Defend our conditions, our class and our cause

From the Friends of Spartacus, The Internationalist Youth Review, Oct-Nov 2010 - The Friends of Spartacus are young comrades involved in the resistance of university and school students as well as young workers against the cuts in Italy

It is well known communists support the need to overthrow capitalism. Too right we do! Capitalism increasingly and continually attacks our living and working conditions. It signs no truces. How can we face up to being treated like roast on a spit? How can we defend ourselves and how can we attack without falling into the trap of reformism or individualism, into forms of disorganised protest or sterile demonstrations. As capitalism does not have a peaceful solution for its internal contradictions it attacks and weakens the working class through the systematic destruction of all the forms of protection which the workers, through their struggles without leadership or a programme, have won within the bourgeois social system in the last 50 years. It is well known that from the point of view of production those were more fruitful and calm times for the capitalists, still “free” to offer (but never giving us any presents!) “sweeties” and health benefits to various sections of the working class. Now, given the crisis, the system is instead in a corner, and they have not only dismantled all social provisions, but the demands on the bosses are even more pressing, forcing them to directly cut the wages of exploited labour.

The capitalists have indeed been pushed into methods of exploitation beyond anything seen in the past with a drive for profits without rules or limits. Today they have found again that they have to manage a multitude of angry and super exploited workers who thanks to the benefits of “democracy” are no longer capable of understanding what breaking the social peace means. This above all “thanks to the unions with heartfelt applause” Mr Marchionne (1) would no doubt add because we know very well that behind the lack of working class consciousness hides the careful schemes of the unions which in every workplace, factory, shipyard or school, they decide with the owners and the institutions the very future of our labour power as workers. In this way the unions maintain their strong position within the system carrying out a role of mediation for the galaxy of the exploited, legitimising themselves within the economic system as an agent for bourgeois propaganda and hangman of the workers struggles at the same time.

The ways of cutting wages if not the legs of the workers are infinite and all are closely linked, structured in a way to extend the time needed to get a reasonably secure job, fought for with teeth and blood. They make you do very long trial periods, then you get a job in the black economy or on call, the widening precariousness otherwise know as apprenticeship, the division into categories or subcategories and false contracts already ready for anyone of these, then restructuring of the whole firm with the possible shift of the workplace and the entire industrial establishment to places where labour has little value make us shudder about our future. And following this thread of crisis, we end in short order in the cassa integrazione (2) and almost certain layoffs.

To remain passive in this scenario not only means submitting to the crisis instead of making the bosses pay for it, it also means dragging oneself into the abyss of the degenerative sickness of their decadent system of production leaving unaltered the domination of the oppressing class.

This is why the Internationalists exhort all workers, young or not, to organise on a permanent basis on an anti-capitalist and revolutionary political programme. In the first place we must not play their game or follow the unions into the legal bureaucratic blind alleys. The unions put themselves between the bosses’ thirst for profits and a dignified life every time. In the second place if we don’t want to depend for the rest of our lives on the hated bosses such organisation will be needed to overturn this dreadful society and replace it with another without class divisions, discrimination and privileges.

It is therefore clear that workers’ struggles must begin to distance themselves from the logics of class harmony which benefits the bosses’ profits. It has to be the workers in their own right who begin to organise themselves in their own struggles, outside of and against (if necessary) the unions by forming sovereign assemblies which decide how we organise the struggle from beginning to end, with our real issues and problems, taking in all categories and overcoming the differences which divide the working class. We need to start strike or struggle committees in the workplace which break with reformist logic and stimulate the workers to fight. The moment has arrived to stop lining up behind the flags and symbols of the ever too numerous parochial unions. We cannot allow our interests to be represented by those who line up with the class enemy.

No more delegation, no more sacrifices, let’s intransigently defend our conditions. The bosses must begin to pay for the crisis. If we don’t make them they will make us pay! Let’s organise our struggle, support and unite workers in every area. Let’s face up to precariousness, lay-offs, cassa integrazione, and job shifts, let’s have solidarity with workers in factories abroad which have branches in Italy Our slogan must be halt production and a general strike!

As in Greece!

As in France!

Only struggle pays!

Friends of Spartacus (FI)
Enemies of Capital

(1) Boss of Fiat. See for more on his role.

(2) Cassa integrazione (literally integration money) is pay workers who are temporarily laid off get. It is however now the case that workers who go into the scheme end up completely without work.