Update: 30.11.2023              wildcat.zirkular.thekla.materials.english

translated from: Wildcat no. 112, fall 2023

Capitalist intelligence?

“Future generations would then have the opportunity to see in amazement how one caste, by making it possible to say what it had to say to the entire world, made it possible at the same time for the world to see that actually it had nothing to say.”
(Bertolt Brecht Radio Theory)

On the 30th of November 2022, ChatGPT, a conversational AI, or as it is known in the jargon ‘large language model’, was released. For the first time, a generative AI that can create independent texts and pretend to understand the questions it is asked was publicly available free of charge. Within five days, one million people had registered on the chat.openai.com website. By January 2023, this figure had risen to one hundred million. It was a stroke of genius for OpenAI (Microsoft) to make its chatbot publicly accessible. No marketing department could have advertised it better than the hysterical debate that ensued. All competitors had to follow suit and also publish chatbots. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 112, fall 2023

Wildcat strike in the Port of Hamburg

Yesterday, on the 6th of November 2023, the Executive and Supervisory Board of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA – the Hamburg port authority) officially voted in favor of the partial sale of the port to the world’s largest shipping company, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). This sell-out is directed against the power of port workers and worsens their working conditions. Privatization is intended to undermine workers’ representation when it comes to managing the port and break the resistance against automation, job cuts and cost reductions.

Yesterday afternoon, almost the entire afternoon shift of around 200 workers at the Burchardkai container terminal went on wildcat strike. The following night shift and the early shift continued the strike – as of the 7th of November, 6 p.m., the strike is in its fourth shift. Workers at the other two terminals (Tollerort and Altenwerder) perform slowdowns.

On the 8th of November an assembly decided during the night-shift to suspend the strike after management had sent out the first disciplinary letters and a few colleagues called in sick. To continue the slow-down at work seems to limit the risk of repression.

On the 11th of November at 11am, the trade union Verdi organises a demonstration against the sale of the port shares at the Rathausplatz.

Here is our article from the current Wildcat 112 [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 111, spring 2023

Ukraine War

“Putin thinks we are wimps”

Because of its geostrategic position, Ukraine has become the scene of a proxy war between NATO and Russia. The failed ‘special military operation’ has become a bloody war of attrition. We can assume that 100,000 soldiers have already been killed; both sides treat the numbers as a secret. “The Russians, … to cover up the desolate war campaign. The Ukrainians, to keep up the morale of their battered population”, wrote the Swiss newspaper NZZ.1 The UN has recorded 8,006 civilian casualties (7,519 adults and 487 children) in the first year of the war, but assumes a high number of unreported cases. Almost eight million people have fled to neighbouring countries, three million of them to Russia. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 111, spring 2023

Iran – “The regime must go!”

Since 2009 there have been frequent mass protests in Iran. Nevertheless, on the 11th of February 2023, the mullahs’ regime was able to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the “Islamic Revolution” and Rasi could declare that “the Iranian people” had also “neutralised” the most recent movement. We don’t see the movement as “neutralised” yet – but before we go into that, a brief review of the movements of the last 15 years. [more...]

translated from: wildcat.aktuelles, 12-09-2022

The Role of Central Banks

This week the Bank of England raised the interest rates once more, now reaching the highest level in 14 years. But what politics hide behind this ‘economic measure’? In the global context we can see that these measures are part of a currency war, where each economic block tries to protect their market, even if the result is that the general economic situation deteriorates further. First and foremost it is an attack on the claims of the working class. This becomes apparent in the recent quote from a member of the UK Monetary Policy Committee, who said that the central bank needed to combat “an inflation psychology that was embedding in wage settlements and inflation expectations”. We translated an article written by comrades from Wildcat that provides more background to the debate about the role of central banks in the global class war. 

