zaterdag 27 februari 2016

Independent Protest of Dockers in the Ports of Antwerp (22-02)

The manifestation against the syndical leadership of the three biggest Port Unions in Antwerp announced by the independent committee Dockers Fight Back ("We are just a group of dockworkers, not connected to any Political Party or Union"), was perhaps not such a great success in terms of size and form, but nonetheless a modest success for the Dockers of Antwerp in their struggle against the reforms of the law Major.    

"We find that the Port Unions do not inform us very well while they sit in their ivory towers (...) Feel free to call this manifestation a wake-up call", states Filip Verbeek, a spokesman of this action. It is notable that the PVDA+ and the 'socialist' Union ABVV/BTB-Ports distanced themselves emphatically from this action and were very nervous to see whether or not this action would be a success for the Dockers. So the Union bosses were very happy to see that the number of Dockers was very low.       

When about 50 exultant Dockers armed with a flag and several banners walked from the local recruitment hall 'T Kot towards the office of the liberal Union ACLVB in the Londenstreet, this Union was still prepared to talk with the protestors. However, across the street the ABVV-Port office for unemployment remained closed for the whole day (in this office, Dockers without work can register themselves for an unemployment allowance). 

After the talk with the ACLVB-bosses the group followed by quite a huge group of cops and press, left towards the office of the Christian Union ACV. Along this route some pyrotechnics exploded. During the talks with the ACV-bosses "the well-known Union agent" Patrick Delrue shortly assed the situation with the Dockers (Patrick is known as the trust person of police and Union bosses during the national manifestation of the 7th of October last year - informant for the cops about rioting Dockers!). He took some photos with his smartphone, talked a bit and once the crowd moved towards the last stop, the ABVV Port office, he took an accelerated route towards the office. What did he do? Did he give a report to the Union bosses, maybe handing over the names of the participating men? Who knows? The longest conversations between the Dockers and the syndicates took place at this end point on the Paardenmarkt and the highlight of the manifestation, which by then was ended.   

Major Bart DeWever spared no expense to show his muscles, while he deployed a huge size of the Antwerp Police Core (one water cannon, a debris reamer, many arrest vehicles, mobile control chambers and much more). This is certainly a sign that (luckily) our 'friend' De Wever fears an eventual escalation.  

And why the number of protestors was so low? Maybe because of the pressure from the syndicates on the Dockers who sympathized with this action? Or maybe it was the rainy weather? However, we need to keep on following and analyzing these kinds of interesting developments around the Dockers.

We support these men in their struggle without and against the Union Misleaders!

At the start of July the European Union wants to enforce the new Belgian laws surrounding the pool of dockworkers, of which 1 April the design texts need to be on the desk by the European Commission. This promises to give new and more powerful impulses to the independent Dockers, so that the coming actions will probably have more potency and strength.

We fully support the demands of the Dockers!


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!    

vrijdag 5 februari 2016

Practical tips for the Streetfight: CS/CN-Gas

Self-defense and first aid for wounds caused by the use of teargas

Chemical mace, vomiting gas, remote repellents, teargas - the shit goes by many names. But only one is really correct: combat gas. This is how military handbooks describe these chemical weapons. In international wars and conflicts the use of CN-(Chlorazetophenon) and CS-(ortho-Chlorbenzylidenmalondinitril) combat gas is prohibited by international law. However, in combat against the own populations they have been used by cops throughout Western Europe for some time now. The concentrations used are much higher than the concentration of cans available on the normal market.   

Since we get confronted with the use of combat gas during actions many times, activists need to be aware of the following: Several launch pads transfer the gas to a distance of 120 meters into a human crowd: Chemical Mace: 7 meters; Pepper-Fog (combines CN/CS with smoke): 20 meters; the Superbat (looks like a pesticide dispenser) 15 meters; grenades; 40 meters; and as an admixture in water canons: 65 meters. The newest variation: fragmentation grenades which make great jumps and special projectiles with CN/CS that go straight through windows and doors, filling the room behind it with dense smoke. CN as well as CS both work on the skin, the respiratory tract and the mucous membrane of the eyes. Therefore people with diseases to these organs have an extra risk - the slightest dose of combat gas can cause violent reactions, which in extreme cases can even cause death. However, normally the complaints fade away after some time. Easy measures guarantee a good self-defense and a fast first aid; the deterrent effect is successfully neutralized.           


