After decades of not much, the UK strike wave signals a shift in class activity. But beyond an increase in the number of strikes, what can we analyse about the content of this ‘class activity?’ We wrote an article about our thoughts on this recently, and were happy to see our comrades from Notes from Below (NfB) do the same. Many of us want to go beyond the lefty cheerleading about this being the closest we’ve gotten to a ‘general strike’; we want to see the debate develop to interrogate the role and potentials for workers’ self-organisation in these struggles. For us, ‘workers’ self-organisation’ is not just some buzzword slogan. It is an absolutely crucial development within strikes, not only to shift the power relations to the point where we have some control over our work and enforce our demands, but in the longer-term, to develop a degree of working class political organisation that is capable of addressing broader social questions and alternatives to capitalism.
Below is an edited transcript of a discussion between AngryWorkers comrades discussing the article that appeared on the NfB website about the recent UK strike wave. For us, it raised a number of interesting questions, sometimes in the content, and sometimes in what it didn’t say. It helped us develop our own thoughts on various questions that we wanted to share, in order to contribute to the debate about class power and to make all of our practical interventions more useful.
We start the discussion talking about our various understandings of what it means to ‘win a strike wave’, moving onto the relationship between strikes and a wider class movement, then onto the role of unions and what is happening on the ground. This discussion has to be based on more detailed strike accounts from the ground, from the railways, to the post and the NHS.
Thanks to the author and NfB comrades for their continued efforts!
Kiki: This article raises important questions for workers engaged in disputes. It mainly focuses on tactical questions that workers themselves have to discuss, and presents all that in a clear and straightforward way. That was the aim of the article I guess, to put forward the current strike wave moment and present what more needs to be done to generalise the struggles. It raises practical issues that invariably come up during a strike – becoming more ‘militant’ through direct action for example, and the issues you’d have to deal with to actually put them into practice: overcoming workers’ fear of reprisals, how to manage levels of risk when escalating actions, under what circumstances you’d have to be more secretive when organising more militant actions etc.
I guess my biggest criticism is that it didn’t really touch on more empirical analysis of why a more generalised and independent militancy isn’t happening more widely, or what the actual barriers are to workers’ self-organisation in the current context. Unions themselves being the big one.
Lukasz: I appreciate that it maybe wasn’t the aim of the piece to talk about a class strategy, but the article seems very stuck at the immediate, almost “Organiser Training 101” level. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it isn’t clear to me what the comrade means by “winning the strike wave”?
Calypso: I thought it was pretty clear about what the author understands by winning: winning specific demands in specific disputes. Lukasz describes it as ‘OT 101’ and maybe that’s not wrong, but that’s also something that’s badly needed at the moment. The ‘How to Stop a University’ article NFB published was also very introductory, but it had a significant impact on the UCU dispute for exactly that reason. As our own article on the strike wave said, a lot of people really don’t have any idea what they’re doing, and I think NfB are fulfilling a really indispensable role at the moment by publishing this kind of very clear, accessible guide to basic tactical questions.
Lukasz: True, but for me, it’s still worth exploring what is meant by “winning the strike wave” or for “workers to emerge on the winning side”. The implication is that if every strike ends in a ‘deal’ that is agreeable to workers, then this would be ‘winning’. Whilst I think that this would be a good result, I think it’s closer to not being a defeat than ‘winning’ per se.
Another interpretation might be the idea that with big enough wins – framed largely as wage growth at least to match inflation – for workers who are striking right now, this will lead to a) wage growth outside of the particular bargaining units of these struggles and b) inspiration for workers in other sectors to strike and win.
For the first part, I don’t find it convincing that wage growth in sectors where strikes are occurring will automatically lead to wage growth in the rest of the economy. The reason here is that the sectors on strike are very particular, even within the unions they are organised into. I have seen nothing to suggest that RMT is using its relative strength on the railways to leverage other areas where it is weaker e.g. the ferry workers.
Mario: I thought this was definitely a bit of a blindspot of the article. It’s an open question whether we can see leaps in current strikes, meaning, if certain wage agreements become active benchmarks for others and certain strike tactics become best practice for other strikes etc. Are we just looking at an accumulation of disputes, managed through different unions, or is there an inner cohesion of practice and an actual organic communication between strikes – and what are the channels of this communication?
