Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/235/25114

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 January 2002

Brussels demos: Marching Against Capitalism And War

ON 13, 14 and 15 December 2001, workers and young people from all over Europe converged on Brussels in their thousands to protest at the European Union (EU) summit. What happened over that weekend shows the kind of struggles which could develop in 2002 and how support for socialist ideas could grow.

OVER 25,000 took to the streets of Brussels on 14 December in the first major anti-capitalist demo since the attacks in the US and the war in Afghanistan. Despite the bitter cold there was a carnival atmosphere with music and speeches broadcast from lorries at the head of each group.

International Socialist Resistance (ISR), International Resistance and the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) which the Socialist Party is a member of, had the liveliest - and best organised - contingent on the demo. We had 800-1,000 members and supporters from all over Europe and from the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia and South Africa.

With speeches and chanting in Dutch, French, English and German and all wearing our red CWI vests we made quite an impression on the rest of the demo and the people who lined the streets.

Many stayed with us not just because of our size but also because of the very professional stewarding. At one stage, the police had blocked off every exit and it not only looked as if we were to be penned in but also soaked with water cannon and worse. However they then allowed us through in small groups.

The CWI meetings after the demo were packed out. Many joined the CWI and ISR on the spot and came to the conference the following day.

By Rob Crowhurst

Angry Workers' Show Of Strength

THE 100,000-strong turnout on the trade union demonstration will give a mighty impetus to European workers' confidence in their own strength. Tens of thousands came from all the countries of Europe as well as a massive presence from the Belgian unions themselves.

By Bill Mullins

Decked out in their union colours they made a lasting impression on those who attended. Car workers, engineering workers, metal workers and public sector workers flocked to Brussels.

They were there, whatever their leaders tried to say, to protest at the threats to their jobs and living standards. Union general secretaries from around Europe made speeches about wanting a "social Europe", asking the capitalist governments to include concessions to the unions in their deliberations.

But the demonstrators themselves reflected a mounting wave of anger at the growing list of companies declaring redundancies and mass sackings.

Sabena airline workers, brutally thrown out on the stones by the company's bankruptcy after 11 September, were demanding that the Belgian government take over the company and protect their jobs.

Tens of thousands of French metal workers demanded that the EC stop the threat to their jobs. Thousands of German car workers and engineering workers protested against wage cuts and other concessions forced on them by the bosses.

Trade unionists from Lisbon to Stockholm, from Slovakia to Poland and beyond marched together in a tremendous show of solidarity.

If the union leaders had demonstrated one-tenth of the confidence of their members then Europe's capitalist leaders could not keep on with their programme of deregulation, privatisation and job cuts. They would be forced into an inglorious retreat by this show of strength.

If for example the workers' leaders had called a one-day general strike in the city of Brussels alone to match up with the demonstration, there is little doubt that workers in this European capital would have answered the call.

Instead at the end of the demo (when workers were still setting off from the main square when the front ranks had reached the end three miles further on) the union leaders gave speeches "saying nothing in 15 languages". It really was a case of workers being led up the hill to be marched down again.

Not one union leader said what should be done next. They magnanimously thanked the demonstrators for coming and wished them "bon voyage" on their way home. It will take an earthquake to wake up the trade union leaders to do anything else, but that is exactly what is coming.


ISR conference

Build International Socialist Resistance

ON SATURDAY 15 December, over 500 young people attended the founding conference of International Socialist Resistance (ISR), including about 100 from England and Wales.

By Clare James

Following the brilliant demonstration the day before, the conference took place in the French-speaking university in Brussels, and the booked meeting room was too small for the huge turnout.

The conference started with an inspiring rally including reports from all over Europe on what the new ISR branches have been doing. Members from the North and South of Ireland reported on their work against low pay and campaigns they are running with young people from schools and workplaces.

Members from Germany, Britain and Belgium gave examples of campaigns against cuts in education, against racism and cuts in youth services and explained how many young people in their countries were becoming active against the war in Afghanistan.

Then the conference broke up into very successful workshops on the environment, education, anti-capitalist campaigning work and youth rights.

The conference ended with proposals for the name and platform of ISR, which were overwhelmingly carried with only a few votes against and one or two abstentions. Delegates' speeches highlighted the misery that capitalism inflicts worldwide.

In South Africa pregnant women with HIV and AIDS have been denied drugs to prevent infecting their unborn children as their survival would be a burden on the state.

CWI member Joe Higgins, an Irish TD (MP) said just 40 billion would meet the additional cost of ensuring that every man, woman and child on the planet had access to adequate food, safe water, sanitation and basic healthcare and education. This is less than 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people.

ISR will build international action to oppose capitalism and raise socialist ideas. One proposal was to have an international student action in May when education ministers are meeting in Spain.

It was also decided to have follow-up meetings to build close links in the International Resistance movement.

ISR was initiated by the CWI (Committee for a Workers International), to which the Socialist Party in England and Wales is affiliated.

ISR is an independent, broad and democratic organisation, open to anyone who is against this capitalist system of poverty and inequality. We fight for a democratic socialist society based on need and not greed. If you are not already a member please join - get active and help build International Socialist Resistance.


Address: ISR, PO Box 858, London, E11 1YG

Tel: 020 8558 7947

email: againstcapitalism@hotmail.com

Website: www.notowar.org

International Website www.resistance.eu.com


"THIS WAS the first European demo I've been to and it was really inspiring to find very like-minded people, who were interested in the same issues as me. I think we've done really well building up the movement that we have done through organisations like the CWI and ISR.

I thought the demonstration was good. We had a great contingent out there and on the whole it was very peaceful and we definitely got our point across very well."

Duncan Torrance

"I THOUGHT the demo was absolutely massive, I couldn't quite believe it. I think the conference was really good and it's inspired me to go back and build ISR."


Nadine

"I WASN'T expecting the demonstration to be so big. It went very well especially the CWI contingent - I was at the front and I looked back and it was quite impressive."

Sam Hunt

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 4 January 2002:

Build The Socialist Alternative

Argentina: Capitalist Crisis Intensifies

India/Pakistan conflict: Only Socialism Can End the 'Madness Of War'

Brussels demos: Marching Against Capitalism And War

2002: Capitalist Crisis - Workers' Struggles


 

Home   |   The Socialist 4 January 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Capitalism:

triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: "I started to question whether there was a better way"

triangleWhat we saw

triangle'Paradise' for billionaires - austerity for us

Socialist:

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleSocialist Students national conference

triangleSocialism 2018

War:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

Workers:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

CWI:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The work of CWI members around the world

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

29/11/17

Them & Us

Them & us

29/11/17

Homes

Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices

29/11/17

Wages

Make the Tories history

29/11/17

Birmingham

Birmingham bin workers win!

29/11/17

British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy

23/11/17

Pay

After the budget - unions must launch pay fight

22/11/17

Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2