Ten years ago, the European Central Bank (ECB) saved the Euro monetary union from breaking up by putting its foot down and then stabilising the currency system by guaranteeing low interest rates and a program of purchasing securities (such as government bonds) worth billions. This has led to a very skewed economic development. For example, the DAX (German stock market index) has risen by 290% since 2011 – whereas German GDP has only grown by about 13% during the same period. On the 27th of July 2022, the ECB raised the key interest rate by 0.5% for the first time in eleven years – 0.25% had been expected. On the 8th of September, the ECB raised interest rates again by a historic 0.75 percentage points. This panic-stricken move showed the central bank’s powerlessness. But why is it raising the key interest rate at all in the midst of an energy price shock and the onset of recession? For context, we bring you the following excerpts from the crisis article in this month’s Wildcat. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 110, autumn 2022

»The Summer of Semis«

Because so much had happened, we wanted to continue the interview on the "chip crisis" (Wildcat 108) and met twice in mid-July to do so. Then the events came thick and fast! We updated the already finished article several times - and froze it at the status of 8/10/22. It's a compelling story about the importance of technological development in a key industry of contemporary capitalism, its limitations, and its devastating consequences, up to and including war. Here's the short version: [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 110, autumn 2022


Heinrich Heine wrote in 1843 that the railroad was killing space, leaving us only time. Karl Marx condensed this into the famous sentence that the new means of communication and transport destroy space through time. Industrialization enabled capitalists to cover (even long) distances ever more quickly and, as transportation costs fell, to distribute production "beyond any spatial barrier" (Grundrisse). The expansion of energy use and transportation worked well for more than 150 years to open up markets and labour reservoirs, increase productivity, and shorten turnaround time. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 109, spring 2022

The ‘Dragon Head’ becomes obstinate

Port workers' strike in Piraeus

Beverly Silver pointed out in the early noughties that more than a third of all ‘labour unrest’ from 1870 to 1996 was in the transport sector, ahead of ‘manufacturing’ at 21 percent. But while factory workers were able to force entrepreneurs to make impressive concessions, transport labour became cheaper and cheaper and, at least since the 1990s, the basis of the entrepreneurs' counterattack – "globalization." This allowed them to have goods manufactured wherever on the planet they paid the lowest wages.[more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 109, spring 2022

‘Great Resignation,’ ‘Striketober’

‘A systemic intervention by workers’

The defeats of the working class over the last four decades radiated from the United States. Earlier there than everywhere else, workforces were downsized and entire industries deregulated. And more than anywhere else, this led to a mix of a crisis of public infrastructure and one of togetherness - ‘everyone for themselves’. But times have changed. Almost nowhere in recent years has there been more, or broader, social protest.[more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 108, summer 2021

Interview on the ‘chip crisis’

In Germany alone in the first quarter of 2021, one million cars were not built because the necessary microchips were missing. Worldwide, the figure is expected to amount to more than four million vehicles. The automotive corporations - or rather their suppliers - had cut their orders a year earlier because of the Covid pandemic - and are now left with nothing. Given the global production structure, it is not possible to ramp up the production of microchips within a short period of time. 70% of all car microchips come from a single manufacturer in Taiwan. There is a local water shortage, chip production consumes an extremely large amount of water, and in general, they are very environmentally damaging to produce. On top of that, there are transport problems. And on top of this, there was a Covid outbreak in the chip industry in Taiwan, caused by the shortening of pilots’ quarantine to three days so that the chips could be delivered to customers worldwide as quickly as possible...

Pretty much all the problems of current capitalism are concentrated in what (not just) the automotive industry calls, the "chip crisis". [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 108, summer 2021

Strikes against Amazon - is something finally happening?

Everyone’s talking about Amazon. The media and politicians get goose bumps at the wealth and power of Jeff Bezos. But the left also starts quivering at the idea of the 'total control' over the poorly paid and 'inhumanly exploited' workers in the Amazon warehouses. Once again, the myth of all-dominating capitalist technology clogs up brains and distorts political intervention! Portraying workers only as heavily surveilled, atomized and powerless individuals is the typical paternalistic approach of many on the left and most unions too ('the workers are weak without us'). In the following articles, we take a closer look at the labor process in an Amazon warehouse and in the warehouse of a drugstore. The workers there are by no means mindless appendages of the big machine. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 107, spring 2021

Decline of the USA, Rise of the Struggles?

