Friday, October 28, 2011

The implications of Harper's War on Labour.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller

Lawrence Martin outlines the reasons for the Conservative War on Labour.
When they had a minority government, the Conservatives soft-pedaled labour issues. Now that they have a majority and a labour-backed NDP in opposition, they have moved into attack mode. It’s war on big labour and it’s intended as Stephen Harper’s new winning strategy.  (My emphasis in bold)
If the implications of this strategy weren't so ominous I would enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing the NDP reap what it has sown.  (Was the NDP really so stupid that they thought their alliance to destroy the Liberals and give Harper a majority would buy them immunity from the attack machine? It looks like that was the case).

The economic foolishness of this strategy is apparent to anyone who cares to think it through.  There is no incentive for unions to concede on any single issue.  The less a union gives in, the further ahead they are when the arbitrator makes a ruling.

But that is not the main issue with the strike busting tactic.  Harper's contempt for Parliament shows how blithely he is willing to disregard centuries of democratic tradition.  The anti-union chest beating allows Pappa Steve to check off items 2 and 10 of the fourteen defining characterisitics of fascism in one swoop.  Union bashing might be politically popular but the actions our government is proposing violates Canada's obligations to provide Freedom of Assembly and Association.  Once again, the questions must be asked.  Is there a limit to what Harper will do to achieve and maintain power? 

So I put aside, temporarily, my disdain for the NDP and their collusion with the Harper Party and speak out.  This attack on Labour is wrong.  It is another sign of the authoritarian tendencies of Harper and his Party.Recommend this Post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Harper and his cheerleaders think that his attacks are harming only unions and Labour, but they're doing just as much harm to the implied social contract between Capital and Labour.

Government is supposed protect the public peace by helping remove the cause of the trouble between employees and their employers, but this government doesn't address the causes. They are, as a rule, producing near-sighted dictatorial back-to-work legislation that creates more trouble in the long term.

The saying "Government rules by the consent of the governed" doesn't mean that citizens vote at the ballot box. It means that they've bought into the social contract, find it fair, and generally follow it. Coming down forever and always on the side of Capital shows that the agreement between Capital and Labour doesn't seem fair any more, so why buy into it? The result of a shredded social contract isn't "Capital wins", short of bringing back slavery. It's "Nobody wins", with a sick economy, a sick society, and the possibility of general strikes as workers try to fix what the administrators refuse to.