Workers' Struggles

The general strike on 12 November was a huge success that put the government against the ropes. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions marched across the country: 300,000 in Santiago, 40,000 in Valparaíso, 100,000 in Concepcion. The strike was solid in health, education, the public sector, the ports and sections of the mining industry, and had a widespread following in other industrial sectors. It revealed the strength of the working class in a capitalist country, which is able to paralyse the economy. Almost a month after beginning, the Chilean uprising continues to advance and has not been stopped by repression (with thousands of wounded and detained, more than 200 losing eyes and

...

The huge demonstration on 1 November marks a high point for the Algerian Hirak movement, which has been going on for an uninterrupted 37 weeks. The regime has decided to call for presidential elections on 12 December, which the masses have correctly rejected. The slogan of a general strike to stop the elections and force the ousting of the regime is gaining ground.

On Monday, 28 October, in the face of a massive movement of protestors from all backgrounds, Saad Hariri announced his resignation. This retreat of the government came after two million people – one third of the population – took part in huge protests across the country. Amidst calls for a general strike, people have blocked roads, and shut down banks and schools. Cutting across all the sectarianism that has dominated politics in Lebanon for decades, this movement has done more in two weeks than the corrupt politicians in Lebanon have done in years.

The elections last Sunday were to elect the president but, due to the conditions under which the whole process has been carried out, they were also a repeat of the 21 February 2016 constitutional referendum.

More than a million people demonstrated in Santiago de Chile on Friday 25 October, in what was called #LaMarchaMásGrandedeChile (Chile's largest march) – and certainly, it was, being larger than the NO campaign closing rally in 1988 that brought together a million people. The mobilisation on Friday was repeated in cities and communes throughout the country and took place one week after the

...

The following is a translation of an article we received about the current insurrectional movement in Chile, which began with youth-led protests against a hike in public transport fares. From a widespread campaign of fare dodging, a mass movement has developed against the government, which was responded with brutal repression. 

The following is a letter, sent to us by a comrade of the International Marxist Tendency, who is visiting Beirut and is an eyewitness to the revolutionary events unfolding in Lebanon.

The EVA Air flight attendants strike, led by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) ended on July 6th, 2019 after over two weeks of struggle. Management slightly relented on their previous hardline attitude as they reached an agreement with the union. From the perspective of the Taiwanese labour movement, this strike will not be the end, but merely an episode that shows the sign of times to come.

"Barcelona has seen more barricade fighting than any other city in the world", wrote Engels in 1873. Yesterday, Barcelona stood by this reputation. Various republican and democratic organisations called peaceful vigils across Catalonia to protest against the sentences faced by the political prisoners. In Barcelona, as well as in other localities, the demonstrators – including families, elderly people, and children – were attacked by Spanish and Catalan riot police, charging at them with truncheons, rubber bullets, and stun devices.

After twelve days of heroic struggle by the indigenous working-class masses of Ecuador, the first victory of the movement was achieved. At a negotiation between the indigenous representatives, the UN in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and government representatives, it was agreed to repeal Decree 883 (the IMF funded austerity package). The government has now promised to draw up a new decree, however it was not clarified what terms it would include. A commission has been set up to discuss the new decree this week.

What began as a protest against the IMF package imposed by President Lenin Moreno has become a national insurrection that poses the question of who rules the country. The enormous mass mobilisation has forced the government to flee the capital Quito and close the national assembly. It has also begun to open cracks within the armed forces. To move forward, the movement must raise the issue of power.

This is a translated editorial statement from Militan Indonesia, first published on 22 August 2019, at the beginning of a wave of mass demonstrations across Indonesia and Papua. Since then, reaction has reared its head. The Indonesian government deployed an additional 6,000 police and military personnel to Papua. The internet was blocked. A pro-Indonesian militia was mobilised to terrorise Papuan people. Dozens of Papuans have been killed, with hundreds being rounded up.

The latest editorial from Révolution (the French publication of the IMT) argues that Macron’s attempt to introduce a ‘universal pension scheme’ (in reality, a massive attack on pensions) must be resisted by organising a general strike. An upcoming, indefinite transport workers’ strike on 5 December presents a point of convergence for all the forces of the working class, which must be mobilised over the next two months to fight, not only to defeat this pension counter-reform, but for the end of Macron’s reactionary

...

The mass movement to oust Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has intensified in recent weeks. Facing severe fuel and food shortages, and a totally inept and corrupt government, the masses have taken to the streets once again to force the president to resign and fight for a way out of the deepening economic and social crisis. Mass strikes and demonstrations have shut down the country for several weeks, with the movement intensifying this past weekend into a nationwide uprising against the Moïse government.

