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The Communist Party Issue 51
March-May 2023
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Last update Mar.12, 2023
WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY – The line running from Marx to Lenin to the foundation of the Third International and the birth of the Communist Party of Italy in Leghorn (Livorno) 1921, and from there to the struggle of the Italian Communist Left against the degeneration in Moscow and to the rejection of popular fronts and coalition of resistance groups
– The tough work of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and the party organ, in contact with the working class, outside the realm of personal politics and electoralist manoevrings

1. Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Destruction and Death are our Fate under Capitalism
2. Rail Disaster in Ohio
3. Greed blocks Navigation on the Mississippi.
4. The January 8 Riots in Brazil’s Capital Blow Wind for the Flags of Bourgeois Democracy
5. Italian Elections
6. ICP Intervention in Portland City Workers’ Strike
7. The 8 Months of Strike Action at New Holland
8. General Strikes in France: January 19 - ICP Leaflet - Yet Another Attack on Living and Working Conditions
9. Venezuela: Labor struggle at Ipostel
10. Turkish and Syrian Textile Workers Unite in Gaziantep
11. Russia and Georgia: By Striking, Proletarian Youth Challenge the Police State
12. Georgia: Strike of Taxi Drivers and Couriers
13. The Party’s Classical Theses and Evaluations on Imperialist Wars (1989)


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Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Destruction and Death are our Fate under Capitalism

"What happened happened. These are things that happen in the plan of fate" - Erdoğan

In Islamic literature, fate, which was included among the conditions of faith during the Umayyad period, is roughly defined as the belief that everything that has happened and will happen is from Allah and that nothing can happen outside of Allah’s will and knowledge. According to Sunni Islam, those who do not accept the conditions of faith are not considered Muslims.

Similar words to the above, which Erdoğan said to earthquake victims in one of the tent cities, are used by the Turkish bourgeoisie from time to time. In a country that is 99.8% Muslim on paper, in fact half, maybe more, of the population is secular Muslim or secular. As such, the fate discourse gives the impression that it covers up its own negligence and aims to create religious tension in one half of the society and naturally draws great reaction.

Erdoğan escalates tensions by equating harsh criticism of his opponents in many sources with questioning the concept of fate, while blocking the other half of the society from questioning the destruction and death to such an extent. In short, these tens of thousands of people would have died even without the earthquake because they were destined to die! What will be will be, precautions don’t matter! These days you can watch on Turkish TV the miraculous rescues of children protected by their mother’s ghost!

Yes, the death toll in this earthquake, which is currently around 50,000 and will probably reach 100,000, is fate! If we talk about the unplanned construction, the uncontrolled and poorly financially supported migration process, the racial discrimination and bullying against Kurds and other minorities in the region, the corrupt administration and control mechanisms, we can show that fate has woven its webs without any supernatural intervention. Of course, it is fate that buildings built on fault lines in violation of scientific rules, without inspection and earthquake resistance tests, collapse like playing cards. This fate will not change until these conditions change!

Capitalist and Imperialist Crisis Management

At 4:17 am, the preliminary report of the earthquake centered in Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş is claimed to be in the hands of the state at 5 am. The first press release comes 1 and a half hours later and it is stated that rescue teams have been dispatched. There is an army in Malatya, corps in Diyarbakır and Adana, and a brigade in Kahramanmaraş. So if all the troops had been dispatched without delay, together with local AFAD and Red Crescent troops, many lives could have been saved by 6 o’clock. Thousands of soldiers could have started working only in their cities, but 40 hours after the earthquake, 7035 soldiers were directed to work in the region, according to government accounts. It is reported that only in the 57th hour of the earthquake, 16,785 soldiers joined the rescue efforts. By that time, a team of 6 thousand people from other countries and search and rescue dogs were also involved in the rescue efforts.

The government’s rescue teams, which have been targeting relief zones based on the vote in the upcoming elections, arrived in Hatay - a city many volunteers could reach by personal vehicle - two days after the earthquake because the roads were impassable. Many people trapped under the collapse could not be reached and pulled out, even though their location was known. There are thousands of people who have lost their lives because of the days-long wait, despite their loved ones frantically searching for rescue teams. After Erdoğan’s declaration of a state of emergency, there have been reports of people being beaten by law enforcement officers for allegedly looting. These attacks seem to be mostly directed against Syrian earthquake victims. There is even civilian participation in these attacks.

The entire districts of Hassa in Hatay, Islahiye and Nurdağı in Gaziantep are built on faults. There are no restrictions preventing building on the fault. According to geologists’ investigations in the field, liquefaction was observed in the part of the Amik Plain towards Hatay and on the coast of Iskenderun. Structures built on such soils will not survive such an earthquake. Turkey today has 550 active faults and such disasters are no surprise for this country. 66% of the country is in the 1st or 2nd degree earthquake zone. It is obvious that when the ground conditions are well defined, appropriate structures are designed and built in the right places, there will not be such a great loss of life. Of course, this is not an easy thing to implement for Turkey, which is a populous country. Moreover, considering that it has received a large amount of foreign migration in recent years. Turkey’s population has increased to a rate that the infrastructure of the cities cannot handle. Let’s take a look at the conditions that prepared this:

Background to the Disaster: Building Excess and Real Estate Bubble

TOKİ (Housing Development Administration), a bureaucratic institution that Erdoğan took over shortly after he came to power, has turned into a power center since 2004. TOKİ acquired valuable land at nominal or no cost and put it out to tender. In the years that followed, the real estate sector began to develop very rapidly. It had been experienced in other countries that an economy based on the rapid growth of the real estate sector would be plunged into crisis. By 2014, there was a huge surplus of housing units across Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. This was triggered by the fact that purchasing power was not taken into account. When banks raised interest rates, middle- and low-income workers were unable to buy houses. As a solution to this situation, they turned to buyers from abroad.

According to experts, the Pazarcık fault was expected to break, but it was not predicted that it would break the Amanos fault (Hatay). 9 hours later, it was never expected to break the Sürgü fault. The earthquake, which affected 10 provinces in Turkey and the vicinity of Aleppo and Idlib in Syria, is known as the deadliest earthquake of the recent period after the Haiti earthquake. It is also worth noting that an earthquake is expected in the region west of the Amik Plain leading to the Red Sea within a period of 10 to 30 years, affecting partly Turkey but mostly Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. One of the two major faults crossing Turkey has been activated. This fault, together with the Dead Sea fault, is one of the most active faults in the Middle East, separating the Arabian peninsula from Africa. The severity of the situation is not hard to understand, but to blame the severity of the natural disaster as the sole cause of the death toll would at best infuriate anyone who has studied the process and consequences of other earthquakes around the world. The data shows that in two different regions with similar population densities and similar types and intensity of earthquakes, mortality rates increase in direct proportion to the material power of the country and the region.

The teams, which were very late in the first days of the earthquake, are in a hurry to remove the rubble left after the earthquake, with thousands of dead underneath, and prepare it for the election period. One of the posts you can often see on social media was this: even though many people in the area have reported to the authorities that there are voices coming from the rubble, the teams say that the rescue process is over and turn to debris removal. While people were still coming out of the rubble alive... As per their orders... Many public buildings such as hospitals, airports and schools are unusable. Damage to roads makes transportation very difficult in many earthquake-affected provinces. There is no access to electricity, water or natural gas.

The process will not end with this, the aftershocks of the earthquake will be as big as the earthquake itself. The aftershocks of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake can be as high as 6.5. It will take time for all cities to assess damage and prepare plans. It is useful for people to stay away from their homes during the process. After the first month, earthquakes will gradually become smaller, but they will make themselves felt for a year. Of course, the buildings with minor damage will also wear out in this process. The survivors of the region’s population, which officially stands at 13 and a half million, and unregistered migrants are now homeless and in need of even basic necessities. The tent cities set up for millions of homeless people do not meet the need.

