Long Live the Wildcat Strike

Long Live the Wildcat Strike

(Face To Face With The Enemy, Vancouver Anarchist Publication, June 2004)

“A kick in the stomach to imposed rules, a way out from the fraudulent limits of union negotiations, an effort that, for once, has tried to start from self-organization and not from the policy tables.”
–  Which War, an Italian anarchist publication, 2004

For a few days in April and May of this year, BC was swept up in a wave of wildcat strikes, a contagious rebellion that came to life on the basis of true solidarity. When the Liberals tried to legislate an end to a legal health care workers strike, the limits of tolerance quickly disintegrated and action soon followed.

From BC Hydro workers to transit employees and even a few non-unionized construction workers, solidarity wildcat strikes put serious pressure on the government and could have defeated their legislation.

Even for those of us among the unemployed, the wildcat strikes were a welcome occurrence, because any breakdown of normality and routine creates an opportunity for us to meet each other on the streets and discuss our collective rebellious possibilities. Every wildcat strike, every direct action, provides valuable lessons in class struggle – experience than cannot be gained in any other way.

Most of us were not surprised by the negotiated deal that prevented the General Strike since we’d run up against the soft police of the union bureaucracies many times before. The situation was almost a repeat of “Solidarity” in 1983.

What did catch us off-guard was the workers’ direct defiance of their own union’s orders, the near General Strike in the town of Quesnel, the students’ refusal to go back to school.

What remains to be seen is whether or not an independent, self-organized workers struggle will develop and build a momentum to effectively confront the current economic reality we all live under.

It’s largely a matter of using our solidarity as a weapon, breaking out from the narrow limits the unions would like to confine us to and further illuminating the inherent structure of the unions, the dead weight of their bureaucracy and their class alliance with the bosses.

A struggle to simply replace the managers of the unions would get us nowhere. But on the other hand, a project based of self-organization could be a real chance for us to steal back our wounded dignity and decide for ourselves the kind of life we want to live.

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Published in: on June 29, 2004 at 2:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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