Saturday, June 03, 2006

HP Sauce Demonstration

Well, I was there today, and so were around 600 others on the demonstration called by the Transport and General Workers' Union, seeking to defend to defend the jobs and livelihoods of workers at the HP sauce factory in Aston, Birmingham.

For those of you who don't know, not only are there workers' jobs at stake in this dispute, the factory (as pointed out by the irrepressible Carl Chinn in the course of his speech today) is a part of working-class history, part of a tradition of manufacturing famous products in Birmingham, of union organisation and solidarity that goes back for centuries.

So yes, I was there. TGWU deputy general secretary Jack Dromey was there too. Hell, even Blairite MPs Khalid Mahmood and Sion Simon were there. So where the hell were you, gentle reader? There were 600 people there. They'd been hoping for over 3000. Where were you?

This is one of the things that really piss me off about some people, who seem to think that political activism can be done more or less exclusively across the internet. It's not restricted to any one viewpoint, and only encompasses some among the many who do blog or post political material on the net. Nevertheless, among these full-time keyboard warriors, the "Decents" will navel gaze and natter about the importance of defending abstract positions on the importance of bourgeois democracy, whilst ranting in defence of a never-correct and increasingly-risible neoconservative position on the Iraq War. "Stoppers" will drivel on about "anti-imperialist" struggles halfway across the world by groups of which they have neither knowledge nor understanding, and rant about how "Bushitler" is more evil than than the twisted offspring of Beelzebub and Asmodeus. Both groups spend a great deal of time bashing each other, all from the comfort of their computer chairs of course.

Meanwhile, 600 people took a stand in the real world, to protect jobs and a history that encompasses working class people across the West Midlands' ethnic and religious spectrum. While you stayed at home and ranted about each other.

You keyboard warriors must be so proud.


Anonymous Boogski said...

Howdy Volt!

Nice place you've got here. Just thought I'd drop by and take a look around...

Man. Tough break for those folks at the HP Sauce plant. Perhaps the Union can help them find jobs elsewhere. Were you able to chat with any of the employees to find out what their plans are? Having been sacked a time or two myself, I'm not without sympathy.

3:29 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Blimey! Hello Boogski!

Yeah - they really got hit, looks like they're all for the chop unless something radically changes the situation. The local MP and the council are trying to negotiate with the owners (Heinz, wouldya believe) though, so it isn't all lost yet.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Boogski said...

Has anyone thought of pleading the case to John Kerry's wife? I hear she's a bigshot with the Heinz Corporation. I'm certain she's a democrat and they are usually more sympathetic with Labor. If you could get some coverage of this story on liberal US blogs, they might be able to get her attention. It would be a great opportunity for her to "prove" she cares about the working man.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Mick Jones said...

Strikingly low levels of POLITICAL ACTIVISM in the developed world. Many seem to want someone else to do it for them! You have to get out and act!!


7:31 PM  
Anonymous LaLaMiMi said...

I agree about people not putting their typing into being more pro active.. but hey.. at least you were on the News!
I was at a national psc demo 2 weeks ago which did not even getta peak on national TV - though I did see some cams about that were from a Arabic channel I have never heard of... they filmed me as I came into Trafalgar Square so I was on the evening news some place in the world :D..
Anyhow - solidarity with the workers!

2:44 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

How big was the PSC thing in the end Lala? I'd have thought it would be a good size this year, given the issue's profile in the UK following the Gaza withdrawal and the Israeli elections?

3:10 PM  
Blogger LaLaMiMi said...

It was quite good, as compared to the previous psc demos I have been too - I would estimate there were about 1000 max there, 700 minimum, even. We kinda crowded out the square afterwards. So, wasn't too bad. I saw lots of familiar faces like that Anis bloke, the Iraqi fella who heads MAB.. he was walking around and was within breath distance.. the same with a few others - there were the Nutra Karta (sp) Jews that attended, as per usual.. I have never seen them smile, but they were smiling that time!

There was even a Pro Israeli Christian, who was dressed bizarrely - kinda like a leprechaun, but with Israeli emblems adorned on his out fit.. he had a placard that espoused the Biblical belief in a prophesy - he joined us in the march and there was no hassle - he was actually amusing!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Indiana said...

My favorite Voltaire,
Have you had a look on "Precarity"? I know it seems irrelevant to the post but if you look on the internet i am sure you will find interesting things about the term, the organisation, the action. Interesting staff for someone who wants to have a first look can be found at:
Also have a look at:
and i should not forget:
I found it exciting. Hope you do too...

2:17 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...


Who are ya? I can no longer contain the curiosity. Drop me an email?

2:57 PM  
Blogger El Tom said...

here here

7:27 AM  

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