Not a single one of the 135,000 TOKİ houses built in the 10 cities devastated by the earthquake was damaged in the earthquake. While people are still being pulled from the rubble, TOKİ officials have made new announcements: Thirty thousand houses are planned and construction will be completed within a year. They do not neglect to announce that they will come up with many more new projects. It was known that the tension of this fault line, which had not produced a major earthquake in a long time, was rising, but not by the inhabitants, as AFAD’s report before the earthquake indicated. The need for housing for the rapidly growing population due to out-migration was enough to make construction companies salivate. Low-quality houses were sold or rented at exorbitant prices to migrants fleeing harsh conditions. Many migrants were forced to struggle to survive in conditions of severe poverty in very unhealthy structures. The situation for the local working class was not much better. They were going through a similar process, with wages not increasing despite rising prices. This led to an avalanche of poor masses in the cities. No institutional infrastructure was strong enough to handle this scale of migration. In many cities in Turkey, everything from transportation to health and education is in gridlock. Schools are overcrowded, public transportation is inadequate and crowded, employment opportunities are narrow and there is a backlog. Job queues are endless. There is a need for doctors in hospitals, teachers in schools, janitors, etc. There is a need for too many workers in almost every field. These unhealthy cities make epidemics and natural disasters much more deadly.

On the Syrian side, the Assad government did not specially deliver aid from different parts of the world to the two hardest hit cities. This was because these were areas that the government perceived as terrorist. Hundreds of women and children kidnapped by Islamic extremist groups were also left helpless under the rubble. Assad even made sure to drop bombs on the earthquake victims. The earthquake obviously made Assad happy. People in the area were already in desperate need of humanitarian aid and the UN routinely sent some supplies, just enough to keep them alive. According to local reports, the UN did not send the advertised aid. It sent aid materials that it already routinely sends. Many of these were not even useful under earthquake conditions. Now, after millions of deaths, an estimated 5.3 million people are homeless and in need of aid.

Capitalism does not shy away from the loss of life in the pursuit of profit, and so the same fate befalls many cities and the workers who inhabit their worst and most flimsy housing. Scientists have been warning for a long time that a very strong earthquake is coming for Istanbul, just like the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. In Istanbul, as in the 10 other cities where the earthquake occurred, zoning amnesties keep being issued to register illegal buildings that are not scientifically compatible with the conditions of the region. By 2023, Istanbul’s population is expected to reach 18 million, and the city hosts around 15 million tourists every year. Overpopulation is making this gigantic city increasingly decrepit and knotted. Now we are waiting for an earthquake in a huge city where 90% of its buildings are said to be unstable in 2018. You can deduce how the next earthquake is managed from the management of this earthquake. As we can see, the fate of Istanbul has already been written, it is only left to be realized.

Spontaneous Mobilization Led by the Working Class

If a great class solidarity had not been established from the first moments of the earthquake, the situation today could have been even worse. From the moment they learned about the earthquake, people tried to reach out to people they knew in the area. Many people asked for help from anyone they could contact from under the rubble. Cries for help spread rapidly through social media. Reports poured in to state institutions. When the institutions did not show up for duty, civilians gathered in gathering places such as schools and gymnasiums through social media and immediately started collecting aid. They tried to reach the region in teams. Workers from many sectors, from health workers to miners, flocked to the region. They not only participated in search and rescue operations but also made the voices of the earthquake victims heard.

Workers pressured their bosses to send them to the earthquake zone, but the bosses prevented them. Workers who had annual leave went and carried out search and rescue operations; those who stayed behind were on duty to deliver truckloads of aid to the region, to identify the places where there were sounds in the rubble and to convey them to the aid teams. Especially in regions with low vote potential for the current government, a large segment of the working class, which already distrusted the state, immediately realized that the state was leaving people to die.

While the working class shared their pennies, the owners of capital started to donate sums that would not burden them at all due to the pressure of social media and the high advertising potential. Donations were also pouring into the Turkish state from other countries and organizations. But the vast majority of the Turkish working class found it safer to donate to a charity founded by an alternative music artist than to the state’s organizations set up to deal with such disasters.

The Attitude of the Combative Trade Unions

While the rank and file of leftist trade union confederations such as DISK and KESK were actively involved in the mobilization, with KESK’s Health Workers Union drawing attention to the health conditions of the earthquake victims and DISK’s Gıda-İş opposing racist attacks on refugees, in general the interventions of the opportunist leaders of these confederations and their member unions did not go beyond visits to the region.

Umut-Sen, an organization of struggling grassroots unions, declared a state of emergency and went to the earthquake zone with the workers it could organize. Umut-Sen listed the following demands:

"All relations and possibilities must be organized to ensure that the debris work is carried out correctly and quickly and that every one of the citizens under the rubble is rescued without losing any time. Transparent information should be shared with the public about the situation and activities in the earthquake zone. Neither manipulations that would lead the public to panic and fear nor steps to deceive and mislead the public should be resorted to. All communication companies must ensure that all lines closed due to unpaid bills are activated. The solidarity and work of the government and municipalities, all kinds of institutions, structures and individuals must never be based on competition; as in previous examples, provocation must not be resorted to by law enforcement. Public resources created with the taxes of the people must be used without limit to meet all the needs of the people, to establish disaster assembly areas and for all kinds of work. Those who call on people in the earthquake zone to leave their homes should never "impose work" on laborers. Workers from all branches of labor in the earthquake zone should be put on administrative leave during this period. No worker should be forced to work under the risk of earthquake and such anxiety".

Millions of migrants who entered Turkey legally and illegally, who are used as cheap labor and live in very unhealthy conditions in the countries they came from fleeing war, also experienced the earthquake disaster. According to the posts circulating on social media, the atmosphere in the region is appalling, from people coming from other provinces and attacking migrants in groups on the streets, to law enforcement officers beating migrants on the pretext of so-called looting. On the one hand, they are chased out of their tent areas and beaten up even by earthquake victims who are going through the same process as them, and on the other hand, they cannot even benefit from the basic aid that the state delivers too little and too late. When we add the deaths of unregistered migrants who will not even be mentioned, who knows how many thousands the total number of deaths will reach? If anyone has access to the data, we will find out. Formed in 2021, the Migrant Trade Union Initiative’s text titled "Our Call Against Increasing Discrimination and Verbal-Physical Violence Against Migrants in the Earthquake Region" explains the situation of earthquake-stricken migrants quite well:

"According to the information we have received from the field since the first hours of the earthquake, migrants are often excluded from the food, shelter and medicine aid reaching the area and face serious problems in evacuating the area. Although a circular has been issued to allow earthquake-affected migrants to leave the area without a travel permit, they are not able to benefit from the services and assistance provided by buses, planes and accommodation companies, and only those who are able to leave by their own means are able to leave the area.

In addition to not being able to leave the area and not being able to access the aid, a perception is created that they are looting the aid parcels and houses. Clearly, the inadequacy of state institutions in search and rescue and aid delivery is being covered up with hatred of migrants, and some establishment politicians and their media outlets are consciously serving this purpose".

Natural Disasters and Capitalism

In the 24th issue of our newspaper at the time, Battaglia Comunista, published in 1951, in an article entitled "Slaughter of the Dead", we explained how natural disasters provide a renewal for capitalism:

"When disaster destroys houses, fields and factories and leaves the active population unemployed, it undoubtedly destroys wealth. But this cannot be remedied by transferring wealth from elsewhere, as in the miserable operation of rummaging through old things, where advertising, collecting and transportation cost far more than the value of the worn-out clothes.

The wealth that disappeared was the wealth of the past, the wealth of centuries of labor. A huge mass of present, living labor is needed to undo the impact of the catastrophe. Therefore, if we use a concrete social definition of wealth, not an abstract one, we can see it as the right of certain individuals of the ruling class to benefit from living contemporary labor. New incomes and new privileged fortunes are generated by the mobilization of new labour, and the capitalist economy offers no way to close the gap by "shifting" wealth accumulated elsewhere...

This is why taxing the ownership of the fields, houses and factories that remain intact to rebuild those affected is a stupid idea.

At the heart of capitalism is not the ownership of such investments, but a type of economy that allows to exploit and profit from what human labor creates in endless cycles, subordinating the employment of that labor to this withdrawal...

The basis of Marxist economic analysis is the distinction between dead and living labor. We define capitalism not as the ownership of past, crystallized masses of labor, but as the right to extract from living and active labor. Therefore the present economy cannot lead to a good solution with a minimum expenditure of present labor, which realizes a rational preservation of what past labor has passed on to us and better foundations for the performance of future labor. What concerns bourgeois economics is the frenzy of the contemporary rhythm of work, which, without regard for welfare, promotes the destruction of the still useful masses of past labor".

