The World Economic Forum, Davos, regularly presents its global risk report. If last year’s was a true confession of the incompetence of the ruling class, this year’s one marks a leap in the concerns of the cloud of experts who, around the world, advise the top of the corporate bourgeoisie and governments. In focus: the acceleration of workers’ mass impoverishment and imperialist tensions between states.
For the past few months NATO has been denouncing a Russian build-up of troops on the Ukrainian border. The US went so far as to state that it expected a Russian invasion earlier this year, to which it nevertheless promised to respond exclusively with sanctions. Now representatives of both powers are meeting in Geneva to “de-escalate” the tension and prevent the invasion supposedly underway. But is all this really about Ukraine? What are Russia’s and the US’s objectives? Is there a real danger of war? And if so, to what extent?
A huge teaching strike has been going on in France since yesterday. It covers elementary schools and middle plus high schools, with both teaching and service staffs taking part together.
Could Omicron be the end of the pandemic? Governments are increasingly open about leaving the current wave of Omicron unchecked as a way of achieving “herd immunity”. There are only three problems: there is no evidence of persistent immunity from Omicron infection, all signs suggest that it will not be the last variant and, for the moment, it is leaving a new slaughter in its wake as it breaks infection records day after day.
After a year of intense inter-country political battles and between industrial lobbyists and environmentalists, leaked documents from the European Commission now reveal that the proposed “taxonomy of sustainable investments” will include gas and nuclear power as “green energies”. At once Germany, Austria and Spain take a stand against nuclear power – while dodging the gas issue – while France and the 10 countries of the “nuclear bloc” rejoice. What is the real battle underneath all this? What is at stake and how will the outcome affect workers all over Europe?
The crackdown on protests in Kazakhstan has become internationalized: Russian paratroopers and Armenian, Tajik and Kyrgyz troops under CSTO mandate have entered the country to tackle demonstrators. Russian agencies speak of a joint action to confront “terrorists” and “bandits”, American ones of an attempt by Putin to “expand his influence”. Both render invisible the reality: from last Sunday to today, the Kazakh state has collapsed in the face of a mass strike that spread throughout the country, but which nevertheless is far from the level of workers’ self-organization that we have seen in Iran.
2021 saw the end of the “Covid strikes”, but also the promising appearance of mass struggles in new regions as well as quite a few useful lessons and signs of what’s to come.
In 2021 it became clear that the magnitude and duration of the slaughter is the product of policy decisions made in order to subordinate human lives to the profitability of capital. Moreover, vaccines have not put an end to the pandemic nor to the appearance of new variants because from the beginning their development and production has been dependent on the concentration of large capital. The opinion industry, “democracy’s backbone”, has been forced to devote all its efforts to sustaining the criminal nonsense under which we live.
In 2021 the global economy was reconfigured to prepare for war; imperialist tensions converged strongly around the US-China conflict; Europe lost its centrality; and new hot spots appeared that, for the first time, directly involved two of the main South American states on the road to war.
During 2021 media campaigns, states and the drift of an increasingly angry and openly reactionary petty bourgeoisie have produced an unusual pressure through new and increasingly reactionary discourses on youth, protest, property, parenting or “vulnerability”. It has been the year of the rise to state ideology of environmentalism and the year in which the “gender pay gap” has become an official part of the statistical “dashboard”.
Summary of strikes collected in our “Strike Channel” during the month of December 2021
Gabriel Boric will be Chile’s new president. The global press and the left today hail a new stage in Chilean history. Is it that big a deal? What does it mean for workers in Chile and in South America?
The Kellogg’s strike in the US continues after two months despite union attempts to end the strike as soon as possible and threats by the company to fire the strikers. While Biden takes the opportunity to advertise himself once again as the most pro-union president since Roosevelt, the company tries to take the “tiered” agreements signed by the unions to their ultimate consequences and the unions tell workers not to complain about the 12-hour workdays and instead leave things as they were prior to 2015.
It is expected that 65% to 70% of the world’s population will be crowded into cities by 2050. The news warns about the urban population of tropical countries literally dying of heat exhaustion in their cities, while there is no week in which images and videos of some new Chinese ghost city -product of large-scale real estate speculation- fail to show up in the international media.
Media around the world spoke this weekend of the tornadoes in the U.S. and their impact on a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon distribution center and hundreds of razed homes. The White House called for investigating whether the disaster is related to climate change. But the cause of the human disaster is much simpler: precarious workforces and bonded laborers who can’t walk off the job even in the middle of a natural disaster as well as wooden houses unable to withstand storms and freezing temperatures.
The “Democracy Summit” organized by the US was intended to develop an ideological argument underpinning a “bloc ideology” amid the escalating imperialist conflict. The narrative of an increasingly polarized world between an authoritarian China and a democratic US nevertheless floundered, showing the difficulties of the US in rallying its own allies around an ideology that would commit them beyond their immediate interests.
Summary of strikes collected in our “Strike Channel” during the month of November 2021
The lessons to be learned from the end of the strike in Cadiz are fundamental for the struggles to come. No, better conditions did not bring about an agreement between the bosses and the unions which the workers then accepted. Rather, the union leadership of the strike has prevented the workers from taking control of the struggle by inevitably ensuring that the conditions offered by the bosses would be accepted.
The metalworkers’ strike in Cádiz shows us that we need to fight in a different way. And that means, from now on, to take control of the assemblies today monopolized by the unions. And to do so in order to extend the struggles, open the assemblies and make joint demands that go beyond all the divisions by sector, province, region or contract type.
The new cultural trends that have been emerging since the outbreak of the pandemic combine apocalyptic messages and an exacerbated drive for commodification.
Global food prices rose 31.3% in one year. Against the disastrous backdrop of capitalist chaos, which does not even enable 40% of the world’s population to afford a healthy diet and keeps 30% under food insecurity, the prospect of this runaway inflation is a wave of famines. Compounding it all: the Green Deal.
Infection rates are once again soaring across Europe, with the delta variant driving a new wave that is threatening to claim half a million lives in a few months. How has this happened? What can we do?
The group of fewer than four hundred bureaucrats and military officers who sit atop Chinese power held a meeting yesterday that heralded a “historic declaration.” The final text, encoded into the bureaucracy’s ledger was interpreted by nearly every media this morning as a play by Xi to stay in power. In reality that’s just the surface: the Plenum ideologically culminates an underlying movement that has been underway for months which disciplines economic power, refocuses and represses mass culture, and centralizes the bureaucratic apparatus in preparation for a war economy.
Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has been talking about “a new kind of war” for days. The Baltic governments speak of “the biggest security threat in the last 30 years.” EU Council President Michel calls the arrival of a few hundred migrants a “brutal, hybrid, violent and undignified attack.” And the most enthusiastic European press echoes him today: “We are facing a hybrid attack from a clearly hostile neighbor” editorialized El País. But are we really facing a “hybrid war” action? Are a few hundred refugees a threat? To whom?
A thousand refugees and migrants at the border may seem commonplace in Mediterranean countries. But on the eastern borders of the EU this means a full-fledged refugee crisis mobilizing the army and serving as the basis for a brutal nationalist and racist campaign. In a perverse game between the dictator of Belarus and the rulers of Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Greece, it is serving as a means of ending the few remaining guarantees for refugees and migrants in Europe. “The right of asylum, as laid down in European law, no longer exists throughout Europe,” sentenced Spiegel yesterday.
The kongsi were collectively owned Chinese proto-states in Borneo in the 18th and 19th centuries. These territorial collectivities are sold today in Asia as the first bourgeois republics in history, before the American and French revolutions, but in reality they were something much more interesting.
From the Maghreb to Bosnia via the Horn of Africa and Syria, a loop of simmering armed conflict is reactivating around Europe as the bulk of the U.S. imperialist effort shifts to Asia.
The elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the outcome of COP26 and the Chinese economic situation join the already long list of elements warning us that the danger of a war between the two great world powers may materialize before November 2022.
COP26 kicked off on Sunday in Glasgow with downcast royal speeches, war metaphors and tons of doomsday hypocrisy, but also with the significant absences of the Brazilian, Mexican, South African, Russian and Chinese leaders. The media is reporting in dribs and drabs on the content of the meetings and discussions and prefers to play at feeding the “climate anxiety” of the youth. But the issues on the table at COP26 go far beyond emissions pledges and even climate change. At issue is actually each country’s place in the Green Deal’s new international division of labor.
Since last Monday in Italy one can only work with a “Covid passport” (“green pass”). Although 85% of the population is vaccinated there remain some pockets of workers yet to be vaccinated victims of the anti-vax discourse. The “combative” unions like Cobas took a position similar to the one rehearsed by the Sud union and some branches of CGT in France, pitting workers against each other and against everyone’s needs in the name of a supposed “individual freedom” to put co-workers at risk. Unsuccessfully, for this time. But… How do we confront the anti-social alliance of the antivax and the trade unions
Underlying the steady rise in electricity prices there is a structural element: the speculative emissions markets created by the Green Deal. What European governments seemed not to have counted on is that this would be compounded by a steep rise in the gas prices. But in fact the latter is only a consequence of the general framework created by the Green Deal and its impact on the various imperialist strategies.
Tension between the U.S., Britain and China in the Taiwan Strait has been at its highest point since the 1950s. A formal declaration of independence, which the ruling party in Formosa is threatening to make at any moment, would be enough to trigger a war in Taiwan directly pitting the two great imperialist powers against each other with disastrous consequences. It sounds crazy, but nevertheless, there are underlying reasons that could push the U.S. to take a step with no turning back.
What is the problem between the EU and Poland? Is the authoritarian drift of Hungary and Poland real or just an excuse? Do the Polish arguments have any basis? Does the PiS (Polish ruling party) want a “Polexit”? Why is this battle so important and why is the European Commission being so blunt now?
Industrial shortages are not just a British problem. In Spain they cut industrial output and weigh down the “recovery” despite rising demand. In Germany, the entire industrial production is being disrupted. Chaos reaches such a point that US industrialists call for a truce in the trade war against China and China is unblocking Australian coal imports. But make no mistake, all of these are part of what the EU calls “a war-like effort”. The world’s supply chains are on the verge of collapse.
Yesterday in Spain all TV news programs devoted an unusual amount of space to the “referendum” at Desigual regarding the reduction of working hours. They insisted that “the reduction in salary is shared equally between the workers and the company”. Yes, they are peddling a model and yes, there is a catch. From Japan to the U.S. via Ireland, France and Great Britain, the so-called “recovery” is being accompanied by a reduction in workers’ incomes dressed up in different ways. Reduced working hours is just one of them.
Practically all the US and European press broke out yesterday with Facebook on the front page. The six-hour outage of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp affecting thousands of companies further amplified the media and political offensive against the monopolist. Why has speculative capital’s favorite “unicorn” become a “public enemy”? What’s behind the change in discourse and pressure from governments?
France will reimburse mental health appointments; in Spain a law is being prepared pledging to establish and equip a care system that today offers little more than waiting lists and drugs in the midst of an epidemic causing more than 200 suicide attempts daily and in a context in which 2 million people are on daily anxiolytics. But no law is going to stop the grinder into which living and working conditions have turned. Only collective organization and struggle can achieve that.
The 2021 German elections tested Merkel’s strategy to revamp the political apparatus, to contain the revolt of the angry petty bourgeoisie which had uplifted the far-right (AfD) but also to prepare the apparatus to promote the Green Deal and a strengthened EU centralized around the interests of German capital.
Supply crisis in Britain, closed gas stations, empty shelves, electricity sector bankruptcies, meat sector on the brink of collapse. Waste and unnecessary shortages are rampant everywhere as the contradictions of capital become exacerbated.
The electricity companies, the CEOE employers’ association, the banks… the corporate bourgeoisie is radicalizing, at least apparently: it is charging against the lukewarm palliative measures on electricity prices, against a rise in the minimum wage below inflation and even against the distribution of the recovery funds being decided by the government. What is happening? Why is the ruling class threatening to abandon Sánchez and take the wheel itself?
Elections in Russia are held with unemployment on the rise and the Covid in full force -to the point of surrounding Putin. Predictable and contested results which, although deformed by fraud and the very nature of electoral processes in general, show the erosion of the political apparatus of the Russian bourgeoisie. What the European and Anglo-Saxon press does not tell openly is that the system lives in permanent and brutal war against the workers and that the economic bases of Russian capitalism see their expectations improving thanks to an unexpected ally: the USA.
