Tuesday 24 June 2008

Inflated egos of the capitalist Establishment

It seems timely that, on Saturday's Love Music Hate Racism anti-BNP demo in London, slogans were chanted which openly attacked the Tories - the first time I have heard such slogans on demos since the late 1990s. Timely, because the Tory leader David Camoran is backing tough action on strikes (BBC News - Council workers vote for strike) - nakedly showing the Tories' union-bashing which we saw so much of in the 1980's, epitomised by the brutality of the state during the 1984 miners' strike.

This is accompanied by ill-founded allegations that large pay rises - such as that won by the successful fuel tanker drivers' strike - are fuelling inflation. This may have been the case if the inflation was demand-pull inflation, in which a surplus of money in the economy causes inflation because people are able to pay more for goods and services, leading to demand outstripping supply. Yet the vast majority of pay rises across the UK have been woefully inadequate, well below the rate of inflation (which is, for necessities on which working class people spend most of our income, well above the official 3% figure). So it ain't demand-pull inflation.

It is cost-push inflation, caused by a massive increase in costs of production, notably raw materials. Such as oil (see my earlier article on Peak Oil). Such inflation has massively eroded workers' living standards, pushing many workers - especially lower paid workers - into poverty. The strikers are not greedy, only wanting a living wage!

Mr Cameron also alleges that New Labour will shy away from attacking strikers, believing unions have a "stranglehold" over the Labour party and can "dictate terms". I'm not saying Mr Cameron must be on another planet, but I understand this news was relayed to us by SETI :-P

Indeed, chancellor Alistair Darling has, at best naively, called for pay restraint (BBC News: Darling calls for pay restraint). To be fair, possibly as a result of increased union activity and his party's unpopularity, he has this time attacked large pay rises "from the boardroom to the shopfloor". But he has not made clear if this "restraint" should also be applied to bonuses and share options, which make up a substantial percentage of the fat cat bosses' excessive take home pay.

Even if the inflation was demand-pull and caused by excessive money in the economy, it should not be the workers - already underpaid and overworked - who should suffer. It should be the fat cat bosses, whose wages are paid from the exploitation of workers, who should take a pay cut. Especially considering it is their lavish lifestyles, not to mention the nature of the capitalist system which they support, which is aggravating the problem of peak oil (not to mention destroying our planet).

So, for the striking workers in local government and Highlands and Islands airports, and others considering strike action, I have the following message:

Good luck ... and GO FOR IT !!!

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