The USA, as the world’s leading capitalist nation, is economically, politically and morally bankrupt. Resistance is picking up steam at home: in 2018 and 2019 there were more strikes, and more large ones, than at any time in more than two decades. In 2020, there were only seven strikes with 1,000 or more participants, but the country witnessed the largest wave of protests in its history. Rising unemployment and poor health care during the pandemic exacerbated the general level of immiseration. The people (15 to 26 million, according to polls) who took to the streets against racism, the system of policing, incarceration and poverty in the wake of the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd were protesting against a backdrop of decades of socioeconomic decline. People of all colours marched hand-in-hand, occupied squares, organized food, set up ‘autonomous zones’ and police-free neighborhoods, engaged in passionate discussions.... [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 107, spring 2021

China: Neijuan

The strike wave of 2010 and the struggles against factory closures happened a long time ago. For the last few years, the China Labour Bulletin records a marked decline in labour struggles, with a low point in 2020. While there have been protests by construction workers, parcel delivery workers, food delivery workers, and still some against factory closures, the protests have remained very modest relative to the sharp drop in incomes, layoffs, widespread wage arrears, and the harshness and irrationality of the lockdowns. Politically, the CCP was able to skilfully use Corona, and the massive criticism of the first lockdown has since died down. There is widespread fundamental support for and defence of the government and public figures against criticism. Even many leftists and ‘critical thinkers’ ultimately assume that the state or state representatives actually mean well. However, it would be completely wrong to explain authoritarian structures as a result of ‘brainwashing’ or East Asian characteristics such as Confucianism. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 106, summer 2020

Agricultural workers in Italy fight for their regularisation

The share of migrants in agricultural work in Italy has grown steadily over the last 30 years. This is nothing new; people have always tried to escape from being a farm worker, leading to the recruitment of new, weaker groups to work in the fields. In the past, workers living in the vicinity of the agricultural areas were replaced by people from the interior of the country; then men were replaced by women. Today, agricultural work is ethnically divided – and this tendency is becoming more acute: in 1992, 38,481 migrants worked in agriculture, and by 2018 this figure had increased to 275,347 (out of a total of about one million workers in the primary sector). However, these official figures do not include the huge area of irregular work and undeclared work, which is particularly important in agriculture. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 44, april 1988

Militant inquiry into the ‘white factory’ (hospital)

translated by angry workers

We translated this article as a general framework for discussion. In 1988 comrades in Germany were inspired, in part by the nurses strikes in the USA and the UK during the same year. The age of the text sets limits for its current applicability, but it can help with discussing long-term changes in the sector. It also allows us to share the serious debate of that time. We can think about if the hospital can indeed be classified as a ‘white factory’ or what kind of fundamental differences there are between manufacturing and modern health care. We can also see how many work tasks were pushed down the pay hierarchy towards the lower paid ranks since this article was written. The text mentions that ‘only doctors are supposed to take blood samples’ and that nurses went on a ‘syringe strike’ – today it’s increasingly the job of health care assistants to perform these tasks. Anotherseemingly dated aspect is the horror with which the comrade saw ‘nursing paperwork’ at the time. They would probably not have dreamt of the fact that today nurses spend their day documenting the ins (medication) and outs (physical measurements) of patients.

The following article is limited to the ‘white factory’, to the hospital as a site of class composition. It implies the thesis that restructuring in the health care system means an attack on those who work there, an attack that reaches far beyond the propaganda of ‘cost containment’. In this first part we won’t elaborate and deepen this thesis on the basis of the upcoming reform of the health care system and we won’t touch on the overall social significance of the health care system and the necessity for fundamental critique of the capitalist concept of illness. This will be dealt with in the second part of the article. That ‘tertiarization’ (the proliferation of ‘services’) means industrialization of services has long been understood by our enemies: their reforms try to contain workers’ antagonistic behaviour that arises with the ‘factory-ization’ of former ‘service work’, such as in hospitals. We think it is urgent to take up the discussion about this area of capitalist reproduction and to develop a practice of militant inquiry and intervention here as well . [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 46, winter 1988/89

translated by Health workers united

France: Hospitals in turmoil

“We’re tired of working in a gallery!”