Australia breaking its naval contract with France as part of the birth of AUKUS, is just “the tip of the iceberg” according to a senior British Foreign Office official. It is the culmination of President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” as asserted by the US, recalling that “no matter how much one pretends otherwise it is impossible to pivot to Asia without turning away from other places.” The European ruling classes translate this as the end of a historical period in which they could rely – not without contradictions – on the US to defend their own imperialist interests. The future of Europe is changing.
The “US, Australia and UK make a deal against China” headlines in the official European media warned without sparing details about the danger of the AUKUS agreement and how it would signal the entry into a new stage of nuclear proliferation. True, it is a step closer to war, but the only reason it draws a line is because the European powers have been excluded by the U.S. from the ancillary weapons business they had been counting on until Wednesday. However, the organization of AUKUS as an “Anglophone bloc” is neither new nor limited to weaponry. It is the core of a bloc for trade and for war.
Yesterday the European Parliament held the State of the Union 2021 debate. In her speech, Ursula von der Leyen skipped central issues and tensions between countries in order to emphasize the constituent tone with which the Commission tries to curtail the memory of the many social disasters it drives and coordinates: from its infamous border and migration policy to the vaccination campaign via the impact of the Green Deal on the electricity bill.
A week after the publication of the law establishing the new vocational training, the public news media promise us that “for the first time in history vocational training will no longer be the poor relative” and the government hypocritically repeats that the new training will create jobs. This is not true. But they leave workers no other option. The new vocational training transforms the entire labor market and no worker is going to be able to stay out of it. That is why enrollment applications have grown by 51% and it is already clear that in many autonomous communities there will not be enough places this year. Not by miscalculation, but by design. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mercosur is living its final moments. The trademark may be recovered at some point, but the rupture of the former tariff union is a fact. Uruguay is going to sign a free trade agreement with China outside the founding agreement and the institution cannot follow it: one of the members, Paraguay, still recognizes the government of Taiwan as the only legitimate representative of China as a whole. The end of the bloc that never was tells us a lot about the nature of South American national capitals and states and what the future of the region will look like.
Britain is militarizing the Falklands/Malvinas at full speed. Argentina is building its largest military base in Ushuaia and its senate is preparing to create a new crime of opinion: doubting or belittling Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the islands. And in case the increase in tension was not enough, Chile is unilaterally extending its southern borders, calling into question the already tense balance in the control of the Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage that separates South America from Antarctica. Why are this dance of positions and this apparently gratuitous increase in tension as well as the most crass nationalism happening right now?
The news are warning about the alleged imminence of a self-coup d’état in Brazil. The reality is even more complex and dangerous. The rift within the Brazilian ruling class is reaching a critical point where even a breakup of the army into rival factions cannot be ruled out.
In an interview on TVE this Monday, Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño guaranteed that the minimum wage increase in 2021 will be approved this October and will not have retroactive effects. Yesterday, Tuesday, newspapers opened with the angry complaints of the doctrinaire petty bourgeoisie who, together with the employers’ association flatly refuse any rise in the lowest wages given the lower profitability of their own capital. Meanwhile, the labor minister promised that she would “bring employers and unions together” during September. What lies beneath the fuss, and what real impact will it have on wages?
The Anglo-Saxon press keeps the origin of Covid’s virus -SARS-CoV-2- as an open question. Scientists however realized long ago that the theory of “escape from the laboratory” has no material basis. The theory of animal origin, defended in the WHO report, strengthens and, far from excusing Chinese capitalism, reveals its most anti-human contradictions… and those of capitalism in general.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery and purification of insulin, a natural hormone crucial for treating the growing epidemic of diabetes and on which, in theory, there has been no patent attached for decades. However, the world’s insulin production is still monopolized by a handful of companies in Europe and the U.S., which sell it at astronomical prices. The WHO has described this situation as a “catastrophic moral failure” and it certainly is, but how did this happen, and more importantly, how do we get out of it?
The signs of the end of the cold war between Morocco and Spain did not turn out to be such good news. The Moroccan overture involved more than just the dismissal of the Spanish foreign minister. Just a few days later, Algeria formally broke diplomatic relations with the Makhzen. With warlike rhetoric, Algerian diplomacy blamed Morocco for aggressions, threats and terrorist attacks. Since 1963, when the two countries went to war over Tindouf and Colomb Bechar, the situation has never been as tense as now. What are the bases of the imperialist conflict between Morocco and Algeria? What has triggered it now? Could there be another war?
A civilizational crisis such as the one capitalism is undergoing is necessarily expressed through culture: from the disappearance of Art in its strict sense to the daily experience of (social) defeatism and the vital emptiness reflected in all the great cultural products of our time. But withthe US abandoning Afghanistan amidst a thousand speeches about the so-called end of the American era one wonders whether we are also facing the decline of American culture, which has been globally hegemonic since the end of the second imperialist world massacre.
The US is speeding up its chaotic evacuation of Kabul amid an apocalyptic chorus from its own allies. The European and American press comes daily full of articles and editorials about the “end of the American era” fed by bombastic declarations about “the debacle”. But what does the “end of the American era” mean: the end of the US as a global imperialist power capable of acting alone anywhere in the world? The end of US economic, military and ideological hegemony?
The policy on Afghan refugees puts feminism back in the spotlight. After the Taliban conquest of Kabul, the main EU countries made it clear that they would only provide shelter for a few direct collaborators and the upper echelons of the Afghan bourgeoisie. However, a clear message soon began to become hegemonic among politicians: even within the fortunate group of local elites there would be differences based on gender.
The US durum wheat crop is down 46% and is the smallest in 30 years. Canada, which produces 2/3 of the global wheat trade, is on track to lose 1/3 of production. Add to that the shortage of stockpiles in Europe, the new European CAP and the downward revision of the Russian crop. The result is a speculative boom in the grain futures market. Global durum wheat prices have already rose 30% since mid-July. The “durum wheat crisis” is beginning to hit the plate of workers on both shores of the Mediterranean and from October may have dramatic consequences on basic foodstuffs.
The horrific scenes of despair at Kabul airport yesterday have been sending shockwaves around the world. While delegations from more than sixty countries are still waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan, the eventual arrival in Europe of a new wave of refugees has become the focus of the German election campaign and the French political agenda; the Austrian government is asking the EU to create concentration camps for the arriving refugees; Latvia vows to organize mass deportations for those arriving via Russia; and Greece proposes to pay Turkey more in order for it to hold refugees. But will a wave of refugees really arrive? Who will be allowed in and who will be turned away?
Right now there are over 7.4 billion tons of plastic on the planet and it is estimated that by 2050 there will be 40 billion tons. In 2010 alone between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic wound up in the seas and oceans. The EU insists on selling us a “circular solution” and the press reassures us with miraculous technologies and bacteria. But the problem of plastic and its pollution is cumulative… and it is accelerating further with the Green Deal. The causes are not to be sought in the technology or processes themselves, but in the very heart of the capitalist system.
The IPCC released yesterday the first part of its sixth report: 3949 pages of accurate and detailed scientific information showing that the origin of climate change is “human activity” and associating with varying degrees of probability the relationship between the global phenomenon and its most worrying manifestations. However, a good part of the global media do not seem to have read the IPCC report but rather something else.
Between yesterday and today there were more than a hundred demonstrations in France against mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers, caregivers and other groups such as firefighters. Across Europe, the media are encouraging the same debate.
After putting all its diplomatic weight on the table, the Spanish government managed to get Spain out of the British government’s latest round of travel restrictions. An oxygen balloon for tourism, a sector that has been the mainstay of accumulation in Spain since the 1960s and for whose results there have been precipitous restriction de-escalations which caused new pandemic waves. But this time, a year and a half later, it seems that “normality” is further away than ever. A good part of the tourism jobs will not come back anymore.
The industrial development of antibiotics is often presented as one of the last great contributions of capitalism to human development. It was so, but fraught with contradictions from the very beginning. Antibiotics were industrialized for war and were the basis on which the great global pharmaceutical monopolies were built. All in all a breakthrough for the species. But the triumph against bacterial infections is a race against the clock and is being lost. The reason? Developing up-to-date antibiotics is not attractive enough for big capital.
There has been a coup in Tunisia. After a day of anti-government demonstrations across the country, Tunisian President Kais ben Said, backed by the military leadership and trade unions, suspended the parliament, recalled Prime Minister Mechichi and stripped the ruling party of immunity. The islamists, who have been ousted from power are denouncing a coup d’état and the closure of the local branch of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera is being used as proof of repression. Qatar, Turkey and the European media owned by Qatari capital, such as El País in Spain, are calling on Said to restore the Parliament. France and its press, on the other hand, support the President and welcome the opportunity. What is behind the coup in Tunisia? What does it mean for the workers?
China is getting ahead of the U.S. in the quantum race. Last week, it announced beating Google’s most advanced quantum computer. Meanwhile, IBM began installing a major quantum computer development project in Germany, announced to great fanfare by the German government, which it claims will generate €75 billion of “value.” The imperialist conflict is being played out in several fields at once. Information technologies and in particular the quantum race are among the main ones.
The industrial shortage is not limited to chips anymore. Hundreds of large companies are stopping production at different points in the global chain. The EU and Japan, fearful that U.S. harassment of Chinese products will affect their international investments, are pushing for accelerated repatriation of low-profit but high-impact industries. However, the new Covid wave and the floods in Germany and China have shown that industrial destocking and its aftermath for workers -temporary layoffs and even more precariousness…-are not a passing phenomenon.
Right now there are workers from half a dozen companies camped out in permanent and open assembly, incorporating workers from sectors that remain in apparent normality. Everything points to the fact that we may be in the first moments of a mass strike, spontaneously self-organized and centralized in an open assembly of workers at Zhanaozen.
83% of Japanese people reject holding the Tokyo Olympics. And yet the Suga government and the IOC are determined to stick with an event that is dangerous for public health and most likely financially ruinous.
It is well known, and this is stated in all official scientific reports, that climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events. However, this is something very different from such events necessarily translating into death and destruction of entire villages as we have seen in Europe or massive fires as we are seeing in the USA. If this has been the case, it is because states are not fighting against climate change and its impacts on populations, but for the Green Deal, that is, for subordinating this goal to the recovery of capital’s profits by extracting income en masse from the workers.
Over the past month EU countries such as Denmark and Lithuania have unabashedly espoused new inhumane, if not criminal, policies towards migrants and refugees seeking asylum. Spiegel’s revelations and the European Parliament’s investigation have shown the involvement of border police in Italy, Malta, Greece and the head of Frontex, an EU agency, in real crimes against humanity. But this time there is no crisis or problem. The true face of an EU that routinely uses “Rule of Law” and “Human Rights” as imperialist propaganda is made visible.
The European Commission presented this week “Fit for 55”, a package of measures aimed at developing the European Climate Law. The stated aim is to reduce by 2030 emissions in the EU countries as a whole to 55% of what they were in 1990. The media linger on the end of cheap flights and the ban on the sale of cars with combustion engines by 2035. But first and foremost it is a way to inflate the speculative emissions market at the cost of higher fuel, heating, transport, food and construction prices.
The new wave of struggles involves more workers in a single assembly movement than the mass strike which swept through Iran’s petrochemical sector, steel mills and power plants last August. Organized at first through Telegram groups, workers tended to centralize the struggles from the first moment, organizing themselves in general village and city assemblies and then in assemblies between centers and localities, permanently connected. To this day, the workers have defeated both the companies’ attempts to divide the workforces and the threats of repression.
Thirty years of Mercosur… and maybe this is the last one. After months of tensions whipped up by the radicalization of agro-exporting interests in the face of the crisis and pandemic conditions, the Brazil-Uruguay-Paraguay axis no longer speaks of flexibilizing, but directly of ignoring the treaties. The end of Mercosur is a fact… for the time being, since the continent is not governed by blocs of countries with stable strategies, but is struggling between two transnational currents that fracture each national capital. The synchrony and parallelism provide a background of reality to the old project of the “Patria Grande”, but also expose its utopian and reactionary character.
News of an outbreak of protests in Cuba leapt through agencies to media outlets around the world yesterday. Beginning in San Antonio de los Baños, protests spread in a matter of hours from the West to the East of the country and ended up surrounding the Capitol in Havana. The regime’s response was swift: exculpatory speeches, calls for civil confrontation and door-to-door repression all night long.
Today’s news alone makes it clear that the EU is coming apart at the seams in the East… both among its members and with those aspiring countries in the Western Balkans. Tensions from which China, Turkey and Russia are far from being alien. But France and Germany are looking for more than just public works markets. They seek to create a low-wage region in order to shorten their production chains, increase margins and become less dependent on Asia.
