A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004 | of 2005 | of 2006

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Prol-position* #5 out now

Date Tue, 21 Feb 2006 16:13:30 +0200

The contents of this issue:
- Editorial
- The Heart of the Beast - An Unknown Entity. Worker's Power and the Future of Operaism
- Gender, Migration and Domestic Labor
- China in Revolt - Social Struggles in the Chinese Modernization Process
- Workers' Struggle at (German) Gate Gourmet is Getting Harder
- Wild Ride - A Different Perspective on the (Czech) Car Industry
- Under Construction - Struggles of Asian Workers in the Middle East and Oil-Producing Countries
- Wired - Temp-Work in the (German) Rail-Industry
- Interview with Worker from Bosch-Siemens Factory in Berlin (Germany):
"Now They Call Us Heroes Everywhere!"
- Riots in the Banlieues in France: Difficult to Integrate into the
General Class Combat
- What Did Happen After the Riots in France?

Please circulate this e-mail to others!


Capitalist exploitation constantly changes, driven by the unrest of the
exploited. Capital tries to thrive off their search for a better life
by channeling it into controlled labor migration or new job schemes. It
wants to re-assemble and re-divide proletarians on the open labor
market as well as its hidden undersides by encircling proletarian
strong-holds in industry with mass-unemployment and international
supply-chains. Capital undermines workers' inflexibility with new
The organizational starting point for new struggles is already in
motion, moving between and within green field plants and backyard
workshops, maquiladoras and banlieues, between global transport links
and border controls. Proletarian producer's appropriation of the means
of production is an act of creative destruction requiring socialization
of experiences. This newsletter tries to contribute to this process by
spreading analyses of the changing organization of exploitation and the
proletarian struggles within.

* * *

It has been one year since we started publishing this newsletter - time
to thank all those who contributed articles and comments so far, who
helped with translations and proofreading!
We also took the occasion to make some changes. Up until now the
newsletter only appeared in pdf-format so readers could download it
from the website, print it out and read it on paper. Following some
readers' suggestions we have now changed the website and made all
articles available as single html-files, too. That way people can
quickly scroll through the contents, print out and forward individual
articles, and link texts to other websites. There is also a new
search-function so you can quickly get to the information you want.
Check it out on: www.prol-position.net
However, we will continue to publish the news letter in pdf-format,
too, since we think it is most efficient to take the time and read the
stuff on paper, allow deeper thoughts, make notes...

* * *

This issue starts with three rather general articles. The Heart of the
Beast - An Unknown Entity. Workers' power and the Future of Operaism is
a follow-up article on the discussion around Beverly J. Silver's book
Forces of Labor (see also in ppnews #2 - online at
http://www.prol-position.net/nl/2005/02/silver and in ppnews #3 -
http://www.prol-position.net/nl/2005/03/silver). "Silver's main thesis
is that cycles of capitalist accu mulation also increase workers' power
on a global scale in a stage-like form - through produc tion
relocation, technological and organiza tional inno vations and the
transition to new core industrial products." But workers' power does
not in every case increase. "Silver insists that this 'workplace
bargaining power' needs to be shown in every single case and every
single struggle." Silver's (and Giovanni Arrighi's) historical analy
sis is seen as a useful concept for understanding the deve lopment and
current state of workers' power, contrary to the debate on "multitude"
and "post-Fordism," both dominated by ideology rather than empirical
research. Silver's historical perspec tive on workers' struggles and
her concept of "workers' bargaining power" also brings us back to the
importance of the material production of surplus value and the factory.
"We do not know what this 'unknown entity', 'the factory', will look
like today - not in the sense of a stereotype of "steaming chimneys,"
but as a site and starting point for workers' power that can concretely
and practically disenchant the material rule of capital, thereby giving
space again for antagonistic subjectivity. And sure enough, no clever
minds or polished theories will give us any answer, but proletarian
search processes, in which we take part, which we describe and, at
best, at some points expedite."
The next article - Gender, Migration and Domestic Labor - can be seen
as one such search process. It uncovers the hidden reality of
exploitation in the domestic work sector world-wide. Mostly (migrating)
women, often low paid, with long working hours, are selling their
labor-power in households... sometimes working for agencies, sometimes
depending on family "employers". "Behind the stories about abuse,
slavery, degradation etc, that break into the news every now and again,
there is an intrinsic role of this work in the current global division
of labor. This article looks at the role of this work in the economies
of the receiving and sending countries, the tendency to industrialize
this work, the gender dynamic and the implications for families in both
countries." The sector is an important part of capitalism, with other
sectors relying on the service-labor of these migrant women. There have
been some struggles in this sector, too, and further research needs to
be done to uncover the formation of this part of the working class.
China in Revolt - Social Struggles in the Chinese Modernization Process
shows how be hind all talk of the "modernization process," large
investments, and the importance of the export-oriented manufacturing
sector, one of the most serious problems in China is still the peasant
question. The "social apartheid"system, develop ed since the 1950s,
still divides Chinese society and also plays an important role in
developing proletarian struggles. While peasants resist land
confiscation or tax increases and try to defend the remnants of a
relatively egalitarian agrarian sys tem, millions leave the countryside
and migrate to the cities, where they work in construction, ser vices,
or the private manufacturing sector and are faced with social
inequality and discrimination. Meanwhile, (former) state-workers in the
cities try to defend their (better) living standards against a Chinese
regime that seems determined to carry out the rationalization of the
state-owned indus tries. Peasants, young migrant workers, and the old
state-workers all manage to organize strug gles, but these struggles
mostly remain limited to one area or company. Still, we have to see how
long the regime's crisis management can keep the struggles isolated or
whether the different sections of the working-class find a way to
overcome re pression and division (boundary drawing) strate gies.