Both Sides of the Border share a Common Destiny

The crisis management of capitalism, where political ambitions and competition of interests are prioritized above all else, is always planned in a way that is most profitable for capital. It was clear on both sides of the border that the effort to save millions of people was kept to a minimum. In the first days of the earthquake, when the maximum number of rescue operations could have been carried out, the states hosting the earthquake, and even other states promising to help, slowed down their efforts. While Turkey was trying to cope by dragging unemployed young people to university education, internships and wars at home and abroad, it rejoiced when thousands of people died due to ’fate’. The Turkish government would have shown its joy more openly if its chances in the elections had not been so slim. In Syria, the Assad regime would be most grateful for an earthquake hitting the groups it is already fighting. International aid and support on top of a massacre that he can carry out without wasting bombs...

The only strength the working class can count on is the solidarity of its classmates, as such disasters show. There are many lessons to be learned from this earthquake: It would have been possible to save many more lives, especially in disaster conditions, if workers who could offer professional help (miners, workers with search and rescue training, medics, lawyers, social workers...) had come out of their workplaces en masse and shown reflexes very early. But organizing through real class unions, both across different sectors and across different unions in the same sector, makes it possible to prepare in advance for what can be done in emergencies and to mobilize quickly. In fact, making it possible to expand the trade union network also helps the working class to raise awareness of regional problems and work together to overcome them. Against racism, against unhealthy living conditions, against the housing crisis caused by massive population growth, workers must join arms with those they trust most, their classmates. The answer of the working class of Turkey and Syria, which is being crushed day by day by the conditions of life, to the rulers who disregard their own lives, can be a powerful class struggle born out of acting together.

Only under the power of the proletarian state can this trade union activity fulfill its social goals. The Communist Party International, having learned the lessons of history in the light of Marxist doctrine, is the guide the working class needs to exist as a class and win as a class.

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Rail Disaster in Ohio

On February 3rd, in a small village on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania called East Palestine, a train derailed (specifically, 51 of the 150 cars). Five of these cars were carrying 115,580 gallons of vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic which is extremely flammable. Due to the nature of this chemical, the crew released the chemical and burned it after three days. Both the governor of Ohio and Pennsylvania ordered an evacuation, which was lifted on February 8th. However, 43,000 animals have died in the area.

Who could trust the government in a post-chernobyl world? The EPA is here to assure us that this is a safe place, no cause for immediate concern. But the key word here is immediate, which is the only time-frame capitalism has any time for. Experts at Texas A&M University found instead that if the concentrations of the chemicals continue for the next few months, there could be serious long-term health effects. In the meantime, such chemicals may cause headaches, lung irritation, eye irritation. It goes without saying too, the level of carcinogens are elevated. Fortunately, the EPA has not measured such chemicals inside of people’s homes, but experts are unaware of what the long term effect will be on these people’s health.

Social media ran with the hysterics as the grifters came over, behaving obnoxiously and spreading misinformation, for in our society every act of antisocial behavior seems to be rewarded. The political authorities of course used this as an opportunity to talk about anything other than the crisis. Trump visited the place, offering out his own brand of “Trump Water.” JD Vance, a senator from Ohio, somehow used the crisis as an excuse to appear on talking head shows and refer to the environment and racism as “fake problems.” Pete Buttigieg, a member of the Democratic party, has responded the way any ruling government does to a disaster: let’s not talk about politics, let’s not talk about causes, let’s unite as a nation and fix this!

But it is politics that is to blame. The crew had little time to react and reacted in an appropriate manner. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have stated in their report "We have no evidence that the crew did anything wrong".

We immediately see the failure of capitalist “regulation” that refused to mark this as hazardous. While electronic rail brakes were required for trains in 2015, the previous presidential administration axed those rules, and the current one had made no moves to reinstate them. Though such brakes alone would not have prevented the derailment, they certainly would’ve decreased the number of cars derailed.

On that topic, we should be stunned at the number of cars. The train was over 150 cars long, clocking in at over a mile and a half! Capital, which is by its nature short-sighted, rewarded such a measure. Norfolk managed to liberate itself from 30% of its staff by making these measures. In the future society, they will look back puzzled at how we allowed the love of money to end the livelihood of 30% of an organization while simultaneously embarking on an organizational strategy known to be unsafe. Today the bourgeoisie says it does not want to deal with the “logistical nightmare” of making trains safe. Tomorrow, communist man will be horrified that when they read about our ruling class’s worldview.

It is natural and expected that an industrial society should experience catastrophes now and again. But lately it feels as if we are experiencing more than our fair share. Only communism can save us from this world rife with disaster.

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Greed blocks Navigation on the Mississippi

As the U.S. federal government and railroads try to avoid supply disruptions caused by an unruly workforce, another threat of chaos looms over the economy. The Mississippi River, the great artery of U.S. freight transportation, due to lack of rainfall has reached its lowest levels in 40 years, preventing barges from being drawn. Water levels in Memphis, Tennessee, a major logistics hub, are nearly 11 feet below average. The sailing time of a barge, the preferred mode of transportation for most agricultural products, from St. Louis, the main trading center on the river at the confluence of the Missouri River, to New Orleans, at the mouth of the great river on the Gulf of Mexico, has doubled.

Barges must be less loaded because of the reduced draft, nine feet compared to twelve in normal times and fourteen on the lower Mississippi. In addition, voyage times have increased greatly; a tug can push fewer barges because of the navigable width, reduced by low water: a typical convoy of 40 barges now pushes only 25. A standard barge loads 1,500 short tons, about 1,361 metric tons, for example 50,000 bushels of soybeans. Every foot less draft reduces the capacity of a barge by 150 to 200 short tons-a 25 to 30 percent reduction.

Army engineers in October began dredging the bottom and raised a berm of mud on the riverbed, which further restricted traffic: it was possible to travel along the Mississippi only during the day and in the berm area alternately one-way. More than 1,000 barges waited in line.

It is important for U.S. farms to ship their products to the international market while the southern hemisphere, particularly South America, is still in winter. The world’s largest soybean producer is Brazil, where the planting season begins in September. Beans are harvested on average after nearly 4 months. As Brazilian production arrives, prices begin to fall. This will result in reduced profits. In addition, the corn harvest is approaching, which will require new shipments.

The problem shows no sign of abating in the near future. Even if rainfall returns soon the dried up soil from the long drought would absorb most of it. Conversely, if the rain were too concentrated, the parched farmland would not have time for it to percolate from the surface, to feed the water tables and springs, and would be washed away.

The bourgeoisie, however, is unwilling to take any measures to mitigate this problem.

The big capitalist powers remain locked into fossil fuels, particularly petrochemicals, as a huge source of profits and rents.

From oil they get not only energy but chemicals for fertilizers. Warming caused by fossil fuel emissions, together with the disruption of the nitrogen cycle caused by overuse of fertilizers, has severely disrupted the natural climate cycles that sustain life on this planet.

The destruction of billions of dollars of capital invested in this sector is unthinkable; too much money is at stake.

Although everyone knows that negative carbon emissions and the restoration of the nitrogen cycle to facilitate the growth of plants, which capture carbon, are necessary to avoid catastrophe, the impassive bourgeoisie insists that we must produce and consume more and more goods. Only communist revolution can lead us off this dead-end course.

The January 8 Riots in Brazil’s Capital Blow Wind for the Flags of Bourgeois Democracy

In recent months, Brazil has been embroiled in a dispute over the recent presidential election, a familiar terrain of slap fights, sermons by politicians and heated arguments at the family dinner table. None of these activities are of any importance to the proletariat, even though they are advertised as part of democracy, this putrid and lying system that dilutes the voice and power of the proletariat into appeals to the “people” and the nation, seeking always to derail the class struggle into the harmless path of the parliament.

After a first round in which a host of insignificant figures were eliminated after being written off by the public and the media, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, the leading leftist candidate, was elected president, unseating his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, much maligned for his involvement in corruption and scandalous comments – that is, for not being able to competently run the bourgeois state. But while Lula promises to “govern for all Brazilians” and Bolsonaro shouts and cries that there was fraud in the election, we all know that it is a fruitless and futile effort for anyone but the elected politicians and their lobbying groups.

In the same vein as the pro-Bolsonaro faction, the pro-Lula faction and its allies (PSOL, PCdoB, regime unions) compose a multi-classist group, only different from the former by their discourse, their symbols, and the numerical composition of classes and social strata within them. Although they drag proletarian, lumpen-proletarian and peasant groups in their midst, these two parties are, in program and practice, bourgeois. They do not advocate for the political independence of the proletariat and will never do so.