The Ethiopian army, reinforced by Amhara militias and Eritrean and Somali troops has been driven out of the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle. The Tigray war has been turned on its head as the unstable imperialist balances between Arab countries and the U.S. have shifted against the government in Addis Ababa. And despite the announcements, the war is not over yet, although it has already left mass killings, ethnic cleansing with tens of thousands of dead, crimes against humanity, famine and destruction. At issue now are the future of Ethiopia and the fear of an extension of the war to other regions of the country.
The increase in the minimum wage in both Amazon and Target was accompanied by the reduction of working hours as well as the elimination of both health insurance and bonuses…which meant that workers’ real hourly earnings were actually reduced despite the wage hike. And it’s even worse. In the U.S. economy as a whole, inflation has already eaten into wage growth. And what is coming with the Green Deal is more of the same.
The week kicked off with US bombing raids on pro-Iranian militia bases in Iraq. According to the US it was a defensive attack aimed at containing the increasingly sophisticated drone attacks on its bases and interests in Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan. In other words, the message was directed at Iran, not toward the Iraqi state. The answer came tonight: the US forces in Syria were bombed by militias. The Americans apparently responded immediately. The military escalation is undeniable. But why is it erupting now – is it self-contained or could it end in a new generalized war in the region?
On June 16, the Greek Parliament passed a bill that allows and legalizesthe ten-hour workday. The new labor reform in Greece also introduces a digital work card in order to monitor employees in real time Spanish-style, as well as increasing the maximum overtime to 150 hours per year. In addition, the new law aims to impose new minimum services in public services in case of strike and sanctions in case of service interruption.
French regional elections 2021: a massive abstention was expected of almost 60%… but in the end it seems that not even a third of the voters showed up to vote. The République is in danger! The minister of the interior, the editorials of the right and Mélenchon scream in unison. Libération says that the problem is a lack of supply, they would like an even wider panply of coourful parties, Le Figaro says that taking Le Pen to the second rounds in order to mobilize the vote under the guise of an electoral anti-fascism no longer works. Those of Le Pen, with their star Mariani at the head point out that they were the main victims of the massive abstention. But what does all of this really mean?
Spain now has the most expensive electricity in Europe. The labor income-sucking mechanism called Green Deal is now running at full speed… and with a bonus: Spanish imperialism is recouping its European failures through the electric power bill
Biden in Europe: G7 and NATO summit, a summit with the EU, and then meeting with Putin in Geneva… Biden’s agenda in Europe could not be denser. And after so many meetings and negotiations, one idea stands out: the US is no longer what it used to be in the world imperialist game.
Chips are in short supply. The production chains of the semiconductor sector, have been in crisis for several months. Industrial branches that depend on electronic components – 60% of all factories in some French regions, for example- report that they are suffering from critical shortages and automotive production lines are forced to slow down their production. Producers of microprocessor manufacturing machinery and other components are running out of capacity. And this situation will last for long.
With the moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of June, the Biden administration has unveiled an affordable housing plan. It further pledges to eliminate racial discrimination in housing on the basis of removing the barriers to “wealth creation” suffered by the black petty bourgeoisie. But marrying housing and Green New Deal produces higher prices, and fattening up black petty bourgeoisie businesses will never eliminate discrimination in access to a home.
The G7 summit kicked off in Cornwall with Biden warning the EU and Britain: “Don’t jeopardize peace in Northern Ireland”. Is he exaggerating? Not so much: the European Commission says it has “little patience” left with the British government and openly threatens a trade war. Meanwhile, the British services whip up the ultra unionist groups and use the media apparatus of the very US Democratic Party to sow discord between Dublin and Brussels.Welcome to the “sausage wars”, a supposedly amusing name for an imperialist feud that may well claim lives this summer.
The impact of the Green Deal on European cities has begun. In Germany, the development of new terraced housing estates is halted in the midst of a general price hike. In Spain, a new ideological campaign charges against urban upgrading projects (“PAU” in Spanish). The EU speaks of a “New European Bauhaus”, but in reality this is the need to accompany the Green Deal in the cities with measures to ensure the profitability of new logistics and energy macro-investments.
The Green Deal, the rising cost of household electricity bills and the lack of profitable applications for capital are concentrating investment back into housing speculation and construction, transforming homes, neighborhoods and urban structures.
After the departure of the self-proclaimed Saharawi president by the hand of the Algerian and Spanish secret services, we can only expect a cold war with Morocco… which, like all cold wars, will not only have consequences for the capital invested in Africa by the ruling class, but also for the security and lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Let’s talk about dictatorship. In Britain, the reopening is jeopardized by the expansion of the Indian covid variant; in Europe, things are back to business as usual and borders are being reopened to tourists before it is prudent to do so, in Japan, amid new restrictions the government and the IOC are determined to celebrate the Olympics despite the general rejection of the population. All the news, from the imperialist battles between Spain and Morocco to the new electricity bill, as well as the hike in raw materials’ prices, share one element in common: the social imposition of the needs of capital profitability over and above the most basic universal human needs. A fact with an old name: dictatorship.
Last night [in Spain -TN], the new electricity bill came into force. Although the Green Deal is already being felt in the general price increase, this is the first direct move that ties the energy transition to the loss of workers’ purchasing power. It is sold to us as a price drop made possible by renewables. In reality it is quite the opposite.
These past few days the Russian press has been talking about an epidemic of strikes in Georgia, a country in the Caucasus where for decades working class protests have been swamped by nationalism. What is going on and what is driving the strikes in Georgia?
The Italian superminister for climate change began his mandate by going against meat and dairy consumption; the Spanish government in its 2050 plan, presented yesterday, endorses Greenpeace’s doctrine and proposes to halve consumption by raising prices; in Germany ending cheap meat is one of the main proposals of the Green party, which is likely to head the next government. Meat, dairy and other high-quality protein foods are well on their way to becoming luxury products. With the Green Deal, the diet of the working class is once again the terrain of class struggle.
After almost 36 hours of crisis with Morocco and after a general mobilization of the Spanish state, everything is apparently back to normal… but only after the National Court reopened a case for genocide against the Polisario leader clandestinely sheltered by Spain, and it became clear that the European support would not go beyond statements and after the USA supported Morocco and disregarded Sánchez. A full-fledged triumph of the Moroccan simulacrum that was enough to bring about a state crisis and highlight the international isolation of Spanish capital. Now a good part of the Spanish interests call for a “Perejil moment” from Sánchez, a change of course in Spanish imperialism.
The unfolding events we are seeing in Ceuta are not a “migratory crisis” [originally posted on May 18th]. It is an event encouraged and organized by the Moroccan state. We are not facing a refugee tragedy but a happening serving as political pressure in the context of the imperialist conflict between Spain and Morocco. A conflict that is becoming increasingly dangerous.
The German Green Deal has a new rallying cry: end cheap flights to Majorca. At the same time, the Biden government’s new shoe tariffs threaten the Spanish consumer goods export flagship. And if that were not enough, the increased tension with Morocco is pushing towards the closure of companies and factories relocated there by Spanish capital over the last few decades. The Spanish imperialist model is in a state of crisis and is dragging down the industry. Spanish imperialism looks again to Argentina and Mexico looking for the first time not only for markets, but also for capitals to which it offers a beachhead in the EU.
Whilst recounting the “conflict” in national terms and with national subjects, the media do not even consider the absurdity of one country threatening its neighbor with a general strike of its own in retaliation.And yet it is the most revealing thing about how much is going on these days [this article was originally published in December 2017]. Telling because the threat is real for Israel and because Palestinian workers haven’t exactly embraced it with enthusiasm either. To understand Israel/Palestine let’s do a bit of history and for once, from the perspective of the workers.
After 12 days and having already suffered 47 deaths, 39 of which as a result of repression, protests in Colombia are entering a new phase.
Israel and Hamas are back on the brink of war in Gaza. The dead are still counted by the dozens due to the crossed bombardments. Outbreaks of pogroms and civil violence appear riding the nationalist wave, and imperialisms near and far are trying to gain positions.
The green transition is already paving the way for new wars. Current mineral production plus that in the pipeline is incapable of supplying the raw material demand of the energy transition. According to the International Energy Agency, by 2030 the production capacity calculated by then will only be able to supply 80% of the critical minerals and 50% of the copper demanded by the Green Deal. By 2040, the strain will be even worse: the demand for critical minerals will have quadrupled. What will large national capitals do along the way to secure the sources needed to supply their most valuable industries?
The EU’s Porto Social Summit unveils, decades later, its long-promised “social pillar” program. The “Porto Social Commitment” has been triumphantly presented as a shift towards employment and workers, a return to the welfare discourse that would definitively close the door to more precariousness and “austerity”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The commitment will be austerity’s banner.
The Covid vaccine patent waiver has become the subject of global debate following the announcement on May 5th that the US will push for a “waiver of patent protection” at the WTO. Although sold as a humanitarian measure driven by the need to stop the slaughter in India and other countries, the reality is quite different: it is part of a competitive strategy opposed especially by Germany, which is determined to use Covid to capitalize its biotech sector and become the “pharmacy of the world.”
Germany is raising its climate targets. It changes its Climate Law by committing to a 65% reduction in emissions by 2030. The formal cause, a Constitutional Court ruling. The real cause: competition with the US. The important thing: each push of the Green Deal increases economic contradictions, weighs down production and imposes an increasingly dark horizon on living and working conditions. In the increased competition, the state centralizes and looks for new ways to turn broken private companies into state-owned enterprises. There is nothing progressive about this. We are not closer to socialism, but to a war economy.
Covid and schools continue to be at the center of the class struggle during the pandemic. In the months since the return to school after Christmas, states have striven to enforce the new normality in the education system from Argentina to France at the cost of contagions and through lies refuted even by their own research institutes. Meanwhile, from Brazil to Senegal via Great Britain, teachers are back in the struggle, and in Algeria they broke union control and imposed the payment of salary arrears throughout the country.
France and Germany jointly unveiled their recovery plans yesterday. Italy and Spain did not join the ceremony but had agreed on the date with Berlin and Paris and presented them on their own. They were in a hurry.
The US has acknowledged the Armenian genocide. From Bosnia to Azerbaijan via Turkey and Armenia, the declaration seems to have opened the cesspool of nationalist narratives, myths and delusions. But what was the Armenian Genocide? Who were the perpetrators? Why has the mere acknowledgement of its existence generated an international political earthquake? What does the Biden administration intend to do now?
Derek Chauvin’s trial will not put an end to the racist/racialist logic of state ideology in the US. Black Lives Matter will have the full support of the state at its disposal to ideologically frame us and send us to war if necessary… in order to defend democracy and its achievements.
The situation in Argentina in recent years has become a laundry list of union and left-wing resorts to divert and prevent the extension of struggles. We saw a first large-scale example in 2019 in Chubut. Then the convergence of struggles in the province around teachers and health workers was neutralized with national union strike calls cutting across the movement. Now in Neuquén we are seeing an alternative -yet no less damaging- strategy. We workers in Argentina and the rest of the world have much to learn from the experience in order to be able to effectively confront the unions and find our own terrain of struggle.
Yesterday, the EU reached a provisional agreement on the European Climate Law. In case there were any doubts, the objectives are explicit: To provide predictability to investors and to ensure that the transformations generated by the Green Deal in industries and capital markets are irreversible. Moreover, in concrete terms, the European Climate Law represents an acceleration in the speed of change. No one is unaware of the reason behind the rush: U.S. and China at odds for virtually everything else, are about to turn the Biden summit into the staging of a two-way split of the capital markets they hope to revive.
Russia mobilizes its troops on the Ukrainian border and launches with the US and EU a new exchange of armed threats. Meanwhile, strikes break out in the Donbass on both sides of the front. The only real alternative to a new slaughter will not come from a Putin-Biden deal to share out plunder, but from extending and uniting struggles across borders and armed fronts. Strikes in the Donbass lead the the way.
Raúl Castro has announced his upcoming retirement at the age of 89, 62 years after the M26J guerrillas entered Havana and 60 years after Fidel Castro proclaimed Cuba’s entry into the Russian bloc. The retirement of the last active commander of Sierra Maestra from the political leadership of the Cuban ruling class occurs in the midst of the latest acceleration of the agonizing and perennial crisis of a national capital in ruins.
