Workers' Struggles

One thousand people marched yesterday through the main streets of Caracas, in what was the largest demonstration in favour of the expropriation of an occupied factory that has ever taken place in Venezuela. This was truly an historic march. It was the real and genuine spirit of the working class taking over the streets of Caracas and pointing the way the revolution must advance.

After occupying Sanitarios Maracay, the workers have created new organisational forms for the running of the factory. The Assembly of workers is the highest decision making body, and has elected a 21-member Factory Committee, who are subject to the right of recall at any time by the Assembly, to organise production at the plant. The workers have also held meetings with workers from occupied factories in Brazil and Venezuela in order to learn from the experiences of other workers in the occupied factory movement.

On April 4, workers from occupied factories and factories under cogestión (workers' control) marched in Caracas from the National Assembly to the Miraflores presidential palace. The march had been organised by the recently created Revolutionary Front of Workers of Factories Occupied and under Workers' Control and included delegations from several occupied factories.

This article was written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the commencement of the 1984/5 miners' strike in the United Kingdom. This ferocious confrontation between the organised working class (led by the National Union of Mineworkers) and Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government was a momentous chapter in the history of the class struggle in Britain. The lessons of the miners' strike – and its defeat – are of great significance to the future of the workers' movement, and deserve thorough study.

This firefighters' strike - whatever the eventual outcome - represents the opening shot in a new stormy period facing Britain. It is a fundamental turning point. Socialist Appealhas repeatedly explained that we have entered the most turbulent period internationally since the second world war. A series of general strikes have rocked Europe, from Greece, Spain and Italy. France has been shaken by mass demonstrations against privatisation. Now Britain has become affected by this changing mood, reflected by the shift to the left in the trade unions.

The magnificent one million-strong strike of local authority workers on July 17 has forced important concessions out of the government. Anyone who still doubted the power of militant industrial action has been answered. Before the strike there was no more money available, no matter what, for chronically underpaid council employees. Furthermore Blair insisted that he would not be involved, this was "a matter for the employers not the government." However, the militant action of the workers and their determined mood has forced an immediate U-turn. Blair personally intervened to persuade the employers to propose a new, improved offer. The threat of a further one-day strike on August 14,


What a decisive answer to all the cynics who had written off the labour movement in Britain. In scenes reminiscent of the late 1970s, scenes we were told would never be repeated in Blair's New Britain, more than a million local authority workers took strike action yesterday, the first national public sector stoppage in 20 years. The action by members of UNISON, the T&GWU and the GMB was described in the London Evening Standard as "the biggest strike in Britain since the 1926 General Strike". All over England, Wales and Northern Ireland schools, museums and leisure centres were closed, rubbish went uncollected, architects demonstrated alongside caretakers and dinner ladies and the


Since 1994 and throughout the whole period of the right wing PP government in Spain, the leaders of the two main trade union confederations in Spain, CCOO and UGT, have carried out a policy of agreements and social partnership. In 1996 they agreed to a change in the pension system. The old system was based on taking the average wage for the last eight years worked. With the new system the calculations to work out a worker's pension are based on the last fifteen years [the further back you go the lower the wages and thus the level of pensions goes down]. In 1997 they agreed to a new kind of labour contract which reduced the amount paid in redundancy payment. These policies of the trade


Under a blazing sun, at midday on Thursday, May 17, tens of thousands of Greek workers poured onto the streets of central Athens to protest the anti-working class policies of the right wing socialist government of Konstantinos Simitis. This was the second general strike in the space of one month. Although the final figures have not yet been published, it was clearly a very successful strike.

Published in Pravda No. 40, May 8 (April 25), 1917.

Rabochaya Gazeta gloats and crows over the recent resolution of the Central Committee which has revealed (in connection, be it noted, with the now published declaration of the representatives of the Bolshevik group in the Soviet) certain disagreements within our Party.

On 14 October, the Ecuadorian government of Lenín Moreno repealed decree 883. After days of struggle and mobilisations that had reached insurrectional proportions, Moreno was forced to make an important concession in the face of the danger of being overthrown by revolutionary means. The uprising of workers, peasants and students has achieved a first victory, a partial one, at the cost of eight dead, 1,340 wounded and 1,192 detained.