UCU vote to suspend strike action

Y U NO FIGHT FOR OUR PENSIONS UCU

On Tuesday the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) held a special conference to determine where we go next in our pensions dispute. For those who haven't been following the intricacies of it all I'll attempt to briefly lay out where we were going into this meeting and what happened there.

Submitted by Alasdair on February 2, 2012

UCU represents academic and what's known as academic related staff - that is IT support, librarians etc. - in both higher (HE) and further (FE) education. Higher education is then often, and indeed in the case of pensions, split between "post-92" and "pre-92" institutions (post-92 referring to the polytechnics and colleges that were awarded university status in the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, pre-92 naturally referring then to older universities). Staff in pre-92 institutions are members of a pensions scheme called USS (universities superannuation scheme), which is a private pension plan with a dedicated fund from members and universities as employers. Staff in FE and post-92 HE are, instead, members of TPS (teachers pension scheme), which is a government programme also covering school teachers.

Both schemes are currently in the process of being altered in ways which will increase contributions from staff, increase the retirement age and leave members with smaller overall pensions. (To go through all the changes being proposed would take too long, so I'll simply advise the interested reader to see here and here.) Changes to both schemes have also seen industrial action over the last year - first in March of 2011 over USS changes, then again in June of last year and finally on November 30th in coordination with other public sector unions.

That action forced some (small) concessions. The government's "final offer" to the unions in December, which covered the TPS dispute, but not USS, offered a slight improvement in the accrual rate (the amount earned each year), an 8% increase in the "cost ceiling", the maximum that the government is willing to spend on the pensions, and some protection for people near retirement. At approximately the same time the universities employers association offered to restart negotiations over USS. However, the changes to USS were already unilaterally imposed last Autumn and the new negotiations offered were for reviews of two specific areas that have been changed. Firstly, new entrants to USS are now placed in a different scheme than current members; current members have a "final salary" pensions where what they get in retirement is proportional to their final salary, new members have a "career averaged" (CARE) pension, which is proportional to a weighted (and inflation uprated) average of your salary. One review would consider the CARE pension and hopefully ensure that it ends up being no worse than what is offered to people in TPS. The other review would consider the abolition of the right for staff over 55 to take an unreduced pension.

This month a meeting of UCU's national executive committee voted by a margin of 3 to 1 to reject the government's offer over TPS and to continue industrial action in coordination with other teaching unions. The largest school teaching unions the NUT, NUSUWT and EIS have all also rejected the offer.

Which all brings us pretty much up to this week and the special conference for USS. Despite the general consensus that the offer for new entrants in USS is worse than the current offer for new entrants into TPS and the clear decision to keep fighting over those changes, our national negotiators recommended going into the meeting that we accept the offer, suspend action and re-enter negotiations. At the meeting three broad positions were laid out: accept the the negotiators position and suspend all action; return to negotiations but time-limited and whilst continuing our current work-to-rule action; or reject the offer and immediately escalate strike action.

Sadly, the delegates at the meeting voted (66 to 41) for the first of those options, suspending all current industrial action. There were, as slight amelioration, several amendments to that decision however. First, a commitment to 'respond quickly and decisively' with further action 'if the review does not deliver improvements for our members in a timely manner'. Second, that by June of this year we have agreement on an accrual rate no worse than in TPS and full pensions for those made redundant. And thirdly, that Andrew Cubie, who chaired the original negotiations prior to the imposition of the agreement and used his casting vote to force the changes through, despite supposedly being independent of the two sides, should be immediately excluded from the negotiations. (It's not clear at this stage what the result would be if the employers refuse to exclude him - would this lead to further action now? or would we just accept it?)

Personally, I think this is a serious mistake. The reviews will have as much management participation as the original negotiations which forced through these changes, and when the changes are already in place a settlement is really a victory for management - they have no need to negotiate except to stop us taking industrial action, which they have already succeeded in doing. At a time when other unions are taking further coordinated action, when we have momentum by making them offer 'something', on the back of November 30th it seems poor strategy to back down now whilst offered no independent arbitration, no guarantee of any improvement and almost certainty that anything that does come from the reviews will still be worse than what we had to start with, before these changes happened. Come June it will be too late to do anything which substantively disrupts management till the Autumn and there will be no chance to not mark exams (a tactic for which there is evidence from previous disputes of success) till the end of the year.

