Thursday 30 June 2011

On June 30, the mainstream union Solidarity held a large demonstration in Warsaw. Members of ZSP, plus guests from the IWW and WSA from the US, went to the demo to hand out leaflets and agitate for rank-and-file unionism and for a general strike.

We pointed out that while working people were rebelling in many parts of Europe, here the unions have moderated struggles and often avoid methods such as strikes. The whole idea of a general strike is avoided.

Instead of workers' militancy, the Solidarity leadership has gone more and more in the direction of nationalist rhetoric and its anti-government stance often merges into political support for the conservative Law and Justice Party. ZSP is critical of how the unions use this type of politics. Also, for the demonstration, Solidarity invited a singer who campaigned against the gay pride parade and which openly supported the fascist march on Nov.11 in Warsaw, making speeches for far-right groups. We published a statement criticizing this and pointing out that the workers' struggle must be internationalist and explaining how nationalist ideology divides workers and how discrimination such as homophobia should not be tolerated in the labour movement.

We found that many supported the idea of the general strike. But it will never happen when the union bureaucrats decide strategy instead of the workers. There were some discussions about this, including with people from the traditionally more radical parts of Solidarity. Some of them displayed some patriotic tendencies and this is an issue that needs a lot of work. But on the other hand some were saying that the general strike is not enough and that the government needs to be overthrown. So we hope that this mood will spread - but it is essential that the workers break free of the stifling union bureaucracy and their layers of professional activists first!

Besides talking to the workers, there were some interviews with the local and international press about the need for a general strike.