|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 27 April 2011 02:48|
|May Day came into use over 120 years ago as homage to the Chicago Martyrs (USA), tried and convicted to death for being the leaders of a struggle against capitalist exploitation. Since 1889, dedicating this date to the international struggle to demands of the working class has been considered the best way to express this homage. In those days, the struggle for the 8-hour working day was taken as the central pivot of the struggles.
Ever since then, the bourgeoisie fist tried to erase the memory of that date, but then – when they realised that this was impossible, they sought to rob his day of its real meaning and transform it into a harmless “festivity”. Since the 1990s, this campaign became stronger and turned into an ideological campaign that announced vociferously the “triumph of capitalism over socialism” and the “end of class struggles”.
And yet, as seldom before this First of May, a world reality of the struggle of the workers and the peoples shows that in different regions is more evident than ever and so is its international lookout.
The Arab revolution
In the Arab world today we can see one of the most important waves of mass revolutionary ascent of its modern history and this has placed it in the epicentre of the world situation. Stemming out of Tunisia and continued in Egypt, now there is practically no country in that region that has not been affected by some of its materialization. This wave has already toppled two dictatorships (Bem Alí in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt) and looms threateningly over the remaining dictatorships and reactionary monarchies in the region, most of them being agents of imperialism. It even reached Syria, where the Assad “dynastic” regime still holds some disguise of autonomy with respect to imperialism. For historic and structural reasons, this revolutionary wave tends to overcome national frontiers, to spread into the entire Arab world and there flow together.
A first glimpse at the Arab revolutionary wave may reveal only a “struggle for democracy”. Actually, the first aim of the toiling masses is to pull down the loathed dictators and their regime and so to obtain full democratic rights. But its contents go far beyond this, for it stands for solving the extremely serious living conditions of the toiling masses and the need to put an end to the imperialist and oligarchic looting that spawns them. And the central element is the need to tear out of the heart of the Arab world this dagger that is the State of Israel and the tragedy of the Palestinian people.
Arab “secular nationalist) bourgeoisies have already proved unable to reach any of these targets and that, sooner or later, they become agents of imperialism and turn against them. Islamic organisations begin to show the same thing now as we can see, for example, in the political positions of the Moslem Brotherhood displayed throughout the entire Egyptian process: negotiations with Mubarak first, and then support for the army.
We assert that what is underway in the Arab world is an “unaware socialist revolution, which in the struggle for democracy and national liberation, must advance towards the struggle for socialism. It is socialist because of the enemies it confronts (imperialism, Israel and national bourgeoisies); because the tasks it undertakes can only be carried out thoroughly defeating imperialism and capitalism and ultimately, because its protagonists are the toiling masses – the only ones whose struggle can lead it to final victory.
To see this, we have to take into account that the process triggered off on 25 January 2011 stemmed out of several strikes and struggles of textile workers in the city of Mahallah, in the Delta of Nile. One of the youth organisations is known as the “6th April” because it was spawned in order to join one of those days of struggle. Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back during the struggle against Mubarak and accelerated his fall was the wave of strikes in the last days preceding February 12th 2011: textiles of Mahallah, workers of the Suez Channel, health workers, workers of education, banks and transport in el Cairo, etc.
Consequently, the great task now is to get the “proletarian and socialist contents” to open its way into the awareness of the Egyptian and Arab masses and to get this awareness to be expressed in the continuity of the mobilisation, overcoming the traps and the delusions of bourgeois democracy and in the progress of their organisation as independent from any bourgeois variant but especially in the construction of revolutionary workers’ parties capable of leading the revolution to the end.
The struggle in Europe
On the opposite shore of the Mediterranean, European workers and youth are continuing with the struggle initiated in 2010 against the plans of adjustment whether they come form the classical right or from the social democratic parties that employers apply in their attempt to unload the weight of the world economic crisis on to the backs of the backs of the toiling masses making them pay for the immense packet of aid they had granted to the banks and the parasitic financial system.