By suspending action we choose to disarm ourselves for no substantive gain. It baffles me that lay trade union delegates would vote to do that, but that is what they have done.

Comments

Steven.

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 2, 2012

This seems to be in line with what the bulk of the unions are doing.

I wonder how much of it is just due to how tied up in the management of national capital the unions are. By which, I mean that the unions have their political wing, the Labour Party. And their hope is that the Labour Party will end up in charge - and of course will have to pay for anything which is agreed now.

Not only that, but as unions basically accept capitalism, they are confined to the realities of national capital. So it's in the interest of national capital for workers' wages and conditions to be cut, to help the UK nationally compete with other nations. So if the unions accept this then they think British business will actually end up better off, which will help protect the jobs of their members.

I've been thinking about this a bit recently, but my thoughts are not yet fully formed. And certainly they don't explain why individual lay representatives (including self-declared "revolutionary socialists") would vote against their own economic interests in such ways, but I think they do help explain the general situation.

What do people think?

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 2, 2012

End of para 4 should read: "abolition of the right for staff over 55 made redundant, to take an unreduced pension."

We asked our members to take action in order to bring the employers to the table. Once that had been offered by employers, we'd achieved our aims and members decided that we should go into talks.

We're not in UCU to advance the SWP fantasies of world socialism. We're in UCU to secure the best deal we can for the ordinary members of the union.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 2, 2012

Steven,

On the point of hoping Labour get back into power:

Brown fell for his own "end to boom & bust" rhetoric and failed to recognise an obvious credit bubble moving into a blowoff phase by the day Labour came to power. The rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party were too ignorant of financial history to disabuse Brown of this, and Brown was well-known to be vengeful towards critics should any have dared to do so. Then Brown and Greenspan cut rates to near-zero in the Dotcom Crash of 2000, preventing a much-needed recession from righting some of the malinvestment from the bubble. At that juncture the stage was set for a later and much worse debt-deflationary crash - the fate of all credit bubbles permitted to run to completion.

Short form: Labour are too ignorant to be put at the helm of anything larger than a tricycle, and even then would require adult supervision.

On your second point: we're still as a country running up extra public debt at the rate of 127 billion Pounds per annum. That has to be stopped and reversed whoever is in power over the next 10-20 years. It's not in anyone's interest to run up public debt to the point we join Greece in the gutter.

Since the general public have thankfully seen the light and have begun paying down personal debt, the only source of growth for the medium term will be exports. Export growth will be hard to achieve when damn near every other country of significance except Germany is also in a debt-deflation.

Short-form: We have a choice: a two year depression (which could be initiated by pulling the plug on the zombie banks), or the 20-year scenic route of debt-deflation which Japan took as Pathfinder when its own credit bubble burst in 1989. There's no pleasant option unless we invent time-travel.

As for how we voted on Tuesday: that's how the members wanted us to vote. The USS pension changes have been imposed. It's now about negotiating how much we can roll them back. The employers wouldn't completely reverse those changes even if everyone joins UCU this afternoon and announces an indefinite strike. It'd just cost them too much to do so.

Short form: Our economic interest lies in getting what we can, not fantasising about what we can't. The majority of ordinary members seem to be smart enough to understand that, albeit to the chagrin of those "activists" who imagine this is about bringing down The Coallition.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 2, 2012

Mate, you need to do your research if you think you're dealing with the SWP here or anyone who's sympathetic to them. Likewise, you're also mistaken if you think "bringing down the coalition" factors into the political or economic actions most posters on this site take.

Although (and by the way you speak I assume you're a union official) you've proved Steven's point about trade unions accepting the logic of capital and participating in managing workers in the interest of global capitalism.

Steven.

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 2, 2012

Chilli Sauce

Mate, you need to do your research if you think you're dealing with the SWP here or anyone who's sympathetic to them. Likewise, you're also mistaken if you think "bringing down the coalition" factors into the political or economic actions most posters on this site take.

Although (and by the way you speak I assume you're a union official) you've proved Steven's point about trade unions accepting the logic of capital and participating in managing workers in the interest of global capitalism.

Yeah, although to clarify it shows he is accepting the logic of national capital, i.e. the need for Britain to compete in the world market.

