The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

China:
The Working Class Fights Back

Mar 14, 2016

Just like here, the Chinese working class is on the receiving end of the capitalists’ attempts to preserve their profits against the crisis of their system.

Job cuts in China have been massive. Since 2013, 890,000 jobs have been slashed in the coal industry and 550,000 in steel. And there’s worse to come: Six sectors have been earmarked for a 20% cut in production in 2016, including coal, iron, steel and cement. This could result in up to 3.6 million more workers losing their jobs! But this is still only the tip of the iceberg as countless over-indebted firms have gone bust.

But the Chinese working class hasn’t taken these attacks lying down. In 2015, there were 2,774 strikes recorded, twice as many as the previous year. Among them, 36% were in construction and 32% in manufacturing. Mostly these strikes were over unpaid wages, often when an owner shut down without notice.

Given its resilience, the Chinese working class deserves all the more respect, as it has to face a repressive regime which throws working-class activists in jail as soon as they try to organize any kind of action. And it is this resilience that other workers should keep in mind, when they see union leaders here join the capitalists to blame China for job cuts. The Chinese workers are not the enemies of other workers. They are our best allies. Both working classes have the same common enemy – this capitalist system which has long passed its sell-by date!