Trade Unions and the Left Against the Mass Strike in Mexico

Lessons from the workers’ struggle in Matamoros

Introduction by ‘Nuevo Curso’

The development of “wild” and mass strikes in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, (1) is the most important class struggle in the Americas in years. We have followed it as closely as we could on our news channels, but only broadly in our journal. (2) Hereafter we publish a summary of the latest events, that was sent to us by a group of comrades from Matamoros, and that is born out of the need to draw lessons in the heat of the struggles. (‘Nuevo Curso’, April 9, 2019)

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A Balance Sheet of the ‘Yellow Vests’ Movement in France

In its second communiqué on the ‘yellow vests’ movement in France the IGCL  provides a balance sheet of its strengths, weaknesses and dilemma’s, together with an updated summary of the situation at the 11th Saturday of demonstrations and their prospects.

2nd Communiqué by the IGCL (January 27, 2019)

The eleventh Saturday of the ‘yellow vests’ movement in France, 26 January 2019, has seen the mobilization continue throughout France. According to the police, there were 69,000 demonstrators across the country. It is nevertheless obvious that this figure is largely underestimated: 2,500 demonstrators in Paris were announced, whereas there were in fact between 8,000 and 10,000 when the two main parades met at 4 pm at the Place de la Bastille. The clashes that subsequently broke out there allowed the police to disperse the crowd that would gather in the square. But the exact number doesn’t really matter. The fact is that this movement of ‘yellow vests’ expresses a rage and a willingness to oppose the growing misery imposed and promised by capitalism and to confront the state, that the bourgeoisie does not succeed to extinguish. Just like the strikes in Iran in 2018 or the mass strike of tens of thousands of workers in northern Mexico as we speak, to mention but a few, (1) the radicalism, combativeness, [and] obstinacy of the ‘yellow vests’ movement signals the degree attained by the class antagonisms, and the fact that we have entered in a new period of massive confrontations between the classes at the global level. This generalized climate of potential social revolt, already partly in action, is essentially the result of the effects of the 2008 crisis, which are still being felt, exacerbating capitalism’s current contradictions of all kinds, political, ecological, imperialist, migratory, social, etc. Today, these contradictions have accumulated and are exploding one after another. In this international climate of general social revolt in the making, the “slowdown of world growth” – to use the words of bourgeois economists – and the risks of a financial and stock market crash can only accentuate this atmosphere of “the end of the world”, the end of the capitalist world to be exact, and bring the current generations of proletarians to the necessity, to consciousness and willingness to oppose capitalism’s misery as well as the generalized war that it is preparing and, finally, to destroy it. The entire capitalist class, at least its most enlightened fractions, is so concerned with this situation that “the eminences gathered at the Davos summit believe that it is time to ‘re-moralize’ globalization (according to Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum) and to seek the paths to a ‘more inclusive’ world economy” (‘Liberation’, 23 January 2019), and that States are already preparing for it both politically and in terms of violent and massive repression.

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Iran: “Lessons from Strikes, Labour Struggles and internationalist Tasks” (Extracts)

A balance sheet by ‘Internationalist Voice’ (January 2019)

The following extracts from the balance sheet “Lessons from strikes, labour struggles and internationalist tasks” give interesting information on the backgrounds of the Shora (or: councils) that have existed during the workers’ struggles at Haft Tappeh in Iran’s Khuzestan province during last year. The text itself expands more broadly on several proletarian struggles in 2018, concluding each with an evaluation of positive and negative features as lessons for the future. The struggles are analyzed from the theoretical background of the group ‘Internationalist Voice’, who declares itself close to the ICT and the ICC.

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What workers in yellow jackets can learn from the proletarian struggle in Iran

As we understand the general rise in fuel taxes has been withdrawn by the French government and certain categories most in need have been granted a (temporary) financial relieve. Faced with this partial (and possibly temporary) retreat by the French authorities, flanked by measures like attempting to foster a nationwide “social dialogue” while simultaneously trying to turn on the screws of state repression, the “yellow jackets” mobilization in France seems to be in decline.

The following text undertakes an attempt of drawing lessons from this inter-class mobilization in comparison with those that may be drawn from the recent wave of struggles in Iran, which has shown a more clearly pronounced proletarian character, but so far has met relatively few echoes within political milieus claiming adherence to proletarian internationalism.

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Theses on the 2018 proletarian struggles in the Near and Middle East and their prospects

An article summary

The following theses give an introductory summary to the article Iran: What after the repression of the Haft Tapeh workers and the steelworkers in Ahvaz? published in full length on the author’s Libcom blog.

The struggle of Haft Tapeh in Shûsh and of the steelworkers in Ahvâz (Iran) seems to have come to an end. This is a moment to learn the lessons of the five waves of proletarian struggles that shook the Middle East in 2018. In the next wave of struggles the previous steps will be repeated. When their lessons are learned – and integrated with those of the revolutionary wave of 1917-1923; the next steps will be accomplished with a heightened mass consciousness, with an improved mass organization and for higher class goals. The proletarians in the Middle East have not yet become conscious of it, but the struggle to defend their livelihood, turning itself against the imperialist war, is developing towards a revolution compared to which the overthrow of the Shah regime in 1979 was only child’s play.