In 201, there has already been another general strike in Greece. Last month, an immense mobilisation in Portugal, boosted by young workers and students, the so-called “geaçao a rasca” (lost generation) was the pinnacle of the social response and forced Prime Minister Socrates out of office. More recently, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in London against the cuts in the budget boosted by the conservative-liberal administration.
Even here, the struggle tends rapidly to become international. Agreements such as European Union and “euro zone” (the 16 countries which adopted the euro as their currency) clearly show the imperialist construction against the workers as is evidenced in the tremendous adjustment that governments of such countries as Portugal or Greece in consideration of new “aid” meant only to save banks and extremely increase the exploitation of the workers destroying old labour achievements and deteriorating such benefits as public health and education. In each one of these cases, these governments know they can rely on the complicity of trade union bureaucracies that, even if they may be compelled to boost struggles, they do so in a way as to divide and halt the processes. Whatever the case, their action is always meant to save these political regimes, the UE and the euro zone. If it were not for the action of these bureaucracies, many of these government would have fallen or were about to fall.
Furthermore, bureaucracies are liable for the tact that when workers of different countries had to fight against the same measures imposed by imperialism, they fought, but separated, each country’s proletariat on its own. Even if the enemy is the same and the plans of famine are the same from the same European Union, the policies of the trade union bureaucracies have always been the same: isolate one from the other. That is why we need to build a classist alternative, capable of unifying the struggle against bureaucracy in each country and the struggle of the European working class as a whole.
In the whole world
Hot on the heels of their European peers, the Obama administration has just presented a budget that contains the greatest cuts in the history of their country. Even if the situation of struggles is far behind Europe, recent demonstrations in the state of Wisconsin and those, last year in California against the reductions of state reductions in public health and education that drew the workers of these sectors together with students and users may be indicating the end of the “tranquillity”. In the early years of the XXI century, several Latin American countries went through revolutionary processes (Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc). With the aid of a relatively good economic situation, popular front or populist governments (such as Chavez, Evo Morales, Correa and Lula) managed to control and halt this process, but even this “tranquillity” may begin to be in trouble.
Added to the super-exploitation which still exists, there is the inflation now that erodes the purchasing power of the salaries. Faced with the reaction of the toiling masses, the Evo administration had to recoil from the “gasolinazo” (a tremendous increase in the price of fuels). In the “stable Brazil that used to be Lula’s and now is Dilma Rousseff’s), over 100 000 workers from the civil construction and public works (one of the most exploited sectors of Brazilian working class carried out a very tough strike against the building corporation (closely linked to the government) with very radical methods of setting fire to the halls of the workplaces. All those struggles put the issue of international unity of the workers on the agenda. It is unity that was in the origin of workers’ movement and was the trade mark of the first efforts of organisation of the workers. Similar struggles burst in different parts of the world and bear witness to the need to resume this tradition expressed in the May Day and is present even now. International solidarity among workers is a tool for the struggle itself and it may be fundamental if we are to defeat bourgeoisie and conquer more achievements. For example, In Europe, unity among workers of the entire continent is necessary to defeat the imperialist European Union and its plans. The victory of some allows to resume and advance the awareness of the working class that was so characteristic in the early days of workers’ movement.
The unity of the struggles poses another deep question: as long as the capitalist system exists, no achievement obtained in the struggle is permanent. Capitalist system in its decadence and in quest of profit attacks to retrieve any improvement granted previously. This is what happened with the 8-hour labour day, stability at work, age for retirement, etc. This is why capitalism cannot be changed through gradual reforms. Today, these progressive reforms practically exist no more, bur even if the bourgeoisie were to grant them again to calm the struggles, tomorrow they will be out to retrieve them once more and eliminate them. The conclusion is that we must change the system, overcome it through revolutionary action, that is to say: obtain the emancipation of workers.
