"Widerstand! Widerstand!" - "Resistance! Resistance!" - that is the main slogan of the protest wave which has been shaking Austria for more than three weeks. When it became clear that the conservative Peoples Party (ÖVP) was to form a coalition with the extreme right-wing Freedom Party of Jörg Haider, this sharp political turn sparked a spontaneous movement never seen before in Austria.
One year ago a shock wave went through Western Europe with the coming to power of the coalition government of the OVP and FPO in Austria. A lot has happened since then. Herbert Bartik of the Austrian Marxist journal 'Der Funk' was interviewed by Filip Staes of the editorial board of Vonk (Belgian Marxist paper).
After an "interregnum" of five years the Social Democrats regained an absolute majority on the council of "Red Vienna". Vienna has a symbolic value for the Austrian labour movement. Ever since the democratic revolution of 1918 this city has been governed by the Social Democrats, with just two interruptions: the period of Austro-Fascism, followed by the Nazi regime (1934-1945), and the period from 1996 to 2001, when the party lost its absolute majority and collaborated with the weak Conservative party. Now the Social Democracy is back again.
But will they be able to live up to the expectations of the workers who voted for them?
After a wave of protests against the right-wing government at the beginning of last year and the first signs of mobilisation by the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Osterreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, OGB), the coalition government formed by the conservative People's Party and the extreme right-wing Freedom Party was finally able to temporarily stabilise its position, thanks mainly to the policy of the leadership of the OGB which tried to prolong its old "social partnership". Now however things are getting hot in Austria and this Autumn we could see a worker backlash.
This is a report of the demonstration in Salzburg against the World Economic
Forum from Der Funke. The
international "anti-globalisation movement" has reached an entirely
new stage after the mass protests against the G8 in Genoa and after the second
World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. This attempt to structure the movement into
so-called Social Forums has been accompanied by the increasing political
influence of openly reformist forces.