The various categories (professions) in French hospitals are formally divided by qualification status. Nurses have a higher status and until 1987 a high school diploma / A-levels were a prerequisite for admission to nursing schools. In hospitals, psychiatric wards, and nursing homes, and in the public and private sectors, there are three major groups of workers: [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 105, spring 2020

Bangladesh: Garment workers fight!

You don't need to know much about Bangladesh to understand that the Corona crisis will lead to extreme conditions locally. Millions of people are already suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic. But in this situation strong struggles are developing. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 105, spring 2020

A preventable massacre

Why did so many people in Italy die during the Corona crisis?

In Italy, the first infection of an Italian citizen was not detected until the 21st of February at the hospital in Codogno - but by the end of the month, the country had become the centre of the global pandemic. By the 7th of March, there were already 5,000 people who had tested positive and 233 dead.

On the 9th of March, pubs, gyms, etc. were closed and shopping in supermarkets was restricted; in addition, the government imposed a curfew ("orange zone") across the whole of Lombardy, five provinces in Piedmont and Emilia, three in Veneto and over part of the Marche - but production continued. [more...]

translated from: wildcat.aktuelles, 24/04/2020

Class struggle in the times of Corona: Mexico

The women's movement was the biggest movement before the Corona lockdowns and shutdowns. On the 8th March 2020, 200,000 people were on the streets in Mexico City. In the ILA 434 (Latin American magazine) Sonja Gerth describes a cross-class demonstration of "well-off women, young school kids, companies…" Obviously femicide is bad for business too!

On the 9th March, on the day of the Women's Strike ('A Day without Us'), schools had to close, even Audi and Volkswagen stood still because the work process would be 'unsafe' without the female workforce.

In 2020 there were innumerable demonstrations, women even attacked the big government building on the main square in Mexico City. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 104, winter 2019/2020

’20/32’ - Strike wave in Mexico

In early 2019 up to 80,000 factory workers went on strike in northern Mexico. The movement started in Heroica Matamoros, a town bordering Texas with 450,000 inhabitants. After the initial walkouts workers formed action committees to expand the strike to factories in other towns. The old trade unions, loyal to the system, tried to contain the strike movement and were supported by the threats of the company bosses: striking workers were beaten up by cops and union officials and close to 5,000 workers were fired. Despite this, bosses had to give in to the workers’ demands in 89 factories (or ‘Maquiladoras’, as they are often called locally). [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 101, winter 2018

Migration and national social democracy in Britain

In the first part of this article we look at the historical context of the current debate about migration and working class existence. In the second part we write about our experiences in warehouses and factories in west London and with the mainstream trade union wage management. Since 2012 we organise ourselves as the AngryWorkers collective in one of Europe’s biggest logistic and food processing zones. More than 90 per cent of our colleagues are migrant workers. They keep London running, providing food and personal services to the global financial and political centre, while at the same time being used as pawns in the political game. [more...]

translated from: wildcat.aktuelles, 29/09/2017

Many people from abroad have asked us to explain the outcome of the German election 2017. There was an important shift: In previous elections, were always left majorities« (at least if we briefly take the SPD and the Greens to be »left« parties) – this time the majority was clearly on the right. With all the uproar about this fact, perhaps something decisive is overlooked – as Georg Fülberth1 pointed out (junge Welt, 26.9.2017): »The market fundamentalist AfD – which in 2015 was taken over by [the much more rightwing leadership crew] Gauland, Höcke, Meuthen and Petry – is back, although under another name: FDP. By adding their votes – and those of the likeminded CDU/CSU voters – to those of the AfD, you can see a strengthened potential for economic and social right wing politics.«2

Something is seething in Germany

The »normalization« continues. For a long time the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany)was an anomaly in Europe: the only parliament without a radical right-wing party. But in the September election the AfD became the third strongest party (12.6 percent), the second strongest in the German East, and the strongest in Saxony (0.1 percent ahead of the CDU/CSU). For the first time since 1961 a nationalist-völkisch3 party is in the Bundestag – and will get a lot of money from the state: 16 million Euros a year for being in parliament plus a few million Euros for party funding; plus a part of the 450 million Euros that the state provides annually for the party-affiliated foundations in the Bundestag - donations will also rise... In addition there also are well-paid jobs outside of parliament, for example on administrative boards. [more...]

translated from: wildcat.aktuelles, 23/09/2017


Get rid of the working class to save the climate?

