[Marxism] Re: Anti-imperialism?

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Mon May 9 15:28:10 MDT 2005


>In another post Macdonald says that"
>
>"5000 people blocking the loading of war cargo onto ships in the 
>harbour would be a perfect compliment to 100 000 people marching 
>with candles."
>
>Well it's possible I suppose. A more likely scenario is that the 
>small vanguard action would be used to discourage people from 
>attending the "boring" mass action.
>
>And for how long could 5000 people blockade a major port? A day? 
>More likely a few hours.
>
>Recently in the rail yard where I work, management in its infinite 
>wisdom decided that a tacit agreement with the yard crews in the 
>classification area that they could end their work day when they 
>finished their moves, regardless of the clock, could no longer be 
>tolerated.
>
>In response, the workers began to observe "all" the rules regarding 
>train movement and safe work procedures.
>
>The result, as reported by the clueless and most likely misled Albany
>Times Union.......
>"Tuesday, May 3, 2005   BETHLEHEM - A national record in train 
>freight has helped make the CSX Transportation Inc. rail yard in 
>Selkirk a crowded place lately. For the week ended April 22, wait 
>time at the yard - known in the industry as "terminal dwell" - 
>averaged 63.8 hours, about twice the historical average for this 
>time of year, according to Railroad Performance Measures, an 
>industry monitor that tracks five U.S. and two Canadian railroads."
>
>As many as 25 freight trains were backed up, as far back as 
>Cleveland, trying to get in. One can only guess how many millions of 
>dollars this cost. At one point, the hump, which is supposed to 
>process 2000 to 4000 cars a day, was completely shut down.
>
>All this over some work rules. Affecting a handful of yard crew 
>members. This is power. This is what some of us on this list are 
>talking about, when we advocate "boring" peaceful mass actions with 
>trade union participation.
>
>Jon Flanders

Industrial actions like "work-to-rule" are radically different from 
scripted mass demonstrations, however.  As you say, the former 
definitely demonstrates workers' power, and workers who take such job 
actions can feel the power, but the latter doesn't necessarily flow 
from and flow back into workers' collective self empowerment 
(scripted mass demonstrations can be rituals, organized from above, 
to function as safety valves).  How do we get to the point of workers 
-- including soldiers, who are workers -- taking such job actions as 
work-to-rule to protest the Iraq War?
-- 
Yoshie

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