CPGB-ML vice-chair Joti Brar speaks to RT news about the government’s proposed legislation on strikes and protests.
During the interview the studio anchor asks about the possible expansion of police powers in Britain, Rishi Sunak’s somewhat contradictory statement that the right to protest is ‘enshrined’ in our democracy but ‘not absolute’, the continued erosion of civil liberties in the country, and the excuse that politicians are using that the new legislation is needed to prevent annoyances to the public such as that created by recent XR protests.
Besides the fact that XR have publicly announced a change of policy themselves, Joti points out that the police already have more than enough powers to deal with such nuisances, and that the new laws are aimed not at small protests but at the large ones our rulers anticipate may erupt as poverty deepens and workers’ suffering and anger grow to boiling point.
Rather than making plans to help workers cope with an inflation crisis for which they bear absolutely no blame, the government is preparing to let them suffer and to crush any rebellion that may make its way onto the streets or picket lines.
Meanwhile, the proposed ‘minimum service’ legislation is essentially the denial of the only meaningful right that workers have under capitaist conditions of production: the right to collectively withdraw their labour. Without this right in the present system, the workers have nothing.
Joti points out that workers delivering public services hate to strike and only do so out of desperation – desperation at their own poverty wages, which are no longer sufficient to provide the basics for themselves and their families, and desperation at the parlous state of the services in which they work.
Accusing NHS workers of causing suffering by striking is hypocritical indeed when people are dying in the NHS all the time because of the lack of staff, the lack of adequate support services, the lack of beds and the huge waiting lists for every kind of treatment.
Finally, Joti points out the absolute hypocrisy and double standards of a government that stifles every (homegrown and perfectly justified) expression of anger and discontent amongst its own population (in the name of democracy, of course) while artificially inflating (and even creating from nowhere) small protest movements abroad, which it funds and glorifies (also in the name of democracy!) and often even arms in order to create chaos aimed at regime change to try to depose governments it does not like.