(en) European March Against Unemployment

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Mon, 17 Mar 1997 22:08:45 GMT


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Dear friends and comrades,

The following text about the European March Against Unemployment has been forwarded by comrades of the german anarcho-syndiacalist FAU (Free Workers Union). They also passed us a short comment on the group CSR who wrote the text:

"According to the french CNT the CSR is a group consisting of around 10 members. They want to organise a classfront and are mainly marxist orientated. Contrary to anarcho-syndicalist principles, the CSR participate in all kinds of elections and have some exempted work council members. They are for an independant union movement but in a reformast rather than a libertarian-communist way."

Nevertheless, we believe the text gives an interesting insight into the state of preparations for the march.

Anarchist greetings, Robert (for the A-Infos Group in germany)

P.S.: Meanwhile, the umbrella-organisation of the german reformist unions, the DGB, has urged its member-organisations not to participate in the march. It argued that the fact that radical unions opposing the European Union are envolved in the organisation of the march could see it drifting in a direction that the DGB (who promotes the EU regardless of its pro- capitalist and racist implications) does not want to support.

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*Forwarded message* *from:*kaou@anet.fr

------------COMITE SYNDICALISTE REVOLUTIONNAIRE------------------ Reseau intersyndical des Syndicalistes-Revolutionnaires en France Inter-unions network of Revolutionary-Unionists in France

write to: CSR, 40 rue du Stand, 95120 Ermont, FRANCE fax: 33 2 99 09 20 46 http://altern.com/csr e-mail: kaou@anet.fr

Here is a text about the Euromarch. For European unionists, tell us about the position of your union. Salut. Kaou for the CSR.

FORWARD WITH THE EUROPEAN MARCH AGAINST UNEMPLOYEMENT !

The organisation of the european marches against unemployement is moving on. The figure of 600 participants at the Brussels meeting on 22nd and 23rd February allows us to reckon the interest of the workers=C6movement for this initiative of a struggle coordinated at the european level. The participants included: France, around 230 people belonging to unemployed=C6s associations (AC!, APEIS, MNCP, ADEC, CDSL, DAL, Droits devants) or to trade unions (SUD, FSU, CFDT, CNT, some CGT unions) - Britain, 60 to 70 people, some grass roots unionists, one delegation of the Liverpool dockers who have been on strike for 6 months - Germany, 50 unionists, associatives - Belgium, 70 unionists, homeless - Italy, 30 unionists from COBAS, CGIL - Spain, the radical union CGT - Basque Country, the radical union LAB - Ireland, the unemployed=C6s association INOU - Sweden, the radical union SAC...

Let us start with the negative points: an important part of the meeting was composed of the usual militants of the =AB radical left =BB (Green Party, sections of the 4th international - LCR in France). Althought the unemployed were there, few of them spoke out during the debates. On the other hand, all the different organisations present made a speech boasting about themselves to the detriment of real analyses or concrete experiences of struggles. The organisers of this gathering (permanent members of the LCR, Alternative Libertaire, the Greens) played to the large mobilization on very consensual bases, putting forward above all their contacts with the radicalised social-democrats (the =AB radical =BB left). Those who organised the marches turn out to be reformist political organisations: the italian PRC, the british Labour Party, the German PDS, and of course the trotskyst sections of the 4th international.

This great event did not lack obscure manoeuvres either: the italian PRC has recently set up some interprofessional unions, the SIN COBAS, whiche take up the abbreviation of the BASe COmmittes (COBAS). COBAS are unions of very fighting spirit which have appeared in Italy over the past few years whereas the CGIL (the big confederation) colaborates with the State. The COBAS militants claims the union=C6s independence like the USI (radical union) with which they have passed an agreement to be representative as a Trade Union (Alliance for the representativity of self managing confederations - ARCA). The PRC is trying with the SIN COBAS to take control of those unruly unions which refuse the austerity of the Prodi social-democrat governement backed by the PRC. The PRC militants avoided giving any explanation at Brussels to take all the more advantage from the abbreviation. One other dirty trick: a commission met in order to write up the manifesto for the march but at 10 pm when the coaches were to leave at 10.30 pm to take the participants to the dormitories. Nothing can be more efficient to prevent the militants from participating !

In spite of all this, there were some interesting interventions during the debates, especially about the development of precarity and unemployment with a trend that confirms itself in some countries (Britain, the USA, Germany, Switzerland) where the unemployed are forced to accept low-paid jobs after a certain period of unemployment. This once more allows the management to pull down the cost of labour. The most important is that the european march is really going to take place. There will probably be 10 or 11 great marches: two from Spain-Portugal, two or three from Britain, one from Ireland, one from Italy, one from Austria, one from the center of Germany and one from Scandinavia. The simultaneous date for the great departures is set on 14th April, with a few variations. Three of the starting points should symbolise the will to get out of the borders of the imperialist European Union to stretch the solidarity to the workers of dominated countries in the East and in North Africa. One of the marches from the South is likely to leave from Tanger in Marocco on 14th April. One could depart from Poland, crossing Germany, and one from Sarajevo or Tuzla in Bosnia, before Austria. Each march will be composed of a group of about twenty international marchers (one or two from each country) and of about twenty local marchers. Around 28th May, they will all converge towards Brussels or Villevorde to support Renault workers. Then at the start of June, five hundred marchers could walk throught the Netherlands. On 14th June, on the day of the Inter Gouvernemental Conference (CIG) on Maastricht=C6s Europe, thousands of demonstrators are expected in Amsterdam.

