Europe: Building action across the continent

Attempts by the bosses and governments across Europe to make workers pay for the economic crisis are being met by a wave of anger and protest.

Greek workers have staged a public sector strike and a general strike in the space of two weeks. A huge protest movement has swept across Spain. French air traffic controllers and oil refinery workers have taken action. Portuguese workers are planning a one-day general strike.

Vicious austerity measures are being implemented or planned in much of Europe, from Ireland in the west to Latvia in the East. A writer in the Independent speculated on whether this year would see in response a repeat of the titanic events of 1968, when protests swept across Europe and a 10 million strong general strike in France threatened capitalism itself. Already many Greek workers are protesting with placards and banners that condemn the wealthy ruling class and its system, demanding jobs and decent living standards for ordinary people.

The European sister parties of the England and Wales Socialist Party, all part of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI), are active in this developing class struggle, and call for working class internationalism, linking up the fight of workers across Europe.

The CWI explains the need to fight against the dictates of the European Union of the capitalists, and for a workers’ Europe instead – a socialist Europe. We call on the European trade unions and left parties to lead mass action against the cuts and against divisive nationalism. The left parties across Europe should name a day for an all-European workers’ and youth demonstration and other possible actions, involving as many people as possible, as a way to build for more action, including all-European coordinated strikes.

Particularly in the countries where struggle is coming to the fore, democratic committees should be formed in workplaces, communities, schools and universities to prepare for such demonstrations and action.

The developing crisis in Europe and worldwide exposes the bankruptcy of the capitalist system and its inability to provide for the basic needs of the majority of people. It offers a bleak future of mass unemployment for young people, if left unchallenged.

The CWI fights for an end to the capitalist dictatorship of the market which is devastating the lives of millions. It supports a socialist alternative, of public ownership of the main banks and industries, and democratically planned economies based on the needs of the majority, not the profits of the super-rich. This is the only alternative capable of guaranteeing a decent future for workers and youth in Europe and internationally.

Editorial of "The Socialist", 3 March 2010, paper of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales

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March 2010