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May 2013 01

May 1st 2013; From Dictatorship to Democracy
Trade Unions

May 1st 2013; From Dictatorship to Democracy

EU staff and their organisations are in a sad shape today. The Kinnock Deform that passed against slight token resistance in 2004 has reduced their incomes by 20% over the past nine years. Now, as in 2004, there is very little real resistance against the new round of amputations. Almost all colleagues have succumbed to a mixture of apathy and fear.

Regular readers of SID are an exception. Are they an endangered species? Is the EU public service finished? The near future looks extremely grim because weak resistance invites the next attack, and on and on.

There is plenty of hope for the more distant future, because, historically, people in much worse conditions eventually found the will to fight back.

Here is an encouraging example. After winning the Spanish Civil War in 1939, Franco drove independent unions like the CNT deep underground. His clever mixture of brutality and deceit kept him in power for decades. In the 1960s the growth of the Spanish economy accelerated until it was growing faster than all others, save only Japan. Naturally, almost all Spaniards lost interest in resistance and Franco’s propagandists triumphantly announced the “death of politics”.

In the 1960s Spain’s future looked fascist. But then the pendulum swung back.

“… In the sixties the lower ranges of the civil service suffered a decline in income and status; they were no longer “better off” than employees in the private sector. By the late sixties they began to protest and organise to recapture lost ground. …

To understand their grievances we must examine the jungle of the Spanish civil service. Based on Napoleonic models, it was hierarchical and authoritarian yet a complex, irrational collection of cuerpos or corporations of groups of civil servants. There might have been 250 such cuerpos, several in each ministry. This corporative structure sharply divided the privileged cuerpos of the higher civil servants from the lower grades. … The underprivileged of the cuerpos with little pull in the service saw their wages decline after 1964 , … They felt “proletarianised”.

The lower grades of the civil service therefore began to consider themselves as workers; they demanded the right to unionise and in the process became politicised; they staged sit-down strikes; they gathered in illegal assemblies and issued communiqués to the press. … Their illegal unions had branches in ministries.”

These quotes are from the excellent “Spain; Dictatorship to Democracy” by Raymond Carr and Juan Pablo Fusi Aizpurua, 1993 Routledge, ISBN 0-415-09883-1, starting on page 83.

Remember that all of this was accomplished in an atmosphere of almost universal submission. It is important to understand how societies change; it is not by every member gradually renewing his or her attitude. On the contrary; one by one individuals change their minds completely until there are enough form organisations that spreads the new ideas still further. 100% solidarity is an unrealistic goal because there are always minorities who are too corrupt, too lazy or too frightened to defend themselves. When a majority believes that successful defence is possible, that belief makes itself a reality. As long as the majority of a group waits for others to defend its interests, that remains a group of victims waiting to be robbed. Please lead, follow SID, or at least get out of our way.

Who do you think will defend your job together with its benefits? The politicians and their appointees at the top of the EU Institutions? The AD12s, 13s and 14s who run some of the biggest staff unions? Maybe Santa Clause, or the Little Green Men? Look in the mirror!

Solidarity Now More than Ever!

Created by: admin last modification: Monday 29 of April, 2013 [16:22:07 UTC] by admin

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