We on the other hand instead of this nationalist view take an internationalist approach - that we should fight any reduction in our living standards, and that we should also support the struggles of workers in every other country to defend and improve their conditions. Thus helping prevent the race to the bottom which results from this kind of nationalist "pragmatic" politics.

But yes, it's quite good to see that confirmation of my hypothesis, and so quickly as well!

The person above also seems to have bought the lies about the deficit being an inherent problem in itself, and seems ignorant of the fact that the deficit is not historically high by any means.

fingers malone

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by fingers malone on February 2, 2012

That's just the USS one that is suspended, right, the TPS one is still on?

Steven.

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 2, 2012

fingers malone

That's just the USS one that is suspended, right, the TPS one is still on?

I believe so, yes.

On a related note, I think this is a good example of why One Big Unionism is pointless. Even individual unions still divide up different groups of workers in their own membership, so having all workers join one union wouldn't unite them any more.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 2, 2012

Hmmmm....I guess that'd be the difference between the OBU in the abstract and the One Big trade Union.

Also, fuck the deficit whether it's historically high or not, that shit's still only an issue for capital. We fight for our interests regardless. Not that that was your point and the point you made--that's it's not actually historically high--is still an important one.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

In fact I'm an anarchocapitalist and proud of it. That said though, freedom of speech issues apart, I keep my personal politics and my union work separate. I only wish others would do the same and STFU about Israel, Palestine, and other issues which have nothing to do with our members' conditions and pay.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Steven figures: "The person above also seems to have bought the lies about the deficit being an inherent problem in itself, and seems ignorant of the fact that the deficit is not historically high by any means. "

I'm probably more obsessed by financial history than anyone you'll ever meet. I agree that the level of the deficit isn't maxed-out on a historical basis (though I think it unfair to make comparisons of peacetime with a war in which the fate of the country was in doubt). It's the rate we're adding to it which needs to be fixed, and then reversed.

There is of course also the issue of who owns the debt. The Italians have debt of 120% of GDP and the Japanese 200% (and counting) of GDP. However both countries largely own their own debt and so aren't as subject to a financial spanking from the bond vigilantes (and yes, I'm a fan) as are countries which are externally funded.

We Brits haven't proven very good at saving in general during the latest credit cycle, and have proven more susceptible than most to the housing madness during the bubble (as in two thirds of the population participating and a large fraction of GDP going into mortgage debt).

We're therefore more vulnerable than we have been in the past given the level of debt. If we don't look like we'll get the recurrent deficit under control, the bond vigilantes will sooner or later punish us with higher interest rates, and deservedly so.

soc

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by soc on February 3, 2012

In fact I'm an anarchocapitalist and proud of it.

Good for you! But why are you worry about then about sovereign debt?

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Soc: "Good for you! But why are you worry about then about sovereign debt?"

Realism: Libertaria won't arrive in my lifetime, and I have doubts about whether it will arrive in the lifetime of this universe.

radicalgraffiti

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

In fact I'm an anarchocapitalist and proud of it.

i guess im not the only one who reads that as "In fact I'm an lunatic and proud of it."

A Friend of Fernando Poo

I keep my personal politics and my union work separate.

Thats clearly a lie

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Radicalgraffitti asserts: "Thats clearly a lie"

That's a bold claim. Want to back it up with anything other than bullshit?

radicalgraffiti

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 3, 2012

see your posts (although that may count as bullshit)

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

BTW Rad: That would be "a lunatic" rather than "an lunatic".

Let's at least try to get our gratuitous insults grammatically correct.

radicalgraffiti

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 3, 2012

its insulting that you pretend to be an anarchist

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Rad, nothing in my posts, other than the specific exclusion of FoS issues, indicates that I mix my union work with my personal views.

As it happens, I've voted precisely once as a union delegate, and I voted the way that 80% of our members wanted me to vote when the branch consulted them.

When voting purely as an ordinary member of course (which is separate from my duties as an officer), I am much more likely to choose candidates who fit with my views. I have an algorithm for rating election statements: at each mention of words or phrases such as "UCU Left", "Marketisation", "Privatisation", "neo-liberal" and so on, I deduct one point (two points are deducted for "socialism"). Then I vote for the candidate with the least negative score.