An important detail to keep in mind is the result of the 2022 elections: while Lula boasts of having mobilized 60 million Brazilians to vote for him, Bolsonaro managed to reach 58 million. Although this sounds horrible to the reformist’s mind, we must point out that the Brazilian state runs on corruption and unstable governments, and that the working class in Brazil still does not possess the developed and competent organizations that could expand its activity in the terrain of class struggle, thus letting the airwaves be dominated by populist and electoralist garbage. This is not something that has been ignored by the Brazilian proletariat, a large part of which sees no possibility of systemic change within this democracy.

To illustrate this point, out of a total population of 214 million, Brazil has a registered electorate of 156 million. Of these 156 million citizens, Exame reports that about 32 million did not show up to vote in either of the two rounds of elections (having justified their absence in court or not – in the latter case, they are obliged to pay a fine). According to Estadão, another 1.9 million cast a blank vote (accepting the winning candidate) and almost 3.5 million cast a null vote (not accepting any of the candidates in the second round of the elections).

Lula and Bolsonaro together totaled 118 million votes. But that means 96 million people – more than twice the population of Argentina – were left out of the country’s “festival of democracy”. Politicians always claim to have massive popular support behind them, but at the end of the day, they can only rule on behalf of the bourgeoisie, and their once solid popularity frequently vanishes into thin air.

As we have observed over the last ten years, Brazil has seen the rise to media prominence of a stream of right-wing petty-bourgeois activists and political figures, who have united behind the nation’s green and yellow banner, denouncing the “chaos” and “instability” of Brazilian politics, complaining about corruption scandals (but never those of their faction) and giving airtime to anyone who agrees with their narrative. They identify a vast and vaguely defined “communist conspiracy” as the source of all their ills, in a carbon copy of the standard discourse of the political right everywhere, from the United States to Europe to the less prominent states of the world. They do not recognize the outcome of the 2022 election and insist that Bolsonaro won it.

On January 8, 2023, this mob, dominated by petty bourgeois elements (but dragging along people from other social groups) decided to join forces and march towards the state’s palaces in the capital, Brasilia, occupying the buildings for a few hours and engaging in an orgy of vandalism, breaking pots and throwing chairs, all while live-streaming their actions and taking pictures of each other for all the world to see. The police made their class interests clear by refusing to do anything more than stand by and watch the crowd sow chaos. Upon learning of this, the president decreed a federal intervention in the district of Brasilia, sending in the army and the rest of the police to arrest more than 1,000 demonstrators. The palaces were quickly reoccupied, and the uproar died down. Lula took advantage of the situation to put forward his own national-reformist discourse.

The bourgeois media, especially the Marinho family mouthpiece, Rede Globo, which has intelligently supported Lula and “democracy”, rushed to condemn the incident, launching a barrage of concerned words, such as “terrorists”, “criminals” and “insurrectionists”. They cried their eyes out for the toppled tables, scratched paintings of Cândido Portinari and desecrated insignia of the Brazilian State. Many governments, the UN and the OAS have already repudiated the incident and made political attacks against former president Jair Bolsonaro.

Meanwhile, the proletarian watches the events on TV, says “what a mess”, shrugs their shoulders and takes the bus to work.

The Brazilian “left”, of course, did not think twice about heroically condemning the offensive of this dangerous army of Instagram influencers and pool cleaning supply store owners which descended upon the most sacred temple of the people: the Trotskyist Esquerda Diário has called on the proletariat to organize a “national strike against the putschists”, as if the repressive apparatus of the state would have too much trouble dealing with the latter.

These actors of this perpetual theatrical play of the bourgeois state can lament the pictures of all the acts of vandalism which occurred in the state palaces of Brasilia, as if it were Rome and the Vandals; but this does not concern the proletarians, most of whom have never seen any decent, guaranteed infrastructure in their neighborhoods, in the workplaces or in their children’s schools. And while the new government will hire workers to clean up its house in a week, to the latter they can offer nothing more than Lula’s sentimentalist stunts and words.

The events of January 8 in Brazil were, down to the tiniest detail, an almost exact replica of those of January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C. In both cases, a group of hysterical petty-bourgeois right-wing activists ran over a sympathetic police guard, which did not oppose them, into the main seat of the country’s government, occupying the building before being quickly ejected from the premises. In both incidents, the bourgeois media worldwide spread panic over the threat of a fascist coup, declaring that “democracy is in danger” as if it were a kidnapped princess. And now, the State has tested and improved a set of tools that it can and will one day use against the proletariat, when the politicians, the treacherous regime union leaders and the discourse of “defending the nation and democracy” will not be enough to contain their struggles.

As has already been demonstrated, right-wing petty bourgeois putschism has become a common and even predictable fact of life in modern political society. But, unlike the pundits of anti-fascism, we do not attribute its rise to abstract motives. In any case, it is the logical culmination of tectonic forces occurring under the bourgeois state, a damning piece of evidence that the ruling class cannot rule as it once did. The old consensus, built on the “fight against corruption”, has collapsed, and now they must begin another theatrical play; and almost all the old “anti-corruption” factions, which once supported Bolsonaro’s presidency, have jumped off the boat long ago. As Marx once succinctly put it in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte:

“Society is saved just as often as the circle of its rulers’ contracts, as a more exclusive interest is maintained against a wider one. Every demand of the simplest bourgeois financial reform, of the most ordinary liberalism, of the most formal republicanism, of the shallowest democracy, is simultaneously castigated as an “attempt on society” and stigmatized as “socialism”. And finally, the high priests of “religion and order” themselves are driven with kicks from their Pythian tripods, hauled out of their beds in the darkness of night, put in prison vans, thrown into dungeons or sent into exile; their temple is razed to the ground, their mouths are sealed, their pens broken, their law torn to pieces in the name of religion, of property, of the family, of order. Bourgeois fanatics for order are shot down on their balconies by mobs of drunken soldiers, their domestic sanctuaries profaned, their houses bombarded for amusement in the name of property, of the family, of religion, and of order. Finally, the scum of bourgeois society forms the holy phalanx of order, and the hero Crapulinski installs himself in the Tuileries as the ‘savior of society’.”

Bolsonaro’s supporters fit the mold quite well here as followers of Crapulinski, but the Brazilian ruling classes have no interest in any more of what they have to offer. Democracy, with its reserve of scapegoats, false solutions and pacifying dead ends, has proven more capable of masking and maintaining bourgeois domination than the naked military dictatorship (like the one that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985) that is called for by the pro-Bolsonaro mob. The leadership of the armed forces, satisfied with their pensions and privileges, which will not be threatened by Lula, has also decided to withdraw from the pro-Bolsonaro riots, so as not to risk their assets again.

And while the “left” and the new consensus rush to proclaim the “victory of democracy against authoritarianism”, other tectonic shifts are sliding under our feet. Bolsonaro’s supporters have been so thorough in appropriating the nation’s sacred symbols – the flag, the Brazilian Football Confederation jersey shirt, the national anthem – that his opponents have become allergic to them by association. Even the bourgeois media have tacitly admitted that what we call Brazil was built on the backs of African and indigenous slaves, a society unequal by provenance. And while observers are likely to fall for identitarian narratives without a party or reading culture that explains the class relations of society (something we will always work to diffuse or recover), whatever “magic” once permeated these once sacred symbols of the nation is dissipating, and many have begun to question whether they represent the working masses at all. As we wrote in our analysis of the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol in our February 2021 issue:

“The riot at the United States Capitol on January 6 was the convulsion of a dying social system. The deep crisis of capitalism became a political crisis in the leading power of the bourgeois world. The U.S. has not seen an emergency like this one since the outbreak of its civil war in 1861, before it rose to become the leading capitalist power. The extent of its fall – from the triumph of the Union in 1865 over the slaveholders’ insurrection to the seizure of the Capitol by the MAGA mob– seemed unthinkable even a few weeks ago. But as Marx and Engels observed, under capitalism ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind’ (Manifesto of the Communist Party)”.

Regardless of whatever sermons they currently come up with, the Brazilian bourgeoisie and its State will treat Bolsonaro’s supporters with a relative slap on the wrist. The governor of the Federal District of Brasilia, the center–rightist Ibaneis Rocha, was suspended from office for 90 days in retaliation for not doing enough to deter or crush the rioters. But this only means that he will assume office in April this year. Supporters of the current government boast of using facial recognition technology to identify and catch the rioters, who did not even bother to cover their faces, but money and connections will ensure them bail or a golden cage.

