Left Luggage

The socialist strategy site

‘Bossnapping’, socialism, and the public mood

Posted by Left Luggage on April 11, 2009

A couple of interesting polls published in the last couple are perhaps indicative of a certain change of mood among ordinary people on both sides of the Atlantic. We’re conscious, of course, of the tendency of the Left to exaggerate any detectable upturn in workers’ struggles as the dawn of a new militancy. Until now, resistance to job cuts, pay freezes and worsening conditions during this recession have been sporadic and small-scale, barring a few notable exceptions. But these polls are interesting in any case.

The first is from France, which finds that almost half of French workers approve of the tactic of “locking up bosses” at companies where redundancies are plannned. The survey followed the “bossnapping” of managers by workers at Caterpillar, 3M, and Sony – in three separate incidents – to secure better conditions. Forty-five per cent of those surveyed thought this was acceptable practise, while 59 per cent of “blue-collar” workers approved. Gregor Gall adds a cautionary note regarding the potential new tactic, observing that both “bossnapping” and occupations “are of little use in stopping redundancies per se. That would take much more hard-hitting and widespread action by many more workers across the whole economy.”

The second poll comes from the US and finds, extraordinarily, that only a small majority of people think capitalism is preferable to socialism. It found that overall 53 per cent supported capitalism, 20 per cent preferred socialism, and 27 per cent were unsure. Even more startingly, of those who do not invest in shares, only 40 per cent favoured capitalism and 25 per cent favoured socialism. And among Democratic voters, the difference is even less, at 39 per cent versus 30 per cent.

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