Workers of the World Are Uniting

Workers of the World Are Uniting February 21, 2022

If you are a truck driver in Canada, if you cross the border into the United States and are not vaccinated, you have to be quarantined for two weeks in order to be let into your own country.  Protesting that restriction and related COVID mandates, truckers started a “freedom convoy,” in which thousands of big rigs drove to the Ottawa, the nation’s capital.  Some parked near government buildings, while others shut down the international bridge between the U.S. and Canada, and in so doing forced the closure of auto plants on both sides of the border.  (See this for the background.)

As David Marcus has observed, the freedom convey is essentially a job action, a protest of working conditions.  The shutdown imposed by truckers is, in effect, a strike.

What has struck me is the way progressive politicians and the progressive media are reacting to this story.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leader of the supposedly pro-labor Liberal party, condescendingly called the truckers’ views “unacceptable.”  As if the Prime Minister determined which views of his citizens are acceptable and which are not.

He went on to condemn the truckers as racists, extremists, American-influenced Trump supporters, even Nazis.  He extended the Nazi charge to the members of the Conservative Party in general who support the truckers, aiming his invective at a Jewish woman who questioned his response.  (Brief seminar:  Nazism is an authoritarian totalitarian ideology grounded in a collectivism based on racial or ethnic identity.  Someone who wants smaller government, less government intrusion, and individual freedom cannot be a Nazi.)

Marcus points out that such charges are reminiscent of classic anti-labor accusations:  “Outside agitators!” “Subversives!” “Communists!”

And, egged on by big-union champion President Biden, who demanded the border be opened at all costs, Trudeau is using force to break the strike.  Officials have seized fuel, taken the truckers’ food, and confiscated their funds.  Then  Trudeau formally invoked Emergency powers, a provision in Canadian law to deal with violent civil disorder that had never been used before, even though the truckers’ protest has been peaceful.  Without warrants, he is seizing their funding–including money given by donors over the internet–arresting protesters, and other harsh measures, including cancelling the truckers’ driver’s licenses, thereby taking away their livelihood.  The woman who helped organize the protests, Tamara Lich, has been arrested.

Tow truck drivers at first refused to tow away parked vehicles out of solidarity for their fellow workers, but now they are being forced to, but are covering their faces and the logos of their companies lest they be considered scabs.  (See this.)

Ironically, this hard line is being taken against the truck drivers, even though Canada, which is 90% vaccinated, is dropping its COVID restrictions left and right.  But not for these Canadians!

The progressive media also is parroting Trudeau’s talking points.  For American outlets, still looking at the world through their anti-Trump lens, this is more “insurrection,” “sedition,” and another “threat to democracy.”  Interestingly, the media is also playing down the numbers and the significance of the protests, even though the numbers and the significance are apparently large enough to trigger Trudeau’s extraordinary state of emergency.

And read this for an impassioned defense of the freedom convey–complete with interviews with protesters that show they are not the demons the politicians and journalists are making them out to be–and an analysis of the movement in terms of the working class defying the ruling elite.

The Left used to not only be pro-working class, it largely consisted of the working class.  It even advocated insurrection and sedition; that is to say, a working class revolution.  Though you can still find a few old school socialists among today’s proletariat and though the big labor unions still support the Democratic establishment that they have become part of, most of the rank and file factory workers, farmers, construction workers, and, yes, truck drivers have become Trumpian conservatives.  The Left, in the meantime, has become largely a bourgeois movement of affluent, college-educated managers, academics, information specialists, and denizens of woke corporations.  The Left’s rhetoric still condemns “the rich” and “corporations,” but notice how they call for “middle class” benefits, not so much “worker” benefits.

But the disdain for actual “lower class” folks–especially the white working class–is palpable.  And the “lower class” is very aware of this disdain, and it fuels their anger.  I would suggest that the Canadian truck drivers may be animated by the patrician contempt of their Prime Minister–as well as their other “betters” who control their lives–even more than by the vaccine mandates, which they see as symptomatic of their marginalization.

In the meantime, similar freedom convoys are being planned in France,  Austria, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries, including the United States.

Marx called on the workers of the world to unite.  Maybe he is getting his wish, though his modern-day heirs don’t like it much.

 

HT:  Paul Veith

Image by Ana Krach from Pixabay 

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