Revolution or War n°9

(Biannual - February 2018)

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First Skirmishes of the Massive Confrontations between the Classes

As weak and limited as it may appear at first glance, the international dynamic of workers’ struggles continues on all continents. Without being exhaustive, it is interesting to make a quick list of some of them in order to draw a vision and a general understanding. Greek workers went on a massive strike against Syriza’s imposition of the austerity bill from the European Union. Similarly in Tunisia protests against unemployment and austerity spread throughout the country during the month of January. The masses of workers have not forgotten that such demonstrations led to the overthrow of Tunisian President Ben Ali. In Iran demonstrations erupted throughout the country at the end of December against unemployment and austerity measures. There were 3,500 arrests and three deaths. It was the same in many countries, from India, in Sudan to Iraqi Kurdistan ... In December, thousands of demonstrators clashed with the police around the Argentine parliament in Buenos Aires to prevent the adoption of a new ’reform’ against pensions. In January, in Korea Hyundai car workers rejected the agreement signed between management and the union and went on a wildcat strike. It was the same in gold mines in South Africa. At the announcement of the cuts at Carrefour, 28 supermarkets in Belgium went on wildcat strike on January 26.

Apparently less spectacular and without a doubt fully controlled and managed by the unions, the rolling strikes launched by the IG Metall union in the German metal industry are very indicative of both the strengths and weaknesses of the proletariat today as well as of its dynamic of resistance to capital. After the important and numerous strikes of these preceding years in transportation, rail and aviation mainly, the fact that the IG Metall union was obliged to launch such a movement with apparently “radical” demands (28 hours work week) expresses that the unions are today constrained, including in Germany, to occupy the “social” ground to confront the workers’ increasing discontent and combativity and to nip in the bud any real struggle against capitalism and the ruling class.

As we wrote in RoW # 8 in ’an imperialist power like France there are more than 270 strikes every day involving tens of thousands of proletarians (...) and this is the case for all the big imperialist powers with 150 to 300 strikes from a few proletarians to several thousand.” While most of these strikes are tightly controlled by the unions, they nevertheless show that the working class is not ready to submit to the attacks of the capitalists and their state against their living and working conditions. This reveals the historical tendency towards massive confrontations between classes, which does not mean that it leads us to an inevitable victory of the proletariat. Indeed, worker militancy alone will not be enough if it is not accompanied by a political will to thwart the traps of trade unions and bourgeois left parties and prepare for massive confrontations against the capitalist state. Working class combativity and class consciousness are indispensable. The absence of an internationalist and international party is one of the factors that may considerably weaken the proletariat and may prevent its victory.

These struggles slow the austerity measures and delay the world war between the imperialist blocs. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to believe that the present struggles are only an economic nature. Every day, during each struggle, proletarians become conscious of the limits of their struggle, of the sabotage by the unions and left-wing parties that prevent a frontal struggle against the capitalist states. The abstention of the proletarians of Catalonia during the referendum, the failed strikes of the Catalan nationalists who could not rally the majority of the workers, as well as the lack of support for the Spanish bourgeoisie are facts which show that the proletariat is not ready to engage in one of the two nationalist camps to defend its ruling class. Let’s recall the Telefónica strike in 2015. The proletarians saw an alliance between management and collaborationist unions that simply wanted to put an end to the independent organization they had themselves created and through which they fought for their demands, in contrast with the policy of concessions that unions are familiar with.

These struggles postpone the decisions of the imperialist blocs towards a world war. These imperialist powers have to “content themselves” with local wars to defend their interests. These local wars and the austerity measures are vain attempts of a capitalist system in complete decadence to attenuate the effects of the 2008 crisis. Crisis which has not only disastrous economic effects but also forces the national bourgeoisies to politically re-orientate themselves, as in the United Kingdom with the Brexit, in France with Macron, in the US with Trump and in various countries of East Europe.

This situation also has effects among the elements of the proletariat. It favours the appearance of new communist voices in the world. We therefore salute Workers’ Offensive in the US and Nuevo Curso in Spain (see the following article).

In the October 2017 issue of Intransigence #1, Worker’s Offensive writes that In light of the advanced state of rot of the present society and the urgency of the threat that it poses, the primary task of those of us who call ourselves “militants” can only be to regroup around a set of core principles to constitute ourselves as a political organization capable of participating in the struggles of the class. Such an organization would also be tasked with preparing the material and organizational means of struggle, engaging in a theoretical appraisal of the system to better fight against it, and putting forward the interests of workers against those of their exploiters in every situation. It will take an uncompromising stance against every faction of the exploiting class, not excluding its “left - wing” foot - soldiers, exposing them before workers and demonstrating to the latter how they collude with the enemy and sabotage their struggles.”

As for Nuevo Curso, in four months, thanks to its activity and dynamism, it sets itself in its own way, active, open and non-sectarian, in an original approach, in the fight which consists of gathering and focusing all of the revolutionary forces around the positions and the debates of the Communist Left and its material expressions, political groups, and circles.

The following writings by Rosa Luxemburg in The Mass Strike are as relevant as ever :

“The social democrats [the Communist groups of today] are the most enlightened, most class-conscious vanguard of the proletariat. They cannot and dare not wait, in a fatalist fashion, with folded arms for the advent of the “revolutionary situation,” to wait for that which in every spontaneous peoples’ movement, falls from the clouds. On the contrary, they must now, as always, hasten the development of things and endeavour to accelerate events. This they cannot do, however, by suddenly issuing the “slogan” for a mass strike at random at any odd moment, but first and foremost, by making clear to the widest layers of the proletariat the inevitable advent of this revolutionary period, the inner social factors making for it and the political consequences of it. If the widest proletarian layer should be won for a political mass action of the social democrats, and if, vice versa, the social democrats should seize and maintain the real leadership of a mass movement – should they become, in a political sense, the rulers of the whole movement, then they must, with the utmost clearness, consistency and resoluteness, inform the German proletariat of their tactics and aims in the period of coming struggle”.

Revolutionaries and the most conscious workers cannot shirk their responsibility: to face the stakes of the situation; group together to clarify them collectively; to proclaim and convince that there is no way out of the crisis and the war of capital if it is not destroyed; to be able to intervene and politically guide the inevitable class fights.

Normand, February 3rd 2018.