Rail Strike Called Off?


Story by the Guardian

As far as I am concerned, questions of ‘legality’ and ‘illegality’ are irrelevant when it comes to striking. A strike is a protest against the commodity-economy; a protest by workers against the way their labour is exchanged. As such, it is a protest against the State; if it were not already evident, such events cause the intimate relation between the State and the commodity to be revealed. Law courts are an arm of the State* and the promise of forceful police repression should their rulings not be accepted. Strikes are beyond such rulings because they are a rejection of the State, the commodity, the violent police and military repression that is the cost of the commodity, and the state of society as it is.

Flip side:
1) I’m not sure I trust British unions today (bureaucratic, specialized, intimately tied to parliamentary politics)…
2) Hopefully now I will be able to make it from Lancaster to Norwich next Thursday.


*A simplification: It’s very interesting to attempt to describe the function of law when you try to take into account, for example, the differing roles it has played in the case of Binyam Mohamed (which I’ve posted about previously) and this story about the “illegal” Train Strike. On the one hand (in the case of the strike), we can see that the law functions very much to serve the interests of the State, and is upheld and enforced by the forces of State repression (polizei, military, &c). In a sense, the law is a form of “soft” repression of the State which carries the threat of physically forceful  repression. On the other hand, as in the case of Binyam Mohamed and the exposing of Government collusion in torture, here the courts are operating “autonomously”, criticising the Government. One conclusion might be that the courts are dutiful not to any Government, but to the system as a whole, the basis of which is the commodity-economy.  It is also this  that characterizes “State continuity” (i.e. that which doesn’t change with changes in Government). The commodity-economy is the remainder, the sacred-cow, the “natural that must be”, which remains always untouched and uncriticised by successive Governments and by courts, making a mockery both of democracy and of justice. This “remainder” is to some extent the repressed, the untouched. But, this leads to a second point: the Law is not a conscious entity, therefore this remainder is repressed not in the “mind” of the Law, but at a structural level. Ideology appears not as false consciousness, but as the concrete forms of social structures.

These, at least, are my provisional conclusions after a very good discussion with a dear friend over a couple of pints last night.



~ by Wit on April 1, 2010.

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