Opinion. «Reflection and Reaction» on a bad time for the strike

Illustration: Reflection and Reaction
3 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. «Рефлексия и реакция» о неудачном времени для забастовки
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. «Рэфлексія і рэакцыя» пра няўдалы час для страйку

The Telegram channel «Reflection and Reaction» published a post about the announced general strike, starting from November 1, initiated by the BAW [Belarusian Association of Workers- ed.] initiative, headed by Siarhei Dyleuski. We quote their words unchanged.

The blocked Tribuna website publishes interviews with different people who go or don’t go to football games. Interviews are interesting because there’re are usually people «from the ground» and quite proletarian origin. And that’s where the strike issues are periodically touched upon. Let’s allow ourselves a couple of quotes.

A football fan from Bobruisk: «I think at Belshina and Bobruiskagromash the salary is 1000 BYN, at Legpromrazvitie — 600 BYN. Few people will agree with the current prices to work for this money. Many of my friends went abroad because what’s the point of working for $250-$300? The same thing is happening at other factories. Probably, there are those who are «out of politics» and just waiting for a bright future to begin.

Strike? I don’t think anyone is going to join it at the moment. Yes, there was a surge of activity a year ago. But the authorities removed unwanted people so that they would not disturb others».

A fan from Gomel: «Will workers at Gomel enterprises go on strike? I won’t speak for anyone else, but at Gomselmash, I think, definitely won’t. A common man, an average man, let’s be objective, is not ready to lose what he has. Even if he is paid quite a minimum wages. This is the conjuncture in Belarus now, such a mentality».

And here is a quote from an interview with Siarhei Cherkasau, the former co-chairman of the strike committee of Belaruskali: «People work, get salaries. They have children, families, parents — it’s complicated. As long as there is a salary, they will tolerate it«.

In general, there is a feeling that the protest media made the strike a «silver bullet», which should solve all the problems. The logic is clear: unlike street protests, it is much more difficult to disperse the strikers organizationally, it is also difficult to make them work, you will not dismiss everyone if everyone is on strike.

But that’s if everyone is on strike. The quotes above «from the ground» show well the current state of affairs in the minds at enterprises. The mass strike isn’t ripe from below, there are no prerequisites for poor people to risk the last piece of bread. «Rabochy Rukh» has not yet collected the necessary figures in its bot and does not make such statements as Dyleuski, although organizationally they have a process head and ahead higher, at least in its visible part.

Opinion. «Reflection and Reaction» on a bad time for the strike

Illustrarion: Reflection and Reaction

A failed strike would be a demotivational blow akin to when the strikes in August and October 2020 did not work. Of course, perhaps BAW has some cunning plan, but so far it all looks like pure adventure. If the idea fails, it will be a good reason for Lukashenka to say at the November meetings with Putin: «You see, they have no support in society». The best strategy for the protest headquarters now is to expose all this as a personal initiative of the BAW and Dyleuski, which is not coordinated with anyone, tactical and petty. If the case really goes to unwind, he will become a political figure on a national scale. But, in our opinion, the chances of this are extremely low. At least because most «on earth» have the problem of a COVID wave in their heads right now, which affects all families.

Opinion. «Reflection and Reaction» on a bad time for the strike

Is there anything that is as popular as COVID-19 in Belarus? Yes, it’s a job search. These are the realities in Belarus today. This is important to know and understand in order to plan the right actions.

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