entrance to Counsell Utilities Ltd. Thirteen workers say they haven’t been paid properly for weeks – and on Friday, they didn’t get any wages at all.”

We wish the worker all the best in getting their money out of Counsell Utilities and Carillion, and if we can be of any help then let us know what we can do.


Commentary on Grangemouth

Workers leave the meeting at Grangemouth oil refinery in Falkirk, Scotland

Since my last post on the Grangemouth situation the news has been so fast and furious on the topic, while I has been travelling around and was unable to correct inaccuracies that had become apparent in light of the new material. I was in the middle of writing a post to address this when I was passed this fantastic article by Penny Cole over on A World To Win. Wile I may disagree with some parts, the views on what to do here and now are definitely something we share.  In particular:

“The Unite members were ready to fight and their union could have organised an occupation to prevent the dismemberment of the plant, but they did not and will not. Independence will not change that.”

Too true.

At the point at which I wrote the last article the bosses threat of lock-out had not been clear. In light of that the call for workers to take control of the site seems even more vital. Unite hasn’t been “conned and set-up” by Ineos as much as it has been by their own bureaucracy and it’s tired and predictable way of reacting to the bosses. This, along with the union’s willingness to cave in to keep the peace at their members expense, has been a huge disservice to everyone at Grangemouth.

Also the SNP have been only too willing to play into the hands of the bosses. The thought that a Scottish government will be any friendlier to workers, the unemployed or anyone else is an assertion without any backing. The state will always behave in the interests of the state. Holding hope that someone else can fix things for us is only going to lead to half-measures and the disappointment. It is only by building up our ability to take action together at the heart of the problem that will give us any real measure control of our lives.

The way in which the unions and the politicians have behaved is not the victory for common sense that is being billed; it is a stitch-up against all of us as a class. The people on the shop floor know their business better than any union bureaucrat, better than any politician, and better than any boss. We should learn the lessons from this fight and stand in solidarity with workers at Grangemouth and beyond, lending them support where we can and taking their lead on how to fight this struggle, and to hell with anyone that stands in their way.

This Is What Class War looks Like

From the people who bring you City Strolls, a statement on the recent attacks by the city council. Continue reading

Round 2 of “British banks being battered”, get the popcorn in

I got this graph sent to me from inside RBS (they don’t have so much do to now that there’s no money left for them to count). Speaks for itself, really. Where did all that money go? Did it ever really exist?

"Market capitalisation" of banks, now and 2 years ago

"Market capitalisation" of various banks, now and 2 years ago

“Fuck me you look like an inbred”

OK, hardly a revelation but how could we pass up the opportunity to have a pop at Prince Harry? Not content with Nazi fantasies (takes after his great-great Granddad*?), he’s adopting the attitudes as well, being caught making homophobic and racist remarks. Which is hardly surprising, given the obvious relish with which he enjoys playing soldiers, putting military workers at greater risk. But it’d be wrong to single out one bad apple; this is a thoroughly rotten barrel of upper-class bastards.

Remember, show your betters the respect they deserve.

Taxi for Mr Saxe-Coburg

Taxi for Mr Saxe-Coburg

* – or whatever

Jean Charles de Menezes: UN-lawfully killed

thinks you can't make your own mind up

Coroner Sir Michael Wright: thinks you can't make your own mind up

Despite the coroner’s blatant attempt to manipulate the results of the Inquest into the Killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, by denying the jury the option of an “unlawful killing” verdict, the jury’s verdict is clear.

By unanimously returning the most critical verdict available to them and rejecting police testimony on every crucial point, we know that:

  • Firearms officers never shouted “Armed Police” as they burst into the tube carriage
  • Officers colluded in their testimony
  • Special Branch officers altered evidence
  • Nobody identified Jean Charles as “Hussein Osman”

The coroner also gagged the media from reporting the complete breakdown in trust between the family and his court. At one point he even barred them from being in court so he could hear parts of the evidence in secret! Sir Michael Wright didn’t get his knighthood by allowing criticism of the gang of out-of-control, incompetent, macho, racists that are the Metropolitan Police.

Without the jury system (with the crucial “of your peers” thing), this would have been swept under the carpet within a week. No wonder there are so many attempts to get rid of it.