The map of world conflict is turned on its head. The US leaves Afghanistan to confront “new challenges”. The first: Russia… but also the EU’s “strategic sovereignty” aspirations. Meanwhile, the US military encirclement of China generates fears of war in Taiwan and configures the Falklands/Malvinas and the Magellan Passage as a new hot spot in the midst of an unprecedented naval deployment since the 81 war and with a surprising official announcement: Beijing and the Casa Rosada are preparing the first exercises of the Chinese army in South America.
The global minimum corporate tax rate on corporate profits, defended by the US, the IMF and under discussion at the G20, in addition to responding to the internal needs of US capital to stay ahead in the competition with China and to be instrumental in the formation of a new Western bloc, points to an internal reorganization of each national bourgeoisie after 12 years of crisis of accumulation
The Argentinean disaster consists of a ruling class leading us towards health care collapse by prioritizing an unviable national capital which condemns workers to poverty and is oriented towards an increasingly difficult imperialist game which makes the development of militarism inevitable.
The crisis of religion in Europe is becoming glaringly obvious despite aggressive proselytizing by Protestant churches in neighborhoods. Belief surveys show a consistent long-term trend that even this year’ s pandemic and precarization angst seems unlikely to change. However, the atomization and loneliness on which these religions have always thrived keeps on rising more than ever, so it is time to ask ourselves whether we are really facing a crisis of religion or just a crisis of its most atavistic forms, replaced by something perhaps even worse.
World War III is a forthright and conscious scenario that is already in the plans of the great powers. The horizon dates for which these powers are preparing their armies are official and vary between 2027 and 2034. In any case, outlines of military blocs and coordinated strategies are beginning to take shape, rendering the imperialist balance increasingly volatile and violent.
The collapse of the “just in time” chains during the Chinese confinement, the chips and the first global crisis of industrial shortages in “peacetime” and the interruption of the Suez Canal, signal and feed the new international division of labor. It will be paid for by the workers and it prepares the war.
Mortality caused by Covid is rising disproportionately compared to incidence, most likely because the new dominant variant causes a more serious disease and higher mortality. Contagions are concentrated in the working age group and the opening of schools and educational institutions accounts for 26% of infections. European vaccination targets do not seem sensible even if vaccination rates were to be drastically increased
Biden wants to encircle China and Russia with a ring not only of alliances but of wars and hotspots. But the U.S. has a weak spot: the Middle East. And it inflames the war on Europe’s border. Imperialism cannot be self-contained
The Green Deal claims to be a solution to unemployment. This is not true. The figures say the opposite: it is a solution for capital, the big energy and automobile companies, large landowners and even for small farmers. From the very first moment, however, it leaves a trail of layoffs, unemployment and loss of wage purchasing power.
Boris Johnson unveiled before the British Parliament his Global Britain strategy. A true militarist nonsense which increases the UK nuclear weapons arsenal by 40%, bares its imperialist teeth at such tenuous threats such as Spain and Argentina, will fill sea trade routes with nuclear warheads and openly plans to destabilize South America and Asia in order to gain weight in the trade war. All in a context in which its American and European allies are fueling a new conflict in Northern Ireland.
Last Thursday was the closing ceremony of the two sessions 2021, the most important Chinese political event/ceremonial of the year. At its center lay the global crisis of capitalism. In its outlook was militarism, war and the green deal. The good news: Chinese strategists do not expect an armed confrontation with the US before 2027. The bad news: the burden on the Chinese working class has already begun.
Is Europe moving towards outlawing the extreme right wing? In Germany, the state’s counterinsurgency services have begun a process in the middle of an election year that could well lead to the dissolution of AfD, currently the main opposition party. In France, the government has dissolved one of the most powerful far-right wing youth groups. In Austria they are following the same path. But… Are they trying to take the far right off the board, or are they trying to do something else?
For months, even during the worst weeks of the second and third waves, governments have tried to weasel out of the inadequacy of anti-Covid measures through appeals to personal responsibility. But personal responsibility in the absence of sufficient containment measures and lockdown has proven ineffectual time and time again, country after country. With a population much more isolated than usual and more vulnerable to the media, the emphasis on the supposed irresponsibility of youth has only served, according to data from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), to atomize us and generate an unprecedented feeling of distrust of others.
The visit by Spain’s foreign minister to Venezuelan refugee camps in Cauca has brought Venezuela to the brink of breaking diplomatic relations with Spain. This is not just another scuffle. The strategy of Spain in Venezuela is changing. During the last year, in a way invisible to the front pages of the media, the bases of the imperialist game in South America and the Caribbean have been profoundly altered. This is only one of the first consequences.
There seems to be no way out of the crisis in sight. Official statistics are dire and unemployment is close to an all-time high. The Spanish government and the European Union are suggesting a Keynesian way out through recovery funds, digitalization and, above all, the Green Deal. Could it work?
Syria bombing. The US is bombing Hezbollah in Syria, backing Kurdish terrorist groups in Iraq and Turkey and preparing to further protract the endless war in Afghanistan. With Biden America is back and intends to regain lost ground in the Middle East from its rivals by stirring up a hornet’s nest of imperialist conflicts.
IWD and Covid will be linked for a long time in Spain. One year ago now, prioritizing the liturgy of IWD over the emerging Covid epidemic meant the acceleration of a slaughter that we are still far from getting rid of today and about which we are still being shrouded with dangerous half-truths.
40th anniversary of the February 23rd coup attempt (23F): the Spanish monarchy and the Congress celebrates its commemoration as if it were a national holiday and the TV news start again with the images of Tejero and a young King Juan Carlos. The state wants to revitalize the myth that legitimized the 1978 regime and the monarchy. The media strive to find new scoops and the radio and public television stations focus on producing new content. But what was 23F really about? What were its historical consequences? What did it mean for the workers?
The Perseverance rover landed on Mars. It will be followed by a Chinese mission (Tianwen-1) and another Emirati one, Hope. The supposed conquest of Humanity touted by media around the world is immediately undermined by the competition between powers in permanent conflict. If NASA’s Moon was not our Moon, the Mars of the current military-space race is not our red planet either.
From Linares (Spain) to Rosario (Argentina), passing through Mulhouse (France), capital, the state and cults are destroying the neighborhoods and their living conditions together. We workers can neither be satisfied with outbursts of struggle without any continuity, nor let capital, state and cults destroy our collective capacity to organize ourselves and defend basic conditions of life and freedom. Denouncing is not enough. We have to start building.
Catalan Elections. Needing to redirect the territorial rebellion and at the same time dependent on its parliamentary expressions in order to pass its budgets, the Spanish bourgeoisie barely manages to strengthen its institutional parties (PP and PSOE), but it cannot get out of this groundhog day. Operation Illa is the last example of the shortness of their ambitions and the inadequacy of their achievements. Ahead lie new episodes of institutional crisis and new fractures in the state.
The Covid epidemic situation has not only affected struggles in the healthcare system or in education, it has also transformed conditions and exacerbated previous trends in the logistics and retail sectors. Many large companies in this sector have been making huge profits from online sales while keeping their workers on the job without protection against the pandemic. Strikes broke out practically simultaneously in several countries, reflecting the worldwide interconnection of capital and the working class, strikes which were drowned out in small local struggles by the unions. Let’s see what happened and what effects this situation had on the class at the global level.
From Argentina to the South China Sea, via Europe and the Mediterranean, the Biden administration is stepping on the gas in its imperialist policy, which is taking an even more warmongering turn than that of its predecessor.
The more contradictory the national interests within the EU, the more incentive Brussels has to try to counter them with more outward protectionism – which inevitably triggers its trade rivals – and new moves forward – such as vaccine centralization – that put the Commission and the interests it represents in a weaker position in the face of interference from those same rival states.
The “No profit on the pandemic” campaign is spreading an important message throughout Europe: the intellectual property of pharmaceutical companies is a barrier in the way of halting Covid’s spread. Unfortunately, the reasoning is at the very least incomplete and the means unproductive. But it is worth a discussion.
We are publishing some of the questions raised by readers following the communiqué we released yesterday.
European Commissioner for External Action Josep Borrell landed in Moscow today. The eastern countries and France, but especially the US, are pushing Germany to halt the final section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline works and see the opportunity for the Commission to mutualize the decision by dressing it up as retaliation against Russia. For now, the visit is providing evidence that tensions within the EU and NATO are not smaller than those pitting Germany against Russia.
After diving into the history of the USA and the historical role of the Democratic Party we can understand why racialism is becoming a state ideology in the USA… and why it is not taking hold in Europe while feminism is. And above all, what these movements mean historically for the ideology of the ruling class.
Mortgage signings are falling, funds are hitting record numbers of rental properties, and construction is reviving with their requests: they want properties because they believe that a good portion of workers will be living in rented housing from now on. The recession and hedge funds are shaping your life and your city for decades to come. Both your life and your city will be more precarious and will offer less room for you.
In the midst of Covid’s third wave, attempts to keep schools open — or reopen them where they were closed — are meeting the resistance of teachers, education service workers and students.
New protests of farmers and livestock breeders. Two new issues at the forefront: the consequences for the countryside of the Green Deal and the alleged colonial status of Spain’s southern regions.
When we read the business press, capital seems happy. According to Oxfam, the global bourgeoisie has already made up for its wealth losses. The Swiss bank has doubled its profits. And listed companies are heading for a dividend recovery.
The World Economic Forum, better known as the Davos Forum, presented yesterday its Global Risks Report, a two-, five- and ten-year analysis assessing whether present trends will get generalized. The panorama is awful and therefore a true confession of historical and systemic incompetence.
The new variants of Covid threaten new, even greater, waves of infection and put the vaccine in check. They are the direct product of the inability of the ruling class to give universal answers to universal problems.
EU politicians are right about one thing: delaying vaccination hurts capital and its businesses and above all -even if they try to render it invisible- it costs the lives of workers and the general population. If, as they point out and appears likely, this delay is partly due to a narrow choice of main supplier to create a biotechnological champion, the EU would have shown to what extent the peaceful and civilized European project is capable of the worst crimes to serve the interests of German capital.
The big European cities want to eliminate car space and renovate millions of homes. Meanwhile, big capitals are called upon to found and build huge, robotic cities in the desert.
After the waves of strikes in French and Portuguese schools this past autumn, the situation has taken a new turn. Unions have tried to harness the movements, a new actor has emerged in Italy, new movements in the US, and vaccination has entered the scene. The slogans have been evolving with the situation and the struggle is still on the rise, sometimes in the form of small isolated strikes and sometimes in spontaneous forms threatening the back-to-school operation in a whole country.
The large snowfall has done more to stop the Covid massacre than the intentionally limited measures of the regions and the government. However, the council of ministers is sucking up as if a country paralized by a non-exceptionally dramatic snowfall for days was the most normal thing in the world. Under the ice lies the sad truth of Spanish capital normalizing the unacceptable.
For the first time since the nineties a peace process seems to be moving forward in Palestine. It is being driven by Egyptian diplomacy and neither Israel nor the United States are directly involved. Its main rivals are Iran and Hezbollah, the Shiite Islamist state-party that the Tehran regime supports in Lebanon and Syria. The centerpiece, and also the most fragile party in the negotiations, is Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Turkey and Qatar and in simultaneous war against Israel, the Palestinian National Authority led by the PLO… and Egypt itself.
That is, Trumpism is Dorian Gray’s picture of the American bourgeoisie, the symptom it refuses to see of its own decay as a class, of its inability to sustain its dominance over society without fracturing it and confronting it at every turn. And that is scary because it is neither an exclusive disease of the Republicans, nor is it limited to the U.S.
South America begins 2021 with very bad prospects for workers.
Racialism is not the only identitarian barrage being suffered by workers in the United States. In fact, the Democratic Party’s campaign adopted feminism before it.
With the new year, the EU-China agreement, the African single market, the new British mission in the China Sea and the convertibility of the Cuban peso are launched.
The pandemic has accelerated the global capitalist crisis and the course of imperialist conflicts, but it has also made explicit a level of contradictions between the workers and the bourgeois classes that is only comparable to that of a war. All capital -small and large, private and state-owned- and the classes that represent it -bourgeoisie, bureaucracy and petty bourgeoisie- have openly shown themselves as organizers and enforcers of sacrificing lives to save investments. The overall response of the working class has been a development of massive and growing combativeness throughout the year. And yet the understanding of the historical meaning and the ultimate potentialities of the moment is still far away, and with it an orientation, a conscious direction of the struggles capable of affirming in the concrete and under the perspective of the satisfaction of universal human needs. There has never been so much work to be done, but it has been a long time since conditions were so favorable for doing it.
