November 15 : Class War, Memory War!

Tridni Valka

After years of struggle, organization, propaganda and agitation, on November 15th, 1922 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the proletariat of the time (railwaymen, cocoa workers, bakers, shipyards workers, typographers, bricklayers, cooks, laundresses, etc.) imposed the general strike and took control of the city (it was even talked about the "Soviet or Workers' Council of Guayaquil"). But the bourgeoisie (agricultural exporters, bankers, manufacturers) was scared that this "mob" would revolt much more and the same day it ordered its police and military pack to brutally repress. The day of action turned into a slaughter (over 1,000 dead), the terror of the bourgeois State coloured the streets and water of the main harbour with proletarian blood, while "white and delicate hands applaud from the balconies" the return to a state of bourgeois "calm". This was the "the baptism of blood of the proletariat' in this county—Ecuador—that has recently given asylum to the international whistle-blower Snowden. But rather than because of the strength of class enemy, this  fatal defeat is due to the weaknesses of proletarian class at that time: a lack of autonomy and belligerency against the government and above all a lack of radicalism or rupture with the Social Democratic program (including its "socialist" and "anarchist" versions), as well as a lack of rupture with the unions, with patriotism and religion, and finally a lack of revolutionary leadership, armament and offensive.

The global context of that time was that of capitalist crisis, imperialist war and proletarian revolt, as it is again the current global context, with an important difference that then the crisis was not generalized and catastrophic as that of now and there was a massive and powerful international and internationalist revolutionary proletariat, which however does not yet exist today or, better said, is still weak. Therefore, the lessons left by the struggles of talking masses yesterday are valid and useful for the workers in struggle nowadays and all over the world. In this case, one of those lessons is—according to the words of one of its protagonists—that "on November 15th, 1922 the proletariat learned to know who have always been its mortal enemies". Indeed, both yesterday and today toilers’ enemies remain the same: businessmen, bankers, politicians (right- as well as left-wingers militaries, police, priests, judges, journalists, trade unionists... Not as groups or individuals in particular but as agents of the capitalist relations of exploitation and domination, of this inhuman and murderous global society of commodity, money, wage labour, Capital and its State.

Nowadays in Ecuador, along with the bourgeoisie, two enemies are more noticeable: the government and the unions. This government, even claiming to be "revolutionary", "socialist" and (even "of workers" actually is, as all governments, the guardian and administrator of capitalist exploitation and normality, of democratic and citizen dictatorship of Capital over the working class. In fact, this November 15th, 2014 a rally-show took place to publicly announce its "reforms package" to the labour laws, i.e. the adjustment of this classic tool of capitalist control and exploitation over the working class in order to, in turn, adjust, exploit and continue the status quo. No doubt that this progressive government is a bourgeois one and the enemy of the proletariat. As if it was not enough, it usurps this historic day of toilers to cynically try to distort and even to empty its proletarian and anti-capitalist content; in order to chase away the only memory of proletarian social revolution, this ghost that hasn't stopped travelling all over the world: communism, anarchy. The worst is that if it behaves this way it's because here and now the proletariat is still conspicuous by its absence as an autonomous force as well as to wage a real class and memory war. And if one day people's protests as a class should succeed to break its stranglehold on them and threaten its power, which is the power of Capital's State, this government would not hesitate to reason in a similar way than how it did 92 years ago.

For their part, the unions (without exception) are nothing but merchants and negotiators of the exploitation of labour force in front of the employers and the State. They have always been and will be forever. The irrefutable proof of this is that this November 19th there was a new march to "reject" among other things the "constitutional amendments" and the government reforms to the labour laws, demanding instead laws supposedly "of and for workers", i.e. a more flexible and softer legal whip of capitalist exploitation, wage slavery, which they never mention in this way, and they even lesser criticize or fight against. As always, "struggling" against the effects but not the cause or the root of all the evils proletarians suffer from capitalism. "Struggling" only for rights, reforms, crumbs from those who exploit and oppress people. That's the way how people's demands and protests are cornered, diverted and cancelled. And even if they would be outflanked, the unions (and leftist parties and fronts) would do everything possible to quell the autonomous proletarian struggle. They are fire-fighters, reformists, opportunists, counterrevolutionaries... The unions are also enemies of the workforce, therefore revolutionaries must break with them and treat them as such.

The experience of the past and the present shows that to satisfy class needs and interests, people should struggle outside and against governments, political parties and trade unions, in an independent or autonomous way, for all and till the end, beyond and against all borders and nationalities. At present, toiling masses are fighting in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Middle East, Greece... they do what they can in this respect so to tighten the world-historical thread of the proletarian struggle against capitalism. Historical memory, revolutionary program, class solidarity, autonomous organization, direct action have been, are and will be people's best weapons. 

[source : Proletarios Revolucionarios]

Vol. 47, No. 27, Jan 11 - 17, 2015