After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet

Prior to the global financial crisis the LeftPress collective wrote a pamphlet about the 1998 MUA dispute on Australian ports. Given recent events where global port operator, Hutchison, has sacked half its workforce in Brisbane and Sydney it seems timely to re-visit this dispute.

Does this represent a shift in the thinking of workers who will no longer tolerate the casualisation, long shifts, poor wages, increasing unemployment?

Here is the introduction to After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet. Workers shouted and then fell silent.

Introduction

After the Waterfront

A menace is stalking our workplaces – the menace of global capital.

All the Powers of the old Market remain intact but new, global, forms of oppression are emerging: the unprecedented and worldwide explosion in credit which traps and enslaves not only individuals and households but also entire countries and regions, stripping them of their sovereignty and forcing them to adjust budgets and social policies to the dictates of international financiers; the cannibalising of one nation’s essential industries and services by the business interests of another; the almost total dependence of some nations on natural resources found only in the lands occupied by others; the massive militaries seen worldwide with their equally massive expenditures which drain national budgets.

All these have formed an un-holy alliance so overwhelming that the political class no longer makes even a pretence of governing for the common good, but has abandoned all our destinies to…

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