Lukasz: If wage growth is contained to specific workplaces or sectors, it is unlikely that this will, in and of itself, lead to a concession for the working class more broadly (at least I don’t understand the economic mechanisms by which this will happen). We have also seen plenty of instances where wage growth does not even increase generally across a single sector, such as a number of intensely localised disputes involving refuse workers or bus drivers where there have been huge pay increases (10-17%) when workers have gone on strike, but this has not had a general ripple effect or buoyed wage growth in those same jobs elsewhere. Instead, the disputes are settled and everyone gets on with things. Great for those workers, but that’s winning a strike, not a “strike wave”.
For the second part, in other words, the question of whether big enough wins gives inspiration to workers in other sectors to strike, I think this is something that can’t be validated without extensive inquiry and investigation. It isn’t clear to me that there is some sort of morale effect where simply seeing other workers on strike has some sort of ‘viral spread’. To me this is some kind of magical thinking, but maybe I’m just a dogmatic materialist! If this happens then perhaps it is a phenomena, but without some sort of political coalescence in the form of organisation and concrete demands, it seems as though it’s just something that people say as if it was some iron law of workers’ consciousness.
Kiki: Lots of people from outside the UK are looking at what’s happening here and seeing these strikes as really exciting. ‘The working class are back!’ kind of thing. It definitely looks impressive, many workers are on strike for the first time and make their experiences, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll develop an ‘offensive character.’
Calypso: But that excitement is not only coming from outside the UK. Even if strikes don’t spread like the St Vitus Dance, we shouldn’t ignore what we’ve experienced over the last six months. It feels obvious that those first, breakthrough national disputes (first on the railways, but also at Royal Mail) not only legitimised industrial action but also, more importantly, made it even seem possible to begin with. It’s a pattern you see repeated over and over again: something (e.g. inflation) enforces a relatively universal deterioration of living conditions and then one or two combative sectors break through and blow open all of the accumulated pressure. In the Winter of Discontent in 1979 it was the Ford workers who first demonstrated that it was possible to smash through the pay restraint, followed by the truckers. Those first strikes built the momentum that set off a cascade of action through the whole economy. That’s clearly the kind of dynamic the article is referring to, and one which we can see demonstrated in practice.
Mario: The text says: “So far there have been several phases of strike action, through the summer, autumn and winter. We are about to enter another phase over the coming few months.”
It’s not clear what exactly these phases are though. Is the author referring to phases like, for example, Ian Allinson did when he said that the first phase of struggles since the pandemic were defensive strikes against ‘fire and rehire’ that developed into a second phase of more offensive wage demands, also due to favourable conditions of labour shortage? Or is the comrade merely speaking of phases in terms of up and down of strike activity, rather than phases of different quality or context of strikes?
Lukasz: I think that without a qualitative shift in the form of struggle, away from particular groups of workers striking in defence of pay – the current strikes are definitely not ‘offensive’. They are reactive in almost every case, often with the disputes only initiated after a below inflation pay offer, and rarely demand anything other than an “inflation busting” pay increase. Fine and good within itself and something to be encouraged, but hardly ‘offensive’ – which I’d characterise as a struggle that seeks to advance the power of the class as a whole…
That’s vague, I know, but in practice, in my mind it would be the adoption of demands that, at their core, increase the power of the working class. So things like: “We all work, we all work less”. I think it would be premature to expect a fleshed-out proletarian political program to develop out of what is a deeply decomposed class, but the adoption of a radical proposal such as this by segments of the class would be a massive advance in the form of struggle. There was very little interest in the idea of, “We all work, we all work less” when we circulated ‘A Plague on Both Your Houses‘, but perhaps it’s a principle that should be revisited at a time of a dramatic increase in visible working class struggle in the UK – especially with (slowly) rising unemployment.
Kiki: There might be people reading this that think, well, “so what? As long as they get a pay rise, that’s a win and we just need more pay, which, in turn, will bring about better terms and conditions.”
Lukasz: Then you’re just arguing for a new social democratic compromise. I am yet to see any examples in history or theory where conditions of social democracy or under “progressive” governments are conducive to better conditions of class struggle from which the working class can (or does) assert itself. And even if a vast majority of the disputes were settled with an above inflation pay rise, what are the chances of this being maintained? Without cycles of strikes every year by select groups of workers, how long would these be defended if the point of each round was just to argue for a “fair slice of the pie” that is, in real terms, a shrinking one?
