Subversion criticise the Burnsall strike support group for making the dispute into a racial issue as opposed to a class issue. The article is an example of 'anti-racism' and 'anti-nationalism' turning into a refusal to discuss racial divisions within the working class at all, which we strongly disagree with but reproduce for reference. See our archive on the Burnsall strike.
Burnsall strike: with friends like these, who needs racists?
For over a year the strikers at Burnsall Ltd in Smethwick, where the conditions workers have to bear are appalling even by capitalist standards, have had to contend with the double enemy of the boss and the unions.
The GMB, to which the strikers "belong", has been sabotaging their strike in the time-honoured fashion. It has now plunged the dagger deep into the workers backs and called off the strike.
Despite this, and despite serious intimidation by the GMB to make the strikers comply, it seems they are determined to continue their fight.
What they need is support from other workers.
The only way forward for workers in struggle is to link up, and gain the active support of more and more workers. The bosses and unions, despite their charades, are in the last analysis united against the working class and we must be united against them, and not be taken in by the unions pretence at being on our side. This is true in all strikes and all struggles.
The case of the Burnsall strike, however, reveals another false friend of the workers - left-wing groupings with their own political agenda to superimpose on the strike.
DIVIDE AND RULE
The Manchester Burnsall Strikers' Support Group has produced several leaflets which have been portraying this strike as a black issue (most of the strikers being Asian women) rather than a workers' issue. For instance their leaflets have slogans such as "Black Workers Fighting Back" and "Black Workers Demand JUSTICE" (sic); one of the leaflets relates that on one occasion "the strikers were attacked by three white scab workers from the factory". An approach such as this "support group" is taking is practically calculated to strengthen "racial" divisions and hatred between workers.
If it needs saying, let us say it again - the working class can only free itself from present day slavery by uniting as a class, all workers together, black and white, male and female, whatever the divisions our rulers use to keep us weak. The dead end of "racial" or national identity will only lead workers to perdition, as it has always done in the past (e.g. the anti-colonial movements which have given the workers nothing but more of the same). Only realising our identity as workers with a common interest world-wide, against all capitalist factions, will lead us to victory.
Groups like the Manchester Burnsall Strikers "Support" Group should be roundly condemned. Their politics are a lethal poison for workers, and for the cause of liberation of the whole working class.