(Eng) FREEDOM 27th Jan - EXTRACT (1) (Fr)

neil birrell (neil@lds.co.uk)
Sun, 28 Jan 1996 12:59:18 +0100


FREEDOM PRESS
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LONDON
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-----------------------------
NEWS FROM RUSSIA

THE LATEST STAGE in the attack by the ruling class on the rights
and achievements of the workers is coming to a close. In Russia the
preliminary sharing out of State property between bureaucratic and
bourgeois cliques is nearly complete and there is now a bitter struggle
beginning for them to grab what they can. In Bellarussia and in the
Ukraine the privatisation process is in full swing. By transforming the
exploitational forms of state capitalism into private-state capitalism
the ruling classes are seeking to throw the weight of the crisis onto
the shoulders of the workers. Theirs is a violently anti-social political
stance: raising or 'liberaising' prices, restricting rises in wages, cutting
back on welfare payments, the complete commercialisation of public
services, job supression and more discrimination against women.
Worker related organisations have been deprived of whatever remains
of their rights; an administrative dictatorship over production has
become total. The empoverishment of the workers has reached levels
without precedence. The rise in shop prices outstrips several times
over any rises in average salaries, underconsumption and malnutrition
have become the norm. In all the states which were members of the
'former union' there is a concentration of power in the hands of a
small minority at the head of which can be found the despotic
presidents. The militarisation of society makes rapid progress and
nationalism is getting into a rhythm. Civil rights, already under threat,
and freedom have been restricted. There are more and more cases of
repression directed against non-conformists including anarchists,
ecologists and other independant groupings.

However, the deteriorating situation for the workers is not being
accompanied by an increase in revolutionary positions being adopted
nor by the radicalisation of demonstrations for their rights. The
majority of workers remain passive and express their discontent by
refusing to participate in electoral buffoonery. The social movements
of 1988-1990 with their potential for self-organisation and self-
management, have disolved and many of their leaders have joined the
system. Strike activity, essentially adopts a purely defensive character,
and very often the strikes are of a very moderate nature, isolating
groups from one another, and under the control of old and new
bureaucratic unions, whose propaganda speaks of a 'social
partnership', which undermine the demands of the workers and, in the
end, conclude agreements behind their backs. It is not rare for the
administration of a company, in collusion with the unions, to use
workers struggles to put pressure on those in power with their own
interests in mind.

The very low level of worker activity can be expliained by a
prolonged absense of long term self-organisational practice,
systematically supressed uring the Stalinist period. A passive despair
predominates, that is a paternalistic belief that a change of leadership
will automatically solve all pressing problems. All this brings easy
prey to the political opposition parties who, once in power, continue
with exactly the same offensive policies directed at the workers.
Electoral campaigns serve to distract the workers attention attention
from the direct struggle for their essntial interests, strikes and
protestations, and instead to put their destiny in the hands of a new
clique of demagogues.

The speading of egotism and the splits among the workers by attempts
at corrupting those who are in those sectors of the economy which are
of strategic importance or in private firms, is one of authorities
favourite methods of preventing a social explosion.

The road to social self-organisation and revolution will be a hard one.
Today this is the only way to end the sufferings of the workers. It is
only by hardnosed struggle - stubborn and daily - of the exploited in
every sphere where they come up against the domination and
oppression of the state and capital, a class struggle independant of
statist bodies, political parties and bureaucratic unions which will
help them form the structures of social self-management an the
aspiration to a new life of freedom.

Under these conditions of violent offensive coming from the
exploiters, it is extremely important to protect the daily socio-
economic interests of the workers. It is evident that the corrupt
conciliators of the bureaucratic unions do not wish to put forward
elementary salarial demands, nor fight against redundancies. Only the
revolutionnary unions of workers can carry out this task.

What is needed today is the creation, in Eastern Europe and Northern
Asia, of syndicalist organisations who can forge a link between the
daily economic struggle and the preparation for and realisation of a
universal social revolution. Of course, the simultaneous setting up of
such unions is impossible. That is why we favour more flexible
autonomous initiatives from the workers. Such initiatives couls
havve complete organisational independance or could form anarcho-
syndicalist factions within other syndicalist unions or strike
committees. We are for the creation of networks in active sectors,
consisting of various local syndicalist initiatives or alternatively non-
participation.

Today's fundamental demands are: full indexation of salaries and
welfare payments backdated to 1st April 1991 (that is to say when
prices began to rise); payment of wages on time; reduction in direct
taxation; job preservation and an end to deteriorating working
circumstances; the reestablishment of collective workers rights dating
back to the period 1987-1990; the absolute right to strike.

It is vital that we play an active role in all work related struggles, by
taking part in debates and defending these demands and by
contributing to the radicalisation of these struggles and doing this
exclusvely by means of direct action.

Action directe n=B0 5, oct. 1995 =20
Translated from the Russian by. =20
Relations internationales de =20
la F=E9d=E9ration anarchiste Fran=E7aise

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