For the past 20 days the Argentinean ports of the agro-export sector are paralyzed and with them the exports that sustain all the accumulation in a semicolonial country like Argentina. The reason: a strike by oil and ginning workers who do not accept that the drop in their real wages imposed by inflation be compensated by the companies by less than 70%.
2020, was the year in which the war became a continuum of hot spots from the Atlantic to the China Sea, but also the year in which the spontaneous mobilization of workers put a stop to the war in Libya.
The trade agreement between the EU and Great Britain is more a truce than a new stage. In Spain, the debate on the royal discourse reveals that the petty bourgeois revolt is being diluted without losing an ounce of reactionarism.
The horizons of Spanish capital are shrinking. And with them, its political borders – in the Americas and in Brussels – and even physical ones – in Gibraltar and Africa – are beginning to be called into question.
The Spanish government closes 2020 by charging head-on against the status of retirees and permanent workers. It is a warning of what is coming in 2021 and what they mean when they talk about reforms.
The famous CDC recognizes that vaccinating the elderly first is the fastest and easiest way to stop Covid mortality. But since most of the elderly are working class whites, it considers it “unfair” and leaves them last in line.
While the government renounce stopping the third wave of Covid sells a law of euthanasia whose social context is really obscene, capital is centralizing, concentrating and assaulting our incomes, which are falling sharply. While the ideological noise covers the changes in the background, the unions “reserve” themselves. For what?
Indian workers have already made it clear that they will not let the unions hold them back when their lives and basic needs depend on the continuation of the struggles.
The big industrial companies have been relieved of paying their share and the electricity oligopoly gets some competitive advantage. Both are winners. Among those of us who will bear the cost in our household bills, the workers, especially precarious ones, and large families, will feel it more in our total budgets. Welcome to the first act of the Green Deal and what it is going to mean for us.
A new offensive against the living conditions of Cuban workers begins. On the horizon, even famine.
There are thousands of strikes and a multitude of local struggles, but a good part of them are a response to the global phenomena of the moment, such as the effects of the covid pandemic on health and education systems. Let’s see some samples of the class response at the global level and the reaction of the unions trying to control them.
Since the last imperialist world war, capitalistic contradictions have never crushed and sacrificed so many lives and imposed so much misery. But never either have there been such broad material bases for overcoming capitalist society and organizing society into abundance and freedom.
Biden’s “Green New Deal” is presented as the most important change that the new U.S. government will implement. Its consequences for workers will be enormous… and not good.
Anyone following the Spanish media would be led to believe that the situation of the political regime is one of true decomposition. And yet…
Argentine capital is in an impossible trap: its imperialist game depends on three-way carom with major powers; its capacity to recover profitability depends on a plan that Fernández has not dared to define yet and that can only aggravate what he already has set in motion: drastically worsening the general conditions of exploitation and pensions; and increasing profitability by lowering further the real wages. The real decision-maker of the future is therefore the working class.
The more contradictions the system suffers, the more difficult it is to maintain accumulation, the more it needs to atomize and deny us as a class. In doing so, it also destroys what would allow us to better resist the daily consequences of such exploitation: from solidarity among friends and neighbors to family relations, to such basic things as eating decently or keeping our morals up. One cannot separate struggles in the workplace from action in the neighborhoods to defend ourselves from the effects of atomization and to strengthen our capacity for grouping and resistance.
According to what the televisions and newspapers tell us, the expansion of the pandemic, presented as a natural disaster, would not be the result of the success or failure of politic decisions, of the sufficiency or insufficiency of public measures that is, of social conditions, but of the individual behavior of those who in the end are victims of the disease.
We are witnessing globally the development of the class struggle, the first consequences of the “green deal”, transformations in the forms of competition and trade conflict and fundamental cultural changes.
Is it possible to open borders? Why do states say they can’t even absorb refugees?
The deaths by Covid that surround us every day are perfectly bearable for the state and companies, regrettable collateral damage but necessary to recover the sales and promote the revalorization of the businesses. The opinion industry works hard to describe them as the product of a natural disaster affecting private lives and damaging the economy. It is better not to think too much, those who go to work every day under risk may revolt. But the rebellion is there, it continues to grow, we follow its pulse monthly, and it is the only weir containing this slaughter… and the additional slaughters in the horizon.
On both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, the consequences of the crisis are increasingly devastating. Impoverishment, inequality… and a burning war belt.
The so-called locomotives of the EU, France and Germany, are increasingly divided and confronted with each other. Their attempts to give momentum end up being counterproductive, separating sometimes the East, sometimes the South. At this point it is undeniable that the pandemic and the recession have accelerated the process of implosion of the EU. And there is no let up and no respite.
It is enough to collect the headlines of the week to see clearly that both the public health policy and reduction of infections, as well as labor legislation, retirement coverage and distribution of income and revenue are bent to the desire to improve the immediate results of investments in companies. What capital demands in order to recover profitability takes precedence over the most basic and urgent needs of the workers, who are systematically made invisible.
As the concern of Egypt and Mauritania corroborates, the situation threatens to deteriorate into a new Sahara war. This time it would not be a war by interposed force. The Polisario does not even have the capacity for a guerrilla war like in the seventies. It would be a frontal combat, an open imperialist war between Morocco and Algeria.
The institutional crisis in Peru has reached a critical level. What is behind it? What does the maremagnum of acronyms, names and accusations of corruption mean?
The American ruling class say we are “sighing with relief”. Actually, that is something even they can’t do
Historical perspective in order to understand Bolivia. Because it is impossible to understand the failure of the Áñez government, the return of Masism and the differences of the period that begins with Arce without studying how the Bolivian class structure has evolved during the last ninety years, what the historical aspirations of the main factions of power have been and how they have expressed themselves politically.
The macronite response to the wave of strikes and its synchronization with Brussels, Germany and the Netherlands in increasing the repressive capacities of the states, comes at a time when the most basic contradictions of the system are becoming increasingly violent. It is clear to us that the rules of confrontation of the ruling class and the state are already set: against the affirmation of universal needs, use nationalism; against protests, use repression and impunity.
The permanent ceasefire agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh leaves winners and losers. But these do not always coincide with the military outcome of the contest.
Most of the strikes that appear in the media are desperate protests against company closures that can achieve little or nothing in isolation. Many times the unions are passive or directly opposed to the prospect of a strike… But strikes actually win many times, even if the media does not count them. Today we will speak of a wave of strikes that is beginning to bear fruit: strikes in schools and nurseries for the health of workers and students.
A brief historical perspective of Ethiopia to understand how and why this country of 110 million people is now facing the abyss of a new war between factions.
The pandemic is once again out of control for the European states, which are once again declaring themselves surprised… but are taking only limited and insufficient measures. Why don’t they learn? How can the slaughter be stopped? Is it true that there will be a vaccine in a few months?
The reactions and expectations of the powers on all continents make it quite clear that no relaxation of imperialist tensions can be expected if Biden is finally inaugurated as President of the United States.
What is important about the current situation is not the detail and the dripping of partial results in the race but what the situation itself reveals of the first world power.
All these petty bourgeois movements affirm, although they cannot compensate, the capitalist material truth that makes all their current manifestations reactionary. The petty bourgeoisie exploits because it has more and more difficulty in profitably exploiting the labor of others and fears proletarianization. Its slogans, the call to save businesses before people, express the devaluation of those human lives that it cannot make profitable in its accounts of exploitation.
The Chinese bureaucracy has set its goals for 2025 and 2035 this week. They will shape the imperialist crisis and conflict throughout the world.
Questions sent by our readers on what is happening in France and the conflict with Turkey.
The General State Budget confirms that the promised “social turn” will not come. The faster the government tries to flee forward, the harder it treads on ice that is barely holding up.
Pandemic records in half of Europe. New restrictions in Italy and Spain that the governments themselves know are insufficient even before they are published. Massiveness of the referendum in Chile. And signs of a new devaluation, if not of a new “corralito” in Argentina. The week begins.
The street battles in Italy, the wave of Islamist violence in France and Germany and the debates on 5G have one element in common: they show, under different forms, the impotence of the European states to stop, on their own territory, the offensive of their competitors and rivals.
The intellectual and moral sterility of the rising blocs today is such that the old churches see their opportunity. The Vatican offers itself as an ideological partner to the European aspirations it encourages and participates in. And so we see the apparent paradox of a European anticlerical left shouting «Long live the Pope!» in the parliaments facing national-catholic right-wing extremists, aligned with the USA, who dream of an anti-Pope. It would be difficult to think of something more grotesque if both parties, supposedly confronted by the application of the right to life to fetuses, did not coincide in denying it to millions of people in their eagerness to «save the economy». That is to say, saving the profitability of capital.
Tens of thousands of people have already been sacrificed. The Spanish ruling class is willing to sacrifice whatever and whoever is necessary until they recover profitability. As Roig says, they are not going to “deviate from their path” just for anyone’s health and life.
The media are beginning to reflect the real humanitarian crisis in the Canary Islands and Melilla. What they don’t tell us is why there is now a wave of arrivals of people willing to risk their lives in order to reach continental European Spain, why the overcrowding and what is under the protests of the neighbors of the neighborhoods where refugees and migrants are now badly settled.
Prospects in the middle of the pandemic and the resurgence of the crisis.
No one has the slightest expectation that in the coming years, with Biden or Trump, even the most dangerous and genocidal tendencies that we see today will ease up. The opposite is true. The outlook for workers is worse, whoever wins, as long as the workers’ struggles don’t spread even further.
What lies beneath all this debate about the “rule of law”? Why does it appear precisely in Hungary, Poland and now Spain? Where does it lead to an EU that is only in the early stages of a new recession?
Argentina is in a new pandemic peak. The schools cannot fulfill the only thing that upheld them as a valuable institution for the state: to be a useful feeding ground and nursery for students on the way to nationalist indoctrination. Teachers are left in a bad situation, forced to choose between those students who resist this bad training and a state that sits idly by in the face of the most urgent needs, supported by the unions that keep the teachers enternained.
Spanish ruling class is worried, they are in solidarity with the florist, the shopkeeper, the hotelier, the small guesthouse and even the nightclub.. But nobody should think that they will share the state’s booty with the small fry, the massive subsidies or the big projects financed with European funds. One thing is to be supportive and another to lose volume of income. No, big capital is “sympathetic” with its small SME brothers in its own way: for its own benefit and putting the lives of the workers under fire.
If we accept that whatever supposed “balance” between an “acceptable” number of deaths by Covid and the monetary costs of a new confinement is humanitarian and sensible, what will stop them from using the same cost-benefit morality to justify war?
Capitalism mobilizes more and more resources into making us poorer in relative terms. But when crisis devalues capital, it impoverishes us in absolute terms in order to regain momentum. And since in every cycle capital finds it increasingly difficult to recover, we have been suffering from precarization and impoverishment for more than ten years without ever recovering. All the plans for the recovery of capital are plans to worsen the global situation of the workers.
Today, China accounts for 85% of Argentina’s meat exports, 63% of the total foreign currency coming in from foreign trade and 45% of the Central Bank’s reserves.
The so-called recovery fund is becoming not only a way to accelerate the transfer of income from labor to capital throughout the continent, aggravating the conditions of exploitation of the vast majority of workers, but also is becoming the way in which Germany conditions the development of Europe.
The Spanish bourgeoisie does not want to try to relegitimize the state by relying on the anger and desperation of the petty bourgeoisie, it only wants to tame it and dilute its expressions in the institutional parties in the way that Merkel seems to be achieving in Germany.
Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel, USA, France, Germany and even Italy and Spain, play different roles and weave unthinkable alliances. The criminal and impudent game of imperialism is unfolding with one leg in the Caucasus and the other in the Maghreb.
The pandemic is growing again in Spain. But the governments do not want us to fear it, or even to see it. They just want us to think about what they want the crisis to mean for us, their crisis. Capitalism no longer liberates Humanity from old fears of Nature. Now it competes to create even more fear of its impoverishing reflexes, of its destructive capacity.
A short FAQ with maps to understand the dimensions and danger of the clashes that broke out yesterday in the Caucasus.
Just this morning a new war seems to have broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Four keys to understanding the moment of imperialism that we are living and the perspectives and dangers it imposes… but also its limitations and the basis of its real fragility: us.
Across the United States we are seeing growing opposition to school reopening. Some workers use the days off available to them for illness and personal business, others protest in various ways, and still others simply leave work. Unions only get involved when taking the lead in protest is the only way they can prevent workers from making school reopening plans unworkable.
