The sales campaign for WorkChoices Lite begins ...

Now here's question posed:
Do you and your soy latte socialist buddies want to defeat the Howard government this year or not?
Your idiotic tirades against Kevin Rudd's industrial changes are laughable. I and most unionists would prefer "WorkChoices Lite" to "WorkChoices Plus" that Howard would introduce if re-elected. Unless it is proven otherwise one can only assume that Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance want Howard re-elected.
To which I replied...

Back in days gone by this sort of carte blanche gung ho support regardless was backed up with physical violence or the threat thereof. Similarly labelling critics as members of the Santamaria's National Civic Council was also embraced as a shush-ing tactic. Roland may be a troll but he poses the issue squarely from the POV that has been fostered.

This is the great tragedy of Laborism. The bottom line is bullying and coercion when the peer group pressure alone doesn't work. The main game is to turn critics into pariahs.

And people go along with that. Take Roland here as an example.

While I note that in the past -- especially in the lead up to the 1983 election that bought Bob Hawke to the Lodge -- there was a sort of platform massaging in play that included some credits as the proposed "Accord" had a few sweeteners and generally to a man and woman trade unionists and especially the trade union left were enamoured by its false promises. For the sake say of a 38 hour week -- many thought, most in fact, that it was worth the horse trading.

38 hour week! What a laugh! What's the present average? 45? 47? So where were the benefits of this "Accord" located in real time.

This time around, Roland tells it as it lays -- and he puts the issue crudely and bluntly: ya either for Rudd's WCLite or ya for Howard!

But why should this current version of industrial relations be the "it" around which we are supposed to draw the line and rally? Why not some other? Why not one that at least guaranteed the right to strike, did not make it illegal to do so, and enshrined that right , like the international conventions on human rights do. Why should trade unionists campaign to make striking illegal? Because that's what the ACTU is asking of them. Given the slogan -- "Your Rights at Work - Worth fighting (ie:voting) for" -- what rights are we defending with this package?

I cannot see a one.

Roland must think that as well as being laughable, I'm a fool. But I can see a gaping hole in WC Lite that no amount of spin will be able to patch up.

It is easy to forget that the bottom line of any industrial relations package is the hip pocket. That's what Work Choices is about. Howard isn't mean to workers for the sake of it -- the meanness has a price tag and underpinning Work Choices is the business of moving billions of dollars into corporate coffers. It's about driving down wages; slashing production costs and increasing the absolute level of exploitation of workers by making them work harder and longer ...for less.

When we come to Rudd's version of Work Choices the same issues are in play and the same prize is at stake. What Rudd brings to the board room table is a compliant workforce held in check and made docile by an engaged trade union bureaucracy which is nonetheless constrained by such key elements as a no strike clause.

In the end which package will be more useful, and more profitable, to corporate Australia, to the capitalist class here? That's what the debate is about now as far as Labor is concerned because that's where the main sell is being pitched: to the board rooms of the land.

Roland says he prefers WCLite because it is a softer touch -- even though we are still being taken(at least he should concede that). The problem is that in the end that may not be the case. The Accord years in Australia moved billions of dollars from wages to profits -- generating such largesse that Australia under Hawke and Keating was more effective in driving down wages and conditions while upping profits than Thatcher was able to do in the UK or Reagan and Bush Senior could manage in the USA despite all their bully boy bluster and strike breaking.

Under Labor's last turn in the saddle, profits jumped and trade union membership collapsed while real wages nose dived and working hours climbed.

The brutal irony is that today the economy is more or less booming, there's a labour shortage in many sectors -- but the peak bodies of the trade union movement insist that we all should defer to a 21st Capitalism that wants more.

And Roland says he prefers hammer "b" hitting him than hammer "a"..and
I should join him in his preference...

Excuse me if I bow out of that masochistic game.