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(en) Europe, prol-position* newsletter #4 out now

Date Fri, 02 Dec 2005 17:39:49 +0200

The contents of this issue:
Strike at Gate Gourmet in Düsseldorf/Germany
Spread Cheese against Scabs
Interview with Polish Tesco Worker in Ireland
Polish Work Gangs in Britain
Lodz/Poland: Household Appliance Industry
Razor Attack
Polish Workers in France
French Investments in Eastern Europe
Washing Machine Factory in Berlin/Germany
hp-Warehouse Duisburg/Germany
Mobilizations in the Greek Textile Industry
Strike at Honda in Gurgaon/India
Car-Update: More strikes
Social Earthquake in Iran
US: Katrina and After
Less Black People want to join the US-Army
Wildcat-Poster: Which way to the revolution?

Please circulate this e-mail to others!


The current riots in France are just another sign of the desperate
situation capitalism’s current development has created for a large
fraction of the working classes all over the world. While a section of
the young migrant youth is being expelled, like in the banlieus in
France, with no capital wanting to exploit it, other sections are being
squeezed even harder in the factories, warehouses and offices. All of
them have to deal with surviving, with making their voices heard, and
fighting for their interests. Struggles are developing faster and become
more radical in form, but so far there does not seem to be much to win.
Capitalist crisis and the de-funding of the state institutions limits
the space for individual capitalists and the state compromising with
proletarian demands. And despite seeing more people in rebelling against
poor living conditions, the perspective of revolution, of liberation
from capitalist exploitation within the struggles is not at all visible.
This leads to a range of questions, from the isolation of the different
parts of the working classes, to the role of desperation and violence,
and that of religious and other movements.
This edition of the newsletter contains some articles on the increased
exploitation, the attempts of capital to re-locate in the search for
cheaper labor, and the (subsequent) problems and struggles both in the
old and new regions. We aim is to shed more light on the different
situations and struggles of workers in order to better understand the
current developments - and to discover how we can intervene and support
these struggles.
The first two articles in this edition are on a struggle of workers in
the catering industry at the airport of Düsseldorf, Germany. The
company, Gate Gourmet, saw another strike in August this year at the
London-Heathrow airport where the workers got the support of other
airport employees. The airport was shut-down for about two days. The
workers in Düsseldorf do not get that kind of support, but so far -
after about seven weeks of strike - they are still picketing and trying
to block delivery trucks...
The main focus in this edition is on Polish workers, who have a long
tradition of migration. But since Poland and other Eastern European
countries joined the European Union in May 2004 a new phase has started.
While most Western European countries in the EU did not open their labor
markets to workers from the new member-states, Britain and Ireland did
(see more in ppnews #2). Now Polish migrant workers are standing up
against low wages, long working hours and lousy working conditions. Are
they taking the lead and showing other workers how to resist and fight?
Read the articles on their struggles at Tesco in Ireland, in the British
meat industry, and in the shipyards and other places in France. See also
the articles on workers’ resistance in a Lodz/Poland appliance factory
and on French investments in Eastern Europe.
The next two articles deal with the situation in factories and
warehouses in Germany. Besides the Hartz IV welfare reform (see ppnews
#1 and #3) that creates new pressures for a large part of the German
working class there is also a process of work flexibilisation and
re-location of certain industries, both attacks on the labor standards.
See the article on the closing of a Bosch-Siemens washing machine plant
in Berlin and the conditions in a Hewlett-Packard warehouse in Duisburg.
The article on mobilizations in the Greek textile industry shows how
workers fight industrial re-location but without other workers
involvement: “Workers respond to the closures with demonstrations,
strikes and occupations but they seem incapable of reversing these
developments by appealing to other parts of the working class and
generalizing the struggle.“
India is undergoing a process of economic growth and many compare its
development with that of China in the last 15 years. But behind the
numbers on foreign investments, new industrial zones, a growing middle
class, and mobile phones sold per year lies another reality, that of the
workers in the new factories who - after a few years of working in the
factories - have learned to fight back. Read about the strike of Honda
workers in the region of Gurgaon, the brutal police attacks, and the
subsequent workers’ riots. This is followed by another update on the
struggles in the car industry and an article on the growing social
tensions in Iran, on investments by the car and other industries, and,
again, the flip side: low wages, poverty, unemployment, and working
class struggles.
Two articles on the situation in the United States deal with
developments after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the difficulties
facing the US Army in finding more black recruits, a serious problem for
US government war plans.
Finally, we translate the text of a Wildcat-poster added to edition 69,
Spring 2004, a text that brings us back to the questions posed above:
“Which way to the revolution, please? Capitalism has been stagnating for
thirty years. For the last twenty years, the social system and people’s
working conditions have been under attack from above; and for almost ten
years, there has been a worldwide movement denouncing the injustice of
this system. Why do so many people still stay so quiet? Why doesn’t
capitalism finally give up and die?” After all the other texts on bad
conditions and struggles against it, some closing food for thought.

Stay tuned...

You can download the newsletter as a printable pdf-file from
www.prol-position.net (about 275 kB).
* Ed. Note: prol-position is an unofficial journal of a
network of anti-authoritarian anti capitalist European]
activists groups.
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