Nearly 50,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have gone out on strike at GM factories, warehouses, and engineering offices in the US. The strike began at midnight on Sunday, September 15, 2019. The Teamsters union, which represents car hauliers, said it would honour the UAW picket lines and would not deliver new cars to dealers until the strike has ended. This is the first strike at GM in 12 years. It is part of a growing wave of strikes and job actions which started with the West Virginia teachers’ strike in 2018.

“This land is your land, this city is your city! And no one has the right to decide its future, but you – the working people of Moscow!” This appeal from a Russian IMT activist was greeted with an explosion of applause at a recent rally in the Zyuzino district of Moscow.

The mass movement in Hong Kong has just won its key demand – the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill that would allow anyone the Beijing government suspects of criminality to be extradited to the mainland. But none of the other four demands, such as for an independent investigation into police brutality, have been won.

We publish the following report, originally written in July by an activist of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party from Northern Russia. It concerns an ongoing struggle against attempts to illegally construct a waste disposal site at Shiyes in Arkhangelsk Oblast, which would cause grave environmental damage and risk the health of local residents. This is an important development that has gained widespread support and sparked protests across the country.

Hong Kong’s earthshaking protest movement is entering its second month. Despite increasing pressure from Beijing and the Carrie Lam government, the movement still grows in militancy. It is graduating from bourgeois liberal methods towards the method of class struggle. In many ways, when Carrie Lam emerged from days of obscurity to respond to the general strike, she was right to say that the Hong Kong movement is heading towards a “path of no return.”

Hong Kong’s mass movement against the Chinese state’s attempt to control the territory has been spurred forward by the whip of counterrevolution. On Sunday 21 July, as protestors returned home from demonstrating, around 50 thugs dressed in all-white burst onto a subway train and indiscriminately attacked passengers with poles and other blunt objects. Although the attackers were anonymous and the assault appeared arbitrary, the message was received loud and clear – as was the intention: do not dare challenge the Hong Kong government and its masters in Beijing.

On Monday, the Chilean teacher's strike entered its fifth week. More than 70 percent of the teachers voted to reject the latest government offer and want to continue the national strike indefinitely. The strike has involved hundreds of thousands throughout the country, with particularly active participation in the regions. For her part, the education minister Marcela Cubillos has shown great arrogance, and only last week agreed to dialogue amidst controversy over police brutality. After large marches of tens of thousands in the past weeks marked a milestone in the teacher’s movement, the high point was the cacerolazo (banging on pots and pans as a political protest) of the patipelados

...

On 20 June 2019, the flight attendants of Taiwan’s private commercial airline EVA Air went on strike. Under the leadership of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union, with over 2,300 workers joining the strike, this is already the largest private sector strike in Taiwan since the end of the KMT dictatorship’s martial law in 1987. The strike has thus far caused more than 700 flight cancellations.

In the last period, the Czech Republic seemed to be a relatively politically stable country in the eyes of the global ruling class; with sufficient economic growth, very low unemployment, and even rising wages. This relative stability, sustained mainly by strong German investments, propped up the support for oligarch prime minister and second-richest Czech, Andrej Babiš, and his Berlusconi-style party ANO 2011. But things have changed, and the masses are moving.

In Honduras, a mass movement is reaching insurrectionary proportions and threatens to bring down the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). Protests against planned privatisation of public healthcare and education, which began at the end of May, have recently been escalating. The past week in Honduras has seen a significant broadening of the protest movement out from the health professionals’ and teachers’ trade unions to the wider public.

The general strike of 14 June saw the participation of important sectors of the working class that have a tradition of organisation, such as metallurgical workers, chemical workers, oil workers, bank employees, public servants, etc. But the strike could have been stronger, with even larger demonstrations, if the union leadership had actually mobilised their base.

The spark of 7 June has ignited the contradictions in Liberian society. The massive mobilisation of the masses last Friday was a slap in the face for the cynics who argued that the Liberian people would continue to blithely accept the rotten status quo without acting to change the course of history. But nothing is stagnant: everything is in constant flux and subject to change. So too is the consciousness of the Liberian masses.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers marched in militant defiance of the ‘extradition bill’ that would grant China the power to take anyone in Hong Kong into custody on the mainland. Only three days earlier, Sunday 9 June, saw what may be the biggest demonstration in Hong Kong’s history. According to organisers, one million marched through the city’s humid streets, meaning one-in-seven Hong Kongers demonstrated!

Strike action was taken by over 50,000 teachers throughout New Zealand on 29 May to demand a 16 percent pay increase and improved working conditions. Their strike is the result of a breakdown in pay talks between the New Zealand Educational Institute, the Post-Primary Teachers Association; and the government Ministry of Education.

