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(en) Europe, Prol-position Newsletter*!! First issue out now!!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 19 Apr 2005 11:22:27 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

This newsletter is a collection of reports from different spheres of
proletarian struggle, which analyse the material conditions, the
experiences and difficulties of the struggles.
It is in English, and downloadable as a pdf from www.prol-position.net (about 200 kb)
The contents of this issue:
Editorial: Why such a project today?
Wildcat strike at General Motors, Opel in Bochum, Germany
General Motors, Saab policies in Sweden
New wage-model at VW, Germany
Protest against Hartz IV, welfare-reform in Germany
Struggles of migrant workers in Paris, France
Travel report: more struggles in France
Aviation: Two struggles in Britain and Belgium
Construction: Struggle at Laing O’Rourke, Britain

This first newsletter focuses on struggles in Western Europe in the
second half of 2004. Below is a longer introduction to the project and
then a short description of each of the articles:

Please circulate this e-mail to others!

To be informed about new editions subscribe to our mailing-list by
sending an empty email to:

To get in contact/contribute write to: ppnews@prol-position.net


This is the first issue of the Prol-position Newsletter. The newsletter
is an open project discussing and circulating articles from different
regions, translated from different languages, and reporting on
different spheres of exploitation and proletarian struggle around the

Why such a project now?

Today, many struggles have an international dimension. The people
involved face a social and international context mediated by capital
which is turned against them. Capital and workers themselves move
faster than their struggles spread:
* Migrant agricultural workers are being replaced by other newer
* Workers in older core-industries are put under pressure by
(threatened) relocation or closure,
* Workers in new factories and development areas are threatened by
flexible work-rules and unemployment,
* The unemployed see themselves forced into more intense flexibility
and into undermining work standards,
* Workers in many production units are being played off against each
other by intensive transportion and new communication technologies...
If we want to understand these trends and support the struggles taking
place under these circumstances, we have to acknowlege and analyse
their international dimension - and organize an international debate
about them.
Unions and other forms of workers’ representation clearly remain an
obstacle for further development of struggles. By narrowly focusing on
the interests of single companies, professions, nationalities etc.,
unions can do nothing but widen the divisions within the class. They
need to stick to forms of representation and delegation to negotiate,
and therefore have to suppress tendencies towards self-organisation and
autonomy within the struggles. They do this, for instance, by retaining
and manipulating information or by releasing reports merely glorifying
struggles (whether lost or won).
There is also growing potential for links between the so-called social
movements, the new forms of organizing they develop and the direct
action of proletarian struggles. Some of these trends we could see
within the so-called antiglobalization movement. We want to circulate
reports about experiences of self-organisation within these conflicts,
understand their material conditions, and acknowledge their potentials
and difficulties.
Several projects, newspapers, etc. now operate on a regional or
countrywide level, engaging in struggles and writing about them. Most
only write in their own language. So far cross-national exchange on
these experiences beyond one country is limited by language barriers or
takes place individually between those who speak a couple languages and
thus is rarely coordinated or has few practical consequences. Despite
international meetings, the internet, etc., information on struggles in
many countries is hard to get. We don’t expect to solve these problems
merely by translating more articles into a more widely spoken language
(English), but we think this newsletter can help by spreading inside
views on some struggles and facilitating debates around them.

What will be the newsletter‘s content?

We will translate and write articles on struggles in different regions
of the world. For the newsletter itself we will focus on reports on
proletarian struggles analysing their material conditions, experiences
and difficulties - rather than just announcing the mere existance of
the conflict. Background information and other usefull material will be
published in the archive section of the website
We want to collect enough material to publish the newsletter on a
bi-monthly basis and in-between when necessary. We will hold an
editorial meeting before each edition to discuss the proposed articles
and the political issues, the class situation etc.

How can you get involved?

You can send us articles, interviews, reports. We wrote a rough
questionaire on struggles which can (!) be used as a guideline (also on
www.prol-position.net). We are also interested in background
information relating to the conflicts, which we will archive or use for
the introduction.
You can also help us by translating and proofreading material. Most of
us aren’t native English-speakers (and we can only speak a couple of
languages), so it would be great if people could volunteer to help with
these tasks.
You can forward the newsletter-link to other people, and you can print
out and photocopy the newsletter and give copies to friends,
co-workers, strikers, and other workers. Or you can take copies to
bookstores, hand them out on meetings and conferences...
Finally, you can take part in the discussion and exchange via Email.
The newsletter will be our main focus for now, but if people feel the
need to discuss and share material through an email list, we will
consider setting another one up. Till then you can email us at:


The articles about the wildcat strike at the automobile plant of
Opel, GM in Bochum, Germany, the policies of Saab, GM in Sweden and
about the new wage model at VW, Germany describe the attacks on the
(old) centers of workers’ power and capital accumulation. In 2004
Germany saw a main breakthrough of capital. It managed to impose longer
working hours and lower wages in industrial strongholds and big
companies such as Siemens, Daimler Crysler, DB (German railways) and
Karstadt. The wildcat strike at Opel, GM Bochum was a surprising answer
of the workers, an answer that mobilised a united front of employers,
politicians and union bosses which managed by the bluntest means to
shut it up. While the capitalists are using mass unemployment to put
more pressure on those who have (legal) jobs and those who don’t, so
far we have not really seen a collective expression of resistance of
those, who are (temporarily) unemployed.

The ‘Monday-Demonstrations’ in Germany against the welfare-reform Hartz
IV in Germany took everyone by surprise (and were in the beginning by
and large self-organized). There was a lot of international attention
on the protests, but very few reports circulated abroad grasped the
initial strength and spontaneity of the demonstrations and their
internal dynamics and final weaknesses. The article summarizes the
different stages of the movement in different towns and gives an
impression of its internal composition. We added a short update on the
current situation around the introduction of the reduced unemployment
benefit, the so-called 1-Euro jobs and attempts to fight againt this

The analysis of the solidarity commitee regarding the strike of
immigrants working in the kitchen of Frog Pubs in Paris reveals quite
clearly the dynamics between immigrant comunities, the strike, the
union and the external strike supporters. It is important to re-open
the debate on the question of external strike support, a debate that we
saw on a more serious level during the strikes of Arcade, McDonalds and
Pizza Hut workers in Paris in 2002, all strikes which happened in
small shops and often led by immigrant workers.

The travel report from France talks about experiences at three
different sites of struggle during the rather lukewarm autumn 2004. The
travel starts at a picket-line in front of a McDonald‘s branch in
Paris, goes down south to an assembly on the action day against the
Nestlé factory closure, and ends in the strike kitchen of the occupied
software centre of Schneider Electrics in Grenoble.

The short reports from demonstrations of DHL-employees in Bruxelles and
the picket line of baggage handlers at the airport in Gatwick describe
two examples of conflicts which took place in the aviation sector over
the past few years. In the introduction to that article you can find
some questions on the increased political importance of this sector for
the globalized class struggle.

The final article describes the struggle of contruction workers in
Britain working on some big sites like the channel tunnel. A company,
Laing O‘Rourke, tried to change the workers’ status by making formerly
self-employed workers into Laing employees. For the workers that meant
major pay cuts, declining working conditions and more means on the side
of the bosses to put pressure on (resistant) workers. After meeting the
workers some activists from the anti-capitalist movement supported the
struggle by occupying cranes on one construction site... Enjoy!
* [Ed note: The newsleter is a nonformal project of the nonformal
network of antiauthoritarian anticapitalist collectives involved
with precarity workers (like the Wombles in Britain. Solidarity in France,
and wildcat in Germany, etc)

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