The Spark

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

“The general strike is effective, hang on to it!”

Mar 23, 2009

The following lines, commenting on the struggles to come, came from an editorial written by the comrades of Combat Ouvrier.

We, the workers, have obviously not won all that we demanded during the general strike. But in areas that concern work, daily life, wages, and the prices of goods, we have forced the bosses and the government to step back.

While we await the study of prices to establish a local minimum wage that corresponds to the cost of living in the West Indies, the general strike extracted an increase of 200 euros per month ($250 U.S.) for everyone – paid in part by the bosses and in part by the state and the local governments.

Sure, this increase is valid for only three years. That is to say, we must be able at that time to impose its continuation. But between now and the end of three years, many things could happen, here and around the world, above all on the level of the economy. Between now and then, we will certainly have to fight again over wages and prices, and for jobs. Because, with the economic crisis worsening day by day, the bosses and the government are totally determined to force the cost of this crisis onto the workers.

The principal gain from the events that just took place in the West Indies is the form of the struggle itself, the form of the general strike. We gained the experience of a general strike! We rediscovered the strength and power of such a movement – rediscovered that, from the moment the workers engage together in struggle, they pull behind them massively the other layers of the population.

We have been able to realize also that such a movement bringing together all the working and poor people can force the state and the bosses to pull back. To have lived and understood that is a real gain for the future. Because, inevitably, we will have to fight again.

This movement of February 5 must remain a real gain for everyone, a springboard on which we must now rely for the struggles to come. We must not only conserve and reproduce all the positive effects of this strike, but also criticize ourselves, to see where we were weak, what errors or inadequacies there were, in order to correct them for the next struggles. A general strike of this magnitude, resting upon such a popular movement, brings to light many aspects that we must develop further in the future and correct in order to do it better.

Remain ready to mobilize whenever necessary!

Keep alive our spirit of struggle!

It won’t be long before we will need it again!