BPSU on the March

For what I think is a first for the BPSU, they have set a protest march on Parliament to coincide with the Throne Speech. This should be setting alarm bells off within upper management as the BPSU is sometimes seen as a more timid Union compared to its militant cousin the BIU. For the BPSU to have been pissed off enough to march on Parliament you can be sure that the Government has been acting in an unprecedentedly heavy-handed manner in regards to the organised labour. One would also imagine that this symbolic move, the march, is only a foreshadowing of what is to come should the Government continue to act imperiously. The BIU itself has a host of concerns regarding its relationship with Government, of which the case of Ferry Pilot Brother Pearman is really only a spark setting things in motion. The BUT also has some serious concerns of its own.

Government needs to stop and reflect on its current direction and change course lest it continue to sail on obliviously into the rocks.

This blog is unashamedly in solidarity with the workers.

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18 thoughts on “BPSU on the March

  1. Ignoring the substance of the current disputes, a real fight between the PLP and the unions … that ended with compromise from both sides … would actually give some credibility to both the PLP and the unions.

  2. De Onion,

    I have always said that I am loyal to the principles of progressive labour and not to the Party Line of the Progressive Labour Party. When I feel that the PLP is not acting in the interests of progressive labour I have and will continue to criticise them. This does not in any way make me pro-UBP, not by a long-shot. If you wish to go through my various entries in different blogs, along with this one, as well as letters to the editor over the last decade you will see that I have consistently attacked what I see as UBP deviations on the part of the PLP. This is one such example. It is quite a childish argument that some are making that any criticism of the PLP is automatically a pro-UBP argument. Any pro-UBP argument is by necessity an anti-PLP argument, but not all anti-PLP arguments are pro-UBP. This is basic logic. What is important is the context and the credibility of the critic, as this sheds light on motive.

  3. “It is quite a childish argument that some are making that any criticism of the PLP is automatically a pro-UBP argument. Any pro-UBP argument is by necessity an anti-PLP argument, but not all anti-PLP arguments are pro-UBP.”

    This is total gibberish Jon. You have a future in politics.

  4. I’m afraid I don’t follow your argument. Perhaps I misunderstood De Onion as well. He tried to imply that I was all of a sudden being pro-UBP because I support the workers over the PLP. I simply tried to point out that criticising the PLP does not make one pro-UBP.

    Its kind of simple logic. Its like saying all cats have four legs, therefore all animals with four legs are cats. This is a false argument. That was my point.

    Perhaps we are talking at cross purposes? What do you mean by your attack?

  5. De Onion was being ironic. I was teasing you – that’s not an attack. Lighten up, before De Radical cranks out another 10 page dialectic 🙂

    But it is rather oversimple to say that “any pro-UBP argument is by necessity an anti-PLP argument”. The world is not black and white.

  6. “De Onion was being ironic. I was teasing you – that’s not an attack. Lighten up, before De Radical cranks out another 10 page dialectic”

    You know Zippy I was about to contest you on my last piece being ten pages long…bit I will concede, I just pasted it into MS Word, put it in justify format, double spaced it, except for large external to the paragraphs quotes…and it was 10 pages spot on, the Nietzche quote I ended with put it all to the bottom of the tenth page. I wrote it this morning, guess I got carried away, it was supposed to be brief, hehe 🙂

  7. Hey Zippy.

    You’ve got to add more emoticoms to posts I’m likely to read at the end of a long day. Without tea I have a tendency of misreading some things I guess…

    Its cool. 🙂

  8. To Galt:

    I am drowning in course work, volunteer work and readings right now, my own blog at this time takes priority over my posting and conversations on others, which is why I have only been able to come an make brief comments on others. When I am less busy and have more time to devout to postings on other blogs I can get back into the conversation.

  9. I am completely behind the BPSU workers on this one. To offer a pay increase that is actually below the rate of inflation is effectively a pay cut. That is disgraceful, and a complete slap in the face to the workers. If this Government would cut its extravagant spending in other non-essential areas, it could easily pay for a pay increase which, at the very least, would match inflation.

  10. I think that if one scratches beneath the surface you will find that the pay issue, although definitely a major factor, is really just a spark that has ignited an already simmering discontent. As one would say using Marxist laws of dialectics, it provided a critical point for quantitative to qualitative change. I won’t go into all of the background to it all, but I think I can safely say that there is growing resentment to political interference within the civil service (NY tourism, Planning, etc), the undermining of autonomous bodies through administrative means, the increasing alienation of workers from their work, increasing political arrogance, the stresses of the economic situation – especially in light of a coming recession, and the threat of increased authoritarianism.

