Workers' Struggles

A decade after the 2010/11 revolution threw out the hated dictator Ben Ali, a wave of anti-government protest has rocked Tunisia. The government has been ousted in a palace coup, but there can be no faith in any bourgeois faction. The masses can trust only in their own strength. A new revolutionary upsurge by workers and youth is necessary to win a real future. 

The revolution in Myanmar, after months of heroic struggles by the masses, has ebbed. The regime has clamped down brutally, while the protest movement has shifted from mass strikes and demonstrations to small-scale armed skirmishes. The question has to be posed, why have we reached such a situation, and what lessons need to be learned?

On 22 May, 1,400 farmers protested against the lack of permanent access to water in the Iranian province of Isfahan. The regime answered by sending riot police, who brutally beat the farmers, who fought back, leading to clashes. This was not an isolated incident; there is widespread discord among farmers, with recent protests in Khuzestan, Sistan-Balochistan, Khorasan and elsewhere.

Over the last few days, dockworkers of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in the port city of Durban have refused to handle cargo from an Israeli ship, in protest against Israel's bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip over the last few weeks. Currently, the ship is still lying in the Durban harbour waiting to take on cargo. 

Protests and strikes are now spreading across every sector of the economy in Iran. There have been at least 100 strikes and protests over the course of the past few months. While not yet on the scale that we have seen in the recent past, pensioners and workers receiving social security have also held weekly protests across the country.

Mass demonstrations were seen in cities across Britain over the weekend, as thousands took to the streets to condemn the crimes of Israeli imperialism, and to show support for the Palestinian liberation struggle. Intifada until victory!

Colombia’s national strike has been ongoing for 13 days now and has managed to secure Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla’s resignation and the withdrawal of the tax reform. It is still going strong in the streets, its lungs filled with fresh air. The government attacks the movement in an attempt to destroy it, but it is all in vain; every injury it sustains arouses its fury, develops its consciousness and intensifies its resolve. It is a movement filled with the energy of change that draws strength from the dignity the people have been deprived of for so long.

The movement in Colombia that successfully beat back Duque’s tax theft is at a crucial juncture. Our Colombian comrades have written the following 10 theses for how the struggle must proceed. The logic of this fight is a struggle for power with the regime. The main slogan must be: Duque Out!

The mobilization of the dockers at the Port of Montreal is reaching a critical point. With the strike only beginning, the Trudeau Liberals, with the full support of the CAQ at the provincial level, are moving to take away the democratic right to strike. We cannot let another strike be crushed through the use of back-to-work legislation.

A failed attempt to unionise Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama is a lesson in the need for a bold and effective strategy by the US labour leaders. Even a goliath like Amazon is no match for the power of the working class when effectively organised. The battle goes on!

Jose del Paso and Tom Trottier from Socialist Revolution (the IMT in the USA) interviewed former Amazon employee, Chris Smalls, who was fired following his attempt to organize a strike at one of the company’s Staten Island facilities over health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. After terminating his job, Amazon attempted to use him as a scapegoat to tarnish organizing efforts by Amazon workers nationwide. Chris went on to found the Congress of Essential Workers, an alliance of workers who fight for higher wages and better working conditions for essential workers.

Over the weekend, demonstrations took place across Britain in defence of the right to protest. The labour movement must channel this energy into a mass campaign – to smash the Tories' latest repressive laws, and to bring down this whole rotten government.

The first national strike of Amazon workers in Italy took place on Monday 22 March, after Amazon's management walked away from the negotiating table. Although it is difficult to measure the exact level of participation, the strike was a resounding success.

A new law being proposed by the Tories – that would give police unprecedented repressive powers – has led to a wave of anger and demonstrations. In Bristol last weekend, police provoked a peaceful protest of 5,000 into a furious riot. This anger towards the police came on the back of their brutal suppression of a peaceful vigil in London, in memory of Sarah Everard, allegedly killed by a police officer two weeks ago.

In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, and the subsequent police suppression of a vigil in her memory, protestors have taken to the streets across Britain. We must mobilise to overthrow this entire oppressive, violent, and repressive system. Speakers from Socialist Appeal (British section of the IMT) will address these events at a free public rally today at 7PM GMT, register here.

Mass protests involving thousands have broken out in Greece against the state persecution of a left-wing prisoner, who has gone on hunger strike to achieve basic rights. The mainly youth demonstrators have been met with vicious repression by the state. A united front of all left organisations is necessary to fight against the reactionary, authoritarian New Democracy government!

The Myanmar masses continue to resist the military junta despite mass arrests and dozens of people already killed on the streets. Over one month since the military took over, the junta is still failing to restore any semblance of stability. On the contrary, class tensions are being heightened as an alliance of unions organised a second general strike in response to the military’s continued clampdown.

On 28 February, China Digital Times reported that a food delivery workers’ mutual aid network organiser (Xiong Yan, also known as Chen Sheng) might have been taken into police custody in Beijing. On 1 March, an informant from within the Ele.me, the online platform from which Xiong Yan gets his delivery orders, confirmed that he and some other members of his network were indeed arrested. At the time of writing, Xiong Yan’s whereabouts and status remain unknown, and speculation abounds. This news has garnered widespread attention.