German "Hot Autumn"

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Wed Oct 2 12:18:44 MDT 1996

Hugh Rodwell wrote:
> Jon writes:
> >  Now we have the workfare program bursting on the national consciousness. New
> >York city is the test bed for this. It is shaping up quickly as a challenge
> >for labor, handed to us by our best buddy, WJ Clinton. A government funded
> >sub-minimum wage labor force will be working side by side with union workers.
> >Your European employers don't even have this on the radar screen yet.
> This isn't true.
> Sweden has an awful lot of unemployed people in so-called labour market
> activities, right now 180,000 compared to 370,000 with neither jobs or
> labour market activities, together that makes 550,000. Add, according to
> labour market statistics, another 140,000 registered unemployed with no
> chance of taking work immediately, and you get a total of 690,000 out of a
> working population of around 4,500,000, or 15% (Sweden's population is
> around 9,000,000, more than 1,000,000 of foreign origin).
> A lot of these labour market activities are "working life development"
> projects or similar arrangements, by which people do jobs but get paid
> unemployment benefit. There are rules against poaching "real" jobs, which
> are about as effective as transparent fig-leaves.
> The ideological legitimization for this is that it's better to have
> something to do than sit at home and rot. Lutheran work ethic stuff.
> Workfare is the big thing, the only question is organizing it.
> In Britain it's worse, as subscribers there will be able to corroborate in
> gory detail. Like the Tory minister who said: "Being unemployed must be a
> full-time occupation".
> Theoretically speaking, we are seeing the utter contradiction between the
> need of capital for a reserve army of the unemployed and the need of a
> thoroughly socialized and collectivized society for everybody to
> participate in the production and reproduction of their society.
> Lots more to say on this, but that'll do for now.
> Cheers,
> Hugh

Absolutely right Hugh! Basically all the industrialised capitalist
countries are in crisis, and the race is on to make the working class
pay for it. It is always possible to look at one aspect or another where
things are different in one country or another, but we are all headed in
the same direction. This kind of discussion about how the capitalist
crisis is developing, and the creeping fascism that they are using
defend their positions in different countries is vital if we are to
understand, and fight back!


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