Does Strike Action Work? If So, Let’s Use It… Globally| Nicky Patterson

23 May

David Harvey’s recent article in the Independent claimed that May Day is a Nice Day for a Revolution, and when we consider the vast internationalist solidarity that May Day engenders, I believe he has an excellent case.

I have also recently read Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy (available free to download) which sets out a catalogue of peaceful tactics which he believes can bring about democratic revolution: indeed it has been claimed that his book was studied and employed with tremendous effect in many of the Arab Spring movements.

Now, I am a utopian dreamer – I can admit that – but we have witnessed in the Arab Spring and Occupy Movement, among others, the power of organisation via social media orchestration: what if, just imagine, what if we could organise a new May Day movement that could really redress some of the world’s vast inequalities through a General Global Strike which would not end until 3 simple demands are met.  These demands can be debated perhaps, but I might suggest that we start with cancelling Majority World Debt; Universal Nuclear Disarmament; and a new Emergency Rio Summit where rigorous environmental targets are established along with a clear system of transparent monitoring whereby the methods and progress can be seen by all.

The idea would be that the General Global Strike would not end until particular targets within these demands are met; and the strike would be reinforced annually should non-compliance arise.  Moreover the strike should be on May 1st, and NOT on any prescribed public holiday set aside nearby: the goal is to sting hard and fast, and further to use the threat of such action to both prepare and premeditate some positive responses from our collective governments and multi-national organisations before the main day of mass action.

The principle of using already universally recognised dates, methods, and motivations, means that all that is required in the next year is simple awareness and organisation based on the tenets of solidarity.

Thereafter, or indeed even herein, there also lies the opportunity for sub-continental general strikes to make more specific demands.  For example, in southern Europe the strike might be geared toward ending austerity and a redress of sovereign debts; in northern Europe, it might be for the banks to return all state-funded bailouts, end the link between retail and investment banking, and for the states to bring about full-employment and universal welfare provisions.

If you think that such a strike would be impossible or at the least unsustainable, then we may, in fact already be too late.  My belief is that charity movements like Live 8 are both patronising and ineffectual – they pose as a burden to be paid by one people to help alleviate the conditions of another, WITHOUT the organisations that maintain such odd circumstances having to move a muscle, or indeed spend a penny.  Furthermore the ascendant social-media collaboration of the commons has rendered such things unnecessary and expensive.

The goal is to create Globalised Solidarity working to end Capitalism and bourgeois domination: like pressing the reset button because the system has crashed.  We have nothing to lose but our chains.



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