But, of course, as the increasingly harsh repression in Brazil’s neighboring countries shows, none of this will await the next proletarian revolt, which they will try to crush by any of the means at the disposal of the bourgeoisie and its State. The working class will be shown the iron gauntlet –since this class, which sustains this whole society through its labor, is the only destabilizing group that really frightens the bourgeoisie.

The working class does not deserve to be the footstool of any opportunist politician or faction of the ruling classes.

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Italian Elections

Regional celebrations of democracy have churned out for Lazio and Lombardy an unequivocal verdict: the right has "won", the bourgeois left has "lost". Although the democratic hype laments the fall in voter turnout, which has become a minority phenomenon.

Certainly the political bestiary in vogue does not shine with "seriousness and competence", those compassionate and hypocritical attitudes that characterized the first decades of the republic’s history, when the political class feigned that tribute to virtue that motivates lying. The deployments no longer even advance the semblance of ideas, no longer an ideological vision of a world, but a primordial soup of prejudices, of automatic mottos, running mindlessly.

We will not stand for the easy analogy with the nibelung "night and fog" of the Third Reich, we will not cry out for fascism as if it were new: on that horse the bourgeoisie has been swinging for more than a century, in open dictatorship as in the swamped one in democratic garb, from it it will not and cannot dismount.

The same fog envelops the bands of figures in the electoral liturgy, fictitious deployments on "divisive" issues, infuriating some, reassuring others, in a universality of superstitions, reactionary and patriotic enthusiasms or resignation to the existing disguised as rationalism. Immigration, security, terrorism, crime, easy to arouse ephemeral urges in the media artifact that is "public opinion".

It is an excellent ploy commissioned from a class of politicians, at the service of the bourgeois ruling class, which now has no economic tools or margins to deal with the crisis: it engages in battle with what the situation allows.

Everything is ground down. Much of the electoral propaganda this time has focused on the affair of anarchist Alfredo Cospito’s hunger strike. It has emerged from the boisterous polemics that the whole "parliamentary arc" is in favor of maintaining 41-bis. Even the "leftist" parties themselves.

The reality is that each ruling class attributes to its state only one end, principle and norm: to defend its interests, if not its survival in power, by any means. Anything that serves this is legal and legally enshrined. The law of war applies.

One pounces on the poor man not to punish individual action, but to oil the legislative, jurisprudential, police and propaganda devices to strike tomorrow at those who stand at the antipodes of the anarchist’s theory and methods. The bourgeoisie takes the run-up by preparing public opinion for the climate of open police control. It counts on assimilating into the category of "terrorism" every movement of collective discontent of the proletariat.

A question arises, however: how long can the raging river of future workers’ uprisings be kept within the banks of legality if they are too narrow?

The oppressed class already shows a growing disaffection with the pretense and liturgies of democracy, and it is increasingly difficult to convince them that it is useful to get in line to determine which is the least abject of the bourgeois political factions, which is the least "dishonest" and rapacious.

Il Partito Comunista, number 420, January - February 2023

ICP intervention in the Portland City Workers’ Strike

For the first time in decades, Portland municipal workers involved in wastewater treatment and from park and road maintenance have gone on strike.

Portland is Oregon’s most populous city, with a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people. It is a major river port on the Willamette River, 100 km from the northern Pacific coast of the United States and 300 km south of Seattle.

There were 600 workers who took to the fight, organized in the Laborers’ Local 483 union. On December 14, the City of Portland and the union had reached a tentative agreement, but the city administration immediately disregarded it, refusing to implement the planned wage increases. This led to new unsuccessful negotiations and the proclamation of a strike.

The municipality reacted by proclaiming a state of emergency so that it could hire temporary contract workers to replace the strikers. It also attempted to file a series of legal injunctions to criminalize the strike and target individual workers who would strike. While unsuccessful, this legal action still had an intimidating purpose.

In preparation for the strike, Laborers’ Local 483 organized a demonstration on Saturday, January 28, which was attended by about 100 workers. Our comrades there distributed, in addition to The Communist Party newspaper (link to the latest issue) the first of three leaflets translated and published below, which denounced the employers’ attempts to criminalize the strike and linked them to the state repression of the recent national railroad strike.

On Wednesday, February 1, it was clear that no agreement would be reached. The union therefore called a second demonstration for late in the evening at the city’s water treatment plant in preparation for the strike to begin at midnight the same day.

The plant is a vital city facility, the largest water treatment facility between Seattle and San Francisco, a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline. For the duration of the pandemic from Ovid 19, workers were considered "essential" and forced to work, with no compensation for additional risk and fatigue.

More than 300 workers were present at the demonstration. There was immediately a great spirit of solidarity, with workers from various unions such as AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), Teamsters, SEIU (Service Employees Industrial Union) and others participating.

Workers were confident that scabs would be of little use. Several recounted that it had taken them years to learn how to operate the plant and equipment, which was built in the 1950s and was constantly breaking down.

Since the night the strike began, solidarity from other workers has shown itself even more strongly. Workers from the "Local 209" section of the Steam Fitters Union (installation and maintenance of heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems) who were working inside the building refused to continue working. The water treatment plant requires numerous trucks in and out to remove sludge every day, or the entire plant will break down. The picket worked to block or slow the flow of trucks. One engineer stopped the train in front of the main entrance to the plant, blocking it for a long time, then pulling out when forced as slowly as possible. Word of the strike spread among railway workers who repeated the same action in the following days. Workers and union activists from other companies, such as UPS and the nearby logistics warehouse of a beer company, participated in the picket line. Many trucks turned around never to return, with drivers expressing solidarity with the struggle and interest in organizing at their workplaces.

Our comrades participated in the picket lines, helping the workers to strengthen them and supporting those among the most combative who wanted to make them more effective, a fact recognized and appreciated by the workers, several of whom also expressed agreement with the party’s union direction expressed in the leaflets distributed. This conduct, of course, did not please at all the militants of the opportunist parties present, in the unions and on the picket lines, especially those of the Democratic Socialists of America, who in the following days tried, to no avail, to intimidate our comrades.

On Friday, as a heavy rainstorm loomed, the City Council tried desperately to end the strike, as sewage overflow seemed imminent. It began issuing statements to local media creating a scare campaign about the "violence" of workers on the picket lines. He doubled the police presence at the picket lines.

Forces spread over four picket lines were concentrated by workers in front of the water treatment plant. On Saturday, workers gathered from 6 a.m. and held another large demonstration to block trucks from entering the plant. Our comrades drafted and distributed a second leaflet, posted below. Police began threatening to arrest workers who blocked the trucks. Union leaders began to impose a strike discipline of blocking the trucks for as little as thirty seconds, as allowed by law.

The strike ended that evening, Sunday, February 5, at 1 a.m., with a compromise in which most of the workers’ wage demands were met, with a 13 percent wage increase retroactive to July 2022.

Local 483 ended the strike with a demonstration in which almost all workers expressed a positive evaluation towards the agreement. Our comrades distributed a third short leaflet noting the value of these days of struggle, which demonstrated the workers’ instinct to unite above divisions between companies and categories and the correctness of the party’s union direction in this regard.

Portland municipal workers Fighting for freedom to strike (Saturday, Jan. 28)

In the face of Portland’s bourgeois municipal administration trying to criminalize a potential strike, it is time for workers to unite in struggle and organize in a united union front to make it clear to our class enemies that their attacks on the freedom to strike will no longer stand!

On December 14, Portland City Hall and the municipal workers’ union had signed an agreement. Not even a month later, the local government took it back. Portland City Hall is refusing to implement the agreed wages, placing workers in the wrong qualifications and with a different step increase than the one negotiated. Thus the 5% wage increase as agreed upon is not applied.

Global inflation continues to rise, reducing the purchasing power and thus the real wages of workers around the world. Capitalists’ profits skyrocket as preparations for war continue. Because the capitalist class is always working to deprive workers of as much wages as possible in order to increase their profits, workers are driven by necessity to act.

The local capitalist class is frightened by the strength of the city’s workers because the prospect of the wastewater treatment plant closing and the roads freezing threatens the profit-oriented activities taking place in the city.

From the recent intervention of the federal government to ban the railroad workers’ strike to the threatened injunction by Portland City Hall to criminalize municipal workers’ strikes, it is clear that it is the capitalist class that decides what is and what is not illegal, depending on what suits it best. In reality, we live in a perpetual state of class struggle, which makes it all the more necessary for workers of all categories to join forces in a class-based Single Trade Union Front.

