War does not abolish the relations of domination within a society, it does not eliminate the differences between the rich and the poor. It even tends to accentuate them by allowing the emerging of new riches, the war profiteers. In times of war, as in times of peace, the goal of Capitalists, of those who hold economic power, is always the same: to make ever more money. And for that, in times of peace as in times of war, the recipe is always the same: to make employees work ever more, by paying them ever less and in ever worse working conditions. The war adds additional stress to the workers by the fact that you risk getting a bomb on your head, or being thrown in prison or sent to the front if you challenge the National Unity under the command of the Chief Leader and the National banner …
So is it possible to see a workers’ strike and a demonstration, during the war and while street gatherings are forbidden by the martial law? Is it possible to undermine the “class peace” with capital, when everyone is obliged to “defend the fatherland” under the wise leadership of the ruling class? Yes, it is possible to answer yes twice, with recent examples in both Russia and Ukraine.
In Russia, after the boss of Delivery Club, the Russian leading company in food delivery, decided in April without notice to reduce their remuneration by 20% while inflation is exploding in Russia as elsewhere, the couriers had started to strike to demand decent wages and simply humane working conditions. Their union spokesman, Kirill Ukraintsev, was arrested the 25th of April by police dispatched by the State Prosecutor for « calling or participating in an unauthorized gathering more than twice in a period of 180 days » and faces up to five years in prison. While he is still in jail, the 1èth of October his trial was postponed to April 2023. Meanwhile Kirill remains imprisoned, in total disregard of Russian law which sets the maximum period of preventive prison at 6 months. The Russian power is also waging an internal war against the workers and the trade unionists, and all those who dare to demonstrate their freedom of spirit and their refusal to be considered slaves and without any rights.
In Ukraine, too, couriers have revolted against poor working conditions. Due to the war started by the Russian Federation, delivery men are forced to work in the most risky conditions and for starvation wages. Since the beginning of the war, wages have even been reduced by 60%, while prices are constantly rising! The Ukrainian parliament is currently discussing new Ukrainian laws of ultra-liberal inspiration, taken under the pretext of war, and which aim to annul all rights for workers. In addition, martial law has prohibited any strikes and any street demonstrations.
But that doesn’t intimidate Bolt’s delivery workers from Kyiv: in early July, they created a chat group to organize and discuss possible forms of protest despite the context of war. Someone even managed to deactivate the delivery scooters… On July 4, the group of delivery workers went on strike. The next day, several dozen people went to the company’s offices in the City Zen Park office center at noon, to hold a meeting in the company’s lobby about « the exorbitant reduction in their income and payment of arrears. They demand an increase in minimum payments from 0.82 euros to 1.33 euros per order, as well as an increase in the remuneration per kilometer from 0.23 euros to 0.40 euros to compensate for the increase in inflation.
That rally brought a spokeswoman for the company’s management out of her office, who threatened protesters to call the police who, she said, would send them all a military summons. As always in countries at war, the masters threaten to send the troublemakers to the front, under the bullets! However, it seems that the management has finally accepted a salary increase even if it does not completely cover the galloping inflation.
These two examples, in Russia as in Ukraine, show us that Capitalism and exploitation have no borders, and neither does the autonomous Popular Resistance. Despite the risks involved, despite prison or the threat of being sent to the front, both in Russia and in Ukraine there are courageous workers who dare to stand up against arbitrariness, who dare to affirm their dignity by refusing to bend before Power and its intimidation.
To fight against the war also means fighting against the nationalist poison that tends to make us believe that all the inhabitants of the other country are enemies. According to the Courier Union fellow mates, they tried to contact the Bolt strikers to express their solidarity. But the latter would have rejected their solidarity on the grounds that as Ukrainians they would not keen to accept anything from Russians. This regrettable attitude illustrates the results of the dissemination in time of “peace” of ideological discourse on the defense of “peopleS” (with a plural, instead of promoting one single humanity …) whose harmful consequences are felt in time of war…
Workers have no country! Peace to the cottages and war to the tyrants!
У рабочих – нет страны! Мир хижинам, война тиранам!
У робітників – немає країни! Мир хатам, війна тиранам!
Companions of the CNT-AIT (France)
Translation from the French : http://cnt-ait.info/2022/11/07/nationalisme-poison/