News just in: German car industry multinationals maintained secret arrangements for years to keep production costs low and profit high. We are utterly astonished!

The car industry has a long history of forced labour, ecological destruction, armaments production, co-operation with military dictatorships etc. Some of it is criminal even under the German Civil Code. VW do Brasil, for instance, collaborated with the police during the military dictatorship 1964-1985, informing on troublemaking workers. The Wolfsburg headquarters was well aware of those workers' subsequent arrest and torture. Daimler-Benz likewise collaborated with the military dictatorship in Argentina. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 100, summer 2016

More post-modernism than communism. Comments on »Communisation«

Gilles Dauvé: From Crisis to Communisation
expected in August 2016 | PM Press | approx. 192 Seiten | approx. 16 Euro

Time and time again over the last 20 years we have translated and published articles by Gilles Dauvé; you can find a selection further down. Maybe a discussion about ‘communisation’ and a new examination of those texts will develop in the wake of this book review.

In 2011 Karl Nesic and Gilles Dauvé wrote the text ‘Communisation’ after which they dissolved their joint project, Troploin. The reasons for this can be found in their text, ‘What Next?’ For Nesic, the crucial factor, amongst others, was the impasse within the communisation discussion. Dauvé continued alone and in 2015 republished ‘Eclipse and Re-Emergence of the Communist Movement’ for the third time within a narrow span of 45 years. His new book, ‘From Crisis to Communisation’ is an extended and over-worked reissue of the ‘Communisation’ text. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 100, summer 2016

Strike in the port of Koper

The Slovenian government is trying to contain increasing state debt – from 22 percent of the GDP in 2008 to 83 percent in 2015 – with privatisations. On the European level the rulers want to deregulate the ports with new law packages (Port Package). This means that the government and the EU attack the relative protected workers in the semi state-owned enterprises – one of these is the port of Koper, which is 67 percent state-owned. Container handling and profit have continuously increased in the last years, new piers were constructed, new cranes were bought, the basin was dredged; new railways and hinterland terminals are being planned. Since 2011 the port is the most important one for Austrian industry, its volume almost doubling from 2006 to 2014. Koper is the biggest port in the North Adriatic Ports Association (NAPA: Koper, Ravenna, Venetia, Triest, Rijeka). Already in 2011 the workers organized a wildcat strike and were able to win improvements (see Wildcat 94). In July 2016 they struck again to prevent the sellout of the port – and they won. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 99, winter 2016

Migration, refugees and labour

The 'summer of migration' has ended. While numerous initiatives still support the 'new citizens', through organising day-to-day support, festivals, language courses and much more, the political class wants to invert this dynamic: they try to erect new borders, enforce deterioration of social standards and to use the refugees to politically divide the working class – as a catalyst for a very far-reaching social re-formation.

Within the political left, views on this development can be divided roughly into two sorts: some conceptualise the impressive self-organisation of refugees and the tearing down of border fences as 'autonomy of migration'. Others see Merkel's policies from a solely functionalist perspective: migration is beneficial for capital's interest in cheap, qualified and motivated labour power and in additional contribution payers for the pension funds. [more...]

The Deep State: Germany, Immigration, and the National Socialist Underground

Nearly three years ago, in November 2011, news of a double suicide after a failed bank robbery developed into one of the biggest scandals in postwar German history. Even now, it remains unresolved. For thirteen years the two dead men, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, had lived underground, together with a woman, Beate Zschäpe. The three were part of the National-Sozialistischer Untergrund (NSU), a fascist terror organization which is supposed to have murdered nine migrant small entrepreneurs in various German towns and a female police officer, and to have been responsible for three bomb attacks and around fifteen bank hold-ups. Although the NSU did not issue a public declaration, the connection between the nine murders committed between 2000 and 2006 as obvious: the same weapon was used each time, a Ceska gun. [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no. 98, summer 2015

Global Working Class – Uprising or Class Struggle?

