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(en) Britain, Direct Action* #35 - Against Capitalist Exploitation - Organise and Fight!

Date Sun, 28 Aug 2005 10:48:26 +0300

Against Capitalist Exploitation - Organise and Fight!
Everywhere, we see capitalist rivalry and sustained attacks on
workers’ rights and conditions. Meanwhile, capitalism continues
to exploit us, not only economically, socially and culturally; it also
mobilises us for its own economic and military madness, exploiting
our fear of job losses, fear of other races, fear of terrorism and so on.
The world economy is very critical and may face a dollar collapse.
The US thought the Iraq war would pay for itself in terms of Iraqi oil
pouring into the world market; increased oil production lowering
prices; and the main OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela
and Iran being destabilised due to sharp declines in oil revenues.
Today we have the opposite - the enormous costs of the war in Iraq
(and Afghanistan), high oil prices and falling profits have combined
to aggravate the huge US deficit.

Although oil is traded in dollars, oil-exporting countries won’t
lose any profit. They merely respond to the falling dollar by raising
oil prices. And increasingly they are considering the strong euro as
an alternative for oil transactions. In addition, developing countries
with large dollar reserves are also diversifying from to the euro to
lessen the threat of big losses due to the dollar’s decline.

‘peak oil’

The situation is dramatically worsened, according to the IMF, by the
threat of ‘a permanent oil shock’ caused by a combination of
surging demand from emerging countries and limited new supplies
from outside the OPEC countries. The passage of so-called
‘peak oil’ - the point when oil extraction hits its maximum
and begins to decline (predicted by some to be 2010, but may be
sooner) - will fuel rivalry between capitalist powers, in turn
increasing the exploitation of workers.

Such rivalry can be seen in every continent. In the light of ‘peak
oil’ the capitalist powers are acting as oil-junkies, desperately
seeking to ensure their present and future energy supplies. And
whoever controls energy resources and the supply lines, also
controls their rivals because oil and gas are the lifeblood of

The changes in Georgia and Ukraine are major victories for the
USA. Georgia is a transit country for the new Baku (Azerbaijan) to
Ceyhan (Turkey) oil pipeline. This is routed through Georgia and
Kurdish areas of Turkey, but avoids Russia and Iran. Ukraine, the
main transit country to the EU for Russian oil, will be used by the
US, just like the new EU and NATO members, to undermine
Russian and German/French interests.

The true nightmare of the US and other imperialist powers is that, as
their energy needs rise, they will become dependent on hostile
and/or ‘unstable’ countries. The US strategy of controlling
the ‘Eurasian corridor’ - from Eastern Europe to Central and
Eastern Asia - has become a very important aspect of its wider
activity within the so-called ‘Arc of Instability’. The
‘Arc’ stretches from Latin America (with US-inspired
militarisation like Plan Colombia) to Africa (where Washington is
rapidly increasing its presence) through the Middle East (occupation
of Iraq and threats against Syria and Iran) to Central Asia (war and
occupation in Afghanistan) and on to Eastern Asia (threats against
North Korea and attempts to counter the rise of China).

the middle east

Special attention must be drawn to the Persian Gulf where America
is preparing air-strikes on military targets and suspected nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons installations in Iran, in a plan to
provoke a regime change. According to US journalist, Seymour
Hersh, the Bush administration has been using the Pentagon, not
the CIA, for secret missions inside Iran to avoid having to report to

Such actions, as with Iraq, have a very important and hidden reason.
Saddam’s regime became a definite target when Iraq converted
its oil transactions from dollars to euros. Iran has, at least since
2003, been considering launching an oil stock exchange that would
trade in euros. This plan is, according to Alexander Gas & Oil,
scheduled for August 2005. If set into practice, it will strongly
undermine both the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) in
London and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). It will
send shock waves around the financial world because trading in
petrodollars is one of the foundations of US economic domination.
Given the huge US deficit and the weak dollar, a successful Iranian
Stock Exchange would be a major threat and the US will use all
means necessary to prevent it.

