Workers' Struggles

上週末(12月8日),法國的黃背心運動以另一輪大規模抗議行動進入了第四幕。雖然官方報道參與抗議的人數為十三萬左右,但實際人數可能達到五十萬人。這一次,政府方面的反應卻也更加的殘暴,在法國各地動員了八萬九千名員警來試圖阻止黃背心參與者發起和平或其他性質的抗議,導致了兩千餘人遭到逮捕。

Ever since 1 December, the latest day of mass protest in France, the French media have relentlessly broadcast the scenes of conflict between “yellow vest” protesters and riot police that overtook Paris. Journalists and politicians alike are running a 24/7 relay-race to “condemn all violence” – with the notable exception of violence by the riot police, which has so far resulted in the death of at least one protester, and injured many peaceful demonstrators.

The Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France is at a turning point. In the face of building radicalism, which now threatens the very survival of his government, Macron has changed his defiant tone and promised to “suspend” the fuel tax hike that provoked the movement. This retreat came after street battles over the weekend between thousands of protesters and the police that have left over 200 injured in Paris alone and resulted in at least one fatality.

In France, hundreds of thousands of people have participated since mid-November in the yellow vests movement to protest against the rise in fuel taxes and, in general, against the ever-increasing cost of living. This movement is the inevitable result of a palpable economic crisis, and the brutal austerity imposed by the current government.

If asked 'what is the least proletarian profession?', many might place ‘video game designer’ pretty close to the top. Until quite recently, that opinion might well have been shared by a majority of game designers themselves. But now this is changing rapidly. A snowballing of awareness is taking place about the extreme exploitation that the video games industry is based upon.

Late on the night of Sunday, 25 November, rumours began to trickle out about the impending closure of the Oshawa General Motors plant. The following morning the terrible news was confirmed to be true. In response, workers of Unifor Local 222 staged a spontaneous wildcat walkout. The closure is a massive blow to the working class of the city and the province which cannot be allowed to stand. The capitalists have shown themselves to be incapable of providing decent employment. It is up to the workers to take action to defend their jobs and union.

50,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been on rotating strike since 22 October. The Trudeau Liberal government has tabled so-called “back-to-work” legislation, that will make this work stoppage illegal. Increasingly, the right to strike in Canada is not worth the paper it is written on. As soon as a strike becomes effective, it is declared illegal. However, the postal workers are angry and there is a real opportunity that they will defy the legislation. Solidarity is urgently needed to let the CUPW workers know they are not alone, and that workers in Canada and internationally support their fight.

It’s been a turbulent time for the aviation industry recently. And now another airline looks unlikely to weather the storm. Flybe is up for sale, with the regional air carrier calling in accountants from KPMG in an attempt to save itself from collapse. Half-year profits have plunged and the company’s auditor, PwC, warned of “significant doubt” over its future. KPMG's involvement should have instantly set alarm bells ringing, as they were also the administrator of Monarch Airlines last year.

The mobilisation of the gilets jaunes (“yellow vests”) protest movement marks an important step in the development of the class struggle in France. With no party, no union, and no pre-existing organisation, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in this movement against a tax increase on diesel and petrol, sweeping aside the pseudo-concessions and threats of the government. They are supported by a large majority of the population.

近几个月来,一场工人和学生对抗中国资本主义政权的持久战正在展开。中国政府对支援工人的学生们施加的残暴镇压,也凸显了这场抗争的火爆性。

近幾個月來,一場工人和學生對抗中國資本主義政權的持久戰正在展開。中國政府對支援工人的學生們施加的殘暴鎮壓,也凸顯了這場抗爭的火爆性。

In recent months, a protracted struggle has been underway in China, with workers and students standing in solidarity against the pro-capitalist regime. This is highlighted by the recent, brutal clampdown on student activists involved in worker solidarity.

This week has seen thousands of women council workers taking strike action in Glasgow in an ongoing dispute over pay equality. The dispute dates back to equal pay claims from 2006, when Glasgow City Council introduced a Workforce Pay and Benefits Review System, which aimed to tackle the gender pay gap. However, under the scheme, low-paid jobs tending to be occupied by women – such as cleaning, catering and care – are being paid significantly less than jobs such as refuse collection, which are male dominated.

The tremendous protests on 29 September all across Brazil were yet another demonstration of the building fightback against the far-right presidential candidate, Bolsonaro. These manifestations were initially called and organised by the Facebook group "United Women Against Bolsonaro", but word spread through the internet and the turn-out was greatly expanded.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday suspended its general strike on its fourth day, after the government agreed to meet the unions on October 4-5 to discuss an increase in the minimum wage. The call for the strike had surprised the union leaders themselves, who had not expected such a massive response. Now they are doing everything to demobilise.

On 20 September, an open letter from a representative of the Peking University (PKU) Marxist Society (MS) in Beijing, China began circulating on Chinese social media. The letter detailed the significant difficulty that the society faced this month in finding a faculty advisor required to re-register as a recognised student club on the campus.

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