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Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 11:45

Tom -

Yes, the Burberry stuff had some seriously dodgy shit going on around the edges which, as you say, we criticised. The use of the slogan "keep Burberry British" was disgusting, but the core demands around which that campaign was organised were against the closure of particular workplaces.

I don't think the current wildcats are much of analogy. Surely the point about a strike conducted around the demand "British jobs for British workers" (rather than a dispute which has that kind of chauvinism as an element of it) is that it can't possibly win on that basis and that even if it did, the consequences of its victory would be far from straightforwardly progressive for the working class as a whole.

Do these workers have legitimate concerns? Yes, clearly. Do we support them taking action on them? Yes, clearly. But surely the point of a socialist engagement with a dispute like this is to make clear that the political basis on which they've chosen to take this action is a complete blind-alley. Don't you agree?

Playing games with analogies is dangerous, but indulge this one momentarily; what if, somehow, the plans for the new runway at Heathrow are scrapped and a group of construction workers whose company was promised contracts for it walk out, demanding that the building of the runway goes ahead. Do they have legitimate concerns? Yes, of course - jobs are short, wages are low and we're in favour of people's right to work. But would we just offer straightforward "support" for that strike? I don't think so.

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