Mexican maquilas, the protagonists of last year’s largest mass strike in the whole world, are on strike again. They are striking outside of the trade unions’ control, and their platform of struggle is the sharpest version of the slogans that are mobilizing workers from hundreds of companies around the world these days.
As confinement spread around the world and energy demand dropped, lowering oil prices, it became clearer that AMLO’s “fourth transformation” was over and that the budgetary principle of not raising public debt even for emergency plans was going to be a very costly move. It is always expensive to abandon the majority of the population to their fate. The lumpen, by now the most socially sensitive faction of Mexican capital, saw its opportunity. This is the time when the lumpen can show themselves as effective replacements for the state. AMLO’s half-pathetic half-buddy image, asking the cartels not to distribute aid but to stop killing, completed the picture of a bourgeoisie and a state whose last resort is always the imposition of violent rule and helplessness.
But the outbreak of strikes in the maquiladoras in Ciudad Juárez and from there to Mexicali, Matamoros, Nogales and Gomez Palacio, adding up to more than 30 large companies, has shown a universal alternative: shutdown of non-essential production, full payment of wages to the workers in case the plants close, and health services, measures for protection and food supply and basic consumption for all.
The universal sense of the struggle became clear when the US began to put pressure on Mexico to force the government into reopening the maquiladoras. The US military industry has even threatened to relocate production back into the US if the factories in Chihuahua do not reopen immediately.
This is the time when workers in the US military industry plants should also break the trade union siege and join the struggle under the same platform, which describes and defines their interests as clearly as it does for their Mexican comrades. But the information blockade in the US about strikes that are fully integrated into its industrial chains is even more effective than that of the Mexican media. In the end these information blockades respond to the same class interests.
Few cases are so clear regarding the need for the most conscious workers to organize politically and act centrally in a global way. It’s not a question of coming together to congratulate ourselves for having realized that we live in an anti-historical and anti-human system, the objective is not to be smarter than anyone else or to re-enact the Matrix; it’s not a question of thinking that we are better at organizing the best seminars, class organizations are not meant to be a popular university. It’s about being useful to the real struggles of our time. And there are many.