On the Fuel Tax Protest and the OPEC Red Herring
by G W F H 12:43pm Wed Sep 13 '00
"Something" is happening, beyond doubt, because I saw it, (honest), but what is it ? It seems presumptive to form a set opinion before ascertaining the cause, and possible direction of this "something".
Farmers and truckers are not, generally, open to left wing ideas, and for the most part cannot be considered workers.
One thing that surprised me, something i did not expect to see, was an element of racial solidarity among the truckers,
and it was pleasant indeed to see some progress in this line of thinking. Ideas can change with experience - I recall the time in 1985 when striking coal miners took part in the Gay Pride march that year.
On the negative side, it must be remembered that the democ ratic socialist regime of Allende in Chile was brought down in 1973 partly as the result of precisely a truckers and housewives wave of protest (apart from the actual coup by Pinochet, of course). Of course, the comparison is tenuous, for neither side quite fits: Blair is not a socialist, and it would be rash to condemn the protesters of too sinister a motive. As I said previously, when have the left attempt ed to put the case to these people ? Today I did not see one socialist or anarchist trying to give these guys a new perspective, so what will they do except take the cue from the large conglomerates or the aristocracy ? I have never heard of a left wing group contacting agricultural workers, and they will, therefore take their lead from their employ er.
One thing that is of great concern is the attack on OPEC (Oil produc ing nations grouping) coming from Labour; if OPEC nations are being a bit obstructive in setting prices, then remember its THEIR oil, not the wests ! What would the Labour cabinet, or Livingstone (who would dearly love to be in it) like to do ? Try a new onslaught against Iraq, Iran,
or somewhere ("whats the difference?", as "South Park" sati rically suggested ) to bring the price down a bit ? Truth is, Labour could reduce the duty on fuel if it wanted to. Then again, it could reintroduce the right to student grants, decent levels of wages, benefits, housing, union rights and so on, if it wanted to... Fact is, the farmers and truckers, if not fighting for a better world, are at least pushing their case with vigor, something we could all take a tip by way of. I thought it was quite interesting that the catalyst came from the example set by the French farmers, although i dont know much about their politics (probably no better than here, one imagines).