Today marks the anniversary of Holland’s deployment of the army to break the waterfront union in 1951.
The documentary produced for the dispute’s 50th anniversary is available here.
Unlike some other commentators on the left I don’t celebrate this. Nor do I celebrate the strike of 1913, despite it’s IWW origins. In both cases a lot of working people suffered greatly for little gain. That’s something to commemorate but not something to celebrate.
The fact that today, with a single public relations gesture, John Key was able to portray a National party neo-liberal government as the friend of the Kiwi worker (and after nine years of a “Labour” government) shows how much we need to change.
Despite the best intentions of many of my comrades, I don’t think we’ll make that change by mouthing radical phrases that are a century old and half a hemisphere distant.
The question, as we approach an opportunity provided by the possible crisis of capitalism, is how do we grow our own answers?