Nigeria Last June, a proposed 54% boost in fuel prices incensed the Nigerian working class, who responded with an eight-day general strike, ending only when the government compromised by raising prices by 30%. 3 months later, when the Obasanjo regime reneged on its pledge to maintain fuel subsidies, the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) voted to plan another general strike.
At a mass public meeting in Lagos on October 29, the Democratic Socialist Movement (Socialist Alternative’s sister organization in Nigeria) called for the recommencement of the general strike and the organizing of a conference of trade unions and working people that would develop a mass party of the working class and the unemployed.
This party would have as its foundation a strategy and program to fight all anti-working class legislation and privatization, not only fuel price increases but all deregulation of national resources. The meeting responded extremely favorably to our proposals and our new pamphlet “Fuel Crisis, Deregulation, Mass Poverty: TIME FOR SYSTEM CHANGE.”
Sri Lanka For the first time, more than 90% of Sri Lankan healthcare workers (other than doctors) united to demand a badly needed 40% pay raise. A strike committee of 53 healthcare unions alarmed the government, which tried to break the strike by calling in the army to run the hospitals and firing all striking workers. This tactic failed miserably, as 15,000 labor activists from all industries rallied in support of the health workers.
In this brutal economic period, workers all across Sri Lanka followed the events with much interest to learn the lessons of this 13-day strike which ended in total victory on September 30.
The Janaraja Joint Health Services Union, which is affiliated with the United Socialist Party (the Sri Lankan section of the CWI), were principally responsible for putting forward the clear and effective strategy which led to victory.
Germany In spite of trade union leaders and leftists who said it couldn’t be done, Sozialistische Alternative (SAV, Socialist Alternative’s sister organization in Germany) organized an extremely successful national demonstration of 100,000 workers in Berlin on November 1, against Agenda 2010, the Schroder-led Social Democrat/Green government’s program of savage cuts in social services. SAV was the first to put out the call for a national demonstration against Agenda 2010. They popularized the idea by getting resolutions passed to support the demonstration in ATTAC, the national conferences of IGM and ver.di – the two largest unions in Germany (and the world), among others.
A SAV member spoke to tremendous applause when raising the need for a one-day general strike as the next step for the movement. SAV also organized the liveliest contingent at the demonstration, which was the top news story on German TV that evening.