Living The Dream in the Trade Union Movement

shorter working week
May Day in Wollongong circa 2000 photo by Sharon Pusell

In this episode of Living the Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Godfrey Moase (@gemoase) the General Branch Assistant Secretary of the National Union of Workers. Godfrey had a number of criticisms of our last show . We talk about these and Godfrey also addresses the broader strategic and tactical possibilities for anticapitalist struggle and how they relate to trade unions.

Listen here: Download this episode (right click and save)

or subscribe at:

 

You can find some of Godfrey’s writings here:

Other things we mention include:

Music by The Sweatshop Union

(This podcast was recorded as ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie drenched Queensland)

Advertisements

Living the Dream – Last Drinks in (the workers) Paradise?

qld pic
State Of Queensland (Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning)

In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk about the meltdown of politics in Queensland and the failure of the ALP government to carry out a coherent plan to address the decline in capital accumulation and facilitate social reproduction. Rob Pyne resigning from Labor(#corbynofcairns ?), candidates sending dicks pics and the shared anti-political language of both sides of the referendum campaign show a political class in freefall and deeply out of touch with the concerns of everyday people.

Should we care? Or just point and laugh? What is the relationship of the political to capitalism on a whole and to our struggle against it? How much of this is this a broader and global phenomenon and what can it tell us about life in Queensland?

Download this episode (right click and save)

or subscribe at

 

 

Articles we refer to include:

The State Infrastructure Plan

Humphrey McQueen – Queensland: a state of mind

Kathleen McLeod – “I Will Protect You With My Body” The Case For A Radical Sanctuary Movement To Protect Asylum Seekers In Australia

Andy Paine – Rewriting the political script

Chris O’Kane – State Violence, State Control: Marxist State Theory and the Critique of Political Economy

Mario Tronti – The Political (1979)

Left Flank and An Integral State

Mike Beggs – The Void Stares Back

#LetThemStay Fieldnotes 1

BABY ASHA HOSPITAL PROTEST

 

The decision by the Lady Cilentro Children’s Hospital to not discharge the infant Nepalese refugee Asha back to Nauru and the emergence of a vigil in solidarity was an important and inspiring event. The experience of it was radically different from the protest-politics-as-usual that typify the activist repertoire in Brisbane. Now that Asha has been discharged into community detention, and is facing a very uncertain and probably deeply unpleasant future, there is a desire to make sense of what has happened, what is going on and what does it mean?

Continue reading “#LetThemStay Fieldnotes 1”

Ergon workers defy Qld ALP’s Debt Action Plan

bundaberg workers strike

On the 20th January workers at Ergon Bundaberg Depot walked off their jobs in protest at proposed plans to cut positions and increase outsourcing. This followed a similar action in Atherton the previous Friday. Whilst this industrial action has received little news coverage it is of incredible importance. It is the articulation of a group of workers’ collective self-interest in a way that actually points to the deep flaws in the ALP state government’s attempt to manage the challenge of funding social reproduction and honouring the state’s debts (in the context of the end of the mining boom which is a symptom of the Global Recession). What this struggle shows us is that under the layers of mystification debt is ultimately about class struggles:  debt hinges on the struggle between the ability of capital to secure the future of its profits via the imposition of work and discipline today and our collective ability to refuse it and assert our dignity and desires.

Continue reading “Ergon workers defy Qld ALP’s Debt Action Plan”

Last Week at the Royal Commission #turc #standwithjohn

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption continued last week in Canberra. The media attention it has received (vastly overshadowed by the Speaker of the House saying ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ and a debate if booing an Indigenous man for displaying pride in Indigenous culture is racist or not) has focused on three related arrests. These arrests need to be separated out. Tuungafasi Manase and Fihi Kivalu have been arrested for a matter of personal criminal corruption. John Lomax on the other hand has been arrested for simply being a successful union official:

Police will allege that Lomax forced a Canberra painter to sign a union enterprise bargaining agreement in April last year.

The owner believed he would be blocked from working in the ACT and NSW if he did not sign.

It is understood police will allege the owner suffered a financial loss as a result because he had to pay his workers $26 an hour when he could have paid as low as $17. (Inman 2015)

Continue reading “Last Week at the Royal Commission #turc #standwithjohn”

#TURC The law as the disorganiser of labour

Construction workers march in the city centre in Melbourne, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The CFMEU today marched on Grocon sites calling for improved safety. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
Construction workers march in the city centre in Melbourne, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The CFMEU today marched on Grocon sites calling for improved safety. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

John Lomax, a CFMEU official, has been charged with blackmail. The CFMEU reports that ‘Mr Lomax was told by police that he was accused of forcing an employer to enter into an EBA and that as a result the employer suffered financial loss due to paying workers higher wages’ (CFMEU 2015a). Lomax has not yet appeared before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption however ‘ACT police said his arrest was “in relation to the Canberra hearings” of the royal commission’(2015). Whilst there is an attempt by some to associate Lomax with Halafihi Kivalu an ex-CFMEU official who is accused of acting corruptly for personal benefit and has subsequently been expelled from the CFMEU this seems to be nothing more than a simple smear (CFMEU 2015b). It is necessary to be one hundred per cent clear. The charges facing John Lomax accuse him of simply being an effective union organiser. Whatever the facts of the case it is almost impossible for any union to effectively contest capital and stay within the law. All this in the space of a few weeks where it has been revealed that Grill’d and EB Games are, apparently legally, either underpaying staff or have a culture of compelling staff to work for free and that the Speaker of the House of Representatives spent just under $90,000 for a two week junket in Europe.

The law is stacked against us. As such the arrest of John Lomax and the Royal Commission in total should be viewed as an attempt to use state-power dressed in the most absurd moral pretence to attack the capacity for all workers, union or non-union, to collective assert their own interests and live lives of dignity.

Continue reading “#TURC The law as the disorganiser of labour”