Portland: End capitalism’s violent campaign of intimidation against municipal workers (Friday, Feb. 3)

With only a few days to go before more than 600 municipal workers go on strike, the city’s ruling class is panicking over the prospect of a disaster in the sewer system. With the arrival of rain, with an inactive sewage treatment plant, the bosses may be forced to strike a deal with the workers to avoid facing far worse consequences.

Thanks to the declaration of a "state of emergency", the city administration was able to call for more workers, scabs, who, not caring about the strike, went to work. However, this action seems to have been unsuccessful thanks to the tenacity of the striking workers with their picket lines and also thanks to the solidarity of workers throughout the city. A condition, the latter, that will be increasingly essential to defend the collective interests of the working class.

In response, the city’s capitalist administration, through the mayor’s office, issued statements dutifully disseminated by bourgeois media to perpetuate a campaign of vilification toward the workers and create a situation to justify state repression. Like the Willamette River, the bosses and their media cover themselves in excrement.

Not to be outdone is the left wing of capital, the Democratic Party, which, through its elected advisers, has sided against the workers. Nationally, Biden and "democratic socialist" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have effectively crushed the railroad workers’ strike. The goal of local Democrats is the same.

To avoid becoming the next Detroit, start-ups on the Silicon Valley model and skilled workers have been encouraged to move to Portland in recent years. But, for the first time since the 1980s, Portland’s population is declining.

As the global capitalist system has entered an ever-deepening economic crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty and decay have emerged in several neighborhoods in the city, the result of an increasingly decadent capital economy that destroys social relations by making true human community impossible. The bourgeois illusion of being able to "make money" in Portland has definitely vanished.

Moreover, the deepening crisis has made the ruling class less and less willing to give wage increases to municipal workers. During the pandemic, workers who kept "critical" infrastructure running and produced the goods we all need to live were forced to work and labeled "essential workers", effectively sacrificed for the "greater good" of the nation. Hundreds of thousands of workers died, a scenario that effectively created a labor shortage. Now since this pandemic crisis has abated, the "we are all in the same boat" propaganda is momentarily shelved. But reviving the economy has meant intensifying the employers’ attack on workers’ wages and stubbornly refusing to negotiate. Wherever possible, they are pushing workers and fighting unions to the brink, with the ultimate goal of breaking any sincere collective defense body in order to reduce labor market costs.

The current actions in the city of Portland are but one piece of evidence that the entire bourgeois order is in essence an "organized and criminal association against the working class". It exists to extort surplus value from the wage-earning class, which if it does not accept the scraps offered will be violently attacked.

Workers have been educated to believe the lie that the government of capital is "democratic", "for and of the people", founded in the "land of the free". The truth sees workers fighting tooth and nail for their daily bread against state violence.

This government is nothing but one of the expressions of capitalism, and the "two parties" (Democrats and Republicans) serve the same class interests as the regime of capital. Why should labor unions support the political party that stabs them in the back?

We call for workers around the world to unite in a single class union front, free from the political maneuvers of capitalism, which can conduct its own defensive struggles, in its own interest.

However, workers’ defensive struggles will one day have to shift to a revolutionary proletarian counteroffensive, led by a centralized party to abolish class society for good.

The Portland municipal workers’ strike is over (Sunday, Feb. 5)

Machinists blocking entrances to the water treatment plant with incredibly long and slow trains. A sludge truck driver honoring the picket line and going home to join the union so that sludge overflows from the plant. Workers from various other sectors who went to the picket line before and after going to work, to put their bodies between trucks and scab vans while being threatened with arrest by police. Municipal workers themselves who finally took the risk of going on strike in defense of their living conditions. The Portland municipal workers’ strike demonstrated the strength of a united class.

Some workers were surprised to see how city institutions regard workers and how they want to exploit them as much and more than private companies do. But this is the experience of all workers internationally in every sector.

It is only through the uniting of arms above sectors and borders that the working class can truly struggle to end its exploitative condition under capitalism and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. We must organize as a class to coordinate struggle activities. Harm to one is harm to all.


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The 8 Months of Strike Action at New Holland

Case New Holland Industrial (CNHi), which produces agricultural and construction equipment in 18 factories in the United States, is an Italian-U.S. multinational whose major owner is a financial fund created in 2012 by the merger of U.S. CNH with FIAT. The bosses are Italian but the headquarters are in the Netherlands, confirming how capital is an international class relationship and nationalism an ideological tool against the proletariat to keep it divided and make it slog along.

At two plants in the Midwest, in Racine, Wisconsin, on Great Lake Michigan, and Burlington, Iowa, 450 kilometers apart, collective bargaining agreements expired on April 30. The two local branches of the United Auto Workers -- the regimented union in the auto industry affiliated with the AFL-CIO confederation -- the "UAW Local 180" in Racine and the "UAW Local 807" in Burlington, finding the employers’ proposals for renewal unsatisfactory, called the 1,000 workers in the two factories to strike from May 2.

The strike lasted a full eight months. The UAW, which has a strike fund of about $185 million (the subject of a recent embezzlement scandal), paid the strikers a check for $400 a week.

With such a large fund, it could have supported a long-term strike at all CNHi factories across the country. Instead, the union leadership confined the dispute to the two factories, without trying to open a broader and stronger front of struggle by mobilizing all CNHi factories. It appears from this that the local union sections in Racine and Burlington pressured the UAW leadership to expand the struggle, taking it beyond the confines of the two factories.

In Racine, on December 17, a demonstration was organized in support of the strike by the UAW and a diverse set of other organizations, whose broad spectrum ranged from workers’ organizations to those of the liberal bourgeois left.

The initiative of the rally of support is certainly useful, all the more so in the United States, where it is still extremely rare. But such an action should have been aimed at growing workers’ unity, extending the struggle to other factories in the group, to other companies in the territory, to other categories. It should have had a class rather than a popular character, which it had, consonant the latter with the scrambling of the electoral politics of the bourgeois and opportunist workers’ parties.

The demonstration did, however, have the good result of raising funds for the local union branch, thus facilitating the possibility of continuing the strike.

CNHi responded by presenting a new offer, which the UAW union sections again rejected by organizing a vote, by secret ballot, in which they instructed the workers to vote against it. On Saturday, January 7, the contract was rejected.

But the details of the negotiations are the sole preserve of union leaders. In eight months no assemblies were ever called to inform the workers and involve them in organizing the struggle, thus imposing a relationship between the mass of workers and the union that resembles that between customers and a service-providing agency, in which all those intermediate actions, such as assemblies, meetings, picket lines and propaganda, that make the union alive thanks to the voluntary efforts of the most combative workers, disappear.

After the vote, the Minister of Labor intervened to mediate in the negotiations and a second contract was proposed, ominously presented as "final". In the meantime, the company had taken care to inform the workers, through voicemails and text messages, that they would be replaced with other permanent workers if they did not accept the proposal.

On Jan. 23, a second vote approved the employer proposal with 70 percent in favor, despite indications from sections of the union that they would vote against it.

Local UAW leaders during the eight months of struggle stressed the positive value of unity in action among workers at the two plants and also denounced the factory-divided collective agreements applied by CNHi. But they never confronted the union leadership so that it would develop general action to combat this obvious employers’ practice.

Report to the Party general meeting 145

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January 19, 2023 - ICP Leaflet - General Strikes in France
Yet Another Attack on Living and Working Conditions


Since the Balladur reform of 1993, we are in the fourth reform of the pension system. Thus the duration of contribution has increased from 37.5 years to 43 years and the age of departure from 60 to 62 years. The umpteenth reform proposes to raise it to 64, or even, if possible, to 65, knowing that most companies dismiss workers from 55 years old, condemning them to precariousness and alternating unemployment and fixed-term contracts. Tomorrow the future reform will postpone the retirement age to 67, while attacking the level of pensions.

One can hear many lies about the standard of living of pensioners. Some "economists" do not hesitate to say or write that retirees have a higher standard of living than those who work. But what does INSEE tell us in its latest report, that the median income is 1789 € and that the average pension is 1509 €! The propagandists of the bourgeoisie are not far from a lie.

What is the purpose of all these maneuvers? For the bourgeoisie and its government, it is a question of reducing social charges in order to increase the rate of profit, hence the permanent attacks on the pension system, the unemployment benefit, the labor legislation - which is gradually being emptied of all its content - and the attacks on public services, in particular the hospital system. At the same time, the profits of the banks, the emoluments paid to the shareholders are soaring to new heights: in 2022, the CAC 40 paid this layer of parasites 80 BILLION euros!

