Towards a General Strike from Below

Towards a General Strike from Below

Autonomous Revolutionary Nordic Alliance's call for a strike from below against the Swedish government's move to restrict the right to strike

Things are rapidly proceeding in Sweden with the Social Democrats moving further to the right every day even as their party crumbles. The Social Democratic union, LO, the academics trade union confederation TCO and the Swedish Confederation of Employers (Svenskt Näringsliv) have from nowhere presented a deal to "Save the Swedish model" by inhibiting the right to strike. This deal is nothing but an attack on the working class and it's ability to fight back and gain some power in the everyday dictatorship that is capitalist work. This is class struggle in the clearest sense: on the one side the rich, the politicians, high level union bureaucrats, the state and the whole employing class and on the other us - we who have to sell our work to survive.

The struggle to protect the right to strike is proceeding at a rapid pace and within our grasp is the chance to push for a general political strike from below, an event that is unheard of in Sweden. The Strike Back action promises a space for radical political opposition from below and from the left, a situation that is sorely needed in these times of reaction. There is an amazing movement of rank-and-file members within many unions and by unorganised workers and we want to be a part of this and aid in pushing it further towards victory and autonomy. As always, we go to the streets not just with the aim of winning in this moment but in creating common experiences and common power for the future.

We must take to the streets and push the general strike into life itself, not just as this event, but as a mass refusal of the world of the bosses. This is not just a Swedish situation: similar events occur in Norway with the attacks on the Dockworkers there, in Finland where years of austerity have reigned but there have been intense moments of base-level struggle and in Denmark whose reactionary developments in Social Democracy but simultaneous promising developments in radical unions seems like a mirror to hold up to Swedish society. Across the whole of Europe the right to strike is attacked, austerity is imposed and we are told that this is the only way. This is not the case. As internationalists we realize that the struggle in one place affects struggle everywhere and in particular the Nordic countries affect each other. That is why we call everyone to Stockholm not as the end of a campaign but as the start of a new development on the scale of northern Europe to seize the initiative and to get to the meaning of the word strike: refusal, refusal of capitalist politics as usual.

We must create a French situation where struggle in the streets and strikes in the workplaces together create a social movement which not just stops attacks on the working class but opens up a political space for offense, for winning. We believe that the perspective of logistics is a promising arena for intervention and encourage all organizations and affinity groups to lock down the logistics of capital, to stop this machinery of domination and money, and strike back in Stockholm 25/8 and beyond. Let's create Paris in Stockholm, let's create a new world in the refusal of this one!

There are trips organized in many cities, such as Oslo, Copenhagen, Malmö and Helsinki. Keep an eye on our Facebook page ( https://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/AutonomousRevolutionaryN… ) for more information."

Comments

BigFluffyTail
Jul 2 2018 17:22

"We must create a French situation where struggle in the streets and strikes in the workplaces together create a social movement which not just stops attacks on the working class but opens up a political space for offense, for winning. We believe that the perspective of logistics is a promising arena for intervention and encourage all organizations and affinity groups to lock down the logistics of capital, to stop this machinery of domination and money, and strike back in Stockholm 25/8 and beyond. Let's create Paris in Stockholm, let's create a new world in the refusal of this one!"

I don't want to be a party pooper but that's not what's going on. The struggles remain sectorial and the working class is most certainly in a position of defense and not attack. And we're not even good at that, we haven't stopped attacks. We're on a losing streak. Not to mention a lack of surpassing the unions. As an example, see what these guys among others have to say.

I get the impression that this site in general romanticizes what goes on in France too much. I understand that for people in the UK for example, where social peace has been too prevalent in recent years, the movements in France may seem big and hopeful but unfortunately they're really not.

In any case, if the group who wrote this or anyone participating in the actions in Stockholm or elsewhere reads this comment, I hope you well.

