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Working Class

In The Factories There Is Wealth, But There Is No Life

In late 2022, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) released a fascinating report entitled Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World, in large part encouraged by a slew of initiatives across India to extend the workday. The report accumulated global data on the time spent at work in 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ILO found that ‘approximately one third of the global workforce (35.4 percent) worked more than 48 hours per week’ and ‘one fifth of global employment (20.3 percent) consists of short (or part-time) hours of work of less than 35 hours per week’, such as gig work.

A Worldwide Anti-Imperialist Left Is Needed

Capital organises globally yet workers do not. As the US-led NATO powers escalate the Ukraine conflict into a new world war, this imbalance is becoming intolerable. This paper presents the case for a worldwide anti-imperialist Left, representing ordinary people committed to a just and peaceful multipolar world order. This will serve both the national interest of every country, and the general interest of humanity. We base our case on an historical assessment of the last such organization, the Communist International or Comintern for short, founded in 1919 and dissolved in 1943.

Lessons From Lenin For International Workers Day

International Workers Day, also known as May Day, reminds us of an anecdote about the 1917 Russian Revolution regarding the working class. At the time, the Bolshevik Party, trained and led by V.I. Lenin was in the process of seizing power. An anti-Bolshevik intellectual was arguing with a Bolshevik worker and bringing up all the complexities of running a government and of deserting Russia’s allies in the great slaughter of World War I. “I see it this way,” said the Bolshevik worker. “The bosses are on one side. We’re on the other side. If we don’t take power, they will.” The worker was right. Bosses, that is capitalists, are on one side. Workers are on the other side.

Beyond Fatalism: Renewing Working-Class Politics

“We need to ask ourselves,” Leo Panitch and Donald Swartz stated in the third edition of From Consent to Coercion, “whether free pertains to those who do business or whether it pertains also to the majority of Canadians who do not do business.” Their book, now a classic, focused on a critical expression of the tension between liberal democratic principles and capitalist realities: the substantive right of workers to strike. Canadian workers were officially granted the basic democratic right to form unions, but the substance of that right – the withdrawal by workers of their labour power – was regularly suspended when workers successfully used it.

It Was The Workers Who Brought Us Democracy

Democracy has a dream-like character. It sweeps into the world, carried forward by an immense desire by humans to overcome the barriers of indignity and social suffering. When confronted by hunger or the death of their children, earlier communities might have reflexively blamed nature or divinity, and indeed those explanations remain with us today. But the ability of human beings to generate massive surpluses through social production, alongside the cruelty of the capitalist class to deny the vast majority of humankind access to that surplus, generates new kinds of ideas and new frustrations. This frustration, spurred by the awareness of plenty amidst a reality of deprivation, is the source of many movements for democracy. Habits of colonial thought mislead many to assume that democracy originated in Europe, either in ancient Greece (which gives us the word ‘democracy’ from demos, ‘the people’, and kratos, ‘rule’) or through the emergence of a rights tradition, from the English Petition of Right in 1628 to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789.

UK Strike Wave Escalates As Over 200,000 Walk Out This Week

Britain’s strike wave is growing despite all attempts by the trade union bureaucracy to bring it under control. Thursday and Friday both saw strike action by over 200,000 workers. A two-day strike Thursday and Friday by 115,000 postal workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at Royal Mail coincided with a 48-hour walkout by 70,000 university staff at all 150 higher education institutions in Britain and a strike by up to 50,000 teachers in Scotland. All three groups of workers have additional days of strikes planned, including next week by university staff and postal workers on November 30 and December 1. On Friday, the Educational Institute of Scotland announced another 16 consecutive days of strikes for January and February.

‘Labor Shortage’ Is Being Used As A Pretext To Harm Workers

A so-called ​“labor shortage” in the United States has quickly become a catch-all justification for policies that prevent workers from gaining too much power on the job, or collectively organizing by forming unions.  Not enough applicants for low-paid jobs packing meat, or working the cash register at Dairy Queen? Better crank up the Federal Reserve’s interest rates (a policy explicitly aimed at spurring a recession and putting people out of work), so that we have a larger reserve of the desperate unemployed. Pandemic-era social programs ever-so-slightly redistributing wealth downward? Better shut them down, lest we eliminate the supposed precarity needed to incentivize work.

What The 2022 Midterm Election Charade Offers Us

That neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are offering anything to alleviate the problems working people face is illustrated by their campaign fear-mongering – the former over “fascism” and the latter over “socialists” and “radicals.” No matter which party dominates the midterm elections, do not expect either will herald in fascism or socialism. Actual socialists in Congress would demand we stop instigating war with Russia, (now topping $66 billion), and instead eliminate homelessness (costing $20 billion) and hunger ($25 billion) as  emergency first steps. Those swayed by Republican propaganda need not fear impending socialism: 100% of the Democrats including Bernie, AOC and the Squad voted like neo-cons for tens of billions in handouts to military contractors to further war in Ukraine.