The concept of class has become popular again. After the most recent global economic crisis, even bourgeois newspapers started posing the question: “Wasn’t Marx right after all?” For the last two years Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ has been on the bestseller list – a book which describes in a detailed way how historically, the capitalist process of accumulation resulted in a concentration of wealth into the hands of a tiny minority of capital owners. In western democracies too, significant inequalities have led to an increase in fear of social uprisings. This spectre has haunted the world in recent years [more...]

translated from: Wildcat no.96, spring 2014

Profession and Movement

Three years ago a small scandal took place when the Greek group TGTP published in an open letter that the co-founder of Aufheben, John Drury, lead workshops for the police and military and is known as a “provider of ideas” in these circles. These workshops took part within the framework of his academic career researching Crowd Control, mass panics and rescue operations. Together with his closest colleagues Stott and Reicher he has developed the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM). The social psychologist Stott is renowned to be one of the globally leading experts for protests and violent uprisings. ESIM claims that a ‘mob’ acts according to certain patterns: people in a crowd have individual thoughts and emotions, so when the crowd is attacked indifferently by the police, people act in solidarity with each other and resist together. Therefore ESIM advices that the police should proceed in a multi-levelled approach and extract ‘individual perpetrators’ from the crowd. Using such kind of methods, Stott coordinated security preparations for the European football cup in Poland and Ukraine in 2012. (for more details see both open letters by TPTG) [more...]

Wildcat no. 95, Winter 2013/2014

Fascists in Greece: From the streets into parliament and back

Since the end of the military dictatorship the state has used fascist forces against demonstrations and protests. Since the crisis this collaboration has intensified, which resulted in Golden Dawn's ascent from a militant Nazi-squad to a parliamentary force. After the murder of the hip-hop artist and left-wing activist Pavlos Fyssas, the state curbed their influence again. [more...]

Wildcat no. 95, Winter 2013/2014

The strike at Neupack and the question of strike solidarity

The packaging manufacturer Neupack has two plants, one in Hamburg-Stellingen and one in Rotenburg/Wuemme. The company employs 200 people, out of which two thirds work in production, e.g. of yoghurt pots. The strike in 2013 was conducted under the slogan of 'Justice. Against the arbitrary rule at Neupack'. The goal of the works council and the trade union was a company-based collective agreement (Haustarifvertrag). This contract was supposed to guarantee 83 per cent of the wage stipulated in the sector-wide collective agreement* (Flaechentarifvertrag) and fix wage scales, in order to obtain a more transparent wage categorisation of the workers. The strike attracted wide public attention and a degree of external support - also from the radical left - which hasn't been seen in the Hamburg area in a long time. Nevertheless, this did not turn the strike into a 'victory'. [more...]

Wildcat no. 95, Winter 2013/2014

Dead End: About the Coup in Egypt

Go to the Afterword from February 2014

For two years, Tahrir Square was the symbol of a radical departure from social ossification and crisis. The military coup in the summer of 2013 ended this phase. The various illusions and hopes were buried with the hundreds that died. Essential parts of the liberal milieus have accepted state-led massacres and mass arrests in the name of 'defending democracy'. The hope of a state solution to social misery is also lost; the last heirs of Nasserism and trade union movement-hopefuls now sit at the military (side) table. Their vague promises of reform are drowned out by their appeals to peace, order and willingness to work.

In the acute social situation there is currently no room for participation. The movement will have to provide new questions about social revolution and organisation and will have to find new answers. To this end, migrants play an important role. [more...]

Wildcat no. 95, Winter 2013/2014

Automobiles: Struggles and Class Divisions

In the last auto-article we expressed the vague hope that the defensive struggles in Western Europe and the US would come together with the offensive ones in the East (and South). Although actions and strikes in and around car and supplier factories have increased around the globe, they haven’t, up until now, converged. Struggles are happening against the background of a polarisation of car companies into 'winners’ and ‘losers’, as well as internal divisions within companies. Exceptions were strikes that emerged in the South African auto industry and at Dacia in Romania. Fiat workers in Serbia at a new factory in Kragujevac were also able to push through a considerable wage increase very soon after the plant became operational. [more...]

