Despite all the rhetoric from the Communist Party that it has the the best interest of “the workers” at heart, it is clear workers have a different idea.
The most public image of workers rising up against the despotic rule of a communist party is the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s.
With the fall of the communist parties in Europe (more or less), the few remaining communist-run countries have kept a close eye on workers’ organizations.
One of the things that scares dictators about workers working in unison is the whole idea of self-determination. If workers can unify into a collective to get better pay and working conditions, why not form alliances to get better government? Likewise, if workers are allowed to elect their own leaders in the workplace, why not work for the right to elect local, regional and national political leaders.
Yep, unions are a real subversive factor. Especially against dictators and oligarchs.
Many thanks to CNN for assembling this great multi-media presentation of workers in China standing up for their rights and iron-heel steps being taken by the Beijing leadership to keep the workers under control.
From the intro:
China’s workers have driven the explosive growth of its economy in recent decades. Now, with record numbers of strikes across the country, the government views them as an existential threat, and it may just be right.
The economic slowdown and subsequent forced layoffs have changed Beijing’s biggest fear of 900 million angry farmers to 500 million angry (or laid off) workers. The danger as Beijing sees it is that even workers whose jobs remain, will see other workers tossed out. The employed workers could start thinking they might be next.
The government in China holds onto only one real claim to power. Long ago it promised the people of China economic well being through economic reform. All that Beijing demanded is that no one talks about political reform.
Now the economic protection is falling apart. And, the leaders in Beijing may be getting a bit nervous about the stability of the ground beneath their feet.
Look at the numbers:
- 2,726 Strikes or work related demonstrations in 2015
- 74 Strikes or work related demonstrations per day
- 1.6 million jobs cut from state-owned industries