WSF (1997): “Workers Fight Back Across The World”

WSF (1997): “Workers Fight Back Across The World”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 3, number 1, first quarter 1997. Complete PDF is here

The bosses are on the march against the workers and poor of the world, cutting jobs, wages and social services. But the workers and the poor are fighting back through their combat units, the trade unions. We draw inspiration from these struggles. It is our global resistance that will defeat the global enemy- capitalism and the State. But there can be no final victory until the union rank-and-file expel conservative and undemocratic union leaders and adopt a revolutionary programme of seizing and self-managing the land and factories through the trade unions.


During 1996 the South Korean government tried to pass a new labour law that attacked workers rights, and undermined job security. Already 10,000 public sector workers face dismissal.

Workers have said no to this law. On the 26 of December 1996 thousands auto and shipping workers took up strike action in protest. This action escalated into a general strike as workers of all jobs and unions came out. Led by the militant Confederation of Trade Unions, it is the biggest strike in South Korea’s history. And students have supported and joined the workers.

The government has tried to break the strike, raiding trade union offices, initiating legal actions against union militants and sending the riot police to break up demonstrations. But the strikes continue despite the repression. These workers show us the way forward: every attack on the working and poor people must be met with mass action and resistance.


Last year the German government planned to attack workers’ access to sick pay and pensions. The government also wanted to erode laws that protect workers, including unfair dismissal laws.

Workers did not take these bosses attacks lightly and took up action. On June 15 1996 350,000 workers gathered in Bonn (the main city) to protest. The protest was initiated by an umbrella group that included the Anarcho- Syndicalist group, the FAU- AIT.

The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) provided more than 300 busses to ferry workers. But the conservative bureaucratic DGB leaders tried to tone down the strike. They even managed to exclude the groups that initiated the protest from organising the rally. The DGB leaders want to build a “social partnership” with the class enemy- bosses.

Militant rank-and-file workers reject this. Many workers booed the speech of the DGB president. Workers from the metal union carried a banner stating “Social Partnership- there are other ways: general strike, occupy and expropriate.”

Phantsi ngeCapitalism! Phambili Basabenzi! (Away with Capitalism! Forward Workers!)

Socialist Revolution Through One Big Union!