Revolution or War n°6

Biannual - September 2016

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[Warning: Most of the articles of this issue have been translated by French speaking comrades and they could not be corrected, nor verified, by a native English speaking one. Therefore, we apologize for their possible "heavy" and difficult readability and if the reader finds any political confusion or mistake, we call him/her to refer to the French version]

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Working Class Struggles around the World

At the very moment the demonstrations multiplied in France and strikes seemed to spread, the workers in Belgium protested against the same attacks. It is all around the planet, in all continents, that the working class is forced to struggle and defend its living and working conditions because the growing attacks of the ruling classes.

Belgium: 80 000 demonstrators gathered May 24th in the Brussels streets against the Peeters Law on the Labour regulations. What mattered to the unions was not the joint mobilization with the proletarians in France but the Labour Minister Peeters call for ’social dialogue’. During that same month, train drivers of the national company SNCB went on wildcat strike. Their company wanted to reduce the salary during the sick leaves or holidays and advocated for a increased productivity contract.

Germany: in July, strikes for increases in salary developed in several places. Amazon (Bad Hersfeld) Bayerische Milchindustrie EG (Jessen) a factory producing milk, Technikmuseum (Technical Museem of Kreuzberg in Berlin), the public transports in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony), the Verdi union’s employees (sic) (Francfort) and more than 110 000 salaried have also disrupted the car industry with strikes.

USA: in April, there have been the most important movement since 2011 with a strike of around 40 000 workers in the big Telecom company Verizon. 1700 workers of the AT&T West Telecom company in San Diego, California, have also been on strike despite the CWA union’s efforts (with other unions) to isolate the six weeks strike of the Verizon workers. Teachers of 94 schools on 97 of Detroit have got a joint one day sick leave for protesting because the schools could not pay them. This action has been done outside the unions framework and against the teachers’ union who were not opposed to the austerity measures. See the ICT article: http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2016-02-14/detroit-teachers-sickout

Spain: disillusioned with the unions which don’t defend them, the ’kellies’ (the hostels chambermaids) have gone into action. They multiply the pickets at the hostels front doors and denounce the exploitation that they suffer. Precarious contracts, unpaid overtime, lower wages, worsening of the working conditions are the result of the Labour ’reform’ in Spain.

Mexico: repression in Oaxaca, 15 hours of violent fights, 8 dead, tens of injured, 22 disappeared. On the morning of Sunday June 19th 2016, forces of the Mexican Federal Police got to the city of Nochixtlán in Oaxaca for evacuating the highway blockage set up by the members of the CNTE (the teachers’ union), the students, fathers and mothers since eight days. With an extreme violence, the police attacked the demonstrators, first with tear gas and flash-ball shootings, and later with firearm during several hours. 8 lost their lives after the violences. See the ICP article Mexico: Bloody bourgeois repression and the “danse macabre” of the “far” left (www.pcint.org) and the ICT’s one Letter from Mexico on Teachers Fight against Privatisation of Schools (http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2016-07-24/letter-from-mexico-on-teachers-fight-against-privatisation-of-schools).

Brazil: the police utilized stun and tear gas grenades for dispersing the demonstrators on the passage of the Olympic flame in a one working class neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro two days before the Olympic Game opened under high security. The Brazilian state deployed 82 000 policemen, soldiers and private security militias for the Olympic Games.

Greece: May 6 and 7th, general strike in Athens against two law projects on a new pension ’reform’ and on taxes.

Tunisia: in April on the island of Kerkennah, there have been a week long struggle after the intervention of security militia to end up a 3 months sit-in by job-seekers in front the Petrofac company head office. Finally, the military forces had to take the island under direct control.

South Africa: around 4000 garbage men of the Pikitup company have been on illegal strike for several weeks late March. They denounced the gap in pays and demanded wage rises. Those workers rejected also the appeal that their own union made for going back work Friday March 11th. In stead, they intensified their strike and get down in Johannesburg streets.

Slovakia: 15% of the country’s teachers mobilized since October behind the call of the ISU collective which claims to be non unionised. Unlimited strike, demonstrations, human chains, schools closed (¼ of them the day of demonstration): it is the longest movement of the history of this small European country.

India: more than 10 000 clothing workers throughout the Bengaluru state have gone to the streets and protested against the limitations that the Organization of the Contingency Fund of the Employees set up for the withdrawing of the totality of their financial contribution before the age of 58. The demonstrators burnt 3 buses and the police had to resort to charges and tear gas grenades to disperse the workers who were demonstrating, the majority of them being women. During the last weeks, various strikes had arisen in the Indian car factories (Suzuki, Tata or Honda) or in the subcontractors (Bosch, Rico and Pricol). Those strikes were for wage rises, improvement of the working conditions and against the bosses’ despotism (see in French, Le Prolétaire 519, March-April-May 2016, www.pcint.org).

Saudi Arabia: the workers reacted late Spring against the delay of wages paiment in the construction sector and the risk of expulsion of 5000 immigrant workers by the company BTP. They destroyed cars and lorries from the company in one of the greatest building site as well as housing of the National Guard in Riyad.

Vietnam: there have been around 50 strikes and labour conflicts during the two first months of the year. One of these strikes has involved more than 20 000 workers of Pouchen Vietnam Company in the province of Dong Nai.


Normand, July 2016

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