From Protests to General Strikes across Europe! Workers, Migrants and Youth: Prepare and Organize the Struggle for Power!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) on the European-wide Day of Action against the Austerity policy on 14th November, 13.11.2012
1. The European-wide Day of Action on 14th November against the anti-people austerity policy of the capitalist governments in all EU countries is an important first step. There will be one-day general strikes in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Malta and Cyprus. In addition there will be smaller protest actions in nearly all other EU countries. This is an important first step – but much more is necessary! This Day of Action shows the possibility for a European-wide coordination of the class struggle. Such a coordination is of highest urgency given the fact that all capitalist government – irrespective if they are right-wing parties, liberals, social democrats or so-called “communists” – attack the workers and peasants across the continent. However our struggle is hindered by the corrupt and selfish leaderships in the unions and in the parties of the workers movement. We must build new, revolutionary parties and renew the unions that can fight for our future. For this we need to know the enemy and we must have a plan for the struggle.
A program for struggle
2. In the past years the workers, migrants and youth have demonstrated numerous times that they are ready to resist against the onslaught of the ruling classes. Just remember the many general strikes in Greece but also in Spain and Portugal! Remember the mass demonstration in Britain and the violent August Uprising of the poor, migrants and youth in summer 2011! But we suffer nevertheless one defeat after the other. Why? Because the existing leaders of the trade union and reformist parties do everything in their power to limit and derail the struggle. Their main interest is to keep their privileges and positions for which they need to maintain their close alliance with the bosses and the capitalist state.
3. The working class needs a program of struggle and a plan to organize independent from the reformist bureaucrats. The RCIT considers the following slogans as highly important for a program of struggle since they give answers to the most burning questions of the present situation and tackle the question of capitalist power:
* No lay-offs, no wage cuts! No social cuts!
* No privatization of public enterprises and social services! Nationalize all big enterprises under workers control!
* Immediate reduction of the working week to 35 hours as a first step towards the division of labor on all hands. This means that everyone should have a job and work with less hours at unchanged wages!
* No eviction from housing!
* For price control committees of the working class to fight inflation!
* Cancel all debts!
* Nationalize all banks under workers control and centralize them to one state bank!
* Expropriate the super-rich and utilize their wealth to finance an immediate program of public works to renew and extend the infrastructure, housing, social services etc.!
* Equal wage for women! Extend high-quality public child care under control of the working class parents!
* Equal rights for migrants! Open the borders!
* No cuts in education! Put the education system under control of the students, teachers and the workers movement!
* Down with the EU commission and council! For a pan-European revolutionary Constituent Assembly!
* For a workers government – respective a workers and peasant government in Eastern Europe – based on workers councils and an armed popular militia!
4. Working class activists should put such demands on the reformist trade union and party leaders to pressurize them into action. However no one should have any illusion. These treacherous bureaucrats will only fight under massive pressure and even then they will sabotage the struggle from the first minute onwards. The working class must organize itself independently were it works, lives and undergo education – in factory committees, neighbourhood committees etc. Such committees must meet regularly, elect delegates and build a nation- and European-wide coordination. They must organize armed self-defence to resist against fascist thugs and police violence. Such organizational steps would lay the basis for an independent struggle of the workers and oppressed. For a pan-European coordination of militant rank and file organizations, trade unions and progressive movements to organize a continent-wide struggle!
5. To take our unions back from the control of the corrupt bureaucrats, we must revolutionize them. We must fight to open the unions to the masses – in particular the lower strata, the migrants, the poor and precarious workers. We must build a rank and file movement to organize the struggle against the bureaucrats.
6. When the bureaucrats cannot contain the class struggle, they call for limited one day general strikes. While such a strike can be useful as a starting point, it is a cul-day-sac as a strategy as the workers in Greece see since two years. The RCIT says that the workers movement must organize indefinite general strikes. Only such general strikes could – at least temporary – halt the bosses’ offensive.