The Sudanese Revolution has been an inspiration to workers, women and youth around the world. The women in particular have revealed tremendous revolutionary potential. All that was progressive in Sudanese society emerged to show the world that society can be changed. But there was also a darker side and this has now reared its ugly head in the most brutal manner possible. Why is this happening?

On 28 May, dockers working the port at the Gulf of Fos in Marseille refused to load the Saudi cargo ship, Bahri Tabük, which was intended to carry French arms to Saudi Arabia, whose regime is waging a barbaric war in Yemen.

The Sudanese Revolution entered a new stage after carrying out a powerful general strike, which paralysed the whole country on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The organisers are demanding that the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which usurped power in April, cede power to a civilian-led government, which is to be installed.

From May to August of 1934, Minneapolis was rocked by a strike that would forever change the course of U.S. labour history. This was the strike of Teamsters Local 574, a union led by Trotskyists. Many of the best techniques used by organised labour today find their origins in the Minneapolis Strike, in particular the flying picket. However, the strike's greatest conquest was in laying the foundations for industrial unionism in North America, leading to the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the following years. Above all, the Minneapolis Strike demonstrated the role played by the young forces of American Trotskyism in obtaining gains for workers.

The Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu, which was docked at the port of Genoa to load military equipment to be used in the Yemen conflict, has left Italy without its intended cargo. This represents a great victory for the Genoese dockers, who refused to load the ship, which will now head to Alexandria, Egypt. At the Genoa port, a banner is still waving: "Stop arms trafficking, war on war."

The massive, marvellous and militant demonstrations on 15 May all over Brazil struck a blow against the already unstable Bolsonaro government. Protests took place in over 200 cities across the country and more than 1.5 million young people and workers took to the streets.

15 May saw a tsunami of demonstrators come out against education cuts and counter-reforms to pensions in Brazil. More than 1.5 million hit the streets of over 200 cities across the country during the national education strike against the latest measures of the Bolsonaro government, which include a 30 percent cut to university budgets. Despite its bravado, the government is weak and divided. The slogan “Fora Bolsonaro” (Bolsonaro Out) resonated widely. Certainly, Brazil is not in the throes of fascism. Far from it. It is now time to prepare a general strike to bring this government down.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

All over the world, socialists, trade unionists and progressive youth came out on 1 May in a show of force for solidarity and radical politics. We publish here a series of reports from comrades and supporters of the IMT, who intervened in May Day demonstrations and marches around the globe, proudly raising the banner of Marxism!

“From Saturday 27th of April, the ZNP (Teachers’ Union) suspends the national strike. It suspends it, but it does not end it! I shall add: Starting today, we are entering a new, much more important period.” With these words, Sławomir Broniarz, the leader of the ZNP, has bent to the pressures of bourgeois public opinion and put a lid on the cauldron of struggle that has been developing over the past three weeks. For this, the government representatives in the dispute, led by ex-PM Ewa Kopacz, thanked him warmly.

Jet Airways private airline services were suspended on Wednesday 17 April. The private airline was owned and run by Naresh Goyal from 1993, serving domestic and international destinations. In a fortnight’s time, it would have completed 26 years of service.

The Polish teachers’ strike, which started on 8 April, marks a fundamental change in the situation in Poland, once hailed as the success story for the transition to capitalism after the collapse of the Stalinist regime in 1989. The class struggle is back on the agenda. Now the greatest teachers’ strike in Polish history has entered its second week and is becoming the catalyst for the pent-up anger of youth and workers.

The spectre of a national strike of teachers has been looming over Poland for some time now. But despite the lukewarm attempts by the right-wing PiS government to alleviate the situation with half-hearted concessions, the strike date has been set for 8 April. This day will definitely go down as an important event in the history of the National Teachers’ Union (ZNP, formed in the course of the 1905 revolution), and perhaps of the Polish working class as a whole.

In modern-day Croatia, sectors such as the garment, shoe and leather industries are marked by hard labour for minimum wages, coupled with non-existent workers’ rights and constant pressures from management. The trade union for textiles, garments, leather and rubber (TOKG) is making sure that things get even worse. This article, originally published at Radnički Portal, describes five cases in which TOKG served as management’s right-hand, and was an ally in the destruction of companies, ramping up exploitation and undermining workers.

As strikes get underway throughout Algeria, the ruling class is yet again retreating in the face of the revolutionary masses. More and more top officials are calling for the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The revolutionary movement in Algeria is keeping up its momentum as the regime begins to crumble. Millions of people took to the streets again on Friday 22 March and a new general strike movement is developing, which could bring down the whole rotten regime.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!