Thursday, 13 December 2007

Coppers on strike

The last police strike in this country was in Merseyside in 1919, a dispute basically for the right to form a trade union. It was defeated - and the 'non-strike' Police Federation was the result . Before that time the police had quite frequently taken industrial action, and with some success.

Which is why there has been so much fuss about the merest murmurings of industrial action that have resulted from the government's failure to honour an arbitrated pay settlement.

Now I know the mature and correct socialist response to this: To appeal to the police as 'workers in uniform' and try and win them over to the point of view of the labour movement etc. The rebellion of state forces has always in history been a precursor to wider movements for radical change.


Just for a moment I'd like to indulge a lovely fantasy:

Imagine that we bussed in coach loads of private security contractors to do the jobs of striking policemen. Imagine that we employed ex-miners, print-workers and dockers to ensure that the police pickets didn't try to prevent the scabs getting into work at the police station. Imagine that the moment these pickets gave the slightest provocation, they had their heads cracked open. And imagine they were then denounced in the tabloids as dangerous subversives ...

OK OK - I know it's not a viable position - but just don't ask me to wear a 'Support The Police Strikers' sticker.

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