    I was just reading some Erich Fromm and came across a lovely quote that may be relevant here:

    “The problem with the past was that men were slaves, the problem with the future is that men may become robots.”

    Kind of along the lines of Marley’s lyrics on ’emancipate yourself from mental slavery.’ The question that really seems to be at hand here is which direction should society take?

    I would also certainly echo the point about the allocation of funds. There is some need for economic restructuring of the government budget with alot of capital being badly used. I kind of feel like Gorbachev’s reform plans are applicable here:

    Economic restructuring
    Transparency
    Acceleration of fundamental change
    Self-management

  11. You make valid points in your latest post, Jonathan. I think that, perhaps, what we’re seeing is the result of an immature Government. Now, I’m no friend of this particular Government, as you well know, but I mean no insult by calling it ‘immature’. Here you have a Government that was in Opposition for 35+ years, thirsting to take the bull by the horns and start enacting its policies. It’s pretty natural, I think, for such a Government to overstep its bounds and start being incredibly controlling with the Civil Service, which is what I believe has happened here. There’s going to be considerable resistance to such a regime, though, and we’re seeing the fallout from that now. I think that you’re right: the pay issue alone may not have resulted in this action (though I believe that industrial action would be justified on this basis alone), but the general feeling of disrespect that seems to have been felt by the BPSU workers seems to have boiled over…….

  12. Well, I sort of agree with you.

    I would take issue with labeling the current government as ‘immature.’ I think this treads on some serious thin ice here and will leave you open to accusations of racism.

    If anything I think Dr. Brown represents the best Bdian ‘leader’ we’ve had. I don’t agree with alot of what he is doing or what I feel he is going to do, but I certainly respect his capabilities as being at a whole other level than we’ve had before. I think he can be criticised as being autocratic and developing a group of apparatchiks around him. I think he feels that that style is the necessary one to clear away alot of cobwebs that honestly are cluttering our society. I don’t have the same confidence as he does in this style though, I think it leads to more problems than it would solve. Means and ends and all that jazz.

    I can’t remember her exact words, but Dr. Eva Hodgson said in the RG the other day (in reference to PATI) something to the effect that a society that has been authoritarian and autocratic for centuries doesn’t change into a more particpatory/libertarian (in its original sense and not the capitalist sense) democracy overnight. Also, I think it was that great West Indian democratic socialist CLR James that said something similar. I think it was in the Black Jacobins, but I’m not sure. Anyway, he said something like replicating the organisation of the plantation system in order to combat and overthrow the plantation system will only usher in a new plantation system altogether. I think you get the idea anyway.

  13. How does your contention that Dr. Brown is the “best Bermudian leader we’ve had”, align with your principal to support the grass roots doctrines of the PLP? He is probably as big if not a bigger capitalist than any of the current UBP oppostion.

  14. “He is probably as big if not a bigger capitalist than any of the current UBP opposition.”

    And he is deeply engaged in just about every negative practice the old Forty Thieves were every accused of.

  15. Well Wiaruz,

    What I wa saying is that I think Dr. Brown is Bermuda’s political leader par excellence to date. I think he out strategises his opponents with a skill not seen in Bda before. I cannot deny that he has great qualities as a ‘leader’ in the traditional sense of the ‘big man.’ Not only does he have a level of charisma and personality beyond any previous leader, he has constructed a formidable support structure, including an almost leadership fetish amongst subordinates. He is undoubtedly an effective leader. Thats pretty much what I was saying.

    Now, to me thats fact. That in no way translates into me believing that Dr. Brown epitomises what progressive labour is our should be by a long shot. Similarly, it does not mean I am contradicting my support for the grassroots principles of the PLP as you say. I’m just stating a fact. Kind of like Bill Clinton. I happen to think that he was one of the best US presidents ever, but I also believe he largely carried on Regeanomics under the guise of liberal Democratic Party rhetoric.

    I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with your, or Zippy’s assertion that he is ‘as big if not a bigger capitalist than any of the current UBP opposition.’ But this doesn’t mean I can’t see a strong effective leader all the same. You’ve got to respect that.

    I’ve thought that Ms. Smith and Mr. Scott also failed to realise a progressive labour program, for various reasons, but the practical result of it all is that for most purposes the PLP has gone the same way as the SAfrican ANC in pushing a neo-liberal capitalist agenda rather than a truly emancipatory platofrm of particapatory economy and democracy.

    The Party has long been a coalition of the Black bourgeousie and the Black working class (with a handful of White radicals) with the mutual goal of smashing racial oligarchy; only the Black bourgeousie has no interest in smashing oligarchy itself and has retarded the development of progressive labours historic objectives.

    Don’t know if that makes it any clearer for you. 🙂

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