7. While such an indefinite general strike would be a tremendous step forward, it only shows the way to a solution. But it is not the solution in itself. For this the class struggle must be transformed into an armed insurrection led by a revolutionary party rooted in the working class to overthrow and expropriate the ruling class and to smash the capitalist state apparatus.
It’s capitalism, stupid!
8. The barbaric austerity policy of all governments in the EU drives millions in poverty and unemployment. It robs our future. However, we must not believe the reformist (social democrats, European Left Party, ATTAC etc.) and trade union leaders when they tell us that this policy could be replaced by electing a different government with a better, social and ecological, policy. This is nonsense! All governments under capitalism serve the capitalists – they help the banks and corporations to keep their huge wealth and let the working classes pay for the crisis.
9. Look at Cyprus: here we can see how the so-called Communist AKEL (affiliated with the European Left Party which unites most ex-Stalinist parties) helps the capitalists similar to all the other capitalist governments in Europe. AKEL is in power since 2008. Nevertheless the country is still a paradise for the super-rich, unemployment stands at 12.2%, and the state has huge public debts equal to 83.3% of the country’s annual GDP. Currently the government negotiates with the EU troika and the IMF.
10. The RCIT says: A “social, democratic and peaceful Europe” and “fair re-distribution” via taxes for the rich – as the social democrats, ELP and ATTAC preach – is a utopia as long as capitalism exists. We can only escape the vicious cycle of poverty and crisis if we overthrow the capitalist system by a socialist revolution.
Down with the imperialist EU! Forward to the United Socialist States of Europe!
11. The EU is an imperialist alliance. It is dominated by monopoly capital – the banks and corporations – and the imperialist states closely associated with them. They impose a coordinated offensive against the working class and the poor. Despite their conflicts and rivalry they strive – under the leadership of Germany and France – to build a closer economic, political and military union and a pan-European imperialist state apparatus. (see the recent fiscal and banking union, the ESM etc.) To bolster their rule they systematically build up a police state and the surveillance of the people.
12. The imperialist EU exploits not only the working class but also the oppressed people in the semi-colonial countries. This is true both for the semi-colonial countries which are members of the EU as well as those in the so-called South. The super-exploitation and national oppression of the migrants – who mostly come from these countries – is part of the imperialist system. In addition the ruling classes in the EU are also pressurizing its oppressed national minorities like the Basques and the Catalans in Spain.
13. The reformist trade union and party leaders support the discrimination of migrants and the negation of the national minorities rights of secession. In contrast to them the RCIT supports semi-colonial countries to leave respective not to join the imperialist EU as a step towards national liberation. We fight for full equal rights for migrants – including equal wages and equality of mother languages. We support the opening of the border for migrants. We support the oppressed national minorities struggle for self-determination (like in Basque country and Catalonia).
14. The left-wing social democrats, the ELP and the Greek SYRIZA claim that the EU can be reformed. Various petty-bourgeois nationalists and Stalinists like the Greek KKE on the other hand call for leaving the EU and a retreat to the capitalist national state. Both are wrong. The EU was an imperialist alliance from the beginning. The system of EU institutions cannot be transformed into an instrument of the working class. Neither is the backward-looking perspective to the “good-old” capitalist national state of any use.
15. The RCIT says: Neither imperialist EU nor capitalist national-state – our perspective can only be the United Socialist States of Europe! The road towards such a socialist Europe runs exclusively via the struggle for the socialist revolution with the goal of expropriation of the capitalist class and the construction of working class power. Only such a dictatorship of the proletariat will help us to suppress the resistance of the greedy rich. Such a revolution will most likely first succeed in one country and must then be spread towards other countries. Permanent revolution or degeneration and defeat – this is the lesson of the experience of Stalinist bureaucratic rule in the USSR!
16. The working class in Europe has shown in the past years that it is ready to fight against the bosses’ offensive and the austerity packages. But they are repeatedly betrayed and sold out by the existing treacherous leaderships in the trade unions and the reformist parties. This is why building authentic revolutionary workers parties and a Fifth Workers International based on a communist programme is the major task ahead of all true revolutionaries. In Europe and around the world. Join the RCIT to meet this challenge!