The lines of a ferocious struggle are crystallizing. In fact, it has been ongoing for decades, even centuries, but in the United States and elsewhere it has been strangely one-sided for some time. A class war from above has been assaulting us, with little visible response, outside of occasional outbursts from those most victimized and excluded by the system of domination and exploitation.
The global economic system has sustained itself, since the early 1970s, through the expansion of debt—corporate, household and state debt. The US has gone through an orgy of overconsumption; other countries exporting to the US market, an orgy of overproduction. Added to this already volatile situation was a massive amount of fraud and speculation, torrents of blood money for a repressive security-surveillance-industrial complex and imperial wars, the unprecedented acceleration of giant financial transactions, and, fundamentally, all the limits the capitalist delirium of eternal economic expansion and profit accumulation is bound to run into.
The inevitable disaster arrived in 2008. State and central bank bailouts saved the financial system, but the rest of us have to live through the consequences: tremendous unemployment, home foreclosures, “austerity”—i.e. decimation of wages and benefits in the public sector, elimination of social services, etc. An enormous upwards transfer of wealth has been engineered. What was already a vicious neoliberal attack on ordinary people beginning in the Reagan-Thatcher years—depressed wages; spurs to new levels of productivity; a prison-industrial complex to exacerbate racial divisions, confine and torture those “superfluous” to the work-system, and send a warning to the rest of us—has blossomed into open destruction of our lives. Passivity and conformism were once the norm, but it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the social and political problems weighing down on us.
March 10 – The CNT, Spain’s anarchist labor union, issued a statement yesterday announcing that they will be convoking a nation-wide general strike for March 29 against the labor reform passed on Thursday by the Parliament.
This coincides with strikes that have already been called for Galicia and the Basque Country. In these regions the call was made jointly between “minority” unions such as the CNT and CGT as well as regionally-important unions linked to nationalist movements. On the national scale, however, the CNT has called the strike on its own.
According to Spain’s labor law, strikes are only official if called, or convoked, by a union or another official body. In the message announcing the strike call, the CNT said that they hope to give coverage to any workers’ organizations that want to take action.
Spain’s two main unions, the UGT and the CCOO, have also called for a strike on that day, but speak only of “amending” the labor reform. This is a continuation of their policy of social peace – in February they signed a major agreement with the employers’ confederation in which they gave major concessions. Recognizing the growing disillusion that many workers are feeling towards these unions, the CNT is promoting a different form of unionism, one which is not based on professional bureaucrats and policies of social peace, but rather on the direct action and solidarity of workers.
This appears to be the first nation-wide general strike since the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship to be called for by a union other than the CCOO or UGT, though it remains to be which unions, if any, will follow the CNT in calling for a general strike.
The CNT’s statement was clear that, although the strike is only called for March 29, this should be seen only as one step in a growing mobilization which seeks not only to remove this labor reform in its entirety, but also to go on the offensive with the goal of social transformation.
“Unlimited General Strike” bridges traditional gap between English and French speaking campuses:
Six Concordia student associations, representing 6,380 students, voted Wednesday and Thursday for an unlimited general strike, marking the entry of anglophone campuses into the Quebec-wide movement. Nearly 116,000 students across the province now have strike mandates, with 25,500 of those awaiting an initiation date. According to the CLASSE, around 60,000 more have strike votes planned.
McGill Student Union approves week long strike:
At a special General Assembly (GA) called on Wednesday to propose a student strike to protest tuition hikes, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of the strike.
The GA rapidly reached quorum, with nearly 1,800 attendees. There were three additional locations other than the main one in room H-110 of the Hall Building, one of which was The Hive at the Loyola Campus. All locations were in contact with each other for votes, and CSU VP External Chad Walcott’s opening speech in favor of the strike, which took place in the main location, was broadcasted to the three satellites.
An interview about anarchist/ultra-left participation in the movement from the Linchpin:
The other main fear that we have, besides a total defeat, is that the movement is co-opted by the FECQ and the FEUQ who would negotiate a weak compromise with the government. These student federations have the same demands as CLASSE but we know that they would be willing to negotiate concessions for students in order to be able to claim victory and retain control over the student movement. This is a real possibility but the task of the militant wing of the movement is to make sure that the general assemblies maintain control of their movement. And to see this happen, students must be as informed as possible about the possibility that student leaders may betray the movement.
The other possibility is a total victory for students. This would see the movement maintain control of its organizations, vote democratically for disruptive actions, increase the pressure on the government and win a freeze on tuition at 2012 levels
Last Thursday dozens of students at Manhattan’s most overcrowded school fought with violent pigs and school staff as they tried to brutally repress the student body. In the chaotic video (now removed from Youtube), one can spot numerous incidences of officers physically attacking students simply for verbally expressing their rage at their abusive apparatus of school security. We’re happy to see at least a couple students with the confidence to fight back, and we want to offer any sort of solidarity these students now need as they become further criminalized for standing up for themselves and classmates.
(If you’re a Bergtraum student use the contact form to get in touch!)
In December 2010, students rioted when the principal Andrea Lewis demeaned her students by revoking their “bathroom privileges.” One officer was sent to the hospital after the ensuing unrest. In the next week, NYPD installed metal detectors. Dozens of students skipped school to protest the indignity. Those who did attend class had their electronics confiscated by the police. 500 phones were seized. There is perhaps no social set as volatile as high school students. Entrapped in boredom, humiliated by universal condescension by parents, teachers, and administrators, living in a world more policed than even the otherwise massively pig-infested streets of the City, their resentment of those who put them in this condition is a ticking time-bomb. It is no wonder, then, to see the system’s hatred of the poor, the young, and the disobedient manifest itself so openly in spectacles like these. It is also telling to see how futile these forces would be if the student body was more confident and unified.
As some community-organizing oriented groups seek to show their solidarity with students by defending public schools against privatization, we as anti-authoritarians are opposed to the school as a system of obedience and indoctrination. Thus, we have no hopes for saving the public schools. Instead, we hope to see them, along with prisons and asylums, fully taken over by their interned, and either revolutionized or destroyed. We are also aware this can only be done with the solidarity of those outside the institutions walls. We hope to see May Day as a first step in uniting students and their allies citywide in this effort.