A patchwork "book" being compiled on the situation of the working class in West London, in particular those working in the logistics and distribution sector.
Dear fellow ramblers,
unfortunately we don't have the time to write a well-versed and nicely edited book about the stuff going down here in West-London. Nevertheless, we think it would be helpful for us and hopefully interesting for fellow rebel workers to note down more concisely and in detail how capital, state and our class is structured in this part of the world. Over the coming weeks and months we will circulate parts of this scrambled egg of a book, for now only the most important thing for orientation, a preliminary list of contents. We will update this list with links to the texts we write.
*** Chapter 1: A general introduction
What is a workers' inquiry, where is Greenford and why the hell are we there? We wrote something like that already, so we probably won't bother to write more. We reckon you get the rough gist of it, if not, check this out:
*** Chapter 2: A bit of local history
The radical left in the UK loves local history, so we definitely give a bit of the oral spiel. No joke, it was reported that two guys pushed over a fence during the enclosures in Greenford in 1027, or so! Then there is material on neighbouring Southall in the 1930s, when lots of rail-track construction workers families were housed in these parts of town and graffitis like 'Welsh out!' appeared on local walls. Greenford became a tea-processing and chemical industry hub during that time. By the 1970s the wall slogans had changed to 'Pakis out!' and there we anti-racist wildcat strikes in Park Royal's bus-manufacturing plants against the bitter mainstream of the times...
*** Chapter 3: The infrastructure of the Western Corridor
The main part of this chapter will be an analysis of the history and development of the Heathrow airport and how the airport connects to the warehouses in the area. We will also look at wider road development and the so-called warehousing real-estate bubble. There are various bigger real estate developers in the logistics sector, such as Segro, which require a deeper look at...
*** Chapter 4: Against the (local) state
We want to see how the local state acts between big capital players, like Heathrow airport authority or the various retail chains, and the largely migrant local working class population. So we look at local state planning of the infrastructure and of working class reproduction, e.g. the introduction of universal credits and a strict anti-EU migrant housing benefit policy...
*** Chapter 5: Migration and community
The local work-force is predominantly migrant, from Eastern Europe and South Asia. We will write more about the background of this migration, how the migrant community has stratified into different class segments, how the community structures the living and public sphere and how it impacts on the situation at work. This will include how working class families in our area are affected by the housing crisis and by long working hours. We wrote a first general background text after an incident involving hooligans from Poland in London.
*** Chapter 6: Food processing and retail companies
The main companies in the area operate within food processing and retail. We want to analyse the supply-chain of the food processing multi-nationals like Bakkavor or Kerry Foods, where some of us work. These corporations largely cater to the various supermarket chains, which themselves run warehouses in the area. We will have a look at what is behind the so-called 'price-war', the real estate policies of the supermarket chains and the technological re-structuring of the circulation of goods.
*** Chapter 7: Work reports
This will be the focus of our material, reports about the situation at work, how management tries to organise work and how workers try to cope with it. About divisions and solidarity. Complex, but straight forward stuff...
*** Chapter 8: Struggle and the struggle with representation
We will summarise stuff about general disputes in the sector and small collective steps we witness. Currently we write up a first summary of how we experiences the role of USDAW, GMB and UNITE, in the places where we or our friends worked. We will try to place the local experiences of struggle in a bigger picture: what is specific and what could be general trends within the class?
*** Chapter 9: A self-critical reflection of our efforts
These are still early days and nights, but we will try to share the highs and downfalls of the various small things we try, from the newspaper to meetings to actions at work...
*** Art-Work: A Greenford slide-show of wrath
In the making, some cutting-edge collage type of thing!