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Faced with Terrorism and Imperialist War, the Workers on Strike in Belgium this Monday November 23rd Show the Only and Unique Answer: The Working Class Struggle!

This Monday morning, workers strikes in Belgium. Despite a weekend of "maximum anti-terrorist alert" in Belgium (that is state of siege), despite the streets and places in Brussels and other Belgium cities emptied of any bystanders by the police and the Army armoured cars, despite the state of alert and fear generalized to all European countries, despite the deafening media campaign – transforming the huge emotion and sadness faced with the Paris slaughter into a call for national unity and war against "the barbarians" –, despite the warnings of threats of attacks in Brussels and the whole country, and thus the ban on any "popular" gathering, strikes and manifestations are taking place since this morning in several regions and cities of the country "against the austerity measures of the Federal government".

"There are neither buses, nor subway on the transportation lines [in Charleroi]. (…) 1/3 of the train drivers of the Charleroi train depot were on strike at 6h45 a.m. (…) Many trains were stopped in the Tournai city station. (…) In Flanders, the strike impacts the railway lines between Binche and Turnout, Charleroi and Antwerpen as well as Antwerpen and Nivelles (…). The TEC management [the public transportation company for the Wallonia region] of Charleroi has noticed that some workers had placed buses across the depots entrance. (…) The strike is total at the TEC depot of the city of Tournai"... (Le Soir, Belgium newspaper, November 23rd 2015).

This is the only real response – because it is of the working class –, to the capitalist barbarism which burns the whole world. To terrorism, to the attacks, to the imperialist war and to national unity which only drive to more attacks, more terror, more wars until the generalized one, until a Third World War, we must oppose the class struggle, that is the defence of our living and working conditions, against capitalist exploitation. Not only because it can enable us to limit the inescapable worsening of exploitation and misery but also because, doing so, it can open the path to the destruction of capitalism and the perspective of another society with neither misery nor war. There is no other alternative to capitalist barbarism.

The workers on strike in Belgium this morning, whether they are all conscious or not of it, reject the calls for national unity (and discipline), for sacrifices and warlike mobilization to the defence of the nation and the democratic state. They refuse the false dilemma, the trap set up to derail the world proletariat: choosing between democracy and terrorism. They oppose their specific class interests to the former. And they are right: bourgeois democracy gave birth and fed the Al Qaida’s and IS (Daesh)’s terrorism since decades – in first place the CIA. Capitalism is imperialist war and... terrorism has become a means, a moment, utilized directly or indirectly by all the state powers, great ones, medium and small ones. Terrorism and capitalism, war and democracy, are not opposed but they fuel each other.
The economic crisis of capital which inescapably worsens, provokes misery and generalized impoverishment as well as the exacerbation of the imperialist rivalries and wars – and terrorism. Capitalist crisis and imperialist wars also fuel each other.

Whatever is the coming development of the present strikes in Belgium this morning, whatever are their limits, they show the path to follow. The bourgeoisie is not mistaken : "’what great rubbish’ cursed Carlo Di Antonio, Wallonia Minister of transportation [1]" and the whole European press is keeping fully silent on these strikes. No doubt, the pressure might, at the very hour we are writing, become strong through the unions, "official" organizers of the Day of Action, on the workers to give up their fight "given the circumstances". In the region of Namur, the FGTB union has "reckoned, as responsible organization, that it was better to cancel these public gatherings which require some police mobilization while the forces of order are under maximum pressure" (Le Soir). But in several other cities and regions, they didn’t succeed – until now and despite several days of "anti-terrorist alert" – to prevent the workers from being on strike. This is of importance and says a lot about the working class combativity in Belgium. Let’s recall that exactly a year ago the workers of Charleroi, Liege and Wallonia were on wildcat strike [2] and that the unions had difficulties to force the return to work, while the massive Brussels demonstration of November 6th 2014 ended up in violent confrontations between Antwerpen dockers and Wallonia steelworkers on one side and on the other the anti-riot police. Obviously, the workers combativity remains strong despite the censorship on the working class struggles and the media brainwashing.

The political stake between the classes, what is at stake in this very moment at the international level and particularly in Europe, is the following: are the war and the attacks, the anti-terrorist media campaigns and the repression measures which are adopted [3] going to be successful to silence any workers mobilization and even reduce the class distrust, more or less massive, against the states, whether democratic or not, and capitalism?
The strikes of this morning in Belgium give a first answer, still insufficient of course to foresee the final outcome of this battle. But above all they show the path to follow.

This is why it is the duty of the communist groups to inform the world proletariat as much as they can about the existence of these strikes of today and to attempt to provide political orientations and slogans which can be taken and followed. The struggles of this morning have a particular political meaning which certainly surpasses them. They precisely develop at a moment when the national bourgeoisies, while defending their own imperialist interests against the others, are united to unleash an ideological, political, economic and repressive offensive against the working class. Because, don’t be mistaken, pressured by the economic and historical dead-end of capitalism, the international bourgeoisie "has two irons in the fire" if so we can say: engage itself more and more in imperialist wars on one side; and on the other, lead a class war against the proletariat. This is what the Paris attacks of late January against Charlie Hebdo, and the reaction of the states and governments, announced. They opened a new period. The November attacks and their international media utilization, by all the main bourgeoisies – how many times since then has the Marseillaise been played in the world in the football stadiums and music concert rooms? – confirm the diving into wars as well as the urgency to defeat, ideologically and politically, the working class and to impose on it a minimum of discipline and adhesion to national unity and the defence of bourgeois democracy.

The strikes of this morning, whatever are their limits and their immediate future, confirm that the bourgeoisie will have also to defeat the workers on the terrain of class struggle, on the economic terrain, and to impose on them a physical defeat with massive repression. The ruling class manages at once two wars which cannot but aggravate: one against its imperialist rivals and the other one against the proletariat. The final – historical – stake is the following: proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war (at the risk that humanity will be annihilated for ever).

Faced with capitalist terror, the workers in Belgium show the way:
No to National Unity! No to Imperialist Wars! Yes to Class Struggle!
Active Solidarity with the Strikers! Let’s refuse Austerity and Sacrifices!
Down with Capitalism, its Misery and its Wars! No to Generalized Imperialist War!

The IGCL, November 23rd 2015.

Post-scriptum Nov. 26th

Since this Monday morning – and to our knowledge –, the censorship of the international media has been complete about these strikes and the website of the Belgium newspaper have stopped giving any information from the afternoon. Obviously, once the union Day of Action over, the strikes have not been called on Tuesday. In itself, the return to work and the global control (even though they could not cancel the Day of Action) of the unions express the limits of these strikes as we sensed it in our statement. On the other hand, in the context of nationalist and warlike propaganda which is presently prevailing at the international level and particularly in Belgium, their significance – the affirmation of the class interests to the detriment of the calls for national unity and to give up the workers fight – is not lessened. This Monday morning, as limited as these strikes were, the workers on struggle in Belgium have showed the path to follow in the new period which sees the bourgeoisie engaging increasingly into imperialist wars.



[3Which don’t aim specifically to fight terrorism but more generally ensure "state security" and so have significance to any important working class mobilization.