Revolution or War n°8

(Biannual - September 2017)

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Working Class Struggles Around the World

The current that reduces the role of the revolutionaries to the simple propaganda for the idea of revolution does not see the dialectical link between the spontaneous dimension of the class struggle and its political dimension. During a strike or any other act of resistance, the proletariat can be faced with the state, which will utilize different sectors of its apparatus in a coherent division of work. The workers can be faced with a combination of unions, of propaganda, media campaigns with their different nuances, with various political parties, the police, the social services and sometimes the army. For instance, in an imperialist power like France, there are daily more than 270 strikes involving tens of thousands proletarians (Encore plus de grèves, mais plus de dispersion!) [More strikes still but more dispersion!] These strikes are censored by the media, isolated by the unions and sometimes repressed by the law and police. This is the case in all the great imperialist powers with 150 to 300 strikes daily involving anywhere from a few proletarians to several thousands.

Canada: In the province of Quebec, 175 000 construction workers were on strike at the end of May for one week. The state declared the strike illegal and made the workers criminals. As for the unions, they sabotaged, as usual, a greater mobilization and the continuation of the strike by appealing to lawyers. The Alliance Syndicale presented a legal proceeding for dishonest negotiation against the Association Patronale de la construction du Québec [the construction boss association of Québec] and its negotiator.

USA: some 37 000 workers of the AT&T launched a three days strike in May. It was the first time these workers from the mobile phone division of AT&T were on strike. They account for around 14% of the total employees of the second largest mobile phone operator in the United States. The workers, who are members of the Communications Workers of America union (CWA), demanded a pay raise that would enable them to face the increased cost of health insurance, and better work schedules. After three days of strike, the CWA ordered a return to work. In addition, at the time of writing 1800 technicians, workers of the warehouse and engineering department of the Spectrum cable company in New York and in north New Jersey are on strike since three months. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union maintained the workers within the legal framework and accepted the nomination of a federal mediator and important financial concessions.

Greece: May 17th, thousands of Greek workers demonstrated and were on strike against the government’s planned measures, particularly against pension reduction and tax increases. Let’s recall that Tsipras, the Greek Melenchon (or Corbyn), had promised to stop the austerity measures but that, once elected, he has done the opposite. To date, he has accepted multiple tax measures, a 14th reform of the pensions and a liberalization of the labour market.

Italy: the April 14th agreement between the national union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL and the Alitalia airline has been rejected by 67% of the workers. The agreement required employees’ sacrifices: 1700 job losses as well as a 8% salary drop and a reduction from 120 down to 108 days of rest.

France : see the Parti Communiste Internationaliste – Le prolétaire’s article (in French) on the French Guyane strike movement Only the break with the interclassist alliance and the class organization can enable the proletarians to reap the rewards of their mobilization (

United Kingdom : after the January 2017 strikes (see Working Class Struggles around the World article in the previous issue (, a union witch-hunt against the “trouble-makers” has been made. The union leaders secretly warned the bosses of the large companies against contracting specific workers because they were considered as politically embarrassing. They helped so much that they succeeded in getting their own members to be excluded from their job because they wanted to prevent perturbations on the industrial sites, describing their members as “militants” and “trouble-makers”, or else with a warning to be “careful” with them. After the Manchester bombing and for the electoral period, the British unions have suppressed or suspended many strikes among the train tickets inspectors, workers of the BMW car industry, the staff of the Manchester Metropolitan University, the computer giant Fujitsu, and of other places.

In Durham, there was a struggle of the teachers assistants against the bosses and the unions. After the sabotage of their struggle they set up an activist committee open to all. This committee aimed to organize the struggle and to counter the union’s negative action. On the other hand, they kept their hands tied since they let the Unison union negotiate on their behalf (see

Brazil: April 28th, millions of strikers and tens of thousands demonstrators in several cities protested against the austerity measures which, amongs other things, make increase the retirement age, from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 62 for women. There have been also demonstrations denouncing the politicians’ corruption in May. The demonstrations were of such magnitude that, for the first time since 1986, the army intervened alongside the anti-riot police in Brasilia.

Ireland: there were strikes in March in the railway and bus companies. The transport union boss of the SIPTU, Greg Ennis, declared that the unions had not organized and do not tolerate the illegal action which disrupted the trains and the buses : “We regret the perturbation which has seriously affected those who wanted to utilize the Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Bus services. This unions does not tolerate a no official action of this kind”. Afterwards, the union organized a vote to make the strike legal and to better control it.

Egypt: 17 000 workers of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company society were on strike August 12th in Mahalla al-Kubra. They demanded the annual bonuses which often are never paid. After having waited a month, the strike began with a larger list of demands including a 10% wage raise. These workers of the MSWC had organized massive strikes in 2006 and 208 against the former dictator Mubarak’s regime and had played a determining role in the 2011 struggle that toppled Mubarak falling. In December 2012, these same workers declared themselves “independent” from what they called the “Muslim Brotherhood state” of Morsi (see

Tunisia: the social protest in Tunisia is continuing non-stop to such a point that the month of January was called never ending (see the Working Class Struggle article in the previous issue) in reference to the different movements which has marked the country’s history for decades. The Tunisian President, Béji Caïd Essebsi, announced May 10th that he had ordered the deployment of the army to protect the phosphate production sites and the gas and petrol installations after the demonstrations that broke out, particularly in the South part of the country. These demonstrations aimed to disrupt the production of some central sectors of the Tunisian economy. The economic difficulties and the frustrations of the young, which was at the origin of the “Jasmin revolution” of 2011, remain relevant in Tunisia, in particular in the centre and the West of the country where the high unemployment leaves few opportunities to the inhabitants. In the city of Tataouine, demonstrators denounced the unemployment rate. In late May, a demonstrator lost his life and more than three hundred persons were wounded during confrontations with the police.

Morocco: for eight months, there have been demonstrations in the region of Rif. On June 8th, there was a strike with a high participation rate. The liberation of the arrested since the beginning of the movement has been added to the regions’s inhabitants’ social and economic demands. On July 21st, confrontations in Al-Hoceïma with the police led to 80 injuries on both sides (see in French Grève générale dans le Rif Le prolétariat et les masses rifaines surexploitées donnent une leçon qui doit dépasser les frontières,

Iran: the Iranian President Hassan Rohani has been taken to task by angry miners in a rare demonstration of force against the highest elected official of the country while he was leaving the private mine of Azad Shahr in Northern Iran where 26 miners were killed in an explosion that occurred May 3rd.

Myamar: More than 12 000 workers on strike in thirty factories of Yangon gathered June 9th to protest against their low salaries and their working conditions and reiterate their demands: basic daily wage of 3000 kia (1,9kia/2.75 dollars canadiens), the end of the dismissals with no reason and the obligatory overtime. These strikes as the February riots are to be linked with the similarly movements in China, Vietnam and Cambodia. Increasingly, the capitalist states of these countries think to legalize the unions as the ones of Europe and America to control the struggles and maintain them in the legal framework. It is already the case in Myamar but the proletarians are very distrustful towards these unions.

Serbia: 2000 proletarians of the Fiat-Chrysler factory protested to the poverty wages and inhuman working conditions. On strike since June 27th, they agreed to end their strike and to return to work after two weeks under the joint pressure of the bosses, the government and the unions.

August 15th, Normand