Since the dawn of time, people with a penchant for justice, equality and solidarity have fought for improvements in our lives and the lives of those who will come after us.
There’s the first strike in Egypt, some 2200 years ago, reclaiming the lunches that were being withheld from the workers. There’s the first general strike in Spain,1855, when textile labourers asked for workplace regulations and to see their right to association recognized. Espartero’s Progressive Party left the workers in the lurch and sent the military to Catalonia to annihilate the protest and the people.
We aren’t much better nowadays. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing –just ask any friend or relative. We all know somebody who lives on the brink of poverty, either because they aren’t able to secure a decent job or because they are forced to work a string of precarious stints. Lousy politicians lure us with siren songs while living off our efforts, the promises they made never coming true. Misery reigns all around us. The cost of living has risen up to 10, 20, 30, 40%. Energy, fuel, rent, food: everything is more expensive than ever, leaving behind an impoverished population. There is no end to their greed.
Here’s a question: how many workers have fallen in the line of duty, victims of exploitation? In Spain, in 2022, the answer is 826. Eight hundred and twenty six people: our sons, sisters, fathers, grandmas. Let’s say it loud and clear so that the exploiters know and we do not forget.
We ask: where does capitalism lead us, with all its consummerism and destruction? Our planet cries for help and we only see indifference at best, and the denial of the scientific fact of resource exhaustion at worst. Species are becoming extinct, lands are getting flooded, forests are being wiped out, extreme heat or cold waves are hitting hardest the most vulnerable and dispossessed.
And what about social security benefits? What about a pension system that has cost previous generations –as well as our own– little less that sweat, blood and tears? Thousands of pensioners are in the streets, reclaiming a future for themselves, for you, for me, for all people. If we turn our backs on them, we will soon be sorry.
The repression of trade unionism is one of the most powerful tools of the system, implemented by governments, employers, judges and police forces. Take our comrades, las Seis de La Suiza (The Suiza 6 from Xixón, north of Spain). Their case shows us that strenght comes in numbers, that collective action and solidarity are more needed than ever –and also effective. Our colleagues, through their struggle, are fighting for everybody, they are fighting for every soul. We owe it to them: to our daughters, mothers, and grandmothers. We have every reason to fight back.
We, of course, can provide solutions. For instance, reducing the workweek down to 35 hours, no more than four days a week. Our health couldn’t be bought with all the money in the world. Businesses multiply their profits, so let’s demand a rise in salaries.
The only promises we will believe are ours to make: those that talk of a future in peace and solidarity.
As long as we don’t face the reality of all those which are being murdered at their jobs we won’t be able to rest. The next one could be one of us, our own family, our friends.
Our planet needs to be treated as the mother that provides us with fresh air, clean water, nourishment and peace of mind. It is our duty to protect the Earth and to protect us, and the only way is degrowth.
If we do not fight for our pensions, our future and the future of those who will come after us will be miserable. We must make demands: pensions must be risen and equated to the amount we earn during our working years. After 30, 35 or 40 years of slaving away in our jobs we should be able to enjoy a respectable retirement.
We shall fight for our pensions. We shall fight for our six mates, La Suiza 6, with our favorite strategies: togetherness and solidarity. We owe it to them. We owe it to feminism. We have every reason.
Long live CNT! Long live the working class struggle!
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