Workers' Struggles

Yesterday, millions of Algerians took to the streets for the fourth consecutive Friday to protest against the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. According to initial accounts, the protests were even bigger than the record protests that shook the regime last Friday (8 March). Long accustomed to carrying out all of its crimes with impunity, the regime is now being forced to realise that the revolutionary masses are not going to give up easily.

Several organisations, including the Yugoslav IMT Marxist Organisation ‘Reds’, have mobilised together in a united front as the ‘Left Bloc’ for several weeks as part of mass protests in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Zrenjanin. The Bloc put forward social demands in the demonstrations, instead of the merely civil and democratic demands presented by the organisers from the opposition.

On 30 January, nurses and midwives across Ireland staged their first walkout in 20 years over the question of patient safety and pay. Of more than 40,000 nurses organised in the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), 95 percent voted in favour of strike action. They were joined by the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA).

The fightback against the capitalist crisis in education has now spread from West Virginia and Arizona to California. 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles, represented by UTLA, were recently on strike, and in Oakland, nearly 2,400 teachers represented by Oakland Education Association, who have been without a contract since 1 July 2017, are on the verge of strike action.

On 25 January, 48 “maquila” companies installed in Matamoros, Tamaulipas were hit by strikes. This is not a minor movement, we are talking about 45,000 striking workers. In the past several days, the workers revolted against their inert labour leaders and their bosses. The workers partially paralyzed some factories. Under pressure, several people went to work, but most refused. Massive, daily assemblies have been held in the public square.

The aggressive policies of the Austrian bourgeoisie and its government are increasingly forcing different sectors of society, including the working class, into the arena of struggle, while feeding a permanent atmosphere of racism and nationalist hysteria. After half a year of strikes, a mass demonstration and several huge protests, where do we stand now?

On 11 December 2018, the official Weibo account of the US Embassy in China published a blog post entitled “American University Marxist Students Show Solidarity for Unionization and Strikes” (美国大学生马克思主义社团声援工人组织工会和罢工). In it, the embassy referred to the activities of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) comrades in the Marxist Student Association (MSA) and their political work in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mexican workers from 45 "maquiladoras" (factories) in Matamoros, Tamaulipas have gone on strike, having received no information from trade union leaders linked to the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) concerning negotiations over annual salary increases. The workers demand an increase of 20 percent and a compensation bonus. On Sunday 13 January, 2,000 workers in Sonora called a strike because their employer, the Levolor company, did not respect the wage increase decreed by the federal government in its adjusted salaries and benefits.

On 8-9 January, around 200 million workers went on a two-day strike across India, bringing the country to a grinding halt. The strike was called by 10 central trade unions of India against the anti-labour policies of the Modi government. BMS, affiliated with RSS-BJP, was the only central trade union that was against the strike and tried to sabotage it. All others supported the strike and made huge efforts to make it successful.

朱梅雪是华航企业工会现任秘书长。在2018年的桃园市长选举内,他以无党籍的身分参选,挑战台湾两大政党:国民党和民进党。朱梅雪的选战需求工人阶级应独立于两大财团政党,并以工人阶级观点提出多项政策,也推广了“工人不投蓝绿党!”、“百万劳工站出来!”、“为自己投一票!”等口号。

朱梅雪是華航企業工會現任秘書長。在2018年的桃園市長選舉內,他以無黨籍的身分參選,挑戰台灣兩大政黨:國民黨和民進黨。朱梅雪的選戰需求工人階級應獨立於兩大財團政黨,並以工人階級觀點提出多項政策,也推廣了“工人不投藍綠黨!”、“百萬勞工站出來!”、“為自己投一票!”等口號。

A wave of protests is sweeping Iraq, with the latest taking place on 21 December in Basra. About 250 people gathered outside the temporary headquarters of the provincial council throughout the afternoon to protest against corruption, and demand jobs and better public services. A few weeks before, on the 6 December, 100 protesters were seen mimicking the recent French mass protest movement by wearing yellow high-visibility vests, when they gathered in front of the Basra’s council building and in Baghdad at Tahrir Square.

The movement of the yellow vests is a social earthquake of exceptional power. It represents a major turning point in the class struggle in France – and is a source of inspiration for workers around the world. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the political life of the country.

Image: Flickr, War on Want

Since the beginning of the crisis of 2008, anti-immigrant parties and movements have made headway in Europe and the United States. They have even managed to win over certain layers of the working class to their programme. This has led a section of the labour movement to adapt itself to these ideas, calling for stricter border controls, justifying its position with quotations from Marx. Such short-sighted policies have nothing to do with Marx or the traditions of the First, Second or Third International, as we shall demonstrate.

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