Lessons from the dockworkers’ strike in Italy against the mandatory ‘Green Pass’

Statement of ‘Le Prolétaire’, October 22, 2021.

Faced with the need to cope with the rising infection and hospitalization rates in the current  “fourth wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a staggering vaccination campaign, some governments in the western hemisphere increasingly take their resort to measures… not so much of strengthening public health services, but rather of increasing repression, like blackmailing wage earners, who are barred from their workplaces and having their wages suspended, if they do not dispose of the required vaccination status, as for instance in Italy.

The following elaborate statement by the Bordigist group around ‘Le Prolétaire’  analyses an attempt initiated by dockworkers in Italy last autumn to thwart off such an attempt by the state to strengthen its control over the workers (via the “green pass”) – one that however was nipped in the bud rather spectacularly, not only by the usual political and syndicalist maneuvers, but also by the poisonous, if not nefarious, influence of the ‘anti-vax movement’. It also proposes some basic lessons to draw from this defeat that merit discussion.

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Green Pass, yes – Green Pass, no: It’s the triumph of bourgeois ideology

Covid-19 Pandemic and government measures: I.O.D. on false controversies about the “Green Pass”

As many European governments see themselves forced to take emergency measures to counter the effects of a renewed upsurge of the pandemic, and prevent ailing health care systems from collapsing, a certain populist resistance against measures like the extension of the “green pass”  (or whatever the official proof of health vaccination status is called) has taken a new upsurge as well. This has translated in demonstrations in a number of countries (f.i. in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria), more often than not escalating in rioting and deliberate confrontations with the police. As the following statement published by the Istituto Onorato Damen argues at the hand of the situation in Italy, this wave of upheaval passes completely besides the real issues at stake.

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‘Radencommunisme’ (1938): Trotsky and Council Communism

In August 1938 appeared “Radencommunisme”, with the subtitle “Marxist monthly journal for autonomous class movement”, as the theoretical organ of “council communist groups” in the Netherlands. This joint edition by the G.I.C. and the group ‘Proletenstemmen’ (“Proles’ Voices”) envisaged a reorientation of the council communist movement both in terms of a continuing theoretical deepening and of developing a wider presence within proletarian milieus, in view of the emergence of a new worker’s movement, in rupture with the historically obsolete conceptions of syndicalism and the mass party of the old worker’s movement.

From this journal 16 issues were released, before the Nazi-German occupation of the country rendered public political activities impossible in the course of May 1940, and the G.I.C. quasi instantaneously ceased to function, as it was not prepared for clandestine activity.

‘Radencommunisme’ (1938 – 1940)  lists the articles we had occasion to translate or revise in English, starting with its editorial of August 1938.

As a first elaborate contribution, the new journal opened with the first of a two-part article, sharply contrasting the views of Trotsky and his followers (the concept and role of a “Bolshevik-Leninist” vanguard party), to the council communist view on the dictatorship of the workers’ councils: Trotsky and Council Communism (‘Radencommunisme’, 1938).

AUKUS: Another Preparation for Imperialist War

Statement and Analysis by the Internationalist Communists Oceania (September 22, 2021)

In the following we adopt the first statement by the ICT’s affiliates in Australia and Oceania on the overturning of imperialist alliances that has recently been manifested by the strategic agreement of the USA, Australia and the UK (dubbed ‘AUKUS’).

This US initiative, coming to the fore only weeks after their rout from Afghanistan, unmistakably steps up war preparations against the Chinese-Russian axis in the Indo-Pacific region (specifically focusing on the Chinese Sea), while keeping out the continental European and Canadian ‘NATO allies’ in the western hemisphere, France in the first place, that saw a substantial military-industrial contract with Australia on the production of submarines go up in smoke.

The exacerbation of inter-imperialist rivalries and conflicts on an ever larger scale puts the question of militarism and war high on the agenda again, and demands a clear and strong response by all groups and individuals defending proletarian internationalism.

The Editor, October 2, 2021.

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20 Years Since the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

A statement by ‘Il Partito Comunista’ (Florence) / ‘The Communist Party’

This month marks twenty years since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The workers of the United States can expect a flood of patriotic drivel to mark the anniversary. Indeed, September 11 remembrance is a cottage industry in the United States, encompassing everyone from the media personalities who drone on about the tragedy every year to the sensitive entrepreneurs who sell 9/11 mementos to tourists in New York City. One only needs to spend a few minutes at the World Trade Center Memorial in Manhattan to experience this ghoulish, sanctimonious, for-profit remembrance.

This twisted form of national memory obscures the real meaning of the attacks. The events of September 11 were of great world-historical significance. This fact is especially clear on their twentieth anniversary, as the United States’ occupation of Afghanistan crumbles in front of our eyes. The September 11 attacks represented the first obvious crack in United States imperial power after the end of the Cold War. It has continued to disintegrate in the two decades since, and now nears collapse.

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On the Bookshelves: “A critique of Luxemburg’s Theory of Accumulation”

Contribution to a discussion on Marx’s accumulation and crises theory of Capitalism

PS 2021 - frontcover

Bibliographic data: Phil Sutton, A Critique of Luxemburg’s Theory of Accumulation. Independently published, 30 May 2021. Paperback, 98 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8733143033. Per copy: £6.23 Ordering information via Amazon-UK.

