Strikes in Western Europe

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at
Wed May 22 13:53:03 MDT 1996

A few quick answers to Strikes in Western Europe thread

The below seems pretty correct to me.

>"Far from stimulating investment, employment and output, the result of
>credit expansion in a tight monetary framework was the deterioration of
>conditions and mass unemployment.
<clip, look at the original post folks>

That's in an important insight:
>....In other words, money,
>rather than betting on future exploitation, has to be transformed into an
>effective command over labour in the present.

>2. Please also see Guglielmo Carchedi's *Frontiers of Political Economy*
>(London: Verso, 1991) for an analysis of the mechanisms by which crisis had
>been *spatially*  displaced onto the neo-colonial world.

Yes, yes! The aversion and delay of crises spatially is the second method
available to capitalism. This temporal-shift, plus the spatial-shift link
very closely. I believe that the ever-fasting changing of fashions, the
"postmodern" feeling of flux and speed are but results of this economic
crises. Capitalism, faced with decreasing profits, necessarily increased the
turn-over rate. This explains a lot of cultural phenomena we're experiencing.
1- It had to commodify everything, and this usually moved into the service
2- Service sector has a faster turn-over rate compared to durables. A
service is consumed just then, and can be reconsumed the next day. Not so
with refrigrators. I believe many of the current phenomen; as the expansion
of the service-sector; as the acceleration of space-time (space-time is
different for every era, and every social system) is a reflection of the

This line of thought is important to follow. Politically, it points to an
important path. It also explains what "post-modernity" is. (Not post-modernism).

>3. I will soon read and  try to report to the list about the following
>report prepared (I believe) by the Business Council in the United States:
>Edward Potter and Judith Youngman, 1995. Keeping America Competitive:
>Employment Policy for the 21st Century.  I believe this book gives a good,
>accessible summary of the rollbacks capital is planning.

Please do.
I'll try to get the books you recommend. Anything on-line is awfully useful,
this is a Turkish speaking country!


>However, I do not think that any analysis based on the existence of a
>labour aristocracy is very helpful. The layer inside the working class
>movement that has held back struggles when they have developed is the
>Trade Union Bureaucracy. I think this is quite apparent from the recent
>events in France.

>From where I look, I do see a labour aristocracy. However, I think
capitalism can't sustain it any longer. I agree with the role of the TU
Bureacracy. For example, the French FO (Force Ouvriere) TU, and the CFTC
(Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) did not centrally support
the strikes first, but then had to move in as the rank and file moved. CGT,
FO, CFDT, and FEN members were together in the streets.

>What is exciting about the recent events in France, however, is that the
>rank + file forces with the potential to overcome the conservative tendencies
>of the union officials was clearly present, if not strong enough this time.

Yes, that's important. Also, the fact that they were not able to contain it
is important. One fundemantal role of the bourgoies state now, is
crises-control and containment. They have well-tested means for this. This
time it did NOT WORK! That's very important. Do you know that Herr Kohl
spoke to Juppe about how to avert the crises, you know, calm down, take back
the proposal, and reintroduce it in bits. Workers in France were carrying a
banner called "NON aux ordres de BERLIN" (NO to orders from BERLIN). The
German corporatism is better equipped to handle the event, but it takes
resources not just good methods.

Back to how the historical and the social mix. In France, people put up
barricades at the drop of a hat. In Germany, they look for organised action,
and conciliatiotory attempts first. The German "SozialPlan" is also not
receiving acceptance from the rank and file, as far as I can follow from here.

Politically, we must have counter crises-control mechanisms. That includes
much preparation. This is no light subject. I think we should discuss what
options the capitalists have, and what can be done to counter it. Lots to do
under this heading.


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