The United States tightens its grip again and tries to revive Guaidó. The EU, on the other hand, is betting on Capriles and will help him run in the elections organized by Maduro for December. The reality is the collapse of national capital and the hunger of the workers. With the national bourgeoisie divided into three blocks, each with its international allies, what now awaits the workers in Venezuela?
75th assembly of the UN. Digital screens with the messages of the heads of state. And after the messages, the map of a world in which the division into antagonistic blocks and therefore the prospect of a new series of wars becomes explicit and closer.
This is a global movement that is overcoming the trade divisions within schools, incorporating other workers beyond individual schools into the demands, and organizing on the margins of the unions. All within a global framework of rising struggles.
The right wing in Madrid has shown its most criminal cynicism, but together with it, and with no less cynicism, the left has been the first to take a stand for the needs of profitability of investments against the universal needs of the workers, the first of them being not to be infected or to become an infection source.
Now we have a rising epidemic and an accelerated crisis. Will they see in the situation of the workers a human need to be satisfied or will they see in it the forces of scarcity preparing the way for us to «freely» accept the «reforms» that they have been trying to impose for years?
So what’s going on with the Brexit? Is the bluffing between Brussels and London getting out of hand? Underlying the debate about the future of the Irish border there is actually a struggle over the conditions to sell on the European market. But there are consequences that go far beyond that and a risk… that goes even further.
The Spanish government reported yesterday 156 covid deaths in the last 24 hours. primary care is already overwhelmed. This autumn a fundamental factor will be that the discontent that is beginning to emerge in the educational strikes shall become undeniable, shall be openly manifested and shall set out the firm ground of universal human needs. It is fundamental to stop the upward spiral of slaughter. Fundamental to confront the [[pauperization|mass impoverishment of the workers]] they are demanding in order to revive national capital, its enterprises and its finances.
The protests that began in August in Tripoli have not yet been exhausted as a new wave of protests in Benghazi and its zone of influence has led to the resignation of the rival government in the east of the country. Will these struggles be enough to impose peace in a country torn apart by imperialist conflict?
The increase in hospitalizations, the ongoing strikes and the failure of the Oxford vaccine are not isolated events. What is coming next? An increasingly clear increase in all of these contradictions, with states and media trying to push back the reality of the pandemic and its consequences and making workers’ struggles even more brazenly invisible. And on the horizon, the pressing need for self-centralization and extension of the struggles.
Lumpenization and police brutality are not racial problems… they are products of capitalism that represent a daily threat to all workers. The uncomfortable truth: the police cannot be trusted to confront lumpenization, not even the state’s social programs.
In the end, jihadism ended up being a neutral ball in the imperialist game used by one and all to hit each other. And it failed because it did not succeed in winning over the great masses of the population, not even in Syria or Iraq, destroyed and fractured into small dominions by the policy of the American occupier.
Today the system is a steamroller going amok in the middle of the crowd. It doesn’t matter who drives it, it doesn’t matter where, it doesn’t matter if the engine increases or decreases its revolutions. Regardless, it will crush us and crush everything in its path because what it really exists for – making capital profitable – is already in direct opposition to the needs of Humanity as a whole.
The figures reflect the opposite of what they always intended to sell us. On the zero day of the new recession the education system was already aggravating the class divide in access to knowledge. And with the new onslaught of the crisis, we can only hope that it will get worse. What to do?
We have to get used to seeing the “economy” from the point of view of relations between classes, which is what capital does when it designs policies in the face of the crisis. Policies that in the end are nothing but forms of organizing massive transfers of labor to capital. Housing is no exception.
Global confrontation between the two powers emerging as bloc leaders has already begun. Workers from all over the world are already the victims, who are paying in deaths on not a few sides, in [[precarization]] and unemployment on all sides, the needs of a capital to which the world has become too small. Another sign that, just as it is not in its interests to have a homeland, neither is it in its interests to link up with any bloc.
The merger, announced today, of Bankia and Caixabank, marks the ways in which Spanish capital will reorganize itself in the face of the crisis, points out its consequences for the workers and advances changes in its imperialist orientation and even in the face of Catalan independence.
In a few days, the government parties in Germany went from the scandal of the last denialist demonstration to the celebration of Merkel as the restorer of the post-war political apparatus. In Spain, meanwhile, the German echo is felt.
Between now and the end of the year, the crisis is going to arise all over the world in all its harshness. The first signs are already here.
The news of the day in Spain is an event organized by the government to which the heavy weights of the bourgeoisie and the Spanish political apparatus are expected to attend. It does not really have a name but rather a slogan: Spain can do it. A whole confession of the atmosphere that reigns in the ruling class: impotence. And it is no wonder.
National capital of Argentina, Turkey or South Africa, semicolonial economies triumphantly presented as “emerging” for years, are coming out of a decade in which they have lost weight in global capital, to enter a new and dangerous phase of crisis.
The change of rudder -and imperialist alignments- of a country that until now has been the last frontier of Europe, is a stone thrown violently into the already uneasy waters of African equilibrium. It will leave waves of war in its wake.
When you double a bet and at the same time you double the insurance with which you cover your losses, one cannot say that the foreseeable result is the same. In case the bet is lost, the result will be even more catastrophic.
It would be hard to imagine a greater or more heinous cynicism than democrats if the unions were not there to hold that title. The experience across North America reflects the commitment of left wing governments and unions around the world to maintain production in order to save business investment, putting capital above the safety and lives of workers.
Underneath all this ideological unhinged charivari there is a materiality that can be summed up in two terms: incompetence and incapacity. Incompetence both of the bourgeoisie and it’s theorists to imagine a progressive future, and of the petty bourgeoisie to find a way of articulating its interests capable of dragging the rest of the social whole, that is, to organize and create what they themselves call a people.
With infections on the rise and an increasing number of occupied beds and ICU patients, things are already approaching the level of early March. The opening of schools in September threatens to trigger a new phase of mass community transmission. And the only thing made clear by the Spanish bourgeoisie and state is a red line: “no more lockdowns, we lose revenues and taxes”. Only a strong strike movement can force the state or the bourgeoisie to put lives, our lives, ahead of their profits.
Rare earths were the tool of the first attempt to enforce Chinese global monopolies in mass industries and the reason why the search for alternative suppliers has triggered the imperialist conflict in Africa and pushed the basis of a bloc of Anglo-Saxon powers. Rare earths are and will be for a long time at the center of technological development… and therefore, of imperialist conflict.
The workers will not gain any advantage from marching with Lukashenko, but neither will they gain any advantage from marching under the flags of the opposition. It is precisely the social and economic slogans -and not those of the opposition and its proposal for a general strike- that can enable the struggle in the Belarusian plants to be carried on and extended to the private sector again
What lies underneath this strange alliance of ultras, conspiracy-mongers, anarchists, libertarians of various stripes and underground geeks? What do they want?
Unions, Democrats and Trumpists all share the same goal: open up at all costs. The only difference is that trade unions and Democrats use the rhetoric of “social justice” and “safe reopening”. And they all agree on something even worse: they minimize the importance of the most basic measures for preventing contagion in order to reduce monetary costs and administrative difficulties
The acceleration in imperialist movements and tensions that we are seeing still has a potential counterweight in the development of the workers’ response.
The workers have finally appeared on the scene in Belarus, with their own concerns and not under the initial calls of the opposition. They are now presenting themselves as a force during this crisis, but the outcome is not yet decided. Will they be caught up in the incipient popular revolt as the opposition wants, or will they advance their own struggle as a class by adding their own slogans to their own budding movement?
We are facing an armed negotiation in which the different and contradictory imperialist interests of the coastal countries increase their pressure to the edge of an armed conflict. Of course, none of them has any intention of openly initiating it. All would prefer to see their interests flourish with no other violence than that of threat and imposition by the facts. But they are not playing alone. And if tension escalates, the turnaround will be little less than impossible.
The world’s news programmes depict the elections and protests in Belarus in a completely contradictory way. While the Spanish TV links the electoral fraud to Russia, the BBC recalls the background of recent clashes between the two regimes and the German TV highlights the joint statement of Poland and Lithuania lukewarmly calling for further talks. What lies beneath the political crisis in Belarus?
No, it is practically impossible that the services, Russian, Chinese or Iranian, would be able to manipulate so much opinion as to condition the electoral result. American opinion is practically the exclusive product of the American opinion industry. And that will continue to be the case this autumn.
The struggles continue to spread throughout Iran and now reach 12 provinces but are not yet coordinated among themselves.
Capital is in a deep and widespread crisis. Capital responds with increasing aggressiveness at all levels to its same needs in every country. And its forms are increasingly obscene, coarser, more desperate, closer to war.
With the epidemic on the rise but silenced, August is turning into the prologue to a global and drastic wave of attacks on the living, working and retirement conditions of workers around the world that is set for September. By October, it is more than likely that the pandemic and war will be in the foreground as well.
King Juan Carlos I is leaving Spain. Are we facing an institutional crisis? What forces are precipitating it? What are the bourgeoisie and the Spanish state reacting to, and with what outlook?
The surge of strikes that we are detecting around the world is now reaching Iran, where since December 2017 at least three waves of struggle have taken place.
A quick summary of the day’s news to avoid being disconnected from reality by the media.
The imperialist conflict between the U.S. and China is accelerating with each blow of the crisis. Both powers are pushing towards the formation of «close blocs» that are strategically and economically very much aligned with those national capitals with which they are most integrated, leading to a wider fracture by reorganizing trade out of them and with it the international division of labor and the technological standards of the industries most capable of placing capital today. We are in the first steps of a deep fracture in the world market, which can only strengthen the tendencies towards crisis… and war.
Spanish capital closes the political course with the sword of falsehood held high. It wants to blur the reality of the epidemic, of unemployment, of the situation of its own companies, of what the European funds mean and above all its plans for a “way out of the crisis”. At least until September, when today’s lies will become a guillotine on our most basic living conditions and needs.
The low volume of the “recovery” funds turns them into a mere cover of the “austerity” promoted by the EU, with all that it means for the workers as a forced reduction of the general exploitation costs of the labor power: less healthcare services, education, social cohesion, etc. But this “austerity”would remain a mere appetizer for the general offensive against workers’ conditions implied by the “reforms” aimed at by this “recovery fund”.
Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia and of course Russia, the US and the EU are all playing at establishing faits accomplis, using diplomacy as a form of disinformation warfare. Disinformation that is primarily aimed at the general population. We live in a mixture of generalized information blockade – in Spain, for example, the danger of war has not even merited a brief appearance on the television news – and intoxication. Breaking this lie and half-truth-powered blockade by opening up conversations about “what is going on” with co-workers, neighbours and friends is today a crucial task in order to be able to respond.
This strike, which is marketed to the workers as a fight for the improvement of working conditions and against the discrimination of black workers, affirms nevertheless in its demands segregation among workers, amplifies the racialistic guilt and ends up merging everything into the achievement by the unions of a status similar to that of their European or Argentinean equivalents. All well seasoned and limited by the electoral interests of the Democratic Party. Where is the working class potential of the BLM movement of which the American left talks about?
For the workers of the countries that have been affected, the credits really are cutbacks and the direct aid that they receive will only serve to accelerate the transfer of income from labor to capital. And in the case anyone had hoped that the European Council could serve to prevent the escalation of war in the Mediterranean and the horizon of barbarism that it opens, they were deeply mistaken.
War is spreading, directly involving the working class of a major industrial country like Egypt, threatening to stop Mediterranean merchant trade and hindering gas supplies to Europe. We are at a critical time for workers throughout the region, with the threat of mass slaughter looming ever closer and all the incentives for a seemingly endless escalation.
The forces that drove that massive insurrection, capable of defeating the democratic Republic, the military coup leaders and fascism at the same time, are still present and are asserting themselves ever more strongly throughout the world. The Spanish revolution, its lessons and what it means, matter not for what was left behind, but for what lies ahead. It is not memory or history, it is the future.
Imperialism is not an adventure game taking place in exotic landscapes and control rooms where the level of abstraction makes hunger and blood invisible. It is the daily life of our lives and the threat it poses to us. It is the universal day-to-day life of a capital that cannot find enough markets to give free rein to accumulation and destroys the capacities it organizes socially, the main one of them being us, labor power.
The EU, one of the most contradictory imperialist projects both among its partners and in the global imperialist arena, will probably be one step closer to imploding.
The end of the stage of confluences around Podemos is the end of the possibilities of a fit of petty-bourgeois revolt in the political apparatus of the state. The form that remains open points to a regime crisis.
