One Class, one struggle

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A year and a half after the ‘credit crunch', the international working class is still reeling under the avalanche of attacks on its living standards by all governments, whether of the left or the right. But over this period it has not remained entirely passive as can be seen from a number of struggles which we have written about in our press - the refinery workers' strikes in Britain, the Tekel workers' strike in Turkey, or the moves towards unity between shipyard workers and unemployed in Vigo, Spain. These struggles have shown that workers have not lost the will to fight, nor have they forgotten about the need for solidarity, even in the face of vicious ideological campaigns aimed at stirring up national or sectional divisions. We should also remember the uprising of young proletarians in Greece in December 2008, which really scared the bourgeoisie, anxious that this bad example would spread across borders and into the working class as a whole. It's no accident that the eyes of the ruling class are on Greece and the reactions of the working class to the brutal austerity plans which have been imposed by the ‘Socialist' government and its backers in the European Union. This is a real test for the growing list of other states threatened with insolvency. Already proposed austerity plans have also provoked protests in other ailing economies like Portugal and Spain. And even if the working class still faces huge difficulties, especially in the face of redundancy plans which often make workers feel that strikes and demonstrations cannot lead anywhere, we can see that there is a gradual change in the social climate. In the last couple of months, for example, as well as the large-scale strikes in Greece recounted in the following article, we have seen demonstrations against the rising cost of living in Russia, despite the government declaring these gatherings illegal; occupations and demonstrations by American university students and teachers against cuts in the budget for university education, and the current strikes in the transport sector in the UK.

The following two texts both are both contributions to gaining a better grasp of the present dynamics of the class struggle on a global scale. The first is a report on the struggles against austerity measures in Greece, written by a group calling itself ‘Proles and Poor's Credit Rating Agency', formerly TPTG, whose analysis of the uprising in December 2008 we published in WR 328 (http://en.internationalism.org/2009/wr/328/greece).This report is a first-hand account of the recent demonstrations and strikes against what it calls the "fiscal terrorism" aimed at the working class in Greece, a country which is being turned into a "laboratory of a new shock policy" that will no doubt be directed against other sections of the world working class in the near future. For reasons of space we have cut the first part of the article (on the economic crisis and the Greek state's dive into debt that underlie the austerity measures) and have shortened some of the narrative dealing with specific events, while retaining as much as possible of the general analysis which shows in particular the role of the Socialist and Stalinist parties and trade unions, which have retained overall control of the workers' response. The article gives a number of concrete examples of how the parties of the left and their union machines have kept workers' divided, collaborated directly with the police during the demonstrations, and sought to impose a nationalist framework on the movement. At the same time it shows that if these organisations have been able to retain this degree of control, it is to a large extent because the central battalions of the working class, faced with a crisis of unprecedented scale and intensity, are facing real difficulties in actively developing their own perspective and their own forms of organisation. A full version of the text can be found on libcom.org.

We are also publishing a report on workers' struggles in India in the recent period, written by our Indian section for a conference in India attended by several ICC sections (Philippines, Turkey, UK, and France as well as a sympathiser from Australia).

WR 3/4/10