Bolivia: Elitist Coup Attempt In Santa Cruz

The ultra right-wing governor of the department of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, and his separatist clique have been maintaining an elitist and bosses’ strike against the government of Bolivia since October 21, which has already cost one life and economic losses of tens of millions of dollars. Camacho and the leaders of the Civic Committee for Santa Cruz demand that the population and housing census, postponed for technical reasons for a year later, be brought forward to 2023 with the consensus of all the governors and only the opinion against of the governor of Santa Cruz. The MAS called a Great People’s Council on October 23, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of Santa Cruz inhabitants, who rejected the measure of force. It is worth remembering that Camacho is one of the most reactionary, racist, pro-imperialist and patriarchal politicians of the Altiplano country and one of the most prominent subjects in the organization of the coup against Evo Morales in 2019, initiated with a strike very similar to the current one, which dragged important sectors of the middle classes of Bolivia. But today the conditions are not the same as then, the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) gained in experience and consciousness and  it comes from a great electoral victory in which it defeated the right-wing coup with more than 55 percent of the votes while maintain its combat morale is high.

Sanctions Won’t Stop Latin American Leaders From Talking With US Workers

On September 24, leaders from Cuba and Venezuela will speak at an event titled “The People’s Summit: Democracy Beyond the US Empire”. The event is convened by the International Peoples’ Assembly, an international network of people’s movements and organizations. The event will be held in the historic Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, as the UN General Assembly convenes further downtown in Manhattan. Speakers include Bruno Rodriguez, the Foreign Minister of Cuba, Carlos Faria, the Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Kristin Richardson Jordan, District 9 Council Member for New York City, Vijay Prashad, Director of the Tricontinental Institute of Social Research, and Claudia De La Cruz, Co-Executive Director of The People’s Forum.

Over One Million Bolivians Mobilize To Support President Arce’s Government

On Thursday, August 25, under the banner of ‘March in Defense of Democracy and Economic Reconstruction’, over one million Bolivians mobilized in support of the government of President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca and its socialist economic policies. Workers from diverse sectors, peasants, students, and members of various Indigenous organizations and social movements from all nine departments of the country arrived in capital La Paz to ratify their support for the national government of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party. The call for the march was given by the Pact of Unity (PU), a national alliance of grassroots organizations, and the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), the country’s trade union center, in the face of attempts by far-right opposition sectors and capitalists to destabilize the national government and the country’s economy.

The Far Right Aims To Eliminate Trans People

The far right has unleashed a torrent of attacks on transgender rights with the goal of pushing trans people further into the precarious margins of U.S. capitalist society. Despite those efforts in the halls of power, working and oppressed people have embraced the fight for trans liberation and rallied in defense of LGBTQ people under attack. The latest is a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) that would severely limit the ability of millions of transgender people to access transition-related medical care. Provocatively called the “Protect Children’s Innocence Act,” the bill would make it a felony to provide trans children with gender-affirming medical care, such as prescribing hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy or surgery, punishable with between 10 and 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Urgent Appeal For Unity And Mass Action Against Union Busting

The national wave of union organizing and militancy spearheaded by Starbucks workers and Amazon workers is the biggest upsurge in worker organizing since the 1930s and 1940s. The organizing wave has spread to Trader Joe’s, Chipotle, Apple, REI and a growing list of chain stores and industries. However, this uprising of workers, which holds the potential of not only saving the labor movement, but transforming it, is under life-threatening attack. We must unite in defense of the brave young workers that are the vanguard of this transformative workers struggle. From their corporate boardrooms down to their worksite managers, Starbucks and Amazon are engaged in an outright war to crush the organizing wave. Starbucks is firing union organizers, closing stores, cutting workers hours, and denying pro-union workers wage increases and benefits.

The Push-Pull Of The Abortion Rights Struggle Continues In The US

In the few weeks that have passed since the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, stripping abortion rights from millions of women, the people of the United States have continued to fight back. Despite assurances, the response from the Biden administration to protect the fundamental right has been deemed resoundingly inadequate. “The mass of the people will have to flood into the streets, and will have to remain in the streets,” Monica Illyrich, a young organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told Peoples Dispatch. “We will have to do everything they can to let these politicians know that they will not be able to quietly and peacefully go on with their lives, trying to jeopardize the lives of so many millions of people.” Illyrich, alongside others, participated in an 18-hour protest in front of the Georgia Judicial Center in Atlanta, from July 4 to 5, in order to protest a pending Georgia abortion ban that would prohibit most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

British Rail Workers Lead Fight Against Cost Of Living Crisis

As working class sections and low income households in the UK are suffering from the ongoing cost of living crisis, rail workers are organizing a massive mobilization against proposed austerity measures and job cuts. Over 50,000 rail workers of 13 train operating companies and the London Tube began a strike action on Tuesday, June 21, under the leadership of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) demanding higher wages at par with the soaring inflation and protesting against the job cuts that will result from the austerity policies proposed by the authorities. The strike continued on Thursday, June 23, and the workers will again go on strike on Saturday, June 25.
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