Khawaga
Jul 2 2018 17:52

You claim this site romantizes France, but the piece was written by Swedish folks and is just reposted here (I submitted it, but I know next to nothing about it). In any case, I've posted here for about a decade and can't say I've seen much romantizing of France, if anything there's been some of that towards Greece.

Steven.
Jul 2 2018 17:57

Yeah, Fluffy I don't think that is what is going on. This article was written by people not related to this site, and the article you linked to debunking it is on this site!

BigFluffyTail
Jul 2 2018 20:05

Fair enough then, haven't been on here for long enough to really say. I'll gladly be wrong!

LeninistGirl
Jul 3 2018 16:19

I would agree with fluffy though that ARNA(and related organistations) do fetizhe the 1968 may events in France. For the local first of may rally where ARNA participated the organizers wrote a small text about why we were rallying. One of the parts was the 50th anniversary of the may events in France, they said we need to build a new and revolutionary student movement just like the one in France, they also went onto say that a stronger student movement would help workers as well by giving them more "knowledge" and therefore power(though I never got a response on how exactly this happens).

wojtek
Jul 3 2018 22:48

Hope you lose against England on Saturday.

R Totale
Jul 7 2018 07:39

There's another call for the 25th August action here - do people think it'd be worth posting it as a separate article? Comments on its accuracy, perspective etc from Swedish people, or indeed French ones, would be very welcome.

Also I reckon we'll beat them this afternoon.

LeninistGirl
Jul 8 2018 03:42
Quote:
Hope you lose against England on Saturday.

As we say in Sweden "jag stöttar den som vinner"

LeninistGirl
Jul 8 2018 04:03
Quote:
Comments on its accuracy, perspective etc from Swedish people, or indeed French ones, would be very welcome.

I think it's accurate. The "strike back"-action will apply the "finger tactic" which from my understanding entails that they will have a small rally with talks and so on then they will split of to separate fingers, organised by color and by "self-determining" friend-groups. Two have been "announced" from my understanding,

Blue, which I assume based of rhetoric will be what ARNA are helping to organize since it's based around blocking transportation and infrastructure.

Yellow will be a tour of the parts of Stockholm where the social democrats have betrayed the workers. (Sounds boring in my honest opinion, especially compared to the first one)

Also,

Quote:
SAC is typically a minority union in every workplace it exists, but it tops the list of strikes and strike days every year in Sweden.

This very true. When I was a young syndicalist, before I became a blue-collar workers I could not for the life of me understand why older people hated SAC so much even if they were long term and active trade unionist organizers. I didn't buy their explanation that SAC members were always too few to fight and they would often just ride a long on the struggles of the members in the majority union. Now as a worker i totally get it, there has been a half-decade work to make our LO union an established in the workplace and it would be very odd for me to join a small syndicalist union all by myself.

R Totale
Jul 8 2018 10:55
LeninistGirl wrote:
Quote:
SAC is typically a minority union in every workplace it exists, but it tops the list of strikes and strike days every year in Sweden.

This very true. When I was a young syndicalist, before I became a blue-collar workers I could not for the life of me understand why older people hated SAC so much even if they were long term and active trade unionist organizers. I didn't buy their explanation that SAC members were always too few to fight and they would often just ride a long on the struggles of the members in the majority union. Now as a worker i totally get it, there has been a half-decade work to make our LO union an established in the workplace and it would be very odd for me to join a small syndicalist union all by myself.

Slightly confused by this - surely SAC must organise some struggles of their own, because if they just "ride a long on the struggles of the members in the majority union" I can't see any way that they could top the list of strike days? Could you expand on that?

LeninistGirl
Jul 8 2018 18:19
Quote:
Slightly confused by this - surely SAC must organise some struggles of their own, because if they just "ride a long on the struggles of the members in the majority union" I can't see any way that they could top the list of strike days? Could you expand on that?

They are riding of others struggles because they don't support or engage the majority union. In most workplaces there is like only at most one person from SAC, at mine there are none, with not much support.