If we’re going to talk about ‘winning the strike wave’, we have to talk about a qualitative step towards revolutionary ends. This much we can learn from similar moments throughout the 20th century. It would be arrogant and misguided to say that we can discern that path, but it would be worth reiterating that we desperately need to push for the target of coalescing a core of working class militants around a preliminary political program.
In order to talk about winning, we also need to talk about control and power. Not just control at work, but control of society. It would be a temporary and piecemeal victory if all we can do is to win a few pay rises, but never even moving towards altering something fundamentally about the logic of society under capital.
Kiki: Given the low levels of workers’ involvement in strike decisions and no infrastructure for this to even develop, any talk of workers having to make the step of, for example, linking wage struggles with energy prices ‘to really start winning’, might be seen as pretty delusional. So dealing with tactical questions of winning specific wage demands, even if they are defensive, might just be all we can hope for in terms of level of debate and action right now.
I think we’re on more solid ground if we focus on what is needed to actually push the strikes in a more offensive direction. We’ve got a lot of experience here, because we know what strikes look like from a worker’s perspective. This is where I think the article could have gone into more useful detail – although maybe it was outside its scope. While ‘talking to your co-workers’ is always a good piece of advice, how do you actually move from ‘talking about how to win’ to ‘putting those ideas into practice?’ Why aren’t rank-and-file committees springing up? Why are so few strikers on pickets actively talking about strategy? And if they are, what are the channels they can use to push these forward? What offensive strategies are being deployed by management to stifle struggle, and how can we overcome them? I mean, Royal Mail suspended hundreds of reps during the strike – without pay – which was a massive deterrent for any worker to advance their own path.
Mario: This is where the debate, at least in England usually gets stuck: on one side we have ‘honest syndicalism’ that talks primarily – and perhaps mechanically – about how to strengthen the strikes; on the other side, politicos talk about adding ‘political consciousness’ into the mix, by telling the strikers that the wage system itself is the problem. Working class politics and strategy would have to fill or bridge this gap, or rather develop a dynamic between both.
In this sense, I disagree with the idea that we shouldn’t criticise the article for what it doesn’t say. I think it’s politically fatal if you reduce the question of whether strikes ‘can win’ to the application of quantitative tactics (‘how much damage can they create’), which is a bit what the article does. I think these strikes can win if they form a wider class movement, but for that, you can’t just add and expand the number of strikes. The strikes will have to be able to express a wider class sentiment, express some kind of medium-term, political platform or program. And by program I don’t mean an external list of demands! I mean new forms of struggle that address wider class issues, like the GKN factory occupation did in Italy. They consciously situated their struggle against factory closure within the wider problem of precarious working conditions faced by other local workers, which was not their problem as such.
What could the strikes express that reach out to the class? What can the class as a whole more generally relate to other than a specific workforce’s pay or terms and conditions?
It might be the wider experience of restructuring, which Royal Mail and Rail workers are going through, but for that to happen they would have to explain this process much clearer to other workers and make a conscious effort to look for similar processes outside of their sector and address workers there. The rail strikes are not ‘fighting for the entire class’, that’s a propagandistic lie at this stage. They’re fighting for their own conditions.
Especially when it comes to the rail and postal strike, I feel the author could have reflected a bit more deeply on the possibility that management ‘want to have it out’ and is prepared for an indefinite and expanded strike – or might even benefit from it in order to soft-boil the workforce for future restructuring. I mean, look at Royal Mail – seems like they’re totally sabotaging their profits for the longer-term aim of crushing the union and making thousands of people redundant. The point is that workers alone, even if they did have the best tactics and organisation, still might not be able to win alone.
The wider class may also relate more to the experience of ‘essential work’ going back to the pandemic. This experience could create a wider political horizon of the strikes, or the realisation that the current system isn’t able to guarantee the smooth function of essential work. Again some kind of medium term strategy would have to be developed out of this, some basic level of ‘workers’ control’. The current claim that NHS nurses are striking for a public health service or the Royal Mail worker for a universal postal service is too superficial, I think.
It might be a wider phase of, ‘we’re fed up with the government’, like in France, where the pension reform has to repeatedly function as a catalyst. But this would have to go beyond a ‘get the Tories out’ sentiment.
The main way the strikes could reach out to the wider class would be a clearer attachment of their wage demands to the issues of rent and energy prices etc. – as we’ve said a thousand times. In the current phase, this kind of ‘politicisation’ of the strikes might really be necessary to actually win them, and the various tactics mentioned in the article – from indefinite to direct action – might not be enough to galvanise enough force to do so on their own.