 

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Time to surpass the ‘Yellow Vests’ Moment

A statement by Nuevo Curso’  (December 23), introduced by the IGCL

We publish the statement of ‘Nuevo Curso’ (Spain) on the present state of the yellow vest struggle in France following the demonstration on Saturday 22 December. Even if we do not necessarily share all the formulations used by the comrades – a certain number would need clarification – we agree both with the fundamental analysis of the movement itself, the limits of its original inter-class character; and with [that of] its dynamics, which are now in decline after five weeks of mobilization. The fundamental factor explaining this decline is the absence of a relay taken over and ensured by the working class as such and the takeover by the French bourgeoisie and its State of a situation that had surprised and escaped it at least until the eve of Saturday, December 8. This is the main lesson that the workers’ component of the yellow vests and the entire proletariat in France must learn from this unprecedented mobilization. The other lesson we must all learn, the revolutionaries in particular, is that the massive confrontations between the classes we have openly entered now will be extremely violent as a result of the massive and brutal repression used by the States, including in countries with a “democratic tradition”.

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Soviets in Iran: Is a Revolution Underway?

‘Nuevo Curso’ on the dynamic of resumed workers’ struggles (Haft Tapeh, Foolad Steel)

» We have been following the rise of the class struggle in Iran since last December. At the end of last year a wave of mass strikes spread, crossing the border of Iraqi Kurdistan, to mobilize the whole of the workers in Iran. (1) The workers took to the streets and, what is most important: they did it under their own leadership, without subordinating themselves to the petty bourgeoisie of the bazaar and the university that rejected the movement. This massive and class character of the movement prevented widespread repression and temporarily halted the course towards aggravation of the war in the Middle East. It so much frightened the ruling classes that, when protest mobilizations began in Jordan, all powers allied to inject billions (2) and stop the movement before it reached a maturity similar to that of Iran. «

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Which solidarity with the arrested workers of Haft Tapeh?

A contribution for discussion

The following article from the ‘Arbeidersstemmen’ blog presents some reflections on the actual resumption of proletarian struggles in Iran; on certain echoes to the regime’s persistent attempts at cruelly repressing their upsurge, and on some political lessons to take. It proposes a number of urgent questions for discussion among internationalists.

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Iraq: The Sequels of the War against Daesh

Échanges et Mouvement’ on this summer’s mass revolt in Iraq

The Shatt al-Arab is the common estuary of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, more than a kilometer wide, in the proximity of Iran and Kuwait, and with Basra and Abadan as centers on the Iraqi and Iranian side respectively. In the 1950s it was still a prosperous region, not only because of the oil, but also for an incredible ecological riches, adapted to the salty sea water and the fresh water of the rivers, [surrounded by] more than 15 million palm trees and a great agricultural riches.

Three wars (Iraq – Iran 1980 – 1988, the Gulf war of 1990 – 1991 and the Iraq war of 2003), the bloody repression by Saddam Hussein in 1991, the present instability because of the Syrian conflict and the penetration of Daesh have annihilated this prosperity, and have caused irreparable damages to the ecological riches as well as to the agricultural activities. Moreover this annihilation has been aggravated by important punctures of the two rivers’ waters by Turkey, Iran, Kurdistan and the region of Baghdad. An inhabitant of the city of Basra sees it as follows: “Today the canals of the city are prone to filth. The turbines of the electricity plants stand still and the city of oil survives almost without electricity and drinking water. Half of the inhabitants are without a job.”

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How to understand ‘May 1968’ in France?

« The struggles of May-June 68 in France have been part of a general wave of labor disputes and protests of various kinds (student claims, protests against the multiple wars in the world, a search for different values ​​and ways of life…) that flourished from the second half of the 1960s until the beginning of the 1970s. All these conflicts expressed the accumulated tensions in society after two decades of very vigorous growth that jostled all the ideas and structures in place. They manifested to the highest degree the contradictions between the rapid development of the productive forces and the obsolete nature of the superstructures that coordinated them: economic, political, ideological, legal, family, cultural, moral super-structures, etc. These blatant inadequacies are at the basis of the explosion and the radical character of all these movements, not in the sense of an exit from capitalism – a perspective that was shared only by a very small minority at that time – but in the sense of challenging old structures that are not adapted to the new realities of the post-war period. The article The significance of the struggles from 1966 to 1972” tries to draw up its tableau. Its first part is devoted, on the one hand, to the critical discussion of explanations commonly put forward to understand these events and, on the other hand, to lay the foundations of a coherent alternative explanation. »

(From the presentation of Controverses No. 5, May 2018)

The full version of this article has first been published in French on the Controverses website on May 11, 2018: La signification des luttes de 1966 à 1972. Hereafter we present an abridged version by the author. (Note from the editor)

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