* * *

The second part of the newsletter consists of articles on specific
workers' struggles and forms of exploitation. Workers' struggle at Gate
Gourmet is getting harder is an up-date on the struggle of catering
workers at the airport of Düsseldorf, Germany (see ppnews #4 -
http://www.prol-position.net/nl/2005/04/gourmet). The owner, the
private equity fund Texas Pacific Group (TPG), has recently prevented a
settlement and confronted the workers - already on strike for months -
with even deeper cuts in wages and longer working hours. The workers
are determined to continue the strike, with the support of the union's
strike pay... and of supporters who organized several blockades of
company premises to prevent deliveries to airplanes. The authors of the
article make two proposals: a) In Germany the unions started a
disgusting nationalist campaign against private equity funds like the
TPG. They call them "locusts" (or grasshoppers) that come over to eat
up profitable (German) companies. Still, it is not enough to just
reject these terms and turn against the union's nationalism. It is
important to analyze the specific role of private equity funds who do
the shit work for capital by stripping firms and attacking workers'
conditions. b) In cases where the workers themselves do not have the
power to quickly force the bosses to give in, forms of solidarity and
support are needed: "Secondary picketing is necessary!"
Wild Ride - A Different Perspective on the Car Industry was written by
comrades who started an inquiry into the workers' situation and
struggles in the Czech Republic. After the strike at Skoda in spring
2005 (see their report in ppnews #2 – http://www.prol-position.net/nl/
2005/02/skoda) they looked at the overall development of the Czech car
industry - the most important industrial sector there. They look at the
three parts of that industry: the Skoda-factories, the TPCA- factory and
the suppliers. So far there have not been many open struggles, but the
conflicts are obvious. The in quiry will continue: "Light needs to be
shed on where there are points of tension and what is the technical
composition of the industry. Is there a class recomposition underway?
Direct inquires with workers themselves could help to break this
information barrier, while at the same time they could help to
disseminate knowledge and share experiences among workers of various
Under Construction - Struggles of Asian Workers in the Middle East and
Oil-Producing Countries is a collection of information from different
internet sources. The construction sector is one of the main areas of
proletarian migration. In recent months we have seen several struggles
of migrant construction workers in several countries in the Middle
East, around the Arab Gulf, and in other oil- producing regions.
"Workers from India, Pa kistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka
struck together during some of the conflicts [which] shows their
importance for a new class composition. Their struggles already had a
noticeable impact on labor relations." We have to see what impact these
struggles will have on the situation in the countries of origin.
Wired - Temp-Work in the Rail-Industry is a report from a factory in
Düsseldorf, Germany. It shows the globalized structure of a medium-
sized company engaged in manufacturing and the world wide work
experience of the flexible work-force. One of the the main issues in
the factory - seen from a prol-position - was the situation of the temp
workers who accounted for half of all production workers. The temps
were paid far less and knew that their contract would only last for the
completion of a certain customer order. The report concludes: "It is
rather difficult for people to organize actions within short notice,
but particularly for the temps that is their only chance. The idea of a
go-slow strike came up too late, a great part of the order was already
completed, but the connections amongst the temps still too weak for
more offensive measures. All in all we have to state the enormous
contrast of vast proletarian experiences within the total work-force, a
rapid worsening of working conditions and the blatant lack of
experiences with collective actions."
The Interview with Worker from Bosch-Siemens Factory in Berlin
(Germany): "Now they call us heroes everywhere!" was made after Bosch
Siemens announced the closure of the factory (see the background
article on this in ppnews #4 – http://www.prol-position.net/nl/
2005/04/washing). The worker describes the strike preparation and how
the company backed off its threat to shut the plant. "After it was
clear the plant wasn't shutting, the number of blue-collar workers
calling in sick rose to 17-18 percent and that’s where it remains. Temp
workers had to be hired again. And they can’t motivate people any more.
The workers say: fuck it, sooner or later they're going to close down
anyway. Many thought they'd get the three month severance, that would
have been more money than they'd see in their whole life. Few workers
were happy that the plant isn't closing!" A surprising perspective?
Maybe not if you know about the conditions at work in this factory and
what life looks like after years and years in the grind.

* * *

The last part of the newsletter is on the riots in France in fall 2005.
The article Riots in the Banlieues in France: Difficult to integrate
into the General Class Combat was written by the group Mouvement
Communiste. It is an account of what happened during the riots, the
background, the reaction and counter-strategies of the parties, of the
Islamic groups, etc. The article states that the question is not,
whether the riots were justified. "The desire of this minority of young
people to express as loudly as possible their rage against the forces
of repression is completely comprehensible." Still, "the problem is not
this but in the fact that the informal political expression of this
urban violence is not compatible with the perspective of independent
proletarian struggle." Tribalism, machismo, the capitalist drug
economy, and the "islamisation of souls" are among the problems that
play a role in everyday life in these banlieues and in the riots as
well. What did happen after the riots in France? tries to follow the
development in France after the riots until now (February 2006).

* * *

Have fun reading it all! And feel free to send us comments, ideas,
articles and interviews...
You can read all articles at http://www.prol-position.net and also
download the newsletter as a printable pdf-file (http://www.prol-

Ziggy <ladystardust@gmx.co.uk
* Non-official journal for the international (mainly West Europen)
network of groups dedicated to the self-organised and direct action,
of mainly the new "globalized" proletariat.
A-infos-en mailing list

A-Infos Information Center