This is not over yet. There are clearly guilty people at the Metropolitan Police. Police corruption and impunity is a universal phenomenon. It’s not a matter of “a few bad apples”: the system’s barrel is rotten. Concentrating power in the hands of individuals and institutions makes this kind of abuse inevitable. Greece shows what happens when you push ordinary people too far.

Sometimes we push back.


LOLcat says bankers use teh window

LOLcat says bankers use teh window

On the radio, a parade of economists, bankers, all jumping to blame other people for the current mess that US bankers’ making fraudulent loans to poor people kicked off.

They tell us: it’s homeowners, its governments for not regulating us enough, its the central banks, its voters, its the Chinese, its workers for being paid less and “diluting the capital ratio”. It’s everyone’s greed, not theirs.

They’re like alcoholics unable to take responsibility for the damage done by their binging. At one point the truth came out: “it’s a systemic problem”.

It’s not a conspiracy of individual bankers, there’s a system set up to reward short-term irresponsible behaviour, making private profit from risk borne by you and me.

It’s fun to watch bankers with hangovers (“It is terrible. Death. It’s like a massive earthquake,”) and if there’s any sympathy in relation to Lehman Brothers’ collapse then it should go to their lower-paid temps and cleaners that might not be getting their last paycheque. The thing is, all these crises end up being inflicted hardest on the people with the least, while the rich can cushion themselves from the ill-effects: Merrill Lynch’s boss was among the 10 highest paid last year, despite presiding over a bank that needed to be bailed out.

So what do we do to end this crap?

I’d be looking at credit unions, for one thing. Take the toys from the boys. City types “looking after” our money doesn’t work, they can’t be trusted because the system is rotten. But beyond “dropping out” of the banking system, we need to find ways of getting what we need without making others lose out.

Working together, not against one another. That’s what’s we mean when we talk about abolishing capitalism as a set of “social relations”. If there’s anything that watching the flights in the financial markets shows, it’s that the whole edifice relies on belief in its permanence, and that confidence can disappear easily.

It won’t disappear on its own, but we are not powerless.


It’s interesting: the prospect of a windfall tax on the obscene profits of the energy companies really seems to have them worried. How can you tell? By looking at the flurry of articles trying to tell us ignorant proles that actually it’s a really bad idea (“unfair”!) and if you tax companies like Centrica (£1bn profit) or Shell (£2.3bn profit) they will get scared, run away hide or generally take their ball home. “We need them to invest!” is the cry.

This is of course, nonsense. Energy supply is a natural monopoly, competition in the market leading to lower prices is an ideological myth and as the country most exposed to the wholesale energy markets (everywhere else protects consumers from this kind of price gouging), we’re getting fucked over more than other countries.

The basis of their claim that actually they’re not doing well is that the companies are split into parts for residential, wholesale and supply. So British Gas can say that their profits from selling residential gas are down by 70%, so there’s no link to their parent company’s £1bn bonanza.

Anyone who’s worked in a large company, or even glanced at an annual report, knows that this is why businesses are split this way: to shuffle your profit and income around so you pay the minimum to the public purse. They have their fingers in the pie at each point of the energy supply chain, yet want to claim that they are vulnerable and suffering. It’s time for us to call them out on it.

Take this quote from one recent article:

“Every £1m you take out of each company through this legalised raid is £1m they have to raise elsewhere.”

Now let’s try it without the default pro-business perspective you get from mainstream media:

“Every £100 you take out of each family through this legalised raid is £100 they have to raise elsewhere.”

Wouldn’t that be refreshing to read?

At the weekend, someone mentioned that an experiment in properly insulating a tower block in Easterhouse managed to reduce their heating bills to £40 per year. Why don’t we hear more about this kind of plan? Because reducing consumption isn’t what energy companies or their protector the government want. They’ll grudgingly cough up a tokenistic winter fuel payment to minimise the numbers killed by the cold and poverty every winter: after all that’s money that goes to the fuel companies. It doesn’t address the underlying problem: we need to use less energy while keeping our homes warm.

As anarchists, the state and taxation aren’t something we’re in favour of, but popular control of natural resources must be. In the absence of worker-controlled energy supply, I don’t see a problem with hitting back against profiteering, especially if the money is used for permanent improvements to the condition of homes.

Hey, if the Conspiracy of Business Interests is against it, it can’t be all bad….