Today’s Music to keep me SsSSsAAaaaNNnnnEee – Billy Bragg – Which Side Are You On?

Poetry – Partnership


Partnership is the only way out of this zero hours’ gulag.

Where those in charge have all the power in this time lag.

It is no longer good enough for a small elite to dictate

While a majority have absolutely no say in their fate.

No fringe benefits, holiday pay, sickness or pensions.

Work when you’re told – loyalty is never mentioned.

But quality of life counts for something!

Welfare of the common folk is not nothing!

We need a better way of doing business.

Clearing up this exploitative mess!

Partnership and shared power!

Cometh the need, cometh the hour!

Opher 29.4.2019

I wrote this in response to the mess I see in the workplace. Thatcher and the Tories emasculated the Unions and now the bosses hold all the cards.

Yes – the unions had gone too far – protective practices and protected jobs were really insupportable. But the unions were responsible for fighting for fair pay and benefits. Without them we would be really in the mire.

Since the castration of the unions we have seen pay and conditions greatly eroded while profits for the wealthy owners soar.

I fear this would only get worse with increasing AI and automation.

It is time this is addressed.

If it isn’t we are doomed to a world of huge inequality with most of us on low pay with no benefits and a small elite raking in the dosh. That’s no life.

I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of too powerful unions. I prefer the German model. I think workers need to be in partnership with bosses in running the business and sharing the profits. I think that having a say and a share would be motivating and increase productivity.

#WCW – Dolores Huerta

One world – one people – united we are stronger. We need strength to stand up to the corporations who are destroying the planet for profit.

Karmic Reaction Blog

Dolores Huerta is an activist and labor leader who co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers.

“Dolores Huerta has worked to improve social and economic conditions for farm workers and to fight discrimination. To further her cause, she created the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA) in 1960 and co-founded what would become the United Farm Workers (UFW). Huerta stepped down from the UFW in 1999, but she continues her efforts to improve the lives of workers, immigrants and women.

Early Life

Activist and labor leader Dolores Fernández, better known as Dolores Huerta, was born April 10, 1930, in Dawson, New Mexico, the second child of Juan and Alicia (Chavez) Fernandez. The young family struggled, and by the time Dolores was three, her parents divorced and her mother moved Dolores and her two brothers to Stockton, California. Dolores maintained a relationship with her father, who later became a union activist…

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Opinion – Unions – a boon or a bust?

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Unions – A boon or a bust?

I am a union man.

Yesterday I ate dinner with a man who despised unions. I listened to what he was saying and he was right but he was wrong.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need strong unions and that unions have played an immense part in bringing in social justice, health and safety and fair wages. Without them we would be held to ransom by the bosses. We would not be in the position we are now.

Our freedoms and quality of life has been well fought for.

But like all systems the unions have evolved into nonsense. Some of their practices are not only stupid but detrimental to their own members’ long-term interests.

The case for unions is simple – without proper power working conditions and wages are not protected. Corners are cut and profit is the only factor. Workers are units to be exploited. Profit is god. Unions have fought for rights of women, minorities and the disabled. They have ensured good working practice and fair wages. These were not freely given. They had to be fought for. I believe that without good unions they would be eroded. They are also there to prevent injustices against employees. People cannot be unfairly dismissed or abused. They are not alone. They have the union behind them.

The case against is powerful though.

Unions fight for their own members. It has meant that some workers are exceptionally well paid while others are exceptionally badly paid. Instead of all working people supporting one another we have the powerful unions who can cause chaos using that to their advantage while the other unions whose ability to disrupt is less get shafted. Underground train drivers will earn twice the salary of a nurse.

There is no fairness in the pay structures.

Some unions are prepared to disrupt and cause chaos to gain unreasonable rewards for their members.

There are Luddite practices where unions oppose new practices and technology on the grounds that it puts their members out of work. They negotiated silly agreements, such as in the printing press, where workers who were responsible for print setting, now replaced by computer technology, have to be employed but have no work and sit and play cards all day. They should have been retrained and reassigned.

