Across the world, working-class opposition to inequality and capitalist exploitation is rapidly developing in the form of strikes and protests.
The escalation of class struggle follows three years after a global pandemic that needlessly claimed the lives of tens of millions of people, and seven years after the war in Ukraine, which fueled hunger, poverty and inflation for billions more. It happens months later. It is this objective movement that has the power to wrest control from the hands of the imperialist madmen who are driving the world into the nuclear abyss and usher in a new era of socialist equality.
The international working class has tremendous potential, but to unlock this power it must be freed from the shackles of trade unions and conscious of its role as a revolutionary social force.
Working as an instrument of imperialism, trade unions in every country are working with corporations and capitalist parties to suppress this growing movement and isolate the most radical struggles. The fight to break their rule is a political struggle that requires political leadership.
Everywhere the working class is fighting back against inflation and the rising cost of living, which is exacerbated by the US/NATO-Russia war in Ukraine.
In Argentina, 5,600 Bridgestone and Pirelli tire workers launched a powerful strike against the companies and their supporters’ unions, affecting car production across the country. Haiti has been on strike and mass demonstrations for seven weeks as the country’s infrastructure essentially collapses and workers die of thirst, hunger, violence, coronavirus and now cholera.
Class struggle is unfolding across Africa, a country of 1.5 billion people. In South Africa, a general strike unfolded on Thursday as tens of thousands of workers planned to close the country’s railways and ports after state-owned Transnet offered a wage hike of just 1.5%. There seems to be In July, former South African President Thabo Mbeki predicted an “Arab Spring-style riot” in the country.
In Tunisia, where protesters sparked the Arab Spring uprising 11 years ago, the head of the UGTT has warned that a major strike against IMF austerity measures will not be prevented in the coming weeks. Air traffic controllers are currently on strike in 18 countries in Africa, including Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
Strikes are taking place across the Middle East and Asia, including Iran, where worker protests lead to widespread demonstrations against the brutal police killing of 22-year-old Masa Amini, who “improperly” wore a hijab. In neighboring Iraq, mass protests took place across the country over the weekend in response to inequality and poverty exacerbated by decades of US war and occupation.
Lebanon is undergoing a nationwide teachers’ strike, with demonstrators flooding four banks demanding deposits. After a Beirut woman broke into her bank with a fake pistol and demanded permission to withdraw her own money to pay for her 23-year-old sister’s cancer treatment, she became a national hero. In Sri Lanka, strikes and protests by agricultural and industrial workers continue to envelop the island.
Strong strike movements are also developing in the heart of world imperialism. As governments pour billions of dollars into fueling NATO’s war against Russia, millions of people in cities like London, Berlin and Paris face an intolerable situation exacerbated by the rising cost of living.
In France, ongoing strikes by energy workers have shut down 60% of the country’s oil refining capacity. Last week, 250,000 workers went on strike against the cost of living.
In Britain, a strike by 170,000 railroad workers, postal workers, dockworkers in Liverpool and Felixstowe, and other sections of the working class erupts to end the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England by the British ruling class. A strike occurred to take advantage and “ensure national security.” unite. ”
In Germany, warning strikes are unfolding as 7 million workers’ contracts expire at the same time and protests over the cost of living mount. A wave of teachers’ strikes sweeps across Europe, including Germany, Greece, Norway, Kosovo, Hungary and Serbia. Railway workers are also on strike in Belgium. In Canada, 55,000 education support staff are preparing to strike against the Ford government’s austerity policies.
The development of class struggle in the United States, the cockpit of the world’s imperialist reaction, is of particular importance. After decades of artificially suppressing class struggle by the AFL-CIO, workers are struggling to find a way to confront these massive union bureaucracies and advance their struggle.
More than 125,000 railroad workers are eager to strike, launching independent protests against railroad unions colluding with railroad companies to stop strikes that have effectively brought the U.S. economy to a halt.
In the northeast, a strike has broken out among drivers and warehouse workers employed by Sysco, with Teamster warning that “this could spread.” Grocery workers employed by Kroger in Columbus, Ohio, recently rejected a pro-business deal reached by United Food Commercial Workers for the third time and are now voting for the same deal for the fourth time. It is forced.
On the West Coast, 25,000 dockers have been working without contracts since June, while 50,000 University of California employees and 50,000 Southern California grocery workers have expired contracts. His Amazon employee at his JFK8 in Staten Island, N.Y., voluntarily left yesterday after management tried to send them back to the partially burned facility.
According to Cornell University, there will be 180 strikes involving 80,000 workers in the first half of 2022, three times the number of workers who went on strike in the first half of 2021. Guardian“Looks like strikes are on the rise heading into the fall.”
As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, analysts predict a further explosion of class warfare.
Verisk Maplecroft warned in September that “the world is facing an unprecedented rise in civil unrest as governments of all kinds grapple with the effects of inflation on staple food and energy prices.”
The World Economic Forum reported last week that workers’ real wages are falling and “social unrest is on the rise.” The report warns that in many countries “further spending is limited or impossible, and some governments are under-resourced and less able to manage the cost-of-living crisis.” I’m here.
In other words, while capitalist governments spent trillions of dollars bailing out banks and companies after the 2008 financial crisis and at the start of the 2020 pandemic, the world’s “wealthiest areas” It is “impossible” to even heat the homes of workers in ” The country during the winter.
This movement has the power to put an end to imperialist wars, implement the policies necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 once and for all, and redistribute the world’s wealth to meet the human needs of the international working class. there is. But the spontaneous development of the class struggle is not enough to break through decades of oppression of the workers’ movement by the trade union bureaucracy. This requires political leadership.
Leon Trotsky wrote in the founding documents of the Fourth International that “the political situation in the world as a whole is characterized primarily by the historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.” This is as true today as it was for his 1938 on the eve of World War II.
The working class is bigger and more technologically advanced than ever before. But the task of the workers engaged in each struggle is to harness the immense social power of the international working class by spreading the struggle, uniting with other sectors in the struggle, and organizing into trade unions. To win an alliance among the masses of unencumbered workers. , to reach across borders in a common struggle against multinational corporations. This means consciously guiding the struggle not against this employer or his politicians, but against the capitalist system as a whole.
This is the purpose of the International Workers’ Confederation of General Workers’ Commissions (IWA-RFC), established in May 2021 by the International Commission of the Fourth International. Group the classes into one unified world movement. What is needed above all is the construction of a socialist leadership in order to direct the new struggle towards a challenge to the capitalist system and an imperialist war.