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(en) France, CNT-AIT, Anarchosyndicalisme #179: The nationalist poison and the difficult solidarity between workers across borders (ca, de, it, fr, pt, tr)[machine translation]
Wed, 25 Jan 2023 09:31:12 +0200
War does not abolish the relations of domination within a society, it does not
eliminate the differences between the rich and the poor. It even tends to
accentuate them by allowing the appearance of the new rich, the war profiteers.
In times of war, as in times of peace, the objective of the capitalists, of those
who hold economic power, is always the same: to make ever more money. And for
that, in times of peace as in times of war, the recipe is always the same: make
employees work ever more, by paying them ever less and in ever worse working
conditions. The war adds additional stress to the workers in that you risk
getting a bomb on your head, or being thrown in prison or sent to the front if
you challenge the National Union under the command of the Chief Leader and the
national flagsee and its intimidations.
So, is it possible to see a strike and a demonstration of workers, during the war
and when street gatherings are prohibited due to martial law? Is it possible to
undermine "class peace" with capital, when everyone is obliged to "defend the
fatherland" under the wise leadership of the ruling class? Yes, it is possible to
answer yes twice, with recent examples in both Russia and Ukraine.
In Russia, after the boss of Delivery Club, the Russian leader in home delivery
companies, decided in April without notice to reduce their remuneration by 20%
while inflation is exploding in Russia as everywhere, the couriers had went on
strike to demand decent wages and simply humane working conditions. Their union
spokesman, Kirill Ukraintsev, was arrested by police dispatched by the State
Prosecutor for "calling or participating in an unauthorized gathering more than
twice in the space of 180 days" and faces up to to five years in prison. While he
is still in prison, on October 17, his trial was postponed to April 2023. In the
meantime, Kirill remains imprisoned, in total disregard of Russian law, which
sets the maximum period of preventive prison at 6 months. The Russian power is
also waging an internal war against workers and trade unionists, and all those
who dare to demonstrate their freedom of spirit and their refusal to be
considered slaves to be worked at will and without rights.
In Ukraine too, couriers have revolted against poor working conditions. Due to
the war started by the Russian Federation, delivery men are forced to work in the
most risky conditions and for starvation wages. Since the beginning of the war,
wages have even been reduced by 60%, while prices are constantly rising! The
Ukrainian parliament is currently discussing new Ukrainian laws of ultra-liberal
inspiration, taken under the pretext of war, and which aim to annul all rights
for workers. In addition, martial law has prohibited all strikes and all
But that doesn't intimidate Bolt's delivery men from kyiv: in early July, they
created a chat group to organize and discuss possible forms of protest despite
the context of war.
Someone even managed to disable the delivery scooters...
On July 4, the delivery group went on strike. The following day, several dozen
people went to the company's offices in the City Zen Park office center at noon
to hold a meeting in the company's lobby devoted to "the exorbitant reduction of
their income and the payment of unpaid bills. They demand an increase in minimum
payments from 0.82 euros to 1.33 euros per order, as well as an increase in the
remuneration per kilometer from 0.23 euros to 0.40 euros to compensate for the
That rally brought a spokeswoman for the company's management out of her office,
who threatened the protesters with calling the police, who she said would issue a
military summons to all of them. As always in countries at war, the masters
threaten to send the troublemakers to the front, under the bullets!
However, it seems that the management has finally accepted a salary increase even
if it does not completely cover the rampant inflation.
These two examples, in Russia as in Ukraine, show us that capitalism and
exploitation have no borders, and neither does autonomous popular resistance.
Despite the risks involved, despite the prison or the threats of being sent to
the front, both in Russia and in Ukraine, there are courageous workers
who dare to stand up against arbitrariness, who dare to affirm their dignity by
refusing to bow before power and its intimidation.
But war on war also means fighting against the nationalist poison that tends to
make us believe that all the inhabitants of the other country are enemies.
According to the Courrier Syndicate companions, they tried to contact the Bolt
strikers to express their solidarity. But the latter would have pushed back their
solidarity on the grounds that as Ukrainians they would not know how to accept
anything from Russians. This regrettable attitude illustrates the results of the
dissemination in peacetime of ideological discourses on the defense of "peoples"
(in the plural, instead of promoting a single Humanity) whose harmful
consequences are felt in times of war...
Workers have no country! Peace to the cottages and war to the tyrants!
Companions of the CNT-AIT (France)
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