24/08/2010 - David Bisbal, Knaan and building workers counter-power

A YEAR ago - in an article denouncing the actions of drinks giant Diageo in Scotland – Solidarity’s General Secretary, Pat Harrington noted that:

“These transnational corporations have no loyalty or responsibility to Scotland or any other nation.  Their motivation is money, profit and shareholder dividends.  The workers are pawns to be discarded when the profit rate is deemed too low.  Employers speak of partnership but that goes out the door in testing times.  Workers must build their own political and economic counter-power.”

Since then, several comrades have been discussing how Solidarity Trade Union can put this idea of counter-power into practice.

Now another comrade has come forward with an idea for the future “that would tie in with Solidarity’s idea of workers building their own political and economic counter-power.  It would also specifically help the union in its aim of building the infrastructure of an alternative mass media of news and entertainment.”

Here’s what he had to say:

“I got the idea when I was in a Bar/Restaurant last month.  It had one of those massive TVs and was on a music channel.  A song came on - Wavin’ Flag by David Bisbal and Knaan – which was irritatingly infectious. 

As soon as it came on a female customer was up dancing around, punching the air and singing the song.  I’m not really into David Bisbal and Knaan, but plenty of folks were.  They were of all ages and nationalities - but it particularly seemed to appeal to the young Brits who were there.  It was a great illustration in the power of music.

This reaction got me thinking - maybe Solidarity should consider both the attraction and power of music.

I presume there are members and supporters who know a little about the music business.  What about producing a benefit CD in support of Solidarity?  It could feature different types of musical genres to appeal to the widest possible audience.”

Our comrade said that the tracks could have a pro-trade union/pro-worker message, be folk songs or celebrate landmark industrial actions like the 1926 United Kingdom General Strike, the 1974 Ulster Workers' Council strike and the 1984-85 UK Miners' Strike.

He continued:

“Such a CD would also be a great way of showcasing new and existing talent – and the artists know that they’ll not be ripped off as they’re dealing with a trade union and not some sort of wannabe music mogul.  Properly marketed it could raise vital funds for Solidarity’s work.

Solidarity has announced that it intends to publish various national, regional and trade-based agitprop publications.  The production of this benefit CD would also tie in nicely if one of these trade-based publications was for artists.”

He also pointed out that there’s more than one way of communicating our message.  Writing articles for this web-site and our publications are vitally important.  However, some trade unionists - especially younger workers - may be more receptive to a message contained in the lyrics of a song.

Putting the idea in the context of the overall development of Solidarity, he concluded:

“I know the union might not be able to produce a CD straight away – I’m sure that there are many more pressing needs - but I think it would be an idea for the future.

As Solidarity has said, workers need to build their own political and economic counter-power.  We also need to build the infrastructure of an alternative mass media of news and entertainment.  Producing this CD would represent a small step in the right direction.”