Back-cover text

«From: The Accumulation of Capital by Rosa Luxemburg (1913):

“Capital accumulation progresses and expands at the expense of non-capitalist strata and countries, squeezing them out at an ever faster rate. The general tendency and final result of this process is the exclusive world rule of capitalist production. Once this is reached, Marx’s model becomes valid: accumulation, i.e. further expansion of capital, becomes impossible. Capitalism comes to a dead end, it cannot function any more as the vehicle for the unfolding of the productive forces, it reaches its objective economic limit.”

This pamphlet critically investigates how Rosa Luxemburg justifies her theory of the accumulation of capital and whether the events of the last century of capitalist development confirm or deny her theory.»

Read the Author’s Introduction & the Table of Contents

A Free Retriever’s Digest Vol.5 #3 (3rd Quarter 2021) Supplement

Contents:

AFRD_Vol5nr3_Supplement_Decadence_ICC

16 pages (A4, pdf)

Available for free download here:

Has Capitalism Entered its Decadence since 1914? A Critique of the ICC

 

Editorial note of September 8:
Because of persistent software problems, the review release of ‘A Free Retriever’s Digest’ for the third quarter, has been cancelled. We hope to be able to resume this edition as soon as possible. For the time being we are restricted to on-line publishing.

The editor.

The US Rout from Afghanistan

Statements and analyses from internationalist sources

The announced withdrawal by the USA and its allies from Afghanistan after 20 years of direct military presence has led to a takeover of the country by the Taliban with unprecedented speed in the last few weeks and days, leading, among others, to dramatic and chaotic scenes of mass flights that are presently reported in the world’s media by the hour. This blog post references and documents (first) statements by internationalist groups and circles on these events and their wider implications and significance. Continue to read an updated list of statements and analyses.

The editor, August 16, 2021.

Last updated: September 9, 2021.

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‘Circolo Internazionalista’ on Protests against Covid-19 Policies and a certain ‘radical Left’

With the rapid propagation of the so-called “Delta” variant of SARS-CoV2 becoming dominant, the Corona-virus pandemic has entered a new phase. First discovered in India, it is reported to be more infectious notably than the “Alpha” variant that spread from the South of England at the end of 2020. Faced with this turn in the pandemic, among concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccinations already administered, and confronted with staggering of the respective vaccination campaigns, several governments in the Western hemisphere have been caught in the middle, and were forced to recede from all too “optimistically” lifting their restrictive measures, notably concerning their night-life, tourism and festival sectors during the summer holiday season. Very rapidly, a widespread tendency showed up to intensify state control of social life (e.g. through the application of the “Corona-passport”) and to forcefully lift vaccination degrees by mandatory vaccination for specific professional categories (notably in health care and hospitals, like in France), or even for whole sectors (like in the USA). In Germany, a.o., the government saw itself forced to hastily reintroduce stricter border controls, notably for those returning from holiday travels abroad in “high risk areas”.

The recent measures by the respective governments have led to a resurgence of “Corona-protests” in these countries, habitually mobilizing a very heterogeneous spectrum of discontent, without any proletarian class character or perspective, but with a marked presence of all kinds of openly right-wing extremist groups, manifesting their anti-social character with increasing aggressiveness. The influence of this amalgam with certain proletarian milieus and political tendencies has incited an internationalist group like the Circulo Internazionalistacoalizione operaia” in Italy to take position, as can be read hereafter in translation.

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Iran: Strikes in the Oil and Petrochemical Industries at the Center of new Proletarian Struggles

After the fiasco of the recent presidential elections in Iran (less than 50% of the voters participated), a massive strike wave initiated by ‘contract’ workers in the oil and petrochemical industries has extended throughout the country, persistently resisting the maneuverings and repression of the ‘Islamic Republic’ and resuscitating a widespread solidarity in society.

In the following we document its repercussions in the political milieus laying claim to proletarian internationalism:

  • ‘Left-wing Communism – NOT an infantile disorder’ has opened a special section since last June 30, featuring analyses from internationalist sources, news and background articles: Iran oil strike at the center of a new wave of proletarian struggles. Besides voices from the former milieus, statements by a number of bourgeois (ultra-) left organizations can be consulted there (in provisional translations) as well, next to a number of communiqués by the strike committee in Iran, and some commentaries.

  • Hereafter, on page 2, we present the first statement we have received on the courageous struggle by the precarious workers in Iran, the communiqué by ‘Internationalist Voice’ of June 27, 2021, (regardless our disagreement on ‘peripheral’ capitalism’), summarizing the stakes and demands at its point of departure, and putting forward a first evaluation.

  • The Internationalist Communist Tendency has just published its first article, envisaging  both to inform its readers (at the hand of communiqués from the strike committee) and to draw a critical balance sheet of the strike, its repercussions in the country, and the perspectives this opens up: Iranian Oil and Petrochemical Workers’ Strikes Go On . (28 July, 2021)

Last but not least, we invite our readers to explore the publications we have had occasion to relate on this blog on the situation in the Near and Middle East, and specifically regarding Iran. For our following of proletarian struggles we recommend in particular:

Iran: “Lessons from Strikes, Labour Struggles and internationalist Tasks” (Extracts)  (A balance sheet by ‘Internationalist Voice’,  January 2019)

Theses on the 2018 proletarian struggles in the Near and Middle East and their prospects (An article summary, Fredo Corvo, January 2019)

Impending war Iran-USA, towards a third world war? (Translation from ‘Arbeidersstemmen’, January 2020)

Iran: A New Wave of Strikes and Workers’ Protests and the Need for Workers’ Solidarity (A Communiqué by ‘Internationalist Voice’, August 2020)

The editor