“Emancipation of workers will be the feat of workers themselves”
In one of their most imported texts dedicated to the working class, the Communist Manifesto, Charles Marx and Frederic Engels end with a motto that is in itself a political definition: Emancipation of Workers will be the feat of workers themselves. In this way they meant to say that only the working class will be able to carry the struggle against capitalism to the end, till its destruction, which is necessary to advance towards the emancipation from exploitation and oppression. That this struggle should be self-determined, totally independent from and political variant of the bourgeoisie, which would always seek to tow the workers out of their positions. May Day as a day of proletarian and socialist struggle is deeply permeated with this character.
This position has been violently questioned by vast majority of the world left, who have abandoned the struggle for the socialist revolution and the emancipation of the proletariat, something that in previous decades, even if with different theoretic and political systems, they used to defend. There is a sector that proposes to “humanize” capitalism and consequently, the need to get fully integrated into bourgeois institutions and governments. Others assert that that the solution is what populist bourgeois Chavez in Venezuela, the same one who came out to defend the bloodthirsty dictatorships Gadafi in Libya and Assad in Syria.
We, the IWL-FI, stand in full agreement with this motto in the Communist manifesto and we assert that it is more valid than ever. There are two meanings to it.
Firstly, the presence of workers in struggle accrues as we can see in the resistance against the adjustments in Europe and USA, in revolutionary processes in the Arab world, or the strikes against inflation and the increase in the tariffs for services in Latin America. As from their own they can lead an alliance with other sectors of oppressed and exploited, such as poor peasants, urban non-proletarian masses and oppressed nationalities.
Secondly, it is necessary to resume proletarian internationalism. Thirdly, that in order to put an end to exploitation, hunger, poverty and the risk of destruction which imperialist capitalism prepares for the world, a revolution headed by the working class as a first step towards. There is no way of “humanising” or “reforming” capitalism.
The “mother of all the tasks”
The toiling masses display great heroism in their struggles. It is enough to have a look at, for example, the fighting spirit that we can see now in the Arab world. But imperialist capitalism and the national bourgeoisies associate will not surrender “meekly and in a gentlemanly manner”. The contrary is true: as a lion licking its wounds, they react fiercely to recover lost territory.
The Arab revolution and the struggles in Europe and in the rest of the world prove the urgent need of the construction of an international revolutionary leadership capable of encouraging and drawing together all these struggles and leading them to the definite triumph, complete defeat of imperialism.
This is the “mother of all the tasks” that we pose to all the proletarian and popular fighters. In our opinion, this task crystallises in the reconstruction of the IV International and its sections, the national revolutionary parties. It is round this task that the IWL will concentrate all our efforts.
At the same time we declare that the construction of a revolutionary world leadership cannot be achieved unless it is in a relentless struggle against all the popular front, populist, fundamentalist, reformist. Bureaucratic “socialist” leadership that will try to deviate the struggle of the workers and the toiling masses towards their cul-de-sacs and all those who, with any kind of excuse, capitulate to these leaderships.
Based on this experience, we have a clear criterion to place ourselves in all the struggles: we stand with the exploited and oppressed against the exploiters and oppressors. That is why we are with the workers, the youth and the Arab peoples against their dictators and bourgeoisie; we stand with the people of Libya against Gadafi and against the imperialist intervention; we are with the Afghan resistance and for the defeat of the imperialist occupants; with the Palestinian people against Israel; with the Haitian people to evict the blue helmets and the American marines; with the European workers against their governments and employers; with the immigrants supporting their struggle for full political, labour and trade union rights; with women, young people and all those who have different sexual options against the oppression, discrimination and persecution they suffer under capitalism.
· Long live the Arab revolution!
· Long live the struggle of the European youth and workers!
· Long live the proletarian Internationalism! Long live the struggle of the workers and the peoples of the entire world!
· For the defeat of imperialist capitalism!
· Long live the International Socialist revolution!
Sao Paulo, 1 May 2011
International Workers’ League – Fourth International (IWL-FI)