zondag 1 november 2015

Report Syndical Manifestation Brussels (BE)

It surprised even the ABVV- and ACV-syndical bureaucracy: On Wednesday the 7th of October around 100.000 syndical-militants took part in a long prepared national manifestation in Brussels, against the worker-hostile austerity politics of the reactionary government-Michel. 

At first around 70.000 men were expected. Apparently the syndical-bureaucracy thought the enthusiasm of November last year could not be surpassed (also because of the lax mobilization from the side of the syndicates, in particular in the corporations). The protest was aimed against the VAT-increase (from 6 to 21%!), against  the freezing of inflation for wages, against raising the retirement age, to stop the degradation of the social care system, against energy without indexation and, the most important issue at the lack of a tax shift - a higher taxing for the rich. Worth mentioning: Through separate pamphlets the syndicates specifically pointed out to the dockers in the ports, that the manifestation would especially be against the austerity policies of the government and not against the impending abolition of the Major-law (which stipulates that dock work should be performed by licensed dockers), the most profound docker-theme. In short: No riots as last year. More about this later on.      

This day was also a crucial one for the syndicates. To put more pressure on the government and the bosses during the social consultation, this first great manifestation had to be a successful one. After all, if this manifestation would be a flop, then the government and bosses would conclude from this that the preparedness for action amongst the masses would have greatly receded, and thus make them not very willing to do any concessions during the 'social consultation' with the syndicate leaders. 

Also the sustained dent in the joint trade union front between the bosses of the Christian ACV and the socialist FGTB/ABVV the last few months, partly because of personal reasons, didn´t augur well. But despite these obstacles present, the discontent amongst huge parts of the working class in Belgium, in regard to the reactionary government politics, seemed to be so big, that all other disputes were put aside for one moment.   

To get an impression of this militant mass protest, a report follows from several activists of the ACN/AKN, who participated in the manifestation to get a personal imprint of the potential discontent as well as recent developments within the most militant sectors of the working class.

We could describe the usual impression about unionists letting off steam, drinking and banging with pyro-technics through the streets and the syndical bosses with quasi-combative language proclaiming ditto with music, but this is all already known by most activists acquainted with the syndical folklore of our southern neighbors. So we will pass this and immediately skip to the end of the rally on the Zuidlaan. It seems here, on the Zuidlaan, a good tradition is growing, where a colorful mix of unorganized workers, union militants, anarchists and youth from the suburbs, seek the confrontation with the coppers.   

The youth from the suburbs went ahead in the lines to confront the coppers.

When several youths started to defy and attack the coppers, many workers joined their ranks. As a result the situation very quickly escalated. Especially, when shortly after a group of anarchists joined. At the time it escalated, the thoughtfulness of the coppers in such a situation, was striking. They had learned from last years riots. With the idea that it couldn´t again escalate into such a big battle as last year, the police corps of Brussels (police zone Elsène-Centrum, ± 700 man) was reinforced with the 'federals' (15 platoons), as well as with heavy equipment - next to the five water cannons which were operational this day.  

This time the syndical-bureaucracy deployed its own security guards - in close co-operation and with support of the coppers. Task: Keeping the action-prepared syndical basis under control. Dockers who actively engaged in the militant street protest (nevertheless many!) where brought to order (also physical) by the syndical vassals and efforts were made to send them back. "Co-operation pays off. The stewards have done an excellent job. The hotheads this time were mostly anarchists" (De Morgen, 8 oct.)

 Patrick Delrue called “his” dockers to order. Narked his militant coworkers to the coppers. Delrue was leading as a member of the syndicates’ security guards and as a self-proclaimed “deputy sheriff”.

The last was not fully the case. In the forefront many proletarians and youth from this class were still engaged in the fighting, supported in the back by anarchists and the remaining masses of the demonstration, who gave these street fighting men security when they had to fall back after charges or when they had to respite from the many teargas attacks.   

However, after a street fight of about one and a half hour the boulevard was swept clean by the coppers (this time well prepared). The balance on the end of the day: 25 judicial arrests (+ 3 administrative) and eight wounded, including four coppers.  

All of a sudden appearing undercover cops and filming coppers! A display that accurately represented this day.

It’s important to ascertain that the masses this day - one year after the government-Michel took seat - still remain militant. Ditto regarding those who take the lead in militant acts against the state and its armed forces.

But despite the great number of participants the bourgeoisie and its fiduciaries (the government-Michel), were of course not impressed. Union-basher Egbert Lachaert (VLD): "Of course this is a signal; we are however not going to change our policy for less than 1% of the working population?" Another infamous union-basher, Zuhal Demir (N-VA) thought, also judging from the allegedly "low" turnout at the rally, that "people see our policy as justified" (!!) Any further comment is unnecessary.   

Proletarian revolutionaries must take other conclusions from this day. The turn-out seemed to be bigger than expected, despite the (intentional?) moderate mobilization of the unions. This means that there appears to be a growing political awareness amongst the masses and the working class. 

Also in regard to the emotional consciousness and the impressive actions of the 'Lumpenproletariat' and 'casseurs', we only have positive appreciations. All these elements have a great potential to grow in the nearby future, if they are framed into a consistent struggle against the control of the reformed trade union bureaucracy and its "union police" (= the stewards) in the factories and on the streets. The syndical bureaucracy is a stand-in-the-way for the independent movement of the working class in the - ultimately political- mass struggle; only an organized opposition against the union bosses and independent agitation in companies without and against the reformist syndical-bureaucracy, can transform a manifestation like this into an outlet for the discontent and anger amongst workers and the syndical action basis into a truly political mass-struggle - against the government and the bosses. Here lies the duty for us as revolutionaries!     






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