The agony of the EU, the possible nuclearization of a Turkey increasingly at odds with the US and the EU, and the militarization of the US-China conflict were the main red lights of the imperialist conflict this week.
It is significant that the current crisis is also an ideological crisis, that is, a crisis of the discourses that underpin the social domination of capital. It shows the historical exhaustion of the state capitalism in which we live. It is the other side of its inability to prevent the devaluation of capital.
The U.S. is focusing its imperialist strategy on weakening China. Its consequences are both global and often unexpected.
What we’re seeing is not the optimism of finance capital, it’s the hysterical laughter of the desperate gambler.
Tunisia is experiencing a summer of struggles and mass worker mobilizations that draws on the lessons of the January 2018 movements while raising new challenges.
Today, the Spanish Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, has published a document to convince large capital funds to invest in state debt. In other words, she explains why betting on the overall result of national capital is a good investment. The set allows to understand well the continuity of the “road map” of the Spanish bourgeoisie and what it considers its “achievements”. Achievements that, of course, the PSOE-IU-Podemos government makes its own and intends to carry “further”.
The distribution of offices speaks of a recomposition and electoral rise of the left in which the Socialist Party leaves the leadership to the Greens. But this official story remains very lame and incomplete.
Three highlights of this week: Covid is still around and the “reopenings” are proving to be more dangerous than what they told us; the alleged return to “business as usual” is a disaster pushing towards ever more serious conflicts between national capitals; and strikes and struggles are spreading and gaining strength as the only counterweight to the anti-human and warmongering tendencies of global capital.
Yet another generation of students has been let down. But what exactly are they denouncing? Where is this denunciation pointing to? Are they looking forward or backwards?
The Spanish capital will be one of the most punished in the world in 2020. The “solutions” provided by capital managers and trade unions cannot produce any hope.
A general disbelief towards democracy and its supposed ability to represent the interests of the workers, clearly emerges. 60% of those Europeans asked say that systemic parties do not care about “people like me”.
The bourgeoisie wants everything to appear “normal” so that accumulation can resume its rhythm, but we are very far from anything like that. It is time to draw some conclusions and clarify some perspectives on what is to come.
The imperialist conflict enters new phases with a surprising synchrony and speed. What we have witnessed this week in the Mediterranean, between the two Koreas, in Hawaii between China and the US and between India and China shares a troubling element: despite the fact that they are more or less obviously trade negotiations, in all of them the main theme is the immediate threat of war.
The new wave of economic nationalism involves four vectors which, although they were already present and emerging in recent years, have gained strength with the pandemic, seemingly contradicting the “neo-liberal” hegemonic discourses of the last thirty years: limitations on the purchase of companies by foreign capital, renationalization of productive chains, nationalizations and the promotion of state production.
Yesterday, while a general strike of hospitals was taking place in France, strikes proliferated throughout hospitals and nursing homes on all continents.
From the Ivory Coast to Niger, from Libya to Crete, and from Ethiopia to Egypt, the northern half of Africa is being torn apart by a violent reshuffling of forces between imperialist powers that is threatening to overwhelm the continent’s borders and lead to war in Europe and the Middle East.
While the right wing brings out for a walk their doberman wrapped in the red and yellow flag and the left wing enjoys discussing children’s sex and the future of princesses, the reality of the workers has already initiated the “adjustment”.
Tensions fueled by the pandemic have accelerated the dismantling of the network of multilateral international organizations. The alleged global nature of large companies and financial groups is also disappearing. The national bourgeoisies and bureaucracies are “re-nationalizing” and “decoupling” themselves, putting an end to the framework that had been promoted by the Anglo-Saxon powers during the last century, from the League of Nations to the WTO, the UN system and the “international capital funds”.
US is loosing its power to encourage new global ideologies and movements. The renationalization of production chains also means the renationalization of information agendas and imaginaries.
Amidst repression, torture and militarization, the situation in the Donbass mines remains unsettled but an extension and a move towards mass strike cannot be excluded.
EU gave a perfect opportunity to present the Sánchez strategy for attacking pensions, the greatest direct attack in more than a decade on workers’ working and retirement conditions, as if it were a European imposition.
We are experiencing a general clarion call throughout the world that threatens to produce a proliferation of armed conflicts.
There is no point in a mass “awakening” in condemnation of racism, because racism is not a problem of “individual consciousness” that can be separated from social structure and class division. Nothing will ever come from the trade unions, the bourgeoisie or the identitarianists bent on maintaining this same class structure. The struggle against all discrimination is inseparable from the social question and therefore inseparable from the centralization and independence of our struggle as workers.
Nuclear proliferation is a real threat to all mankind. It starkly reflects that the severity of the crisis of the system is far greater than what the media tells us and that the urgency of affirming a global alternative goes well beyond a “recessive economic moment”
Germany is getting ready toend off, via taxes, cheap meat. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Under the “green deal” comes an accelerated transformation towards “bio” livestock and agriculture that, at least temporarily, would entail non-tariff barriers to imports from outside the EU and a way to attract capital to the countryside. A trend is beginning that will end the era of cheap meat.
While the US media focuses its attention on “racial conflicts” in a not so innocent way, a series of day laborers’ strikes in Washington state this month has shown much more clearly the forms and alternatives of the emergence of workers as a class.
“Decoupling” is the new slogan running through think-tanks, chancelleries and economic ministries. It means a reduction in the interdependence between national capitals. But the reality is that not only capitals will become “decoupled”, but also the institutional system and the balances between classes will.
A wave of plant and factory closures is coming. What to do about workplace shutdowns?
A crown of conflicts is exploding around China at the worst possible time. They point out, in case it needs to be emphasized even more, that the United States is willing to use the military threat to “encourage” the movement of capital, modify the global trade map and accelerate the renationalization of productive chains.
States seem to be imbued with reckless haste as they concoct new “cuts” and “reforms” affecting us directly. The petty bourgeoisie is becoming increasingly angry, violent and delusional. And the workers’ strikes are taking on a “de-escalation” character.
What we are seeing, from China to Brazil to Turkey, is an initial phase in the development of militarism. The political weight of the military reappears as a resource and a safeguard against the internal conflicts of the bourgeoisie (Brazil) but above all as a way of ensuring a viable medium-term strategic perspective (China) in a context where the centrality of the imperialist conflict shifts from the commercial and the placement of capital to the military (Turkey).
Sanchism needs Rajoy’s labor reform to do its alchemy so that, for example, each rise in the minimum wage reduces the total wage bill received by the workers. And if he were to repeal it, it would be in order to re-enunciate it under a different name… and with the same substance.
Germany wants an empire that will buy its overproduction and generate applications of capital, with a currency subordinated to its logic of accumulation, a Central Bank subordinated to its courts and a well-controlled nuclear army… but also wants to organize everything at a bargain price. No, the scaffolding does not seem to be solid enough for this historic era of economic, political and social tornadoes and hurricanes. But is there anything to be regretted? Are we workers losing something important with the collapse of the “European perspective”?
Along with the recession, a period of direct attacks on our working, retirement and general living conditions is opening up. Wages, pensions and working conditions will be in the front line. It is more important than ever not to fall into the traps that attempt to make us support the production of dividends at the expense of our vital needs, be it in the name of “reconstruction”, “social justice” or “climate change”.
This evening Macron and Merkel will be presenting their “salvation of the EU”. But in today’s historical conditions, every step forward is one step closer to a zombie structure.
The only things de-escalating are the lockouts and security measures. All dangers are escalating instead: dangers of epidemic resurgence, of being unemployed, of marching off to war…
In the historical period in which we are living, the mobilizations of the petty bourgeoisie, regardless of their ideological expression, cannot converge with those of the workers. On the contrary, they will be increasingly in conflict with the universal needs that the workers’ struggles assert. Worker’s struggles will have to overcome any nationalist temptation, any “popular” approach in order to advance. From day one.
The collapse of Saudi Arabia has gone virtually unnoticed by the international press. The impact, however, is enormous. In the Arab world, comparisons are rife with the collapse of Russia and its model of state capitalism in the early 1990s, with Prince Salman playing the role of an increasgly powerless Gorbachev, racking up imperialist defeats, economic disasters and internal enemies.
The U.S. has a background game with China. China is debating whether to enter a nuclear race with the American giant. And Europe… starts to keep its distance.
Four clues of what we are living and what is to come, about topics the media are barely talking about in order to sweeten an unacceptable reality.
The false trade truce between the US and China, the impasse in the conflict within the EU, the endless struggle between the state and Bolsonaro and between the military and pro-US economists within the Brazilian government, the failure of the craziest military adventures… are all moments of relief in the context of a tension that keeps growing. The whole thing can only end in fragmentation and open conflict. The only force that can restrain and reach a certain level of development, stop the process that points towards the generalization of war, the workers’ struggles, despite coming up all over the world, are still on a local level. It is more urgent than ever to contribute to their development. And there are no shortcuts.
The de-escalation of the pandemic is turning into an escalation of imperialist conflicts and confrontations.
It is more urgent and necessary than ever to affirm the needs of the workers, which are universal human needs, for what is coming is a dogfight in which we are wanted as offal.
We are not seeing the dawn of a “post-American world order” as the media would have us believe. We are seeing an acceleration of chaos driven by the recession that makes each day more dangerous than the last.
A new phase of economic recession and political crisis is beginning worldwide. All the contradictions of the system have accelerated with the pandemic and the ability of capital to recover will depend on its ability to impose a massive transfer of income from labor to capital in each country. The losses and needs of capital are even more brutal than in 2009. But unlike ten years ago, we are entering this new phase with a working class that has mobilized under an almost universal program of demands and that in not a few cases has been strong enough to overcome the unions and twist the arms of companies and governments. But this was not even the first act. It has been the overture.
Spain, France or Italy are already starting deconfinement. The absolute numbers of new infections are in the same range as when confinement began. And deaths are still over 300 a day in all three countries. The danger of “de-escalation” is obvious. But the aim of governments is not to put an end to the epidemic and return to normality when the situation is safe, but rather to recover economic activity, including in the hotel and tourism industry, by accepting to “live with” the epidemic and its consequences as long as the numbers of patients requiring intensive care do not overwhelm the health system. This is the “new normality” that governments are looking for and that will change living conditions, the organization of work and even the international division of labor.
For Spanish capital, the fall in tourism is not a “social problem”… it is losing a leg and going headlong into a deficit in the trade balance that will accelerate the trend towards its devaluation, as happened in 2009.
Oil companies are starting to go bankrupt serially to the point of threatening to turn the fall in oil prices into a financial crisis. Meanwhile, Europe makes its “green bet” trying to win the competition for capital from the US. And the workers?
The fact that “de-escalation” is possible without overwhelming the health system is not the same as saying that de-confinement will not produce more infections and deaths, nor that it is advisable from a health point of view.
We are living through an acceleration of chaos whose scale has only begun to show in the media when the UN has begun to warn that the coming famine will affect more than 136 million people.
This is the time when workers in the US military industry plants should also break the trade union siege and join the struggle under the same platform, which describes and defines their interests as clearly as it does for their Mexican comrades.
The development of tensions between states, in a framework defined by the attempts to organize a massive transfer of income from labor to capital, will further narrow the space of expression that the ruling classes will be able to allow without risk to the social order. The media, which increasingly contained less and less news and were more parochial, are going to be even more accommodating and localistic. And the famous “anonymity” and “neutrality” of the Internet will be eroded into sweetened – or privatized – versions of China and Russia. Exacerbated social and information control is here to stay.
The fall in prices from confinement has made evident the irrationality and inefficiency of an international division of labor conditioned to the extreme by imperialism, magnifying the industrial impact of the deflationary shock on an industry as gigantic as it is fragile.
The EU cannot resolve its contradictions, only by raising them again and again to a higher level, in the hope that the developing global environment of “economic warfare” will be enough, as external pressure, to precariously hold the structure together.
The post-confinement world is beginning to take shape. On the one hand, the tendencies shown by capital outline a world of war economy and exaltation of sacrifice; on the other hand, the world wave of workers’ struggles presents a world that imposes life by orienting production to satisfy people’s needs. On this struggle, which can only be understood as a class struggle, depends the immediate future and the destiny of the whole Humanity.
The points of friction between imperialisms are “heating up” again as the social and productive reorganization precipitated by the Covid crisis lays the foundations for a war economy.
Can anyone still think that the “Ecological transition” and the “Green New Deal” they want to impose on us is a progressive “way out of the crisis”?
Neither Dutch, Danish or German nordism nor Spanish anti-EU pro-sovereignty narratives fall from the sky. But in order to understand them, one must first discover the particular place of Spanish imperialism between Europe and Latin America.