I'm not exactly sure how they top the charts. From my understanding most of the focus from SAC has been on smaller restaurants, bars, cafes and I think they organized a strike and blockade for the Swedish state liquor store(I don't know if the political strike on womans day is included). From my understanding SAC(and free radical unions as those mentioned in the article) are mostly concentrated at specific workplaces.

(This is an outsider perspective though so take it with a grain of salt)

R Totale
Jul 8 2018 20:46

Ah, a bit old so I don't know how up-to-date it is, but there's some stats here:
"Out of the total 367 conflicts 85 cannot be connected with any individual trade unions, often due to the fact that it was wild cat strikes. Among the other 282 conflicts six individual unions was involved in 188 conflicts, which is a broad majority. These six vastly over-represented unions are hereby called “high conflict unions” in the text and tables.
Four of these are affiliated to LO (SEF, Swedish Painter's Union, Swedish Transport Worker's Union and Swedish Building Workers' Union) while the other two are non-affiliated. (Swedish Dockworkers Union and the syndicalist SAC).
Most of the unions with many conflicts have few members. If unions are ranked in order of conflict frequency per member, two of the smallest unions in the LO family place rank among the highest together with the small syndicalist SAC and the miniscule Swedish Dockworkers Union. Among those unions with really low levels, there are many of the larger LO and TCO-affiliated unions. Most of the high conflict unions have increased their relative share of the total conflicts during the later years."

altemark
Jul 9 2018 10:26

Leninistgirl: in most of the workplaces I've been at where there has been both a SAC section and LO and/or Saco club we haven't "ridden along" but cooperated on the shop-floor without involving our unions much at all. Syndicalists have, on the other hand, generally been respected as trustworthy and knowledgeable fellow worker; those you go to ask about labor law or advice when there is trouble with the boss.

I'm sure there is a great difference workplace to workplace, but even in the case when there was just a few of us at a government agency and often sidelined by virtue of being few, we had great use for a direct democratic grassroots union as white collar workers. The ambition is of course always to be a welcoming union for workers of all trades - without the divisiveness of old-style craft union thinking - in the case a hot or cold conflict leads to enough members of the business unions wanting to leave that a breaking even situation is set in motion and the section manages to sail up as majority union.

I agree with the criticism of the arna statement re fetishization; at the very least it is not written with the general public we need to get on board with stopping this bullshit deal in mind. Very few of my colleagues would be drawn in if this was all the information they got. But my friends who have their identity more as long-time leftist activists or more fiery recent recruits would perhaps find it rousing - a geist we surely need as well.

Regarding strike statistics, it is correct that the SAC is well-represented. Most of the notices given by the union are related to workplace conditions or salary issues, or illegal refusal to negotiate. It should be noted that in many cases the struggle is won without having to go through with any industrial action.

R Totale
Jul 9 2018 12:24

Is there any other text (that's available in English) that you'd recommend as being a better introduction to the situation?

LeninistGirl
Jul 9 2018 12:57
Quote:
Leninistgirl: in most of the workplaces I've been at where there has been both a SAC section and LO and/or Saco club we haven't "ridden along" but cooperated on the shop-floor without involving our unions much at all. Syndicalists have, on the other hand, generally been respected as trustworthy and knowledgeable fellow worker; those you go to ask about labor law or advice when there is trouble with the boss.

I'm sure there is a great difference workplace to workplace, but even in the case when there was just a few of us at a government agency and often sidelined by virtue of being few, we had great use for a direct democratic grassroots union as white collar workers. The ambition is of course always to be a welcoming union for workers of all trades - without the divisiveness of old-style craft union thinking - in the case a hot or cold conflict leads to enough members of the business unions wanting to leave that a breaking even situation is set in motion and the section manages to sail up as majority union.

Fair enough, maybe it has just been a local issue.

altemark
Jul 19 2018 14:54

"Of a total of 276 strike notices submitted during 2011-2015, syndicalist SAC, were responsible for 88."