Wildcat no. 94, Spring 2013 – original version

A glimpse of the society that ‘rapes’

The place where the woman and her male friend boarded the bus at around 9 p.m., a busy and crowded area, called Munirka, is (was till now) a site where a case like this was unheard of (unheard of is a case like this occurring in the public sphere of a market area during the busy hours of the city). Though women face lewd comments and men staring at them, these acts fall under the category of ‘normal’, a ‘normal’ understanding says that rapes in working class localities and slums are widespread, but not in a place like Munirka. [more...]

Translation of an article from Wildcat no. 94, Spring 2013


Thesis on 'new proletariat' and re-concentration

We have witnessed decades of growth in traffic and for at least two decades we have seen that this growth has deteriorated our working conditions - and rendered something like 'working class' more and more invisible. Now we hear of security guards on strike bringing airports to a standstill; in the US, Walmart workers are on strike and dockers are blockading ports on the West-Coast; even the accident of the Costa Concordia in 2012 exposed the 'mass work' in the bellies of the high-class liners - what's going on? A revival of the working class? Struggling proletarians everywhere? A historical turning point? [more...]

Translation of an article from Wildcat no. 94, Spring 2013

Slovenia: The end of transition

Wildcat strikes and protests in the EU-model state

Since the beginning of the global crisis the social situation has gotten worse in Eastern Europe. In many countries people are protesting against austerity and against the elites. The working class is fed up with waiting for a promised paradise brought about by transition, which has served as a continuous reason for constant new waves of pauperisation for the last two decades. Recently the government was overthrown in Bulgaria. In 2011 a paper already asked the question: »Is the Balkans a new Maghreb?« Slovenia with its two million inhabitants seemed to be an exception to angry workers' protests and street action. But now, it too has come to the former EU-model state. Like in Egypt and Tunisia, a wave of workers struggles paved the way for the revolt on the streets. It marks the final failure of »transition«. [more...]

Translation of an article from Wildcat Zirkular no. 24, February 1996

Is Capitalism a Market Society?

It is a common view nowadays that acts of exchange and their logic are at the centre of capitalist society and that many social processes can be explained on the basis of exchange relations. From this viewpoint the current strategies of ‘privatisation’ and ‘neoliberalism’ become more plausible—both for followers and critics of these strategies. This notion has little to do with the reality of global accumulation of capital, but it is socially confirmed in our daily atomisation, which itself is only the flipside of a lack of open struggles and new collective relationships emerging from within them. To the isolated individual, social processes actually appear to be exchange transactions, or more precisely, it rationalises the experience of powerlessness, because the essence of exchange is just the assumption of the independence and autonomy of individualised subjects. By perceiving social relations as acts of exchange—social relations, which are essentially based on organised and institutionalised violence, exploitation and oppression—the idea of ‘freedom’ and ‘autonomy’ of the individual or certain social groups is rescued. For the individual the perception of social relations as being based on exchange is more than mere imagination. It is a very real experience, given that daily reproduction is mediated by markets and acts of exchange. This form of mediation seems to confirm our individual freedom—and in a certain way actually does confirm it (see below: ‘The Political Ambivalence of the Market’). [more...]

advance publication of Wildcat no. 93, Summer 2012

Book review

David Graeber: The First 5,000 Years*


This book by an anarchist anthropologist was covered excitedly by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and plugged several times by Financial Times US editor (and ex-anthropologist) Gillian Tett, along with more conventional praise in the culture sections of what pass for serious bourgeois newspapers. Why this should be so is a question worth asking, because Graeber conscientiously avoids the usual shortcuts to liberal embrace of leftist polemics: the book is neither a catalogue of underanalysed moral outrages nor a scholarly survey keeping tactful silence on present-day social antagonism. Not only is Graeber's formidable scholarship free of the positivistic manner that cripples peer-reviewed Human Sciences, his writing bristles with hostility to capitalism, or at least to the social order around him as he sees it, which may not be quite the same thing. [more...]

Wildcat 90, Summer 2011, [e_w90_german_model.htm]

The German Model (excerpt from article in Wildcat no.90)

Between the first 'oil crisis' and the second a combination of neo-mercantilism, strong currency and further segmentation of the working class developed in Germany, promoted by chancellor Schmidt's SPD (Social-Democratic) government as 'the German