This has been the week when the British government presented a strategic perspective in which it will wage wars on its own, when the war in Libya grew tense with the dispatch of 2,000 Syrian soldiers to Tripoli by Turkey, when the European Commission presented a trillion-euro plan to implement the “Green Deal” and when a truce was signed in the trade war between China and the US that does not bode well for any relaxation of inter-imperialist conflicts. But while these were the issues we focused on this week, from Chile to Russia to Germany and Turkey, other news emerged that illustrated both some very important aspects of the global situation and some hopeful outbreaks of mobilization that augured well for class responses.
This week demonstrates that we cannot trust the ability of imperialisms to stand still on the edge of the abyss of open warfare. Before there can be a sigh of relief in Iraq, the next flashpoint threatening widespread war is already escalating in Libya. And meanwhile, in France, the trade unions are bringing all workers to the brink of dismantling the pension system.
In Baghdad, the United States kills General Soleimani, moving closer to open war with Iran, while Turkey is preparing to send troops to Libya, and AMLO and Fernández are trying to create a new institutional framework for the international conflict in Latin America. This year, the tacit New Year’s truce has not even come close to Epiphany. What follows is a summary and analysis of the first, short and violent week of 2020.
In a context of a constantly developing struggle for markets, the trade unions’ tricks and the “democratic struggles” led by the petty bourgeoisie are a trap with no other purpose than to instrumentalize the working class and to force upon the class the demands of the petty bourgeoisie. In order to escape from this trap, we need concrete slogans that will enable us to advance the struggles, but we also need to form political groups that will accelerate the development of a class program and party. This week has shown us this clearly.
The week closes with an overwhelming conservative victory in the British elections immediately greeted by speculative markets. Labour has lost seats where the brexiters won the referendum while Boris Johnson has an absolute majority in Parliament allowing him to lead the EU’s exit from a position of strength after three years of tug-of-war and truces. But these elections alone will not heal the fractures within the British ruling class. The political apparatus has been damaged and the triumph of the nationalists in practically every Scottish constituency forebodes an internal front no less tough than Brexit itself.
As we have seen in South America, inter-imperialist conflicts are projected along the fracture lines of the national bourgeoisies, to the point of becoming a key point to understand even the most modest local elections.
From Beirut to Baghdad, from Santiago de Chile to Mexico City and from Bogotá to Paris. Wherever we look, students are the erupting revolts’ vanguard. But not all mobilizations represent the same social class, nor do they impart the same meaning to the social uprising.
This week’s news, especially after the massive general strike in Colombia, has continued to focus on South America. However, the most striking developments of both the economic crisis and international conflict point to Europe and Asia. The bourgeoisie’s plans in both regions unite around the attack on pensions, working conditions, health systems… and the development of militarism.
This week ends with impossible balancing acts in Bolivia and Spain, as well as a new progress in the mobilizations on class demands in France… Before which Macron yields as soon as they gain massiveness and visibility.
The third and fourth congresses of the Communist International were held in the midst of a waning of the world revolutionary wave. Therefore, if the first two congresses had revolved around theoretical clarification and the struggle for the seizure of power’s urgent matters, the next two were centered around how to create a revolutionary tactic and how to build the party in times of backlash. This was the moment when the new International realized that fighting for leadership and pushing the organized workers from the Second International’s fabric it inherited was not enough. The young revolutionary parties had to restart the organizing momentum themselves and lead it coherently. The verticals oriented to propaganda and organization of young workers and working women were strengthened, communist fractions were organized inside unions and cooperatives and around the latter a new generation of “People’s Houses”, already communist, was created in France, Spain and other countries. It is in this framework that the formative work developed during the previous period are re-examined and the tasks and ways of approaching this formative work for the communists defined.
The unraveling of the Bolivian situation, with Bolsonaro and the growing tensions between Brazil, Mexico and Argentina spurring Santa Cruz’s bourgeoisie, warn of what is to come in South America. Meanwhile, in Europe, the crisis is fuelling inter-imperialist tensions, putting NATO in the spotlight. And the most important thing of the week: the struggle of the Chatillon railroaders achieved a historic success by getting rid of the union police’s yoke.
Since 21 October, workers at the railway maintenance centre in Châtillon, the high-speed rail network’s linchpin in western France, have been on strike without prior notice independently of the unions. They stand up against the appalling working conditions and union control that led to the disastrous strike of 2018.