Authoritarian politics are on the rise worldwide. At the same time, humanity needs to fundamentally change the prevailing model of production and consumption (especially in the global North) to overcome inequality and exploitation and prevent ecological collapse. Using the examples of Colombia, the USA, Chile, India, France and Germany, we show how workers are opposing authoritarianism, racism and exploitation.
With the neoliberal reforms that Macron has rapidly implemented, social dialogue between social movements, unions and the government has become more difficult and fragmented. The French trade union movement is split along political lines into several umbrella organizations, and the level of organization has stagnated. The yellow vests have not been able to decisively change Macron's course. But they have rearticulated positions critical of capitalism and class struggle, also taking migrant struggles into the equation.
With the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a fascist party has established itself that has reached the political center. It agitates against a " stateless big capital" that creates profits "at the expense of the German worker" abroad. The government promotes "mass immigration" to lower wages and "exchange the population." This social populism also has an impact on trade union members.
In the political education program of the unions, right-wing agitation was increasingly countered with a realistic picture of asylum and migration policy especially after the "Summer of Migration" in 2015, for example with the seminar series "Facts instead of Populism".
Since 2014, a coalition led by the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP, Party of the Indian People, has ruled under Narendra Modi. India competes as a location for manufacturing companies. To attract international private capital, layoffs and crackdowns on unions have been made easier, and state-owned enterprises (including railroads, telecommunications companies and airlines) are to be privatized. In this complex situation, not only traditional unions and federations are organizing, but informal and migrant workers are also becoming part of a movement facing a major socio-political challenge.
During the Trump presidency, U.S. unions initially opposed the rise of authoritarianism only symbolically. Over time, they acted more decisively. Where union members became active in the workplace, they succeeded in slowing the trend toward authoritarianism and sometimes achieved significant successes.
In 2019, Chile was swept by the largest revolt in its history. The uprising fundamentally changed the political situation. The right-wing government under billionaire Sebastián Piñera responded with military repression. At the height of the protests, there was a massive general strike that paved the way for a constitutional referendum.
After two years of work by the constitutional convention, the new draft constitution was rejected in a referendum.
Colombia is considered the oldest democracy in Latin America. In fact, it is an authoritarian regime that has waged war against the population for over 100 years. How does the population resist? How do workers organize against injustice? Colombia: More than labor struggle!
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