What's interesting is that this algorithm generally produces a slate very close to that of a "moderates" group within UCU. By their words shall ye know them, as it were. I've now managed to persuade others to use this algorithm. My suspicion is that certain candidates use such words and phrases to signal their allegiance to certain groups within UCU, and therefore this method is likely to remain effective in weeding out such candidates.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Rad "its insulting that you pretend to be an anarchist "

Let me assure you that few would be happier than I were all the politicians on the planet to vanish tomorrow.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Rad "its insulting that you pretend to be an anarchist "

Let me assure you that few would be happier than I were all the politicians on the planet to vanish tomorrow.

Few would be happier than I were all capitalist labor bureaucrats to vanish tomorrow.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

If there's anyone else in UCU who's a capitalist, they certainly haven't told me. I suspect most of my colleagues are fairly content with the semi-socialist mixed economy we have. If I comment that I'd privatise all the universities this afternoon if I could, they roll their eyes and put it down to personal eccentricity. They can do this because capitalists are very rare. Socialists on the other hand are numerous enough to do actual harm, and so they're much more wary of those.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Rad "its insulting that you pretend to be an anarchist "

Let me assure you that few would be happier than I were all the politicians on the planet to vanish tomorrow.

[/quote]

And this demonstrates--with impressive effectiveness I must say--just how little you understand about anarchism.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

Anarchy: The term anarchism derives from the Greek ἄναρχος, anarchos, meaning "without rulers"

QEFD.

An Affirming Flame

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by An Affirming Flame on February 3, 2012

Yeah, and you want to continue to be ruled by capitalists, you'd just like to cut out the middle men (politicians). Hence, you're not an anarchist and it is insulting that you go around pretending you are.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 3, 2012

You'd be amazed how often I have to explain that anarchy is the absence of leaders, not the absence of law.

Now, as I've said, I'm a libertarian. The basic principle of libertarianism is that arrangements between people should be voluntary and no mediated by force or threats of force (though force is fine in defence of self, others, or property - we're not usually pacifists.

Now a few interesting things fall out of that basic principle. One is that involuntary taxation is the equivalent of a mugging (taxes are extorted by threat of kidnap and imprisonment, or actual violence and possibly death if resistance to the kidnap is escalated - See P.J.O'Rourke's "Would you shoot your granny for this?" test).

Thus a mixed-economy state such as we currently have here is hard to sustain in any way consistent with the principle (I do realise that some communalist style states would still be feasible and indeed there are libertarians who are somewhat to the left of me politically speaking).

So folks have to get along voluntarily. Want a new Forth bridge? Put into the hat then, or wait for a company (that being strictly a voluntary organisation of like-minded souls) to build one and charge a toll.

It also kinda leads to folks contracting with each other to get actual business done. Hence the frequent claim that an anarchocapitalist Libertaria would be paradise for lawyers.

But yeah, if they were shorn of any limited liability protections, and they of course had no politicians to buy to get special protections, and we had personal weaponry to protect us should they overstep the bounds of politeness, I'd far rather get stuff done by companies than by governments.

The crucial element is being able to unsubscribe if you don't want their services any more. The fact that you can't do that with governments is what makes the politicians rulers, and Coca-Cola not.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

The fact that you can't do that with governments is what makes the politicians rulers, and Coca-Cola not.

Yeah tell that to the union leaders and organizers Coke had murdered.

You are truly ignorant if you think corporations can't be just as murderous, tyrannical, and oppressive as the state.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 3, 2012

No wonder UCU is shitty with ballbags like this in positions of authority.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Anarchy: The term anarchism derives from the Greek ἄναρχος, anarchos, meaning "without rulers"

QEFD.

You have failed to comprehend Chilli's comment. Anarchy does indeed mean without rulers. Chilli was pointing out that your conception of rulers and hierarchy is pretty stunted (and therefore you don't understand anarchism) since you are focused only on "politicians" and not on the fatcats who are in charge of production. Anarchists are against ALL rulers, not just the ones with positions in the government.

jonthom

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on February 3, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

The crucial element is being able to unsubscribe if you don't want their services any more. The fact that you can't do that with governments is what makes the politicians rulers, and Coca-Cola not.

