The defeats inflicted on workers by the fourth Labour government and their pals atop the trade union movement, subsequently codified by the fourth National government, took a heavy toll on workers and unions here.  Over the several decades since, the working class has lost the ability, and even the inclination, to fight – with a few exceptions which have been most notable for being exceptions.

While workers here are more likely to cry than occupy – or fight back in any systematic way – when workplaces are shut down, austerity is imposed etc, the working class in the Third World is far more prepared to fight.  Anbd when they fight, they are serious.  They don’t just stand around on picket lines looking sheepish and uncomfortable – if they show up to their own picket lines at all; workers in the Third World show up prepared to fight.  They really fight the bosses, they break the law, they do battle with the state, and more.  And they do so in defiance of the state and the timid trade union leaderships.

Below is an article on the April 6 general strike in Argentina, where powerful waves of workers’struggle have been taking place for some time now.

The largest labor unions in Argentina called a general strike today, April 6, against President Macri’s economic policies. Workers around the country are protesting against the high inflation rates, austerity measures, layoffs and subcontracting. The transportation workers have completely stopped working, as have airline workers, canceling hundreds of flights in and out of Argentina. Schools are also closed, and this general strike comes after weeks of teacher mobilizations and strikes in Buenos Aires.

The streets of Buenos Aires are completely empty due to the impact of the strike. “It’s like the movie I am Legend. You feel like you are alone in a big city,” says Buenos Aires resident Gloria Grinberg.

Although the labor unions called for the general strike, they did not organize workers to take the streets. Instead, they opposed calls to action, encouraging workers to just stay home. Also, President Marci threatened workers yesterday, telling them not to take the highway or block the roads.

However, the most radical unions and rank and file workers, along with left groups such as the Partido de Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS), Workers Party (Partido Obrero) and Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores (MST) have been mobilizing since the early morning. Workers, students and the unemployed blocked a major highway leading into Buenos Aires, the Panamericana. There were also protests on highways around the country and in several areas of Buenos Aires.

After blocking the highway for 4 hours, the workers and students on the Panamericana were hit with batons and sprayed with tear gas and water hoses. Some people sustained minor injuries and 6 people were detained. The protesters´ cars, which were parked on the highway, were also hit with batons, causing damage to some. The participants in the protest chanted “It must be horrible to repress workers in order to eat!” (Que feo debe ser, reprimir obreros para poder comer.)

The above is taken from the Latin American Marxist site Left Voice, here.

Further reading: Factory occupation in Argentina sees discussions on workers’power, women’s liberation in Russian revolution

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