This is the connection between economical force and political dimension, and how they are mutually dependent. The strikes in the 1970s were not only broken by unemployment, restructuring and repression. They also lost because they started to ‘run empty’, meaning, they had no social alternative, but were still causing social disruption. Inflation took the edge off wage gains, people didn’t see much sense in piling up rubbish if there are neither gains, nor new social relations, nor emancipation. Strikes can only do that for so long before people get fed up and say that ‘nothing works’ – this would have to be unpacked further. It’s not enough to say that ‘the strikes didn’t put the social revolution on the agenda’. Instead of just playing catch up with the rate of inflation the strikes would have had to develop a vision of ‘workers’ decrees, meaning, to question the power of capital and the state to close factories or to evict people from homes.
This is my main concern with the article, I guess, the limitation to organising tactics.
Kit: The article does move towards a broader perspective at the end though:
“The current strike wave is a huge opportunity for workers in this country to improve working conditions. But it is also more than that. Workers can use these strikes to begin to demand further changes, to delegitimize the bosses, to develop the leadership of new activists, to build alliances, and to increase the organising and campaigning infrastructure within our organisations. This will lay the ground for future advances that may reach much further. To achieve this will likely require upping the intensity of our strikes, organising creative and escalating direct action, bringing more unions into the fight, coordinating between unions, and building broad public support. And that will require hard work, courage and organisation. With all of this we can win.”
There is much to explore in those sentences, not least a core contradiction between the suggestions about generalising struggles and the author’s earlier advice for the trade unions about how to “up their game”, in other words, better exercise control, shackle workers and keep their place in national power structures!
On the contrary, our role is not to advise the trade union machines how best to position themselves in the bourgeois order.
Mario is right with his opening observation, which locates a core problem as being a reflection of the unresolved issue of the separation between the maximum and minimum programmes. This debate has perplexed pro-revolutionaries since the end of the 19th century, or possibly earlier. Although many have tried to solve the problem this has, perhaps inevitably, resulted in “many flowers, but little fruit”. The exceptions to this are the ‘revolutionary moments’, most notably 1917-20, when the ruling class lost control of the social order. At such points, the consciousness and combativity of a significant layer of the working class enabled them to begin to reconstitute society, identifying tasks and solutions for itself. It is clear that we are not at such a juncture, despite the ruling class thrashing around globally with ever more destructive ploys to maintain the power of capital.
It might not need re-stating but, for the avoidance of doubt, AngryWorkers doesn’t accept the Kautskyist postulation in ‘What is to be done’ about revolutionaries bringing fully-developed class consciousness to the class. On the contrary, our praxis is based on an understanding that the dynamics towards social revolution stem from the working class itself groping towards its own self-emancipation. This partly developed class instinct, falling short of an awareness of our potential as a class, is ever-present in all our class’ spheres of social existence, but expressed more sharply during periods of struggle. It is precisely at those moments of struggle that the struggle may generate further layers in the class who grasp our potential as “a class for itself”.
Having removed the possible ‘what is to be done’ straw man, we need to move on to how and where our approach compares and contrasts with others on the left. This isn’t because we want to be sectarian. Neither is it denying that we share a commitment to praxis in which workers inquiry and class composition are core elements. Rather these kinds of dialogues encourage us to work towards better understanding and lays the basis for increased cooperation.
Workers need to struggle beyond the confines of the established structures, which includes trade unions. The fact that this article shies away from such an approach is a significant issue. If we’d spend our time dwelling on how trade unions can better carry out their role by smarter tactics, more vigour, better coordination, improved communications etc. how would it help workers themselves oppose the power of capital? How would it help workers draw lessons and spread awareness about the necessity and possibilities of workers’ self-organisation?
The central dynamic will be the growth and generalisation of combativity and consciousness. An obsession with trade union tactics will only undermine this project.
Calypso: Well, that remains debatable, but it’s a point we can return to later. Although I agree with most of what’s being said here it also feels like there are moments where either the article or the strikes are being unfairly represented. I don’t think the article does reduce the strikes to quantitative factors, for example. The writer explicitly cautions against that when talking about disruption and concession costs, and in terms of how the disputes are waged he recommends mass meetings and forums for critical self-reflection as key tasks.