Even if the organisation is not yet finished, this Euromarch is sure to mobilize the energies of the unemployed and fighting unionists. It is all in the interest of unionists and militants of unemployed=C6s associations to participate, for it is an opportunity to make numerous contacts on a concrete action and to set up a network of fighting unions on the European level. One first step has been taken in this direction by such unions as SUD-Education, some unions of CNT, the spanish CGT, the swedish SAC and two fighting local unions of the British TUC, Liverpool and Hull who have signed a common text, more radical than the manifesto for the March, after this kind of move. As for us, we have contacted the swedish SAC, the spanish CGT and the basque LAB to start working on an unionist coordination.

The Euromarch is all the more important an event as it it clearly puts forward the european dimension of the problems the working class is confronted with. Indeed, for about twenty years, we=C6ve been suffering the incessant attacks from the Capital which aim to dismantle the social rights (Social security, permanent contracts of employment, Status in the civil service, the minimum wage, age limit to work at 16, pensions...). The French bourgeoisie, like all the imperialist bourgeoisies, since the 70=C6s =AB crisis =BB has had to face up to an ever greater competition between national economies. In order to keep its levels of profits, it is forced to attack social rights. The signature of the Maastricht treaty has accelerated these antisocial policies, because it sets deadlines to the European bourgeoisies to integrate the European Union. Hence the creation of the single currency which symbolizes these policies is programmed for 1999. That is why over the past few years the attacks from the bourgeoisie have grown more and more violent in Europe.

>From a tactical point of view, it is therefore very important to fight
against the achievement of the Maastricht Europe which increases unemployment, precarity, poverty (lower welfare benefits), the dismantling and privatization of the public service, of pensions of the social security and as a consequence State and popular racism. For if Maastricht manages to impose itself, it is easy to foretell a very fast lack of interest and very strong frustration among the populations who saw that most of the promises made at the time of the referendum by the governements were not kept. What legitimacy would the worker=C6s movement have if it had not denounced that treaty ? It is self-evident that the extreme-right will profit from the situation. And such a political victory will be enough in some countries to allow it to come into power.

We can be all the more happy as the campaign does not limit itself to unemployement, but it want also to set up a permanent front of struggle against the Maastricht policies. Unfortunately, the campaign is not organised on bases of class since social-democrat parties such as the British Labour Party and the Italian PRC are also taking part. Thus a struggle will have to be carried out in the campaign so that the unions lead the campaign and the parties are put aside as much as possible. In France, we will be up against the Greens and the LCR who want to prepare the 1998 legislative elections by a recuperation of the social movements. Besides, the =AB radical =BB left intends to take advantage of the Euromarch to organize itself on a continental level. The LCR which leads the mobilization throught SUD-PTT and AC! is ready for any compromise. It will be also necessary to clarify the participation of the Italian PRC (Rifundazione Communista) which coordinates the march in Italy and whose MP=C6s have voted in favor of the Prodi governement=C6s budget: the latter plans redundancies and new taxes to join the European Union, which makes for the legitimate mistrust of basic unions (COBAS, USI, CUB,...). There is also the Labour Party that wants to take the control of the march in Britain whereas it is about to win the elections and to apply the Maastricht policies which contains the seeds of unemployment. As for us, their commitment is merely opportunistic. These tactics of re-building a social-democracy, utterly discredited by its managing of capitalism, can only lead to the future disgust of unionists.

In this setting, it will be necessary to make the really autonomous unions sectors to converge, i.e. the proletarian organisations (as has already started with the common text signed by SUD-Education, some unions of CNT, the spanish CGT, the swedish SAC and two fighting local unions of the British TUC, Liverpool and Hull) in order to radicalise the campaign but also in the aim of taking the first steps of the class front that we are willing to set up with all the unionists who want to fight the capitalism. In this sense, we must insist in our own unions for an unionist group to be present in the final demonstration in Amsterdam around a radical unionist plateform. A demonstration in Amsterdam is not sufficient a sign of strength. In order to allow the greatest number of workers possible to participate in the protest, it seems important to launch an interprofessional and European strike on the eve of the demonstration, that is to say on Friday 13th June.

Commit your union to support the march. Take part in the march if you are out of work. Take contact with us for a European coordination of the fighting unionists. Let us prevent the setting of a capitalist Europe by the workers=C6 mobilization.

For further information, please order our new brochure =AB Maastricht: the end of the social peace =BB, 8 francs each, in French.

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