Strength comes in different forms

As a powerlifter, a carer and a trade unionist, I appreciate the full range.

This month Italian dockworkers announced they would refuse to handle weapons bound for Israel. Scottish train drivers refused to load munitions bound for Iraq in 2003 – massively significant in forming my political beliefs.

Is there any higher pinnacle of humanity than workers flexing their collective power to say no, we won’t allow this slaughter?

Nae Pasaran (2018) tells a story on this theme. It’s a stone cold favourite of mine. I even suggested to a match from a dating app that we watch it as a virtual date during lockdown. (We’re still together.)

‘There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! … And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…’ Mario Savio

Between 1974-1978, East Kilbride Rolls Royce workers refused to work on engines destined for Chile, where Pinochet’s sadistic dictatorship was in full swing. Nae Pasaran meets the workers today, and traces the journey of the rusted blacklisted engine parts. The workers share their ethics in the most matter-of-fact way.

‘Cos that’s what I believed in. 

That’s what I believed in. 

I still believe in it.’ 

Pause. Sip his pint.

I’ll dive more into Nae Pasaran in future posts. Such clear, unbreakable morals are rare. A strong body without the philosophical core to match is a hollow shell.