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(en) Europe prol-position news* #6

Date Sat, 22 Jul 2006 13:07:21 +0300

This website and the prol-position newsletter are part of 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 world. [Read more
about this project and how to participate. http://www.prol-position.net/etc/present]
prol-position news #6 was published in July 2006. For a pdf-version click pdf


The current global class conflict is characterised by increasingly
sharpening contrasts between regions or periods of boom and crisis.
The fact of workers being exploited in booming or declining sectors
often creates deeper immediate abysses between their struggles than
does any cultural, ethnic etc. boundaries. In the ocean of the market,
in the ups and downs of the economic cycles, workers are forced to
react in many different ways, mirroring the general contradictions of
the capitalist relations surrounding them. After a worker was shot by
the police in Bangladesh in May 2006, textile workers ransacked
dozens of factories and burned down several of them. The riots in
Bangladesh and the mass strike wave of workers in the textile export
zones in Vietnam in winter 2005/06 have to be seen in the wider
context of the general situation of Asian textile workers: they are the
main producers for the global market and their working and living
conditions are very directly linked to its ups and downs and to changes
in the market policies, such as the WTO tariff policy changes in 2005.
The textile industry in Asia is very mobile; in the textile export belt
around New Delhi factories close with a few weeks notice, and
re-open again shortly after. In this dynamic situation workers have to
take advantage of short boom periods, their actions have to be
eruptive, the hire-and-fire fuels their anger.

While textile factories are torched in Bangladesh, they are occupied
and run under workers control in Argentina. While the market
situation compels the workers in Bangladesh to destroy the means of
exploitation, the situation in Argentina compels workers to take them
over. The main question will be if and how workers struggles in
different situations of (under)development will be able to connect and
break out of the market rat-race. The articles in this issue try to shed
light on class conflicts which originate in very different circumstances,
which develop certain new dynamics and due to their isolation find
their limitations: a moving and inspirational article comprising detailed
interviews with workers of Zanon, the occupied tile factory in
Argentina; an article on the struggles of textile workers in Vietnam
and Bangladesh; an analysis and interviews concerning initiatives of
employees in the Philips Semiconductors plant in Hamburg,
Germany; a short interview with a worker in a Special Economic Zone
in Poland, a short up-date on two wildcat strikes in the European
automobile sector; some suggestions for further reading on USA
migrant struggles and the movement against the labour reform in

(Another) Paradise Lost – Strikes and Riots in the Export Zones in
Vietnam and Bangladesh
The garment and clothing industry is a mobile industry, it has almost
completely moved from North-America and Europe to Asia, where
about 80 to 90 per cent of the global production is situated. Within
Asia, capital moves further on, in its constant look-out for lowest
wages and stable conditions of exploitation. Upturns and slumps in
the international market or changes in the trade policies have
immediate effect on the workers, e.g. by short-term labour-shortages
or sudden redundancies. The following two recent movements in
Vietnam and Bangladesh express the reaction of the workers to these
rapidly changing conditions: rapid workers' movements with a fair
chance of international copy-cat effects. More...

“On Saturdays the company belongs to Daddy” –
weekend-shifts and collective contract conflict at Philips
Semiconductors (PSH) in Hamburg, Germany
The popular conception of IT associates the sector with highly paid
computer programmers, thereby turning a blind eye on the fact that
the major share of the work is done in micro-electronic industries
where the means of work, e.g. materials for the software developers,
are manufactured. The production of semi-conductors is part of this
industry. In order to produce micro-chips so-called (silicon) wafers
have to undergo various processes. Philips is one of the biggest
manufacturer in Europe. More...

Workers Illegally fired in Poland's Special Zone of Exploitation
I got a job in September 2005. Before I couldn’t find any job. I
worked on a construction-sites, took some seasonal and temporary
jobs. In the city where I live (Kostrzyn on the Oder river, western
Poland) the situation on the market is tragic. There are no big factories
here. We have a cosmic unemployment- around 30 per cent. But it is
even worse in the south of the area - the highest unemployment in
EU. More...

Zanon – A factory in the hand of the workers, Argentina
Zanon is not a backyard workshop, but a very modern factory with a
highly automated production process. Hardly anyone believed that the
production workers would be able to get the plant running under
self-management. They showed that it is possible. Instead of begging
for jobs in times of crisis or trying to make ends meet in informal
niches they took over the precious machinery and organised work in
such a way that as well as producing tiles there is still always time for
drinking mate and having a chat. In that way they are better off than
their comrades from the occupied textile factory Brukmann, who have
to work much harder at their sewing machines in order to secure their
income. More...

Short wildcat strikes & temp work in European car factories

Other Articles on the Web http://www.prol-position.net/nl/2006/06/links
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