Sure you can - by moving to another country. But whatever country you move to you'll be ruled by someone. In the same way, while folks may have the "freedom" to choose which employer to be exploited by (and which companies to rely on for food, communication, etc.), we're still forced to sell our labour in order to survive, making that "freedom" rather hollow to say the least.

"Ancaps" often (at least in my thankfully limited experience) seem to be under the impression that anarchism is about opposition to the state and literally nothing else, despite the fact even a brief look at the history of the anarchist movement would show otherwise. It gets rather tiresome really.

Question: why is it, do you think, that the overwhelming majority of those who describe themselves as anarchists are anti-capitalists?

Railyon

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Railyon on February 3, 2012

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 4, 2012

Anarchism comes directed from the workers movement in its advocacy of anti-state socialism. All anarchists are, first and foremost, socialists. It's just that unlike the authoritarian socialists we don't believe the state can be used to achieve revolutionary, anti-capitalist ends.

Further, our critique of capitalism extends to a critiques of all hierarchical and authoritarian structures--from government to patriarchy. But still, anarchism is a fundamentally materialist theory that begins with a rejection of capitalism. Period. Full stop. End of.

BTW, who said anarchism was the absence of law (or administration for that matter)? Most people on this forum are in anarchist organisation that have rules. The problem isn't rules (law), but how those rules are made and enforced.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 6, 2012

"You are truly ignorant if you think corporations can't be just as murderous, tyrannical, and oppressive as the state. "

Let's not even trouble ourselves with the murders carried out by Stalin's state or the unpleasantness of the National Socialist one a cuouple of generations back.

Today in Homs, citizens are being shelled by their own government. When was the last time Coca-Cola used tanks against one of its factories?

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 6, 2012

"Anarchists are against ALL rulers, not just the ones with positions in the government. "

As I said: if I can unsubscribe from its services, it's just a company making a pitch, not a ruler.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 6, 2012

"Sure you can - by moving to another country. But whatever country you move to you'll be ruled by someone."

Exactly.

"In the same way, while folks may have the "freedom" to choose which employer to be exploited by (and which companies to rely on for food, communication, etc.), we're still forced to sell our labour in order to survive, making that "freedom" rather hollow to say the least."

Welcome to the wacky world of biology. I don't think it was Coca-Cola or any other company which arranged evolution and the requirement of organisms to eat. As far as I'm concerned, if they're making an offer to give people the wherewithal to earn a crust, that's helping, not hindering.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 6, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

"Anarchists are against ALL rulers, not just the ones with positions in the government. "

As I said: if I can unsubscribe from its services, it's just a company making a pitch, not a ruler.

If you think workers can simply "unsubscribe" from their jobs, you my friend are totally ignorant.

flaneur

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by flaneur on February 6, 2012

I would also like to unsubscribe from transport fares, mortages, bills, loans and car insurance. Who do I need to see about this?

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 6, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Welcome to the wacky world of biology. I don't think it was Coca-Cola or any other company which arranged evolution and the requirement of organisms to eat. As far as I'm concerned, if they're making an offer to give people the wherewithal to earn a crust, that's helping, not hindering.

This is just laughable. If this is how you view employers, why do you need a trade union? Can't you just be content with your school giving you "the wherewithal to earn a crust"? Why do you think people need to go begging to a corporation for the privilege of being exploited? No, it has nothing to do with "biology" and the fact that people need to eat; it has everything to do with the means of productions--which, by rights, belong to the entirety of humanity--being appropriated and monopolized by the capitalist class, the class with all the power in this society.

A Friend of Fernando Poo

"You are truly ignorant if you think corporations can't be just as murderous, tyrannical, and oppressive as the state. "

Let's not even trouble ourselves with the murders carried out by Stalin's state or the unpleasantness of the National Socialist one a cuouple of generations back.

Today in Homs, citizens are being shelled by their own government. When was the last time Coca-Cola used tanks against one of its factories?

Funny you should mention that, given that Coca Cola plants in Germany remained operational during the war, allowing Coca Cola to profit off of the Nazi market while promoting a patriotic image in the States. Of course this was nothing surprising. Various American and other corporations profited extensively from both sides of the war and gave material support to the Nazis and their client regime.

The entire war, as are all other wars, was fought to protect and further the interests of the capitalist class, often in the form of corporations.