And we should not be amazed to learn that the Israel/Palestine issue
is also tied in with the control of oil supplies. In March 2005 a
number of foreign consortia, consisting mostly of US investors,
contacted Israeli government agencies and the government-owned
company, Petroleum and Energy Infrastructures, with proposals to
renew the oil pipeline from Haifa to Iraq through Jordan. This plan
could put into practice the main strategic interests of America and
Israel - solving the Israeli energy crisis, and securing oil
transportation to Europe and the USA. But it first requires the
‘hostile’ regime in Syria to be diminished or eliminated, and
the resistance in Iraq, especially the sabotage of gas and oil
pipelines, to be crushed.

attacks on iran

This strategic project of a pipeline to the Mediterranean is even more
important in the light of possible attacks on Iran. First, the USA and
EU want to be less dependent on oil shipments from the Persian
Gulf through the Iranian controlled Strait of Hormuz. Second, Iran
has threatened to block the Strait in the event of an attack thereby
pushing oil prices to an all time high.

At times like these it is important to uncover the motives of the
capitalist powers. For instance, the EU is not a soft, humanitarian
bloc that counters the USA; or take the US forces involved in the aid
effort for tsunami victims - they were also clearly showing off US
strength in the region. The Strait of Malacca, east of Sumatra, for
instance, is a critical sea lane between the Persian Gulf and the likes
of Korea, Japan and China.

China, with its rapidly expanding energy needs, is increasingly
considered to be a major strategic enemy as it challenges US
influence in Asia; maintains close ties with Iran; and counters the
US in Africa and Latin America. Brazil and Venezuela, for instance,
have agreed to increase oil exports to China, while China has been
expanding its trade, including arms, throughout the continent.

Disagreements between the USA and the EU are clear to be seen
over policies towards Iran and China. On Iran, the EU has a more
‘moderate’ policy than the US; on China, it is challenging
the US by talking about lifting the weapons embargo. America fears
an EU alliance with energy-rich Russia, as well as its growing
relations with Latin America, India and China.

Washington’s tactic of dividing the EU into ‘Old
Europe’ and ‘New Europe’ was openly exposed before
and during the initial phase of the occupation of Iraq. What Iraq and
Ukraine have shown is how the US seeks to control all energy
sources and supply lines, and to block potential challengers to its
hegemony. The expanding EU is a superpower in terms of trade, but
it is militarily weak. However, efforts to speed up military and
economic integration will continue despite recent setbacks over the
proposed EU constitution.


In Europe, as elsewhere, the rule for capitalism is ‘expand or
die’. The offensive we see worldwide against public services is
designed to open more markets for private corporations. Many
governments are watching Britain as Blair attempts to turn a fifth of
public services over to the private or ‘voluntary’ sector by

Another major global trend is casualisation. The Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) uses as many as
22 indicators to compare levels of employment protection in different
countries. This is very helpful to capitalists wanting to make extra
profit, especially in a global economy where it’s easier and easier
to move production. So attacks from the likes of new Labour focus
on different indicators, from difficulty of dismissal to the forms of
temporary work that employers can impose on workers.

One form is that provided by temporary work agencies, which are
often multinational corporations making profits from slave labour.
Besides dividing the work force and underming wages and working
conditions, agencies also have an international and political impact
in terms of the so-called ‘war against terrorism’. Israel, for
example, uses agency labour from the Philippines, Eastern Europe
and China instead of Palestinians for ‘security reasons’.

surrender or fight

As global capitalism throws its mask off, bosses and states alike
never cease telling us to accept ‘the logic of the market’.
Bureaucratic reformist unions, with their dependence on state aid
and subsidies from the very bosses who attack us, must surrender or
fight. If they mobilise at all they are doomed to fail, since they are
not built to counter attack on broad fronts, or to rely on their own
strength. Instead, they’ve become service institutions and
burdens upon the backs of workers, not tools for self-activity and

The only true ‘job-security’ we have as workers is to rely on
ourselves, on solidarity and on the actions we can take together. In
contrast to reformist unions, the IWA rejects integration into the
capitalist system. We don’t have paid union officials; we
don’t take subsidies from the enemy; we don’t collaborate
with the capitalist system, for example, by participating in state
sponsored ‘union elections’.

Capitalism attacks us in many ways, so the IWA fights on the
economic, social, cultural and anti-militarist fronts. The anarcho-
syndicalist coherence of the International is essential as these
struggles are also part of the fight to replace capitalism and the state
with the free federation of workers free associations - that is,
libertarian communism.

article adapted from the IWA May Day statement - full text at

Journal of the anarchist Solidarity Federation

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