The eyes can best be protected by gas protection goggles that are air tight. Well closed ski glasses are also an option. For those who wear glasses a small glasses with sports brace and shatterproof glass; these glasses are partly used by us already, because they also offer protection against glass splinters during physical contact. Contact lenses can easily shift away (during the washing of the eyes for instance) and CN/CS-gas can concentrated itself under the lens, remaining active for a longer period of time.  

The airways can be protected with a filter mask. Smaller models, as used in car painting shops, offer full protection. The combination of goggles and mask, the so-called whole mask, make breathing uncomfortable in a short period of time. Mouth/face cloths can be used as well and are usually the most accustomed. These should be woven as dense as possible. Ideally, you can use a triangular cloth from the first aid kit. Wetting this will provide for an incidental closure of the tissue. However, in the long run the water is evaporated by the body heat, the gas particles accumulate and because of this the concentration rises. This can only be retained by exchanging the cloth regularly or rinsing it with lots of water.

The vast majority of skin areas can be protected by oil suits, leather clothing and watertight shoes. Leather clothing needs to be sufficiently greased. Make sure that the collar of the jacket closes tightly around the neck, so nothing can seep into the undergarment. The moist and warm CN/CS in contact with the skin causes skin burns over large areas. (See pictures)   

It is also important to cover your hands with heat repellent material in order to be able to throw back projectiles. Motor- or working gloves (for instance for welding) are perfect for this. Beware: only touch grenades on the non-heated side!

We can only advice against protection with the help of crème, lemon juice or vinegar. These so-called 'insider tips' have no use whatsoever or only strengthen the activity of the gas. Crèmes belong in the make-up bag, lemon juice and vinegar in the kitchen. Water is and remains the only means!


The physical consequences after the use of CN/CS are many-sided and each of the possible consequences asks for fast first aid. The longer the gas is active, the bigger the threat of acute and chronic damage.     

As with almost all effects of chemicals in the eyes, in this case water is appropriate and in most emergencies the only available means of first aid. Only by constantly rinsing the eyes, the gas can be diluted and leached out. This can take 10 minutes or longer. The decreasing pain is the only possible bellwether to ascertain the success of the treatment. In case the pain re-emerges after some time it is possible that leftovers are still under the eye lids, so you have to rinse the eyes again. In case the pain re-emerges after several hours, it can be an indication of a starting conjunctivitis, which asks for a medical treatment.  

Rinse from the inside out, so that no rinsing liquid can seep into the other eye. For this the head needs to be held diagonally or backwards in some occasions (sometimes the treatment has to take place with violence, because some persons become panicked or get disorientated after contact with gas) and the skin above and under the eye need to be pushed open. This way you are able to open the cramped eyelids, so the first water can reach the eye. Within several seconds the pain will decrease, more water rinses out the remainder of the gas.       

With direct hits on the skin or with gas engorged clothing, the clothes need to be removed as soon as possible and washed with a lot of cold water. Warm water is unsuitable, because it opens the pores of the skin and strengthens the function of the gas. Skin irritation and blisters should be medically treated on a later occasion.

After contact with gas, it is important to get out of the clothes that are infected with gas and to package it in a vacuum in a plastic bag. If you don’t store them properly the body heat will make sure small amounts of CN/CS gas will damp out of the clothing and especially in closed rooms this will lead to an ever further receiving of the gas in the airways. In a closed space or in vehicles, windows need to be opened!       

With all forms of difficulty in breathing, pain in the throat when coughing and breathlessness, the first measure is: fresh air! If someone has some kind of chronic disease to the airways, especially asthma or chronic bronchitis, the battleground must be left immediately and to prevent even worse damage lie down with the upper body incremented.

A particular feature of the use of CS is the feeling you cannot breathe anymore. Despite this the lungs still get enough air (see recent experiences in Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Bavaria, Berlin and the Netherlands). Another particular feature of the use of CS is strong nausea and stomach cramps. Because of this CSW is also known as vomit gas. Normally the nausea already disappears after a relatively short period of time; usually first aid is no necessity here. However, the precise effects of CS-gas to the stomach muscles are still unknown. Every sign that go further than the ones described above or lasts longer than 24 hours do require medical treatment!

These tips for self-defense and first aid are only suitable in order to decrease the working of the gas, decrease the consequences of the gas and to get the group ready for action as soon as possible. However, they do not replace treatment by a doctor in more severe cases!

US soldier after several hours of exposure to CS-Gas