Consistent with this attitude, planners at the Council on Foreign Relations had begun examining the possible effects rising Japanese and German imperialism would have on ‘American interests’ in 1940. A series of papers examined the effect fascist “price-fixing and monetary exchange controls” would have on American trade. The Council fretted that “economic isolation in the Western hemisphere would cost the United States almost two-thirds of its foreign trade.” It began to seem clear that a world where Japan and Germany were largely self sufficient, exploiting their own systems of colonies, would have negative consequences for U.S. capital: “any Western hemisphere cartel for selling to Germany was doomed to failure because the self-sufficiency of the German bloc was such that it could not be forced to trade with the Western Hemisphere”
At this time the council “began to define the national interest in terms of the minimum geographical area that was necessary for the productive functioning of the American economy without drastic controls and major government intervention.” On June 28 one report concluded “that the Far East and the Western hemisphere probably bore the same relationship to the United States as America had to Europe in the past―a source of raw materials and a market for manufactures.” Other studies concluded that “the economies of Great Britain and Japan could not function adequately in harmony with the American economy without a large part of the world as markets and suppliers of raw materials” and “United States problems could not be solved if Japan excluded the American economy from Asia”.65
American policymakers were already, in 1940, examining the ways the rise of the fascist powers would effect them. It seems that they concluded that Japan and Germany carving out their own autarchic economic blocs would be against the “national interest”―they also resolved not to let Britain retain a monopoly over trade with its colonies, which might explain American pressure on Britain to decolonize.66 Promoting and protecting American capitalism was of cardinal importance throughout. One historian stated that “no conservative outdid Hopkins,” one of the President’s most important advisors, “in championing foreign investment, and its protection.”67

To summarize: No, capitalists do not usually "use tanks against their own factories" (although sometimes they come pretty damn close). They do, however, kill a lot of fucking people. Corporations start wars (look at how the Iraq war served the interests of Halliburton and other large companies), hire death squads to wipe out organizers, and kill millions through pollution and safety violations. Indeed, if one were to add up all the people who have died from pollution and workplace accidents, I suspect the number would dwarf the number killed by states. Certainly the 30–60 million people killed in famines all over the world during the later part of the 19th century, "caused by laissez faire and Malthusian economic ideology," dwarf what Hitler did.

EDIT: According to this (quite mainstream) article, almost 2 million workers die each year worldwide from workplace-related causes (and this is probably low.) So in the last decade, corporations and businesses have been directly responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million workers. I challenge you, Friend of Poo, to find me the state or group of states that has been responsible for more than 20 million deaths in the last decade.

no.25

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no.25 on February 6, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Welcome to the wacky world of biology. I don't think it was Coca-Cola or any other company which arranged evolution and the requirement of organisms to eat. As far as I'm concerned, if they're making an offer to give people the wherewithal to earn a crust, that's helping, not hindering.

No, but the current mode of production is an established hegemony over our biological necessities, driving us into the clutches of capitalists, which emerged out of feudalism after a transformation of social relations, i.e. bourgeois revolution. Without these relations, and those who maintain it, there would be no capitalism, so capitalists are complicit in the current productive arrangement, who we must rely on to eat.

Capitalists are not assisting us, they're enriching themselves, permitting the necessary value+/- to trickle down to the worker. For the most part, the only concern which they may have for a worker is that the worker has the ability to generate profit for them, and not sue them into hell. People rarely ever obtain vast amounts of wealth through their own labor, and the means from which this 'crust is earned' was built by workers, and extracted from the earth. Natural resources belong to everyone or nobody at all. There's nothing intrinsic in a capitalist's chromosomes that justifies their position of privilege, and their exploitation of the working class. If 'might is right,' we'll be right when we knock them off their throne. If you weren't wealthy or aspiring to be wealthy, your conception of capitalism would most likely be inverted.

I shouldn't even be responding to your post, but capitalist apologists have been making me very angry lately. Maybe it's on part of how you brought biology into your argument. 'Libertarians' piss me off, even more than 'Anarcho-Capitalists.'

Edit - For being in a union, your class consciousness is shit, unless it's just you.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 6, 2012

That was fucking beautiful, no.25

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 6, 2012

Oh yeah, AFOFP, you are aware that Coca-Cola shoots union leaders in its South American plants?

