Organization and Struggle: Responses to Crisis and Austerity

Events are moving fast. The continued revolts and war in the Middle East and North Africa, mass upsurges against austerity in Greece, Spain, and Britain. As well as a continual ebb and flow of the crisis and responses to it in the U.S.

The following are a number of articles and comments relating to the current situation. Members of M1 may not agree with all conclusions presented but nonetheless feel that the ideas and activity raised demand attention, debate, and when possible, active solidarity.

The first is a press release from Minneapolis, MN regarding the now, government shut-down of that state. In response, an anarchist/anti-authoriatarian coalition has formed to raise the need for and demonstrate alternatives to the government. They are calling themselves Shut Down, Rise Up.

Next, is a video from Greece of the People’s Assembly. This assembly, like many of the mass and sustained street meetings that arose in Tunisia, Egypt, and Spain, has situated itself at the heart of the Greece anti-austerity movement. It is characterized by anti-electoralism, direct democracy, and broad participation from the social movements.

We then have a longer analysis of Greece and global implications of the crisis written by Paul Bowman of the Irish anarchist organization, Workers Solidarity Movement.

We post a statement from Spain’s various syndicalist groupings on the need to advance the organization of a class and social movement.

Comments by our friend Juan Conatz regarding the ongoing organizing and activity in Wisconsin are re-posted here from his blog.

Finally, we post an analysis of the ongoing Canadian postal strike. The article comes from the new blog, Recomposition, and that the aim of the strike is a struggle for “future workers” and for “independent, bottom-up agitation outside of the electoral-political sphere”.



June 30, 2011 Contact: Lucas de Gracia 805.320.0283

Ad-hoc group creating space for resource sharing, discussion of real solutions, and a militant response to the State’s budget impasse: “We won’t pay for their crisis!” Minneapolis, Minn. – A group of Twin Cities residence are coming together to find their own solutions to problems created by the government shutdown. The group, coordinating around the website, is inviting people to join them for a free dinner at Powederhorn Park in Minneapolis on July 1st, and every evening as long as the government shutdown continues.

“We’re converging under the banner of ‘Shut down, Rise up!’ to respond to this economic crisis,” said Lucas de Gracia, who is working with the group. “By meeting our own needs we take back agency and power over our own lives.”

Though the group is concerned about the effects of a prolonged government shutdown, they believe that Governor Dayton and the Republicans have both presented budget proposals that will hurt Minnesotans through massive cuts to state services. While Dayton’s proposal may slow down the erosion of rights and resources, it still leaves the rich and powerful in the driver’s seat. Neither proposal questions the current system of corporate capitalist dominance, which continually costs the people more and more while providing less and less.

“What may seem like small gestures – checking in on our neighbors, carpooling, sharing food – are necessary in building the communities we’ll need in order to both survive this shutdown and eventually break out of this capitalist system.” said Julie Anderson, also working in the coalition. “While our initial efforts may be directed at immediate survival, we should dream bigger and imagine thriving outside of the limits of a system that wasn’t designed with our collective best interests in mind.”

Some issues the group hopes people will come together to address are: community health care alternatives, collective care for children and others, transportation, and sustainable alternatives to state run food programs.

Greece: Peoples Assembly

Greek Default: A game of Euro-Chicken? By Paul Bowman, WSM

Excerpt, “The fear of “contagion” then does haunt the boardrooms of Europe. The possibility that the collapse of Greek banks, that a default would bring about, could have knock-on effects into the handful of global banks that sell over 95% of all corporate CDS in the world financial system. These giants are themselves so thickly interconnected as counter-parties to each other, that the fall of any one of them risks bringing the others down with it, like a set of bowling pins. Other tentacles of financial interconnectedness also link PIGS banks with the rest of the EU and world financial system in ways that make the fallout from a collapse in Greece potentially as serious as the 2008 AIG shock”.

Towards the General Strike. Issued by the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), Solidaridad Obrera (SO) and Coordinadora Sindical de Clase (CSC) trade unions.

Excerpt, “We also agree on the need to give a common response, above our differences, so that we can move towards workers’ unity through mobilization and struggle, with the participation of all those unions, workers’ collectives and social movements who are opposed to the policy of demobilization and social partnership promoted by the institutionalized trade unions, the CCOO and UGT… Events since the demonstration on 15 May have broken the climate of passivity and have moved us into a phase of mobilization that is unprecedented since the beginning of the crisis, which must now move into the workplaces and place the workers’ social and economic demands at the centre of public debate, by contributing to this movement with the tools necessary for confrontation and struggle in the economic and labour fields, and complementing the social and political demands with concrete action against capitalism”.

Wisconsin: What now? By Juan Conatz

Excerpt, “…the budget bill has passed, the collective bargaining law will be in effect at the end of the month and the unions are now concentrating on getting the vote out for the recall elections in July and lawsuits. They have also started making preparations for life after the law, which will very much alter the entire public sector’s working conditions. It is not clear whether the recall elections or the lawsuits will be successful in their aims. If they aren’t, combined with the demobilization and co-opting, this is a loss. If they are ‘successful’, it will still be a loss, as this success would have been achieved not with working class self-activity and direct action, but through the same group of people and official bodies who attacked and continue to attack us in the first place”.

On Strike at Canada Post

Excerpt, “The process which has led up to this industrial action, this small example of workers’ power, has been obfuscated under the collective weight of an advertising-driven and anti-union press and the seduction of immediacy of explanation, namely that “the posties just want more cash.” The main strike demands aren’t of wages, as the “wage issue” on both sides are well below inflation, tantamount to a wage cut. The strike issues are of a two-tier system, where new workers are hired at a lower wage, sick time and pension issues. Posties aren’t striking for themselves, they’re striking for future workers. That being said, if one digs a little deeper into the postal quagmire, a much more interesting, and worrying, picture emerges: one of multiple vector attempts by the rich and powerful to eliminate the few gains made by working people since the post-war era, inclusive to driving down wages for all Canadians and eliminating the potential for independent, bottom-up agitation outside of the electoral-political sphere”.