Are these gigantic profits reinvested in industrial production, in the relocation of companies, in services? Absolutely not, companies invest at a minimum. The great historical role of the capitalist mode of production has been to socialize the productive forces by substituting the small family production of the peasant and the craftsman with the mechanized and centralized production of large-scale industry and agriculture, which relies on the collective work of the proletariat.

This socialization of the productive forces - the basis of communist society - comes into conflict with private appropriation and leads ineluctably to the fall of the rate of profit and to the economic crises of overproduction which break out recurrently. This outdated mode of production, which is based on the exploitation of wage labor, has only been maintained up to the present day by two world wars. It was the massive destruction of the Second World War and its 50 million dead that made possible the famous "thirty glorious years" of the post-war period. But since the great international crisis of 1974-75, this cycle has come to an end. And world capitalism has only been able to maintain itself by squeezing the proletariat more and more and by making ever wider layers of workers more precarious, as well as by a headlong rush into state and corporate debt. The development of capitalism in Southeast Asia, particularly in China, has allowed world capitalism to gain thirty years, but today, in its turn, Chinese capitalism is affected by the crisis of overproduction.

We are now in the same situation as in the 1930s, which led to the Second World War. At the cost of colossal debts, the world bourgeoisie has managed to prevent the serious crisis of 2008-2009 from turning into a devastating recession like the one in 1929, but this is only a temporary setback.

The crisis of capitalism inevitably pushes the different states towards a general confrontation, of which the imperialist war between Russia and Ukraine is a harbinger. Tomorrow the confrontation will concern two blocks headed on one side by Chinese imperialism and on the other by American imperialism.

Capitalism since the beginning of the 20th century has become a totally parasitic and sterile mode of production. The big bourgeoisie, industrial, financial and landed, does everything possible to maintain its mode of production in a state of survival, which assures it immense privileges. The result is an increasing pauperization and precariousness of the proletariat, a headlong rush into debt that is becoming dizzying, and a profiteering and parasitism that have become colossal. One example, among many others, of the organized plundering is the price of electricity and energy: on the sly, the different European governments have aligned the price of electricity with the price of gas, which itself is determined by the least profitable well, hence the gigantic rents that the big gas and oil groups are reaping.

Workers, the alternative exists: the passage to a communist management, that is to say not mercantile, of production and distribution, is possible and necessary, because capitalism has largely fulfilled its historical role by developing on a large scale the economic bases of communist society.

This implies the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, its outlawing and the destruction of its state, which, as the Paris Commune showed, is unusable by the wage workers - the proletariat.

You must therefore prepare yourself morally and materially for the confrontation with this class of parasites and useless people that the big bourgeoisie has become.

But to do this, we must begin by finding the path of fraternity and mutual aid between workers and organizing ourselves in real class unions, which seek to unify struggles and centralize them to make them truly effective. And not, like our current unions, whose leadership is in the hands of reformists, and who pretend to organize you by practicing the policy of accompaniment, in order to avoid any centralization of the struggles, especially by organizing decision-making at the local level, thus scattering the movement.

If the organization in real class unions is a necessary first step, it is not enough in itself. It is necessary to organize politically and to recover the historical program of Communism. For this, the vanguard of the proletariat must join the ranks of the International Communist Party, which has been able, until now, to maintain itself firmly on the line of the Communist Program, as stated in the Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848 and in the theses of the first two congresses of the International Communists of 1919-1921.


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Venezuela: Labor struggle at Ipostel

A sample of the labor situation that occurs at the level of public workers in Venezuela, were the protest actions that occurred nationwide, in many offices of the Instituto Postal Telegráfico (IPOSTEL), between October 31 and November 4, 2022. This national institution manages postal services and other public administrative offices. It groups between active, retired and pensioners around 7,200 workers. The labor-management relationship has always been marked by the employer’s failure to comply with contractual agreements. Prior to the signing of the current collective bargaining agreement - currently expired - the last one was 24 years overdue. Hardly a better corollary.

These events of the struggle of the Ipostel working class reflect the discontent prevailing in the labor mass of the State, which is of the order of three million workers. This year a large part of the labor protests were led by public workers in the mining, health, education, etc. sectors. In spite of the fact that in Ipostel the "mockery" of the Employer is the daily bread, its employees do not respond forcefully when it comes to demanding the fulfillment of their demands. This situation is easily explained, due to the control exercised by opportunism, through its union agents, as well as the great level of class unconsciousness suffered by the workers. In the last struggle, the events were triggered by the elimination of certain wage bonuses, which officially had begun to be cancelled, both for active and retired workers. This became a direct reduction of salaries and pensions.

The labor climate at Ipostel, already heated due to the pyrrhic salaries received by these workers, as well as the great breach of the collective bargaining agreement, triggered a sudden protest, which if it was not absolute of all the workers at national level, in most of the post offices, a percentage of the workers kept on protesting for all those days. At the beginning of these events, some union leaders from the province went to the capital of the country to improvise a union "command" to lead the struggle. At the main headquarters of this Institute in Caracas, the focus of the street protest was installed. There, active and retired workers, more retired than active, were agitating and spreading the word about their situation. The national press, social networks and banners helped in this.

As it is obvious, the struggle was contaminated by legalistic, pro-government, patriotic, democratic and politically naïve positions. But even so the capital-labor contradiction was maintained in the protest. In spite of all this, the bosses agreed to negotiate with the workers, making agreements that were never very clear and were subject to the availability of the institution’s financial resources. The salary bonuses were reinstated, but with no salary impact, according to the employer for the time being. Likewise, there was no retaliation against any worker for participating in the struggle, a point that was demanded in the negotiations with the employer.

Finally, the results of the conflict were assumed by the workers as one more deception by the bosses, since the demands achieved were very insignificant. And the intention of the bosses with these agreements was to demobilize the workers and put an end to the protest. These negative results could have occurred because the struggle was being waged by a small group of workers, the active workers had very little participation, and also in the leadership of the actions there were some sympathizers or militants of the government party and other opponents of the government, who obviously did not manage to maintain a class-based leadership and organization of the struggle. Even though the conflict was ended, there remained the idea among the workers that it would be resumed again.

Although many times in the spontaneous leadership of these conflicts, we find workers who have some sympathy with the opportunist parties or others, the facts lead them to take classist positions, since their political sympathy in most cases is not solid. But this favorable leap will depend on the great participation of the workers, under positions that go in defense of the demands and organization of the working class. And so the revolutionary work of the communists within the working class will be to continue with the work of carrying the revolutionary message for the organization and struggle not only in the economic field, but also politically.

El Partido Comunista, number 30, January 2023

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Turkish and Syrian Textile Workers Unite in Gaziantep

Workers at some 20 textile plants in the Küsget industrial district in Gaziantep, Turkey, some 50 kilometers from the Syrian border, led a victorious strike against the bosses’ attempts to impose a below-minimum wages and increased workloads. 350 workers from Turkey and Syria were involved. The strike ended on January 5 after four days, when the bosses withdrew their demands of an increased production and offered a wage increase of 3,000 Turkish liras. The workers had been demanding 4,000.

Gaziantep-where the interim Syrian opposition government is based-is among the cities in Turkey that has taken in the largest number of Syrian refugees. The national atmosphere of racist hatred against refugees did not stop Turkish and Syrian workers in Küsget from fighting united until they defeated the bosses. This is the best demonstration of how only workers’ struggle can defeat nationalism and racism.

These workers so far have not organized themselves into a union, but have been supported by the Bırtek-Sen (United Textile, Weaving and Leather Workers Union), the most combative union in Gaziantep, a city where the textile industry dominates.

Bırtek-Sen was founded in 2022 by the former regional head of Dısk-Tekstil, the textile workers’ union belonging to DİSK, the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions.

Two DİSK-Tekstil leaders in the past became general secretaries of DİSK and then entered parliament among the forces of the Kemalist Social Democrats. In 2021, another trade union in the textile sector-the Dev-Tekstİl (Unitary Union of Garment, Weaving and Leather Workers)-has harshly accused the DİSK-Tekstil of failing to support its laid-off members and of acting as a regime union in negotiations over a company’s collective contract in Istanbul. These factors point to this DİSK federation as one of the strongholds of opportunism, which dominates at the leadership of this combative union confederation.

Gaziantep’s textile sector has seen strong strikes before. We accounted for this in the report "The Series of Brave Struggles of the Young Working Class in Turkey" presented to our party’s general meeting in May 2021.

