Home » , , , » Workers worldwide against authoritarianism, fascism and dictatorship

Workers worldwide against authoritarianism, fascism and dictatorship

Written By mediavigil on Wednesday, February 02, 2022 | 8:32 AM

During a discussion on the book "If Not Us, Who?: Workers worldwide against authoritarianism, fascism and dictatorship organised by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Geneva, one asked, "What happened after the Marikana massacre? who was held accountable?"  Marikana massacre wherein 34 miners were killed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on 16 August 2012, during a wildcat strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, North West province, South Africa. The question arose from the presentation of Nicole Ulrich's paper on “The Wheel is Turning”: Fighting Apartheid with Workers’ Democracy, 1950–1990" wherein she underlined the narrowing of political imagination of participatory democracy and expressed dismay at the role of pseudo Left leaders and charismatic leaders in a situation where their long time ally African National Congress has adopted neo-liberal policies. Marikana massacre caused fractures in the trade unions. 
Responding to the question, Dr. Dale T McKinley, the author of Mapping the world of casualised work and struggle in South Africa responded saying,
"In response to the question about whether anyone has been held responsible for the Marikana Massacre: The only (unsuccessful) criminal prosecution that has taken place involved one of the police generals at the time (Lt Gen Mpembe). The Police Commissioner at the time, Riah Phiyega, was subsequently dismissed from her post. The Farlam Commission on Enquiry concluded that several police leaders should be held accountable but no legal cases have since been launched. Most of the recommendations for reform of police conduct and training etc. have not been implemented. 
Anna Calori, the author of "Bosnia-Herzegovina: Workers’ Organization at the Root of the 2014 Social Uprising" spoke about the February 2014 saw the largest mass protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the fall of socialist Yugoslavia and the ensuing wars. Protests against privatization and mass lay-offs characterized the whole decade between 2003 and 2013, leading to the largest mass protests in the region in February 2014. The unrest started in Tuzla, once the industrial heart of Bosnia, where a number of large state firms had collapsed in the process of privatization. Her paper demonstrates the strength of cross-generational and inter-ethnic social mobilisations. The focus on socio-economic inequalities that affected citizens the most, regardless of their ethnic or religious background resulted in the famous slogan, “We are hungry in three languages” (pointing towards the three official languages of Bosnia) was a powerful reminder of the movement’s rejection of identities that divide them. She described the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia as plural authoritarian.

When Domingo Perez, the co-author of the paper "Anti-Neoliberal Revolt and General Strike 2019" was asked as to how November 2019 social outbreak and popular revolt led to the election of 35 year old Gabriel Boric government in Chile. One learnt from him that Gabriel Boric was involved in the Peace Agreement and in organising the Constitutional Referendum. Although Communist Parties are strong in Chile, there is a anti-communist feeling in Chile that supports Boric who does not have a organisational base of his own. One learnt about 301 social actions in one day during the popular revolt. The fall of the authoritarian government is attributed to the relationship that developed between social movements and trade unions. 

During his talk Domingo recalled how the dictatorship Augusto Pinochet that was established after the democratically-elected socialist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown in a US-backed coup d'état on September 11, 1973 paved the way for privatisation and liberalisation, which led to enormous social and economic inequality for several decades even after the departure of Pinochet in 1990. 

Responding to protests against rising costs of living and inequality, billionaire President Sebastián Piñera  declared a state of emergency in October 2019. On 15 November, 2019 most of the political parties represented in the National Congress signed an agreement to call a national referendum in April 2020 demanding a new Constitution. On October 25, 2020, some 80 per cent voted in favor of a new constitution. A second vote was held on April 11, 2021, to select 155 Chileans who form the convention which will draft the new constitution. On 19 December 2021, leftist candidate, the 35-year-old former student protest leader, Boric, won Chile's presidential election defeating José Antonio Kast linked to Pinochet related Chilean Republican Party. Allende's granddaughter, Maya Fernandez Allende is the defence minister in the Boric cabinet. 

Jeremy Morris, the co-author of the paper "Neo-Authoritarianism, Co-optation, and Resistance
Workers and Alternative Unions in Russia" points out that bargaining power at the sector level is fragile in Russia because collective agreements are limited to the plant level. The unions’ actions are primarily local. As a consequence, these unions do not have collective bargaining partner at the sector level and beyond. Although there was successes in enforcing collective bargaining in agreements at the unit of  German manufacturer Volkswagen and Benteler in 2012 owing to old legacy of Russian working class, the fact remains the concerned union members came under the scanner of the Russian security apparatus. He spoke about the emergence of new solidarity among service sector workers like in Uber and food delivery sector. He categorised the situation in Russia as liberal authoritarian.  

The moderator, Dario Azzellini, the editor of the book and the author of the paper "The Pandemic and Class Struggle", observed that new struggles and organizational structures are already emerging all over the world but they have yet to establish themselves as a unified front. He contested the idea of death of worker state and worker class identity and expressed hope in social transformation processes. He referred to some 200 opposition movements in 150 countries between 1900 and 2006 which were mostly urban mobilizations. This mapping is limited till 2016. Had he been covering the period till 2021, he may have noted the rural uprising in terms of world's largest year-long protest of farmers and farm workers in India.     

Jan Leidecker, Director, RLS, Geneva concluded the discussion.

Notably, Nicole draws on a poem by worker poet Alfred Qabu for the title of her paper The Wheel is Turning. One cannot imagine solidarity of the working classes without poetry.

Share this article :

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2013. ToxicsWatch, Journal of Earth, Science, Economy and Justice - All Rights Reserved
Proudly powered by Blogger