I also think the strikes do have a broader class and political basis that is both genuine and quite clearly communicated. Demands over conditions and services predominate, and where wage demands are central they’re widely politicised as a vehicle for issues around conditions and services. I don’t think this should be dismissed as propaganda. In many cases there is a coincidence of the particular interests of striking workers and the general interests of the class (for example, safety on trains, quality of provision in healthcare or education). Of course this process of politicisation should go further, but that has a basis within the ‘organic’ politicisation which already exists.
Lukasz: Meanwhile a lot of the national disputes have turned into miserable, sporadic slogs. I think it is worth pointing to November/December where both CWU and RMT – and later RCN – suspended strikes for “intense negotiations” (whatever that means!). One of the limitations not discussed in the text is that workers in these unions were too weak to overturn or simply ignore this decision by the leadership – despite a lot of ‘rank and file’ discontent in the CWU. I think in this we can see that unions function not only to justify themselves to the workers they ‘represent’, but also to employers and the state with the promise that they can end strikes as well as start them. We should be advocating a political break with the dependency on unions, whilst (in my view at least) maintaining that they should be used as disposable tools by militant workers, and arguing that they are not an adequate political form for a working class victory in their current form.
There is a concentration of union membership in specific sectors, like health, transport and education, but in reality this makes up a very small section of the working class in the UK. This limitation can’t be overcome by the call to “join a union!” Instead of simply seeking to bolster sections of workers that are unionised, we should be analysing the current power of the class afforded to it by its own composition. Which workers are best placed to form a focus for the wider class? What would it take to encourage these workers to revolt?
I think it would also be worth looking at how unions, due to their relative concentration within the public (and recently privatised) sectors tend to end up constrained by methodological nationalism. Confined to public services in many cases, unions are less interested in building class power and more in wringing concessions from the government, this is the case in the RMT, CWU, UCU and RCN disputes where there is an expectation that government intervention will be the solution, rather than breaking employers and wresting control of both the work and social process from them.
On this level the article could have emphasised more the intrinsic political element of strikes. By that, I mean the fact that strikes involve at least the temporary refusal to participate as capital in the process of capital’s valorisation. It is out of this that the possibility for revolution is found. We could disrupt capitalist society no end, but without an understanding that the working class is the driving force of capitalist development – not always the driver, but at least the motor – we lose sight of any way out of it. It is because of this that strikes are the uniquely powerful form of working class resistance to the conditions of society dominated by capital, even after 200 years.
Mario: The article says: “Coordinating between unions so strikes take place on the same days can also have a powerful impact, allowing for workers at different workplaces to visit each others’ picket lines and join up for demonstrations, joint actions or collective education.”
While that’s true, it doesn’t really speak to the facts, which are that the unions so far have actually sabotaged a wider coordination or at least limited it in many concrete cases. Then we would have to ask why that is and whether it can be mended by ‘rank-and-file’ strategies or if a clearer break with the unions’ structural logic is necessary.
Kiki: And without going into the details of the role of trade unions, without acknowledging the consequences of the unions’ own organisational interests that conflict with the working class’, their decision-making structures and how they’re playing out in actual disputes, the text indirectly implies that they are, or at least can be, a force for coordination and expansion of strikes and class power…
Mario: That leads onto the second main concern for me which is that, at no point does the article consider the question of how to enforce the expansion of the strike or possible more radical direct action against the various levels of hierarchies in the unions – or perhaps even a sizeable chunk of the strikers. Do we prepare a militant minority of workers, who are willing to consider such steps, for the guaranteed hostile reactions of the union officials? We can’t win this argument by just saying that, ‘our tactics are the more efficient ones’. The ‘right to militant and minoritarian actions’ has to be won politically in the medium and long-term.
Calypso: Which brings us back to the question of political recomposition; in this case the dynamic between struggles and the development of ‘political consciousness’ and strategy. More or less every socialist group in the country is calling for mass assemblies and rank and file committees but we’re yet to see any significant breakthroughs on this front (as a side note I think there are potentially echoes of the Don’t Pay situation here, since so much coordination happens now on Whatsapp or Facebook groups). Traditionally, ultraleftists (e.g. the KAPD) expected workers to make a break for independence when they confronted their existing organisations as a barrier to the realisation of their interests, which has been borne out in various contexts by history. But a common precondition for this break was that workers had already developed skills, confidence and experience precisely through participation in the organisations which they then broke from. In the UK though, nothing so far has indicated any real scope for the generalisation of durable, mass workplace struggles outside of the bounds of the unions. I assume we’d all agree that we should aim to promote the conditions for such a break within the union rank and file, although we probably disagree about how.