Between Feb. 10 and March 9, 2022, some 12,000 workers from 35 factories, most of them belonging to the textile sector, went on unannounced strikes for wage increases, as reported by the Birtek-Sen, which was founded in those days.

The Küsget foundry workers’ strike shows the way for workers in Gaziantep and throughout Turkey, where Turkish proletarians work side by side with Kurds, Syrians, Africans and others. It is necessary to fight together, united above different nationalities, organized in the combative trade unions, fighting for the unity of action of all the combative trade unions, for a united trade union front from below, a harbinger of the formation of the great class union that workers in Turkey and in all countries need more and more urgently.

For its liberation, the proletariat then needs its class party, the Communist Party, whose positions can only be internationalist. The International Communist Party wants to be the one world party of the proletarian revolution. It strives to unite the struggles of workers throughout the world, by building maximum class unity through a unitary class trade union front, and by linking the struggles of today with lessons from the past, going back to the days of the League of Communists and the three Internationals.

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Russia and Georgia: By Striking, Proletarian Youth Challenge the Police State

From December 20 to 25, food delivery workers in Russia, organized in the Kourier union, engaged in one of the largest worker struggles in the country in recent years: more than 3,800 delivery workers went on strike in more than 15 cities for their class demands against Yandex, the industry giant, an analogue of Uber Eats, which holds a monopoly in Russia after acquiring its main competitor, Delivery Club, in September 2022.

Yandex’s delivery drivers work in the so-called gig economy, with conditions similar to those of delivery drivers in other countries, from Italy to the United Kingdom, from the United States to Turkey. Conditions which have caused them to strike in a number of these countries. In these companies employment is framed as “Independent Contractors” and are bombarded by propaganda campaigns which presents them as part of an emerging petty bourgeoisie, instead of what they actually are, an extremely poorly paid and precarious stratum of the proletariat. This framing of them makes them responsible for all the risks and expenses that come with the job, and exposes them to complete “at will” dismissal by the company: Yandex can block them from using the Eats app at any time, without any notice or explanation.

In Italy, this is what happened last October to Sebastian, who was fired after he died: the day after the boy died in a car accident while making a delivery, his family received the automatic message of dismissal on his cell phone, "for not respecting the terms of the delivery".

During the Covid-19 pandemic, as with all other strata of workers, conditions for delivery drivers worsened, while companies had record profits: revenues from Yandex’s food-tech sector, which includes Yandex.Eats and Yandex.Market, increased in the third quarter of 2022 by 124 percent over the previous year to 9.8 billion rubles ($135 million) - all this despite Western sanctions due to the imperialist war in Ukraine.

According to the propaganda put forward by the Russian bourgeois regime, Russia would be exempt from the decadence of the so-called West. But a look at the conditions of the working class and its struggles reveals that it is not about East and West, but about capitalism, which is the same under all skies, in Moscow, Paris, Rome or Berlin.

The workers, with the Kourier union, fought for the introduction of a labor contract that would frame them as wage earners instead of self-employed, and that would improve their wages, provide greater protection from dismissal, payment of sick days and wages indexed to inflation.

The strike demonstrated how even the proletariat employed through these apps can take fighting actions: thousands of workers refused to take orders through the Yandex.Eats mobile app, disrupting service in several cities. Kourier organized workers to stop work at restaurants contracted with Yandex, forming picket lines and blocking cash registers and customers.

The strike demonstrated to workers in this sector, considered a case in itself by bourgeois sociology, a fundamental truth: that there are no "new" ways of struggle, that the road to poverty is the same for the entire working class: the struggle needs to be taken to the streets, it needs to involve the maximum number of workers, with picket lines, work stoppages in an attempt to damage the profits of the bosses.

In response, Yandex launched a campaign of lies against the strikers, claiming that they were already enjoying high wages and even having its hack pen-pushers at its service write that there was no strike going on.

Kourier reacted with a campaign to lower Yandex’s online rating and with the strike, which began with about 600 deliverymen in Moscow and St. Petersburg and grew to 3,800, in more than 15 cities, thus uniting more workers than the union leaders themselves had expected.

As a result of the strike, fines for delays were essentially abolished, additional pay was introduced for working New Year’s Eve, and Yandex backed down from its "two-for-two" work schedule (two days of work, followed by two days off-something that is not easy when you have to work 12-14 hour shifts like the delivery drivers).

The Kourier union was born in June 2020, when workers at the Delivery Club company – which was purchased by Yandex last September - struck for two months because of delayed payments. The company capitulated and sent the payments due, and thus the union was born. It acts as a class union. Since its origins, it has organized several struggles, mainly strikes on issues ranging from defending wages to rejecting fines against workers for minor infractions of company rules.

Last April its main leader - Kirill Ukraintsev - was arrested for "violating the rules of assembly", that is, for his union activity, and is still in jail. Despite this, the Kourier continued its activity, even to the point of organizing the December strike.

It is notable about this strike, in addition to its extent, is that it succeeded in halting production activity, breaking with the practice of regime unions in Russia, which for years have organized demonstrations that do not stop work. The fact that this occurred in the midst of the imperialist war in which the bourgeois regime in Moscow is dragging the working class into makes this strike, an inherently defeatist action, all the more important.

There has been no shortage, in addition to bourgeois state repression, of problems within the union. One of the opportunist workers’ parties with influence within Kourier made public the location and date of a meeting to prepare for the strike, which was thus interrupted by the arrival of the police, who identified several union militants. Those responsible were expelled from the union, and the political group saw fit to organize a competing union.

The struggle within the working class and its organizations against political and trade union opportunism is part of the struggle against capitalist exploitation on the economic level, and against the regime of capital on the political level, until the workers have the strength to confront and overcome the bourgeoisie and until they have cleaned up within their organizations. This struggle, in order to be fought and won, needs to spread its work to other categories of workers.

Georgia: Strike of Taxi Drivers and Couriers

Georgia, a small country in the South Caucasus and part of the USSR until 1991, also saw two categories of workers in the so-called gig economy sector come out in struggle in February.

The first to move were taxi drivers from the Estonian company Bolt-which also operates in London, Paris, and Lisbon-who made demands related to their status as self-employed workers: 1) Return to the pre-2023 fare; 2) Reduction of the percentage owed to the company; 3) Compensation for long distances 4) Computation of waiting time; and 4) Opening of an office in Georgia and activation of a 24/7 call center.

Subsequently, since Feb. 5, cyclo-drivers of the Finnish food delivery company Wolt have taken up the struggle, explicitly declaring solidarity and unity with the Bolt drivers. Several hundred of them held an assembly. One of the couriers, in an interview, explained that while prices have increased by 200 to 300 percent, their wages have remained the same. The couriers are calling for a reduction in the radius of deliveries, an increase in wages, and an improvement in insurance, which should cover health care costs, since traffic accidents are also very common in Tbilisi.

Wolt’s management has decided to address the workers with an open letter, nothing more than an exhortation to return to work until the company resolves their problems.

Media coverage of these actions of struggle is minimal and most of the population is unaware of what is happening.

But the Georgian proletariat is showing signs of awakening from the torpor into which it has been thrown by decades of lies, first by the supposed “communist regime” of the USSR, then of the equally bogus one that shows itself to be aligned to the so-called free and democratic world, which is no less anti-proletarian than the former.

The International Communist Party denounces to the workers the deception of the propaganda of the Georgian bourgeois regime, which points to the Russian and Turkish states, along with immigrant workers of the various ethnic groups, as their enemies. The workers’ enemy is the bourgeoisie of all countries, beginning with the bourgeoisie of the country in which they are exploited, and their allies are the workers of the whole world.

Only with the international union of workers - of their struggles in defense of their living conditions, organized into true class unions - can workers prevent themselves from being dragged into the hunger, poverty and war toward which capitalism is leading them.

Georgian workers must take inspiration from the working class neighbors in struggle, most recently in Kazakhstan, in Russia and in Turkey.

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The Party’s Classical Theses and Evaluations on Imperialist Wars (1989)

1. - Historical Types of War
2. - Inevitability of Imperialist War
3. - Avoidability of Imperialist War
4. - From Proletarian Reformism to Bourgeois Betrayal
5. - The Communist Movement in Opposition to Crisis and War
6. - Long Wars don’t Favour Revolution
7. - The Party’s Tasks in Different Situations
8. - Defencism and Intermediatism
9. - Revolutionary Defeatism
10. - Against Indifferentism
11. - Theses on Tactics

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