Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chinese Workers Kick Ass

Pity the poor GM workers who read about Chinese steelworkers and realize that if only they'd kidnapped their boss and did a little rioting they would have gotten a better deal. In fact, Chinese workers at the Linzhou Iron & Steel Company halted government plans to privatize their company. Three weeks ago some poor dumbass from another steel company told a group of 30,000 workers that most of them would be laid off and got himself beaten to death in what was a very large riot.
Some of this sounds very familiar - in France workers have taken to "bossnapping" and threatening to blow up capital equipment at their factories when they get lay-off notices.
In Britain and Ireland there have been occupations at Waterford Glass, Thomas Cook, Vestas (a wind turbine manufacturer), and Visteon (a car parts company).
In South Korea a spectacular and sometimes violent (check out those slingshots in the picture above - they were used to defend the occupation) occupation of the Ssangyong car plant - that fended off numerous assaults by police commandoes - managed to save half the jobs at the plant. Originally all the workers were slated for layoff.
On a smaller scale, here in Toronto, of course, we had a 36-day strike by city workers that managed to take the edge off of the city's concessions demands. Even the National Post thought that the workers won. And anything that pisses off the National Post can't but bring warmth to a left-wingers heart.
Could we be seeing a serious global re-emergence of working class militancy and even, gasp, victories?
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