So what about those strikes in Belgium?

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
radicalchains
So what about those strikes in Belgium?
Printer-friendly version

I would have thought they would have at least been mentioned, especially given the proximity to militants in France. Anyway, can anyone provide any information? Marxist.com (Trotskyist) was quite bombastic about them despite standard criticisms. Said large parts of society were brought to an utter standstill albeit only for 24 hours. But it was the most general General Strike for years if not ever in Belgium? The reason I brought it up on Libcom and here is I get the feeling 'news' is too much tailing the ruling class when in reality these 'current events' are relatively inconsequential (obviously not for those murdered, I shouldn't have to say). They are not important news events for the working class and to be frank we shouldn't be wasting our fucking time on them when other much more important things are happening in the world.

Alf
politics...

We have published an analysis of the strikes in Belgium but this has so far only appeared in Dutch. I think the emphasis is on the manoeuvres of the uniions rather than seeing this as the opening of a new phase of workers' struggles. But in any case I dont agree that the events in france are not important for the working class - they represent a major assault on class consciousness, and such attempts to drown the working class in the 'nation' will tend to be effective as long as the working class is not able to respond politically to the attacks of the ruling class. 

radicalchains
Not convinced

In two weeks time neither the ruling class nor working class will even remember it ever happened. It's just a story, sensationalised and commodified for consumption until the next news item comes along. In my opinion discussion and debate about these non events tails ruling class narrative and is a complete distraction. 

Where is Ebola now? It WAS going to wipe us all out.

lem_
wow this is an interesting

wow this is an interesting disagreement. of course it depends on the reaction whether the murders are signficant. personally i doubt much material benefit to nationalism will come out of this.

 mind you i'm somewhat of a techno futurist these days.

Fred
distractions

radicalchains wrote:

In two weeks time neither the ruling class nor working class will even remember it ever happened. It's just a story, sensationalised and commodified for consumption until the next news item comes along. In my opinion discussion and debate about these non events tails ruling class narrative and is a complete distraction. 

Where is Ebola now? It WAS going to wipe us all out.

 

Good point radical.

Demogorgon
"They are not important news

"They are not important news events for the working class and to be frank we shouldn't be wasting our fucking time on them when other much more important things are happening in the world."

Do you think the ideological impact of these events and their reporting (by the bourgeoise media, I mean) is not important?

KT
One does not negate the other

Think the Parisian events and their ramifications do warrant detailed discussion by communists – in fact it’s already begun on another thread on this site as well as elsewhere. There’s no need to counterpose that necessary discussion with another one –following the evolution of the class struggle. The problem here, to my mind, is twofold: a) the bourgeoisie maintains a pretty effective blackout on the rare, significant movements of the class – or at least presents them in a nation-specific framework which robs them of their importance for the international proletariat and b) following each and every strike or protest across the globe tends to lead to an empiricist analysis in which the trees hide the wood. An overall analysis of the historic balance of class forces is required to appreciate the significance of specific events and this is not something that can be gleaned simply by Googling for strikes or protests on a daily basis. Two examples:

Over 1000 miners are on strike and occupying pits in Poland at present protesting threatened closures. We’ve been here before:  this kind of action, well controlled by the unions, is in fact isolating and demoralising for the workers IMO.

http://www.warsawvoice.pl/WVpage/pages/article.php/30583/news

 On the other hand, a really large scale movement of protest against the introduction of charges for water supplies which took place last autumn in Ireland was, again IMO, quite significant, revealing an enormous social discontent made manifest on the streets. The problem here – as in other social movements of recent times – was the absence of the proletariat acting as a distinct social force. That’s the puzzle of our present conjuncture and no amount of scouring the world’s news feeds is going to change that. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29859942

radicalchains
Demo, not really. I don't

Demo, not really. I don't think they are particularly important or significant. The manner in which they are reported is their general method of all 'events' varying slightly from country to country. In a sense, for the most backward layers they keep the most reactionary thoughts ticking over in their minds...those that still consistently read the bourgeois rags and consume 'news' television. By making these kinds of 'current events' central to discussion and debate, here, Libcom, work, elsewhere etc I think gives more strength to ruling class narrative. It would be more constructive to talk about something positive. The more people discuss this spectacular event the longer it stays around, in the air so to speak and the more damage it does to all our consciousness. The more we talk about this the less we talk about unknown strikes in China, a General Strike in Belgium or that the French state is preparing to bomb Libya again (wsws.org)

radicalchains
KT, well said. I agree with

KT, well said. I agree with most of what you said. And I agree about situating strikes and protests in a wider framework. But you also make the point that much is hidden and it can be hard to find out about such things. Therefore to me it would make even more sense to be talking about them. Not just to say look, wow a strike, a protest. Simply the knowledge that workers do go on strike, do dispute the 'natural order' is positive even with union control, demoralisation and all the other criticisms. I want to be inspired and I'm sure others do to, they can't be if they don't know these things are even happening. 

Demogorgon
And you don't think the

And you don't think the ideological campaigns about currently being whipped up about the dangers of radical Islam won't have an impact on how willing the general population is to back the French state's manouvres in Libya? Especially when "Islamophobia" (and its reverse, "multiculturalism") has been a central element of bourgeois ideology since 9/11 (another transitory event, you could argue). Or to justify the reinforcement of the surveillance state? The list goes on ...

radicalchains
And "the general population"

And "the general population" wouldn't "back the French state" if this event hadn't of happened? They would have rallied and overthrown the state I suppose...

It's obviously used as justification as much as it can BUT I've always thought to a large degree they do what they want regardless. And to some extent their protestations show them up for the hypocrites and cynics that they are the longer they carry on in this way.

I quoted Lenin in another thread about using crisis and war to the advantage of workers not to just protest. No one answered and I don't really know what he means but we might want to think about or even discuss it. 

Here it is:

 The essential thing is not merely to prevent war, but to utilise the crisis created by war in order to hasten the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. 

But how and in what way do we utilise the crisis, is the working class or communist minority even in a position to do so?

 

Alf
in french....
baboon
A quick read of this seems to

A quick read of this seems to indicate a manoeuvre by the unions. A similar story is being played out in Turkey where a metal workers' strike by tens of thousands of workers began yesterday with the unions threatening to "extend" the struggle, which has a very real basis in the anger of the workers.