The wildcat strike at the Opel plant in Bochum, Germany lasted for six days. It reflected the growing militant mood of the German workers. The situation at Opel also highlights the serious difficulties German capitalism is facing. And yet suddenly after six days the workers voted to go back to work. What was behind this decision? Hans-Gerd Öfinger explains how the trade union officialdom did everything in their power to bring the strike to an end.

In the aftermath of the Beslan massacre President Putin has used the pretext of the fight against terrorism to abolish the direct election of national deputies and regional governors. He has also introduced other measures which are an attempt to gain tight control over the state apparatus. But he is doing this as a growing disillusionments spreads among the Russian masses. At the moment this remains below the surface, but it must emerge in one form or another at some point.