workers confidence

A new period of class struggle

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Unofficial strikes, occupations and rank and file action - we need to learn from the new struggles by trade unionists and non-unionised workers alike, argues Charlie Kimber.

The occupation at the Vestas wind turbine plant, the support it has generated, and the global publicity it gained confirm that we are in a new period of class struggle. The initial effect of soaring unemployment was to panic most union leaders into abject surrender and to make many workers doubt their ability to fight.

Pay, the fightback... and how much do you spend on your horse?

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Many workers are gaining confidence to join the resistance to pay cuts and privatisation. Charlie Kimber assesses the pressure on Gordon Brown from below.

The fallout from the tremendous strikes and rallies on 24 April is continuing. Those who struck then are debating doing it again. Some of those who did not strike are discussing getting involved. And many others look on, wishing their own union leaders could be won to such action.

How the working class went global

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John Rees talks to author Paul Mason about his book Live Working
or Die Fighting
and the importance of writing about workers' history

Q. You start off each chapter with a contemporary piece of reportage about the international labour movement and move on to historical comparisons. How did you come to that structure?

Industry: Anger and Optimism

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Recent disputes have shown a growing confidence and militancy among workers, argues Moira Nolan.

In a summer of iconic images, two much-pictured events may prove to have a lasting impact on class struggle in Britain in the coming months: the chaos at Heathrow Airport following the solidarity walkouts by BA workers and the hilltop protests by their fellow T&G members, the Gate Gourmet workers. These two events sum up both the injustice of working life in Blair's Britain and the power of workers to do something about it.

The Thaw Sets In

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The anti-capitalist and anti-war movements of the last five years show enormous similarities with the movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But there is, so far, one big difference.

The years 1968-74 saw a huge increase in the level of industrial struggle in many countries. There has so far been nothing on that scale this time round, despite big one-day general strikes in several countries (although, unfortunately, not yet in Britain). The wave of demonstrations and strikes among French teachers in the summer of last year has been the exception, not the rule.

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