Workers' Struggles

Over the weekend, demonstrations took place across Britain in defence of the right to protest. The labour movement must channel this energy into a mass campaign – to smash the Tories' latest repressive laws, and to bring down this whole rotten government.

The first national strike of Amazon workers in Italy took place on Monday 22 March, after Amazon's management walked away from the negotiating table. Although it is difficult to measure the exact level of participation, the strike was a resounding success.

A new law being proposed by the Tories – that would give police unprecedented repressive powers – has led to a wave of anger and demonstrations. In Bristol last weekend, police provoked a peaceful protest of 5,000 into a furious riot. This anger towards the police came on the back of their brutal suppression of a peaceful vigil in London, in memory of Sarah Everard, allegedly killed by a police officer two weeks ago.

In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, and the subsequent police suppression of a vigil in her memory, protestors have taken to the streets across Britain. We must mobilise to overthrow this entire oppressive, violent, and repressive system. Speakers from Socialist Appeal (British section of the IMT) will address these events at a free public rally today at 7PM GMT, register here.

Mass protests involving thousands have broken out in Greece against the state persecution of a left-wing prisoner, who has gone on hunger strike to achieve basic rights. The mainly youth demonstrators have been met with vicious repression by the state. A united front of all left organisations is necessary to fight against the reactionary, authoritarian New Democracy government!

The Myanmar masses continue to resist the military junta despite mass arrests and dozens of people already killed on the streets. Over one month since the military took over, the junta is still failing to restore any semblance of stability. On the contrary, class tensions are being heightened as an alliance of unions organised a second general strike in response to the military’s continued clampdown.

On 28 February, China Digital Times reported that a food delivery workers’ mutual aid network organiser (Xiong Yan, also known as Chen Sheng) might have been taken into police custody in Beijing. On 1 March, an informant from within the Ele.me, the online platform from which Xiong Yan gets his delivery orders, confirmed that he and some other members of his network were indeed arrested. At the time of writing, Xiong Yan’s whereabouts and status remain unknown, and speculation abounds. This news has garnered widespread attention.

A powerful show of anger and opposition to the military coup launched at the beginning of February was evident on the streets of cities across Myanmar last Monday (February 22nd), as a general strike paralysed the country, from Myitkyina in the north, to Bhamo near the Chinese border, to Pyinmana in the centre.

On Wednesday, 24 February, 21 unions of the South African Federation of Trade Unions went on a general strike against deep and sustained cuts in the living standards of workers, and to fight for a radical change in the country’s economic policies. Frustration runs high amongst the working class over mass retrenchments, wage freezes and brutal austerity measures in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A strike by refuse workers in Brazil against job losses and state repression has ended after 15 days with an important, partial victory. We publish below a report by our Brazilian comrades of Esquerda Marxista from yesterday (available here in Portuguese), giving a balance sheet of the strike. Additionally, we publish an earlier report (Portuguese here) giving some further background on these events.

On 30 January, big demonstrations against the Global Security Bill, the so-called Separatism Bill and for the reopening of cultural institutions took place in Paris, and all over France. These demonstrations were led by thousands of youth, who are increasingly radicalised given the seemingly endless pandemic (which means campuses are closed), and are determined to oppose the rotten Macron government.

Big protests broke out in Russia on 23 January in response to the arrest of oppositionist Alexei Navalny by Putin’s regime. While we have no illusions in liberals like Navalny, our Russian comrades intervened in these protests against political repression by Putin’s gangsters (which will hit working-class and socialist movements hardest), and raised a revolutionary Marxist banner.