dinsdag 23 februari 2016

Steel bosses and Unions for a 'General Interest' - Against Steel dumping

Brussels 15-02-2016 –


While the huge crisis of capitalism of 2008 is still continuing, the European steel industry now also rapidly has a curious crisis of its own - the flooding of the European markets because of the overproduction of (cheap) steel from China, with the disappearance of the British steel industry as a consequence - this on top of the earlier disappearances of the British ship-building and mine closures last year. Since last Christmas 1 on 6 British steelworkers (6000 workers) lost their jobs, while in the rest of Europe massive layoffs have become daily practice. Steel corporations such as ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel (also those in Ijmuiden); see their numbers fall into the red by the billions, which makes their position in the market very vulnerable. Businesses like ThyssenKrupp and Salzgitter AG in Germany experience the same effects of these Chinese dumpings. Steelworkers and bosses have a lot of concerns about their jobs. However, these concerns lead to a very awkward manifestation in Brussels.               

"If China is not stopped, I will lose my job, just like thousands of others in the sector." These could have been the words of a concerned steelworker, but it was the former CEO Geert van Poelvoorde of ArcelorMittal Gent speaking, also President of the Steel association; Eurofer. A crowd of 5000 protestors, mostly workers and patrons that protested hand in hand against the 'unjust' competition from China, together with other concerned workers and managers from other sectors, such as the Chemical industry. A very unusual phenomenon which absolutely needs to be condemned and fought!

The Belgian syndicates did not organize this protest, nor even called for such an action, it was all the work of employers' organizations (!). Syndicates which mobilize workers for the interests of patrons - thus for the national interest of capitalism! This is a form of corporatism in which class conscious workers have nothing to gain. Let's not let the national interest rise above class interest! (In the sphere of class consciousness the Dockers from Antwerp apparently stand on a higher level, shown by their independent protest against the treacherous syndicate leadership concerning the themes Dockers work and the Major-Act.)   

Class-conscious workers reject this protest because 1) it is not organized by the syndicates or any other workersorganisation, but by the implacable enemies of the workers, the capitalist class. And 2), because since 2008 20% of the jobs - 85.200 - vanished in the steel sector, while it was not until now that the syndicates together with the employees expect action from the European Commission in the form of import duty etc. against the deformed workers' state of China (in which the steel industry is state owned and subsidized and therefore cheaper). 

Although China still does not have a status as a free market economy (it 'only' satisfies 1 of the 5 criteria) by the neoliberal policy of the European Union, they may still be accepted for the title of "free market policies”, because of the dumping of the overproduction of Chinese steel onto the European markets. However, the 16 running indictments against these dumpings will take too long and the eventual fines are too low, to prevent the Chinese making huge profits. Also too many European corporations have too much interests in China to really bother the Chinese. Factors the EU will certainly take into account.   

It is not our task to secure the interests of the EU and European capitalists. We won't let ourselves be abused by the capitalist to divide Chinese and European workers, because some country has the advantage in the free market economy. We only choose the side of the proletariat and demand the (RE-) NATIONALISATION OF THE EUROPEAN STEELINDUSTRY under very critical conditions. We are fully aware about the reformist content and know it will bring us nothing on the long term, because in a capitalist State, nationalized corporations will also fall under capitalist laws. The only solution is the creation of revolutionary situations... This demand only offers a temporary buffer against the assaults on State corporations with support from the State. Just like China is doing.
The ACN/AKN keeps on insisting that in these times of crisis there are NO common interests between the oppressed workers and its capitalist oppressors. Even if there would be some kind of 'international danger', which would endanger the 'common/national interest' (the welfare of the 'national' workers and their national bourgeoisie), than still our primary enemy will remain our own bourgeoisie!    

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