19 September 2020, Saturday, 5:47
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Everyone’s On Strike!

Everyone’s On Strike!
Iryna Khalip

Stop making money for an insane gerontocrat.

We have a revolution. It's not just happening before our eyes, we're all part of it. Those who haven't joined in, hurry up or it'll end without you.

Stop waiting for formal replies to your complaints from Yermoshyna's office. She'll drown your complaints in a soup, anyway. Stop keeping your fingers heart-shaped. It doesn't work. And you're not doing it. Stop hoping that Sasha 3% finds his conscience all of a sudden and he comes with a big key to open the prison wards. It won't happen. Stop comforting yourself that sooner or later everything will dissolve. These bruises do not dissolve.

Experience shows that we can stand our ground. We can fight back. We can build barricades. We can build up a chain that no one can break. We can wear out the law enforcers by dispersing in the streets of our cities. We can provide first aid, fight back a person from the furious "astronauts", protect the weak, demonstrate to cops our moral and physical supremacy. We can leave the entrance open, let strangers into our apartment, drive around all protest areas and provide with medicines and bandages. We can't just attack, humiliate, kill. These days, we've added at least ten more non-violent resistance methods to the list. Gene Sharp would be proud of us.

We made up columns and chains, and we have one last thing to do to bring the old dictator down: to unite around the simplest and most effective method of non-violent resistance. And this, of course, is a strike. Humanity has not yet invented anything more peaceful and perfect. (Except the wheel.)

Striking is safe. Everything happens in life, but our laggards in uniform were barely taught to manoeuvre among mechanisms, machines, and even desks and chairs. They can only flap arms and sticks in the streets. They will fail to break into a shop, where they can be accidentally hit by an overhead track crane. No, it will not work. At work, each of us feels like home. And they are strangers.

Strikes are peaceful. Nobody attacks anybody. It's just that people put forward their claims right at the workplace, not write messages to the mythical departments dealing with citizens' appeals. They do not start working until their demands are met. They are not truants - they appear at work early on the workday and stay there without violating the work discipline. This is a classic. The history of the labour movement calls this an occupation strike. When a person appears at work and makes demands, he or she is already participating in the change of power.

A strike, like any deliberate protest, is promising. Because this is the beginning of negotiations and the birth of new leaders. Now the corrupted factory nomenclature, which is afraid of changes, is trying to influence the employees with all the demagogical power of workshop solidarity: "We are one collective. I used to work on that machine tool over there. I sent your children, Lizaveta, to the children camp. Kuzmich, I offered you a trip to the sanatorium. Will we create problems for each other?" We should kick them out. And a strike is a great litmus test for this nomenclature. Normal bosses will support and stand by. Let the rest go whistle. During strikes, strike committees are created. Later they will form new, truly independent trade unions. The main slogan of the Polish strikers was simple: "Don't burn their committees, create your own!" The leaders of the new unions will, undoubtedly, be a part of the very coalition government that will work until a new fair election.

A strike is an end of lying. Naive people may melt with the resignation of propagandists leaving BT TV channel. Speaking frankly, I feel great indifference to the fate of the propagandists and all the more to those talking on TV. There are enough freaky talking heads in any society. After all, the riot policeman Balaba will broadcast the news. Is there any difference? But can you imagine what will happen if the technical services go on strike? Engineers, illuminators, assistants and others? No propagandist will hit the airwaves. It will be the end of propaganda and lies. The technicians have real power, they haven't used it yet.

Guys, join us! Show Swan Lake.

Here comes the main thing. The strike is a victory. One can participate in protests as much as one wants, but if you build barricades at night and go to work in the morning and bring money to Sasha's family - it will give him strength. There is a reason why the same factory nomenclature of Grodno Azot persuades the workers to go on strike at night: they say that no one will fire you for it. Of course, they won't. They may not have realized yet that the situation has changed. Now the workers will be able to fire the director who refused to meet the legal requirements. I can assure you that if the whole country stops working, it will be the final countdown for these remnants. We won't have time to not only starve but even feel hungry.

All we have to do is finish the job. Stop making money for a crazy gerontocrat and his greedy family. Stop obeying the villain bosses. Stop thinking, "If one fires me, I'll never get a job again." I assure you, they're the ones who'll be looking for a job soon. Except for Sasha three per cent. He'll eat the prison food for a long time. Probably for the rest of his life.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org