There are restrictive practices where various trades have to sit around and wait for a plumber, electrician or builder to arrive to do their bit because nobody dare encroach into some other union man’s area.

There are the over-officious union representatives who do everything by book and oppose all change on principle.

What we need are good partnerships between management and unions. Germany seems to have a good system – partnership and representation.



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Pete Seeger – Which Side are You On? – Lyrics boiling with political fury.

Peteseeger-adv-obit-slide-9WAT-jumbo Pete Seeger on stage 1960 Pete-performing-before-festival-goers

Well Pete was blacklisted. He was chased by McCarthy. He was a communist. He was an Environmentalist. He was a Trade Unionist. He was an activist. He stood with Woody Guthrie and he sang his songs. The establishment hated him.

He tried to build a better world for everyone.

He stood against the capitalist bosses who hired the thugs to break strikes and enable them to reduce wages to starvation levels. He fought for the unions to bring fairness and dignity.

He was lambasted, ridiculed, banned and beaten up but he stood tall and kept singing the same message.

In this land of austerity where the rich get richer and the poor get the blame it is time to ask the same question: Which side are you on?

Which Side Are You On?

Come all of you good workers,
Good news to you I’ll tell
Of how the good old union
Has come in here to dwell.

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner
And I’m a miner’s son,
And I’ll stick with the union
‘Til every battle’s won.


They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there;
You’ll either be a union man,
Or a thug for J. H. Blair.


Oh workers can you stand it?
Oh tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?


Don’t scab for the bosses,
Don’t listen to their lies.
Us poor folks haven’t got a chance
Unless we organize.


Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Swing Riots

Swing riot
Named after the infamous Captain Swing who was said to have organised them, the Swing Riots were a more militant attack against mechanisation in the early nineteenth century.
The advent of mechanisation, such as the threshing machines, had reduced the need for labour. Because of the surplus of labour the bosses had seized the opportunity to reduce wages down to subsistence levels. People were starving and desperate with poor wages and unemployment and no welfare.
Unlike the peaceful Tolpuddle martyrs who came a few years later the workers of Kent organised in a more militant manner, threatened the landowners, burnt barns and threshing machines and demanded a fair wage. The riots spread through Kent and the South of England.
Eventually the landowners relented and raised wages.
But two thousand arrests were made with 252 sentenced to be hung. Of these only 19 were hung. Over a thousand were imprisoned or deported to Australia.

It is worth remembering that fair wages are the product of much blood. Our rights and freedoms were not given freely; they were fought for and paid for with lives.

Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Tolpuddle Martyrs

Tolpuddle Martyrs%20colour
In 19th century Britain it was illegal to organise in order to gain better working conditions and pay. In the 1830s the industrial revolution had created a surplus of workers which had resulted to wages being lowered to starvation level.
In Tolpuddle, a small village in Dorset, a group of farm labourers formed a collective to argue for fair pay. They refused to work for the reduced rates.
Six of them were arrested and charged with organising. They were sentenced to seven years deportation to Australia.
There was a public outcry, a petition signed by 800,000 and a march on London.
It was the first successful protest.
The sentences were commuted. All but one (with a previous criminal record) were released.

It is right to remember that our rights and freedoms come at a price. Our unions had to be fought for. The establishment gives neither wealth nor power freely and just as readily takes it back given a chance.

Perhaps the Tories should only ever be elected if they gain 40% of all the votes of the eligible electorate?


Following on from the Tory idea to shackle unions by making it illegal to strike without at least 40% of all the available workers in support of the action – when was the last time a government had 40% of the electorate voting in support of them?

A lot of ballots do not even get 40% of the people to vote – let alone for a particular party.

A representative vote is what democracy is about. To win by one vote is sufficient. If they want to change the rules then change it for national elections too. If a party cannot muster 40% of the electorate it should not be allowed to govern. Fair’s fair. This government did not win the last election. They had no mandate from the electorate yet they have forced through their cuts and austerity programme.

Obviously democracy and Tories do not go together!

The Tories are looking at the traditional apathy and distrust of the electoral system in order to force through their huge cuts and further austerity – a programme that has blatantly failed!

There is another way!!