National Sections of the L5I:

Globalisation from below

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In the era of globalisation, we have to struggle from the outset not only at a local, but also at a world, level.

Recent moves towards common action against multinational corporate employers are immensely progressive. This trend to international organisation is also creating favourable conditions for renewing those national labour movements that have suffered heavy defeats and precipitate decline. It is the task of revolutionaries to give a conscious and militant expression to this.

We need to build links within the multinational companies (MNCs) and local enterprises, or between workers of similar industries. These links must be built not just between official trade unions but at workplace level, between rank and file workers.

We need an international struggle against the MNCs. This means we have to organise co-ordinated actions aimed at disrupting their production links and the marketing systems. Solidarity action must be developed from the first day of each and every struggle. Likewise, when whole national labour movements in the second and third worlds take action to resist the “structural adjustment programmes” of the IMF, or the rulings of the WTO, they must command the fullest support from unions in the “first” world. Solidarity action must go beyond statements of support from leadership bodies. It must extend to industrial action, such as boycotting and refusing to handle the products of the firms in dispute, sending international delegations, taking strike action and occupying workplaces.

Fast solidarity action is needed whenever unions are victimised by their own national governments. This will not only create a new international conscious identity within the world working class – it will signal to the corporate bosses and politicians that the era of give-backs, privatisations and deregulation is at an end.

We must fight the “race to the bottom” of corporate globalisation. Instead we must level up labour, environmental, social and human rights conditions to the highest level yet achieved. Fights for raising wages, ending child labour, union recognition, democratic rights, should be at the centre of our activities. Force corporations, the national states, the regional blocs, the international financial authorities to concede demands for minimum conditions – not just charters of labour rights, but for workers’ control over conditions, minimum wages, social conditions, and for trade union and democratic rights. Wherever laws, regulations and guarantees from employers and states are secured, we must be ready to enforce them with industrial action.

We must open up the national and international forums, where decisions are really made, to inspection by the representatives of workers, peasants and poor communities. We must fight for the right to access the computer records of the banks and multinationals. This means encouraging and defending whistleblowers from within these secret corporate strongholds.

Trade unions must enforce global safety, welfare and education standards on global corporations. The trade unions must draw up a global charter of rights and conditions – then they must act together to enforce it in every nation, on every MNC. We must oppose plant closures or moving of MNC operations from one cheap labour zone to a cheaper one by solidarity action and a political campaign for the immediate seizure of their property without compensation if they refuse to concede to the workers’ demands.

Workers need to fight not for old-style “government regulation” or capitalist style nationalisation but real socialisation – collective, democratic social ownership, rooted in every workplace, extended across every enterprise, national and international. This can only be achieved by a struggle for the nationalisation of enterprises without compensation, and for workers’ control of each enterprise, over production and distribution of products and services.

We must expose the domination of politics locally, nationally and internationally by the big corporations and their huge bribes. We must break the workers’ and poor peasants’ organisations from these capitalist parties by exposing their inability to meet our demands. We need to build new parties of the workers and poor peasants whose strength is not corporate donations but on the streets and in the workplaces. Our workers’ parties might contest elections to win support for this programme of action but they will always explain that this is not where the power in society really lies.

We must open up the world media to the masses. A new weapon of struggle, which includes widespread use of the internet, is already being created from below in the media of the unions, peasant organisations, anti-capitalists in the west and communities in the third world. Whilst information alone is not power and the capitalist system cannot be destroyed by guerrilla media alone, we must defend alternative media against the inevitable attacks of the state and the millionaire media corporations of Murdoch and Berlusconi. The media for the millions, not the millionaires must be our battle cry. Our aim is to expropriate their huge media corporations and run them under workers’ control.

We need to fight for planned, environmentally sustainable, development of the second and third worlds. As long as the majority of humanity does not have clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity, healthcare, primary and secondary education, it is sheer first world arrogance to talk of a “freeze on development” or “no economic growth”. We can lower the living standards of the rich alright; we can decrease the enormous waste of hyper-consumerism in the first world; we can make enormous savings through cutting out the waste of blind production for profit – but we must increase production of the necessities of life for those who are presently denied them.

In agriculture, we must end the domination of corporate agribusinesses and the landed estates of the rich, and curtail overproduction for an unknown market. Make agriculture serve the well being of humanity within its natural and social environment! Instead of the goal of profit for the shareholders of the agribusiness corporations – the Chiquitas and the Monsantos – agriculture must meet the social goals of providing food for all, employing the rural population, and restoring the natural environment.