A podcast about trade union issues and labour history.
Ep 28 – Workplace Occupations and Sit-Down Strikes
Edd takes us through the history of the tactic of workplace occupations, and we discuss their re-emergence in Britain and Ireland in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. We're very lucky to be joined by Jaymie Rigby, one of the workers who occupied the Vestas wind turbine blades factory on the Isle of Wight in 2009. As we face a new wave of job losses, can we rediscover these tactics?
Some selected additional reading:
“How sit-down strikes built unions in the USA” https://www.workersliberty.org/story/2009/04/07/how-sit-strikes-built-unions-usa
Genora Johnson remembers the Flint sit-down strike
“With Babies and Banners”, documentary film on the Flint strike, focusing particularly on the role of women activists
Workers' Liberty's pamphlet on the Vestas occupation
“Lessons of the Thomas Cook occupation”
An account of the Visteon occupations from a broadly libertarian/anarchist perspective
Articles on the occupied workplace movement in Argentina:
https://www.workersliberty.org/story/2017-07-26/factory-without-bosses (interview with a worker from the Zanon “FaSinPat”, “factory without bosses”)
Ep 27: Strikes for Black Lives, with guest Robert Cuffy
What role has organised labour played in anti-racist and civil rights struggles, past and present? We look at recent actions by workers and unions as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the historic role of black workers' organisers and socialists in the US civil rights struggle. We also discuss the unfortunate presence in the US labour movement of “unions” representing the police, and what might be done to challenge that.
This episode also features an excerpt of an interview with Robert Cuffy, a Guyanese socialist currently based in New York, where he's a public sector working and trade union activists. Robert is a member of the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Relevant/featured links for our segments are:
A Freedom Budget for All Americans: Recapturing the Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Struggle for Economic Justice Today, Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates (2013)
'At The River I Stand' (film about the Memphis sanitation workers' strike)
The full interview with Robert Cuffy isn't up yet, but there's a transcript of an extended excerpt here: https://www.workersliberty.org/story/2020-08-12/black-youths-were-able-bring-along-rest
Ep 26: 'Class Power on Zero Hours': an interview with the Angry Workers
This episode features an interview with two comrades from the Angry Workers, a revolutionary collective whose members have been involved in workplace and community organising activity in the supermarket, food, and logistics sector in west London.
Their new book, 'Class Power on Zero Hours', is available to buy now from PM Press: https://pmpress.org.uk/product/class-power-on-zero-hours/
The Angry Workers are online at https://angryworkersworld.wordpress.com/
Anyone interested in the issue of class struggle in the logistics sector should also listen to our interview with Kim Moody, about his book 'On New Terrain': https://soundcloud.com/labour-days/episode-10-on-new-terrain-an-interview-with-kim-moody
However you're struggling through the pandemic... keep struggling. Solidarity!
You might find these websites useful resources for class struggle in the pandemic:
Safe & Equal campaign - safeandequal.org
Coronavirus Workforce Support Group - facebook.com/groups/coronasupportgroupforworkers
Hazards Magazine - hazards.org
Nurses United - facebook.com/nursesuniteduk
Zero Hours Justice - zerohoursjustice.org
Blacklist Support Group - facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG
Care Workers vs Covid - unisonnw.org/care_workers_vs_covid_19
Ep 25: Three Strikes And Out
In a break from pandemic-related content, our hosts each pick a little-known, unusual, or otherwise distinctive strike from history, and briefly tell its story.
Daniel spoke about the artisan tomb builders’ strike from ancient Egypt in 1157 BCE; Ellie chose the strike of Haudenosaunee (“Iroquois”) women in the 1600s, which was a strike of domestic and reproductive labour; and Edd talked about the “Skylab controversy”, a strike of three Nasa astronauts in 1973, the first strike in space.
The main sources they used for research are linked below.
Solidarity, stay safe, and take care.
Ep 24: Coronavirus Pandemic - No Class Peace in the Crisis
A special episode produced in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, looking at how bosses are attempting to exploit the crisis, and what workers are doing to resist it.
In such a fast moving situation, a lot of the situations we discuss had changed more or less as soon as the episode was recorded, so some of the stuff in this episode will now be out of date. There are also lots of other ongoing and developing workers’ struggles which we didn’t mention, with new ones springing up all the time. We’re trying to boost as many of those as we can on our Twitter, so follow us at @Labour_Days.
You can read more about some of the struggles Edd mentions in his section here:
The Raymond Challinor essay we review in our section about the Blitz is online here: https://www.workersliberty.org/story/2019-04-11/class-war-blitz-raymond-challinor
Ep 23: Discussing Yorkshire & Humber TUC's "Summer Patrols"
In our last episode of 2019, we speak to Caty and Chris, two activists involved in TUC Yorkshire and the Humber's "Summer Patrols" project. We discuss the aims of the project, and the broad horizon of organising young workers and reviving the labour movement.
This episode was recorded in early November, before election fever really set in, so there isn't much election chat in this one. The list of disputes Edd mentions in the outro is also now somewhat out of date.
You can read more about the Summer Patrols project here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/campaigns/2019-tuc-summer-patrol-young-workers. You can also follow TUC Yorkshire and the Humber on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tucyorkshumber
We'll be back in 2020 with more class-struggle/industrial unionist/rank-and-file goodness.
It's funny, interesting, and inspiring, and I am always excited for the next episode. The presenters make labour history exciting for everyone..thanks Ellie Edd Dan and Liam I've learned loads
Serious class struggle socialism
These guys take a serious look at the history of our movement with an irreverent attitude to the present leaders of our class
Listen to this.