We have to stand up in the workplaces and demand the closure of all non-essential production as long as transport and workplace safety cannot be ensured.
It is impossible to “play down” both the situation we are living in and the challenges and responsibilities that will follow from it. After the slaughter, comes the biggest attack since the end of world war two on the living conditions and basic needs of the workers. The worldwide wave of strikes and struggles that we are experiencing must serve as an accumulation of the forces needed to confront the post-epidemic world.
Even if an agreement on debt mutualization were reached today or in the next few days, what would follow would be a struggle to change rules, protect national sector-based markets and reduce the interdependence among national bourgeoisies. And so the EU would also dry up and the old reactionary dream of the United States of Europe would come to an end, not with a bang but with a whimpe
What unites the strategy of the Spanish bourgeoisie then and now is the aim of transferring income from labor to capital in order to revive profitability and the fear that the unions, on their own, will not be able to impose sufficient discipline in the workplaces and – above all – in the streets, in order to make a new wave of precarization.
Mexico and Brazil are distressed by a crisis that fuses the impending health disaster with a paralysis of export markets and political chaos. The situation is extremely dangerous for workers throughout America. Only the generalization of the struggles can impose the priority of saving lives instead of investments, stopping the spread effectively and guaranteeing the satisfaction of basic needs for all workers.
We are placing the “Covid strikes” on an interactive map that we will be updating during the coming days and weeks. Have a look!
Is it inevitable that we will be poorer after confinement? No. If it were, Bolsonaro, Botin, the CEO of Michelin and so many others, would have us already working and with a “solidarity” cut in salaries.
The massacre of the residences is a very clear expression of how the objectives and incentives of[accumulation are opposed to the most basic human needs. The result is a bloody incompetence from the point of view of something as basic as the protection of human lives, but in reality, it has been “exemplary” from the point of view of the placement of capital and its profitability. Covid has spread and swept through them precisely because they were efficient for the purposes for which they were created.
Agricultural and food production has become dysfunctional even within the parameters of the system itself. If agriculture and the food sector are increasingly regulated, subsidized and financialized, it is simply because capitalism does not even work to meet social food needs and the system itself has to prop it up by accumulating band-aids… that do not fix its own underlying dynamics.
Capitalism is definitely an upside-down world and “social justice” is the most cynical expression of this absurdity. Reducing contagion by closing factories is presented as being in the particular interest of the workers, while avoiding further damage to corporate profits would be the “common good”. The common sacrifice is thus, always and in any case, that of the workers: some “recovering” hours when the health crisis subsides, others going to work because their work is essential… so that the average profitability of national capital does not suffer.
We are in the middle of the most synchronous and geographically widespread wave of strikes and struggles in the last century. It shows to what extent universal, human needs can only be defended by the workers as a class, because only to the workers do they present themselves as their immediate and direct objective throughout the world. And what is no less important, it shows that we workers are capable of affirming a global alternative when we break with the subordination of our demands to companies’ profits, in other words, when we break with the discourse that unions have been hammering out for years and that they continue to repeat today
Just as with Economic Theory and its experts , social knowledge and the needs of capital diverge because human needs and capital accumulation are increasingly antagonistic. The “expert” then becomes a stuntman whose task is to justify policies and to reassure the population.
Winners and losers of the inter-imperialist brawls in the EU have a common objective: “recovery”, in other words, organizing a brutal transfer of income from labor to capital. Once again, as always, as in any imperialist conflict, the main enemy is within the country itself.
This is about shutting down non-essential production, but at the same time ensuring that production serves basic human needs. Food, water, energy, supplies and medicines must reach everyone and in sufficient quantity during the confinement.
If the pressure to close down ceases to come from the striking workers and becomes part of a faction of the executive, not only will it be possible to manipulate what is an “essential service”, as in Murcia or Italy, until the concept loses all meaning, but the working class strength gained during the struggles will come to nothing It will be handed over to a part of the same class that is already discussing how to distribute the burden of reanimating national capital among the workers of each country “when it is all over”.
Italy closes non-essential production under the pressure of strikes. The governments of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany… are resisting. Not only they want to impose the criterion of saving investments over saving lives. They know the shape of the post-crisis will depend on the outcome of today’s struggles.
The pandemic has suddenly raised the level of contradictions in the system to the point of exposing at least two fundamental truths: the radical antagonism between human needs and capitalism, and that workers are the only political subject capable of representing and asserting these universal interests throughout the world,
The epidemic will not only change the competitive place and access to markets of European big business. It will also change the correlation of forces within the EU. It is now doubtful whether Italy, Portugal, Spain and even Greece would again support the adoption of “defensive measures” against China from Brussels. In a few weeks, when the health and economic crises further exacerbate the brutal instincts of the German bourgeoisie, it is more than possible that Germany and France, not China, will be the ones in an uncomfortable position on the European imperialist map.
The “shock plan” is a two-handed movement – one hand being the Spanish government and the other the European Central Bank – aimed at achieving the lowest possible devaluation of Spanish capital. To this end, it articulates a massive transfer of income from labor to capital that is “compensated” with minimum social coverage.
If anyone ever believed that the European Union could serve to moderate the appetites of national capitals and put the most basic universal human needs first, they can see their hopes refuted today, once again, with absolute clarity. On the other hand, those who doubted the ability of the working class to stand up to the barbarity of capital across national borders have a palpable demonstration these days of how the working class not only exists as a universal class but that its struggle is the only one capable of affirming the primacy of human needs effectively and across borders.
Too late and too little is the political formula for this epidemic to decimate workers and their families. We have to stop all non-essential production for confinement to serve any purpose. And we have to stop layoffs disguised as “emergency measures”.
The covid-19 pandemic is exposing the permanent disaster that capitalism is today and the extent to which its imperatives are antagonistic to the most basic human needs.
The hospital overcrowding that poses a danger to thousands of people today would have been avoidable if health systems had not been systematically eroded and if current governments had taken action against the spread at an early stage.
The “sacred anti-viral union”, the slogan of “coming together” with governments and national capital to “get out of the crisis together”, is not catching on. That’s excellent news. Probably the first good news that this epidemic has brought us.
Four lies and half truths that disarm us and in front of Coronavirus, and some important lessons for the workers as a class.
What is developing before our eyes is an increasingly direct connection between trade quarrels and military conflicts on the one hand and between these and the attack on the living conditions of the workers and the whole population on the other hand.
From the Sanders and the Sánchez to the Trumps and Putins, all ideological variants, all national capitals, have the same needs and lead us to the same place. It is not with them but against them that the only possible alternative can be affirmed.
Europe is at war… against refugees, migrants… against all of us.
76,000 Syrian refugees are already crossing Turkey. Thousands are crowding in front of the militarized borders between Greece and Turkey and in the last four hours alone, four hundred have arrived on the Greek islands in boats.
How the fear of some and the discontent of others led the islanders as a whole to join into the struggle by making the migrants’ demands their own
The most dangerous and constant enemies of human needs and life are within each country and are neither the viruses that come “from outside” nor the armies of neighboring countries.
The speed at which the trends towards recession and war are developing, the violence of the attacks on the living conditions of millions of workers around the world, still do not correlate with the level of response achieved by workers’ struggles so far this year.
The pockets of war are expanding, the global arsenals are widening and the tensions between powers are worsening at the pace of the difficulties of global capital. And do they expect us to close ranks with “our” national capital, which reserves more misery and militarism for us every day?
A strange and false “peace” built on the temporary impotence of its protagonists, who have every intention of blowing it up. Behind the fog, both war and crisis continue to rage.
We’re entering a critical time. The forces and tensions driving the spread of war in the Mediterranean and North Africa are constantly unfolding, while European workers are close to suffering -thanks to the trade unions- the first serious defeats in the fight for their pensions.
From the perspective of the bourgeoisie, this has been the week of the definitive acceptance of Trump in one hand and Green New Deal in the other. But from the workers’ perspective, however, the focus can only be on France.
Putting ourselves firmly on our own ground today means moving from discussing pension mechanisms to demanding pensions according to the needs of everyone as well as rejecting trade union representation and parades in order to start organising strike assemblies and coordinating them among themselves.
This week demonstrates that we cannot trust the ability of imperialisms to stand still on the edge of the abyss of open warfare, and how the trade unions are bringing all workers to the brink of dismantling the pension system.
In just three days, this week has given us the clues not only to the year that is beginning, but to the historical period in which we are living. Where the workers accept to follow the democratic revolt of the petty bourgeoisie, the latter, unable to assert itself, will end up framing them for the imperialist conflict and war. And yet, be it in Iran, Turkey, China, America or Europe, where the workers are affirming themselves through their own struggles and slogans, the infernal machinery of war grinds to a halt.
We need concrete slogans to advance the struggles, but also to form political groups to accelerate the development of a class programme and party.
In addition to the path of crisis and trade warr, there is now an industrial and transport reconversion -the “green new deal”- and its immediate consequence: a new global impulse towards imperialist conflict.
The week of COP25, NATO and the pension reform in France shows that all the “exits” that capitalism is capable of undertaking today are to create more misery or bring us even closer to war.
The scenario that is being drawn is that of a generalization of the frictions between states feeding internal “civil conflicts”, generally led by sectors of the discontented or drifting petty bourgeoisie (Hong Kong, Catalonia, Chile, Lebanon…). For the workers this means that the “popular revolts” are becoming increasingly mined land.
From Beirut to Baghdad, from Santiago de Chile to Mexico City and from Bogotá to Paris. Wherever we look, students are the erupting revolts’ vanguard. But not all mobilizations represent the same social class, nor do they impart the same meaning to the social uprising.
Tendencies towards confrontation and inter-imperialist conflict are inextricably woven with the strategies to deal with the crisis of the bourgeoisie all over the world.
This week ends with impossible balancing acts in Bolivia and Spain, as well as a new progress in the mobilizations on class demands in France… Before which Macron yields as soon as they gain massiveness and visibility.
The unraveling of the Bolivian situation warn of what is to come in South America. Meanwhile, in Europe, the crisis is fuelling inter-imperialist tensions, putting NATO in the spotlight. And the most important thing of the week: the struggle of the Chatillon railroaders achieved a historic success by getting rid of the union police’s yoke.
Since 21 October, workers at the railway maintenance centre in Châtillon, the high-speed rail network’s linchpin in western France, have been on strike without prior notice independently of the unions. They stand up against the appalling working conditions and union control that led to the disastrous strike of 2018.
The week has been marked by the impact… and the global political stalemate of the revolts.
South America and Syria have been the two main scenarios of a week in which both the path of Brexit seems to be cleared out and the recession is flashing its teeth more violently than announced.
We arrived at this weekend with a Brexit agreement pending approval by the British parliament, a Turkish truce awaiting reciprocation by the PKK-YPG and a call for a general strike in Catalonia which, in the lack of common interests between nationalism and the workers, has become a lockout.
This week’s big picture is the beginning of a real general offensive… not on the Syrian-Turkish border, but all over the world. A recession is coming and every national capital wants to arrive with the best possible cards. That means with the greatest capacities both to face its external rivals, and to increase our exploitation in absolute terms.
As scheduled, this week was a stroll of commemorations: from the Catalan independentist petty bourgeoisie to the Chinese state bourgeoisie. The economic and political reality, but also the class struggle, have imposed on them, however, a very different everyday.
European stocks are bordering on a crash situation. In Spain the day opened with a sudden downturn in employment this September… despite European tourists delaying their holidays. Around the world, the worst oil production figures in 16 years and the stagnation of world trade (1.2%) speak of a productive engine unable to rev up or even keep up its rhythm. In Europe as a whole, industrial production has been at its worst since 2012. The first victim: Germany. Economic activity figures for 2019 have fallen so low that Germans coined the term “mini-growth” to describe the aggregate result.
This week started with the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, the first sign of a crisis that is already plunging into recession; the trade war took over the universal postal system – a historic jewel of rising capitalism; it showed the inanity and immorality of the new ideologies of “sacred ecological union” with the bourgeoisie; it exacerbated the battle of the bourgeois factions in the United States; and it made clear the immediate limits that unions and the left impose on the only struggles that can offer a perspective of overcoming the morass that is unfolding before our eyes.
We are starting a new section: a weekly news report that puts into perspective the short term and its relationship with the interests and mobilizations of workers around the world.
Since midnight on Monday, workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. have been called to what could become the largest industrial strike in the country in a decade. 50,000 of them are on strike today.