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 6, 2012

Chilli Sauce

Oh yeah, AFOFP, you are aware that Coca-Cola shoots union leaders in its South American plants?

He does know, I told him a few comments back. Didn't seem to phase him at all though, because they don't use tanks.

I'll take getting crushed by a tank any day over being gunned down by a coward on a motorcycle with a mac 10 or whatever.

Django

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on February 6, 2012

tastybrain

To summarize: No, capitalists do not usually "use tanks against their own factories" (although sometimes they come pretty damn close).

They don't need to, the state is there to provide that function. See tanks on Clydeside, the mobilisation of the army during the general strike, assassinations of activists in Nigeria, militarisation of labour discipline in Bangladesh, the massacre of Kazakh oil workers, etc etc.

Without the state there's no property rights, and as that commie Adam Smith said law and the police are there to ensure capital accumulation can continue, that capital can keep hold of its factories:

Adam Smith

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all

Capitalism isn't a state of nature, it needs armed force and the state is there to monopolise that.You don't usually see companies like Coca-Cola running around with private armies because that would mean that certain capitalists would be able to enforce their interests over those of capital as a whole.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 6, 2012

Wow, from Adam Smith himself. That's a great quote.

You don't usually see companies like Coca-Cola running around with private armies because that would mean that certain capitalists would be able to enforce their interests over those of capital as a whole.

That's basically how "anarcho"-capitalism would work tho, no? Private companies take on the state's role of enforcement of private property. (Although I think a state proper would develop out of this because capital needs the state as an outside force to stabilise capitalism and capital knows this. Probably another discussion in any case...)

no.25

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no.25 on February 7, 2012

Chilli Sauce

That's basically how "anarcho"-capitalism would work tho, no? Private companies take on the state's role of enforcement of private property. (Although I think a state proper would develop out of this because capital needs the state as an outside force to stabilise capitalism and capital knows this. Probably another discussion in any case...)

Precisely. 'Anarcho-Capitalists' are mere contradictions.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 14, 2012

"I would also like to unsubscribe from transport fares, mortages, bills, loans and car insurance. Who do I need to see about this? "

Have a word with yourself. Owning a car, a house, and travelling by public transport are all voluntary activities. For example I don't own a car or a house and I travel by bicycle for the most part.

A Friend of Fe…

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Friend of Fe… on February 14, 2012

Class conciousness? really? Could you sound more Tooting Popular Front?

radicalgraffiti

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on February 14, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

Class conciousness? really? Could you sound more Tooting Popular Front?

do you know what class is?

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 14, 2012

Yeah, good way to argue there Friend: ignore the substance of a post, pick out a phrase, demonstrate just how little you understand it, and then make an irrelevant comment wholly unrelated to the discussion at hand. Classy.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 14, 2012

A Friend of Fernando Poo

"I would also like to unsubscribe from transport fares, mortages, bills, loans and car insurance. Who do I need to see about this? "

Have a word with yourself. Owning a car, a house, and travelling by public transport are all voluntary activities. For example I don't own a car or a house and I travel by bicycle for the most part.

And how did you buy that bike, pay for public transport, and your rent?

The point is that you can't escape the social relationship of capitalism. You need money to survive (no matter how much you scrimp and save) and that means working for a wage.

The irony of this, of course, is that as members of the working class, we produce all wealth. Yet instead of saying that as the reproductive class we should control all the wealth we create, you tell people they should just live on the cheap.

I am so fucking glad you're not my union rep.

Admin edit: flaming snipped. This is a no flaming forum.

tastybrain

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by tastybrain on February 15, 2012

Chilli Sauce

I am so fucking glad you're not my union rep.

Seriously. Worst union rep ever.

Arbeiten

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Arbeiten on February 16, 2012

LOOOOOOL! ancap union member. I smell a performative contradiction somewhere....

have a word with yourself. Subscribing/unsubscribing is an absolutely pathetic way to look at the complexity of everyday life under globalized capitalism. It's not a subscription to the Tin Tin fan club.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 16, 2012

I don't actually think the guy's a rep anyway, just a trolling AnCap tosser.

Also, I don't remember what I said that got snipped, but I'm sure it was justified.

Alasdair

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alasdair on February 19, 2012

I'm pretty sure he is a member of the exec on my local branch.

Chilli Sauce

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 19, 2012

RECALL!!!