I think it makes sense to be pragmatic about this. Spontaneity (in the sense of self-directed activity) exists within the union rank and file and should be encouraged wherever it promotes increased participation and the socialisation of struggles. I think it makes sense on this basis also to push for certain strategies within the union that would promote the development of necessary skills and experience. Something like the Berlin Hospital Movement (a campaign by a huge, conservative union) can make workers’ control intelligible in a way that pamphlets and bulletins never will. That doesn’t mean that fighting from within the union will always be the best approach, but in many cases I think it probably will be the best approach available, and if you can’t get a decent rank and file thing going on within a workplace then that probably indicates a problem, which isn’t even really about the union at all.
Lukasz: Good point. Changing topic slightly, I think the whole part about “public opinion” in the article echoes quite a bit of leftist sentiment, which I think needs to be questioned more…
Mario: I agree, it easily becomes a fetish that is used against us. We really have to discuss the differences here: What is a proletarian public sphere? What is ‘working class support’? What is ‘public opinion’?
Kiki: Yeah, the government keeps invoking this mysterious and amorphous ‘general public’ who are inconvenienced by the rail strikes, or who deserve a better postal service, or whose lives are being put at risk by the nurses’ strike. The unions have taken this up uncritically, and it’s then parrotted by the left. A key part of union strategy is winning the PR war, because a cornerstone to winning their dispute is to keep the public on side. But this is more a reflection of the weakness of a strike – if you’re relying so much on ‘public opinion’, it means you probably don’t have enough power within the workforce to actually push through your demands.
Going back to Mario’s point: how do you enforce an escalation of a struggle, how do you enforce your demands? Winning in the court of public opinion won’t shame the government into giving into a pay demand, especially when you have rising inflation and massive government borrowing already. Unions seem to put way more effort and resources into their media strategy than building shop-floor power, and where has it got us? Previous RMT strikes have won their demands despite lots of people having no sympathy for their tube drivers’ already higher-than-average salaries. They ‘won’ because they stopped driving trains and this caused massive disruption for millions of people in the capital.
The nurses strikes especially have seemed very invested in maintaining popular support – but the government’s strategy of non-engagement won’t be undermined just because the RCN keep peddling the ‘nurses are angels’ myth…
Calypso: In reality though, isn’t that what actually happened? At the beginning of the year it was clear the government’s intransigence was playing badly and so they began with the ‘intense’ (read bullshit) negotiations. It’s not a serious concession, but at the same time it was a shift away from strict non-engagement.
Kiki: I think that was more on account of the fact that the RCN strategy was escalating, perhaps in acknowledgment that ‘winning the moral argument’ wasn’t working. The RCN shifted towards escalation for the March round of strikes in order to have more impact – they planned to get rid of derogation committees, bring out all Trusts at the same time, they planned a 48-hour strike instead of a 24 hour one. I think it was the threat of this that brought the government to the table – that, plus the fact that RCN were willing to call off the strikes to do so.
All of that isn’t to say that ‘public support’ is totally unnecessary. I’m just saying that public support won’t win a dispute. In order for a generalisation of ‘political consciousness’ to occur, you obviously do need ‘public support’, but this isn’t a PR war. It should be based on an organic common feeling that ‘their struggle is our struggle’.
Lukasz: Yep, we should be talking about workers engaging other workers as workers rather than this idea that there is this ‘public’ or group of supporters that have to uncritically follow the demands and wishes of the striking workers (which usually means the union).
Calypso: On a more general point, I don’t think every text can or should do everything at once. This piece has a lot of things missing, and this discussion is building on those omissions, but I still think on balance it’s important for texts like this to exist as a gateway. There needs to be a huge diversity of stuff out there in a wide array of formats, with a broad range of complexity and presupposed knowledge and experience. An article like this can give someone an encouraging push in the right direction when they’re not ready for, or unreceptive, to something else. I see the ‘problem’ of this article less about the article itself and more about the impoverished condition of debate it’s been released into, where treatment of the political ‘bridge’ is either absent or boring.
Mario: Which I guess brings us back to our usual point – and that our NfB comrade also referred to in their article – which is that we need an independent forum to reflect critically on the strike experiences and that we invite anyone who feels similar to collaborate.