At the time of writing there are wars in Libya, Ivory Coast, Iraq and Afghanistan, revolts in Maghreb and the Middle East and workers in every continent are resisting attempts to impose austerity measures. The capitalist powers are desperately scouring every part of the globe in search of increased profits and market control, while they are united in their determination to rage war on the working class. This is the true reality of global capitalism, death, destruction and relentless attacks on working class, pay conditions and rights!
As we celebrate May Day we should remember that globalization is nothing new. Between 1870 and 1914 capitalism went through a similar period of global expansion. Then, as now, capitalism used the forces of globalization to attack workers leading to a worldwide revolt by the working class. The origin of May Day dates 125 years back. In the United States on May 1st 1886 a strike was launched in support of the 8 hour day. During this campaign a bomb was thrown at a demonstration in Chicago, the police arrested a number of anarchists who had been prominent in the struggle for the 8 hour day.
The arrested men were clearly innocent but four were executed by the state while another died in his cell allegedly committing suicide. The execution of the four men, who became known as the Haymarket Martyrs, sparked a mass working class protest across the world that lead to May 1st being declared international workers day in commemoration of the sacrifice of the four murdered men. On this May Day let us then not just remember the sacrifice of the Haymarket Martyrs but also celebrate the Internationalism of the early workers movement that led to the mass protest against their execution.
And on International workers day we can take heart in the fact that the spirit of revolt is once again emerging within the working class. The workers in the Middle East and North Africa rose up against dictatorships, rising unemployment and increasing poverty. In Wisconsin (USA) the struggle against the attempt to destroy collective barging has led to an international protest. In Bolivia there is currently a general strike against neoliberal reforms and demand for a pay increase. Across Europe too there has been protests against cuts, occupations in London, strikes and protests in Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland etc.
These mobilizations are demonstrating once again the power ordinary people have to bring about change through self organization and own actions. They can be struggles of a future if they go wider than changing a regime and/or government with another. Governments by their very nature are there to serve the interest of the capitalist economical dictatorship. Real change will come about when workers organize free and fighting unions that challenge the whole capitalist system of exploitation and oppression!
The capitalism driven by greed is constantly adapting and evolving in order to protect its interest. Across the world capitalism is imposing part time working, flexible employment contracts and flexible hours on workers. The need to constantly adjust production has led to capitalism creating an army of part time workers that can be hired and fired at will in line with demand. This has lead to a worldwide increase in Temporary Work Agencies attracted by the massive profits to be made through the exploitation of workers unable to find permanent employment
Globalization renders the production process vulnerable to attack. Working class resistance in one country disrupts the production chain leading to lost output in other countries. This vulnerability is forcing a change in military thinking. Just as capitalism becomes more international so must the military power that defends it. Under globalization the armies of the state are no longer static forces there to protect boarders. The modern capitalist army must be highly mobile ready to respond quickly and with overwhelming brutality to any “disruption” no matter in what country it may occur.
NATO`s New Strategic Concept agreed to last year sets out how the west can combat all the threats, and not only the “military” ones.. And, as we are seeing now where the tragedy in Japan is affecting production of companies like Toyota across the globe, the threat to global capitalism is not just limited to workers unrest. The NATO document outlines how potential threats can be neutralized whether it will be in the form of cyber attacks, terrorist attacks, the effects of global warming or the risk from natural catastrophes.
In order to achieve its aim, the global capitalism looks to extend the power of the state into all aspects of our lives. The private domain is not “private” and all are suspected until the opposite is proved. This increasingly totalitarian capitalism will still need loyal, subsidized organizations and the parliamentary political parties to maintain the illusion of “democracy”.
Oppression within goes along with expansion abroad. Globalization leads to increased competition between capitalist blocks. And competition between the developing nations and the once all powerful western capitalism is growing. As the United States economic power declines it will become even more dependent on its massive military power to maintain its dominance increasing the threat of capitalist wars.
In confronting global capitalism the international working class must not only fight capitalist exploitation and state oppression - it must oppose all capitalist wars. Wars between capitalists sets worker against worker and leads to the wholesale butchering of the working class. Central to the workers struggle must be anti-militarism aimed at opposing the capitalist war machine. .
As anarcho-syndicalist the IWA is committed to organizing against the evils of exploitation and oppression and has a long tradition of anti-militarism. Our internationalism is based on class struggle and mutual aid. We reject the idea of the nation state seeing it as a means of dividing workers in the interest of capitalism. We stand for self organization; our strength as workers comes from our ability to organize, class solidarity and the direct action we take against capitalism and the State.
The IWA rejects class collaboration in all its forms. Works councils and other corporatist bodies based on social partnership are means of undermining class struggle. State funding is designed to undermine independent working class action and organization. Our way of organizing is expressed through democratic federalist structures based on recallable delegates.
For the IWA class struggle is not a theoretical abstraction but a fact in the daily lives of workers. In recent years the IWA has organized countless international campaigns in support workers worldwide. In the run up to May Day this year the IWA has launched “International anarcho-syndicalist days of struggle against borders and in solidarity with immigrant workers”. It is a campaign against the brutal exploitation of immigrant workers by capitalism
And as the IWA grows and spreads, our fight against capitalism will intensify. For us the only relationship between worker and boss can be class struggle. And class struggle must grow until capitalism and the state is swept away by the solidarity of the international working class. To be replaced by the free federation of workers associations based on libertarian communism!
It is in this spirit of true internationalism that on May Day the IWA sends its greeting and support to all workers engaged in the fight against exploitation and oppression!
Against the capitalist exploitation and oppression- Direct actions and Solidarity!
Long live the IWA and anarchosyndicalism!
Oslo, April 26 2011