On 15 October, all around the globe, the “enraged”, the “indignad@s”, the “occupiers of Wall Street”, demonstrators all over Portugal, in Santiago Chile and in Cairo – and many, many more – will take the streets to challenge the power of big business. The magnificent movements of young people and workers in these struggles, with common causes, methods and demands, instinctively reach out to each other across borders and continents.
After more than three years of ongoing capitalist crisis, the capitalists and their politicians show their inability to offer any way out of ongoing misery for the vast majority, called the “99%” in the movement in the US. Instead, the ruling elites want to make workers and youth pay for the failure of their system, to continue to bail out bankers and millionaires. That’s what this rebellion is against and where the demand for fundamental change, the demand for “revolution” as the youth movement for example in Spain puts it, comes from.
The CWI fights for
· An end to the dictatorship of the markets; break the power of the tycoons! Massive taxation of the rich and their profits!
· Massive investment in jobs, free and decent education and public services! Stop the cuts and austerity!
· Nationalisation of the banks and the major companies that dominate the global economy; bring them under workers’ and public control; for a plan to use the resources in the interest of working people, not leave them under the rule of profit and big business!
· A joint fight back against national divisions, racism and sexism.
Spread the indignation! Mobilise the full power of the movement!
But the resistance is developing, with occupations, tent cities, protests spreading from one continent to another. The methods which have been popularised by the international indignad@s have been powerful, a breath of fresh air capable of drawing a whole new generation into activity. The square occupations and camps stood as reminders to all in the centre of some of the world’s major cities of the opposition and resistance to the misery of the crisis. The mass assemblies in squares and neighbourhoods allowed a glimpse of real democracy and structures in which all could participate and have their say. These methods, while pioneered and pursued by the youth, drew massive support from other sections of society hit by the savagery of the crisis who then, as in Egypt, moved into action.
This has included the working class, who in country after country have seen the road to a real struggle partially blocked by national trade union leaders who refused to lead a serious fight to the end.
In Greece, the “enraged”, in occupying the squares, inspired working people, leading to a new upturn in workers’ struggles, with leaders forced to organise 24 and 48 hour general strikes.
In the US, even in the early stages of “Occupy Wall Street”, unions began to declare their support for the movement, sending delegations to their protests. In New York, tens of thousands of young people and trade unionists marched through the city last Wednesday in a united demonstration.
In Chile, where students will be continuing their tremendous movement with mobilisations on 15 October, workers have joined their mobilisations, including with strike action.
This support must become the basis for these movements to move onto a higher level. While indignation can shake society, there comes a stage when effective action must be taken. The working class holds the reins of the economy and produces the profits of the billionaires.
Our movements must seek to mobilise this potential power, through industrial action and general strikes. It was the development of such action which was key to the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in toppling dictators, and must also be key to our struggle against the dictatorship of markets and profit.
Mass assemblies, built in communities and workplaces and linked together democratically, could come together to plan and control such mobilisations. In this way, the policies of the pro-capitalist trade union leaders could be cut across, and action can be forced on them, as in Greece. But as part of a serious and sustained programme of action, democratically agreed and controlled, such actions can be part of a consistent strategy that can paralyse society and force change.
Workers and youth are repelled by all the rotten parties representing the interests of big business. Right-wing trade union leaders block the power of these organisations. Many young people view these apparatuses with disgust.
To challenge all these parties, to prevent them using the power of the movements in their interests, the movements need to develop key demands to fight for and stop those forces from hijacking the protests.
As the events from Egypt and Tunisia to Greece and Spain have shown, without a clear force representing the interests of working-class people and youth that is capable of offering an alternative programme and strategy to the capitalist misery, the old elites will try to stay in power and sit out the protest in their cosy positions. The CWI argues for building new, genuine forces representing working-class people and youth.
For system change
At the moment 500 companies dominate the economy of the planet. Directly and indirectly they control 30% of the world’s gross domestic product. The struggle starts here and today to fight against the disastrous policies they enforce. The CWI fights for every immediate reform to save the living standards of workers and youth, to stop this system destroying the environment through global warming or nuclear power catastrophes.
However, for us this is linked to the fight for the overthrow of capitalism in general. In a new society, where this power of the multinationals would be transferred democratically to working people, beginning with the nationalisation of the banks and major corporations under democratic control, our fundamental problems could be solved.
The CWI argues that the movements internationally must link their radical demands together in a comprehensive programme to transform society along these genuinely socialist lines.
On 15 October, all around the globe, the “enraged”, the “indignad@s”, the “occupiers of Wall Street”, demonstrators all over Portugal, in Santiago de Chile and in Cairo – and many, many more – will take the streets to challenge the power of big business. The magnificent movements of young people and workers in these struggles, with common causes, methods and demands instinctively reach out to each other across borders and continents.
Be part of the organised struggle against capitalism
The CWI has parties, groups and individuals in over 40 countries around the world. We stand shoulder to shoulder with workers and young people internationally in struggle against the attacks of the bosses and their politicians. We are part of the fightback which is developing internationally as millions have taken to the streets saying “we won’t pay for their crisis!”
To be successful, the struggle against capitalism requires ideas, a political programme, and an organisation that is able to unite workers and oppressed people across the globe. The CWI aims to build such an organisation. We think that organised workers and youth in their millions are stronger than the millionaires. That is why we need more people to join us in the struggle for socialism!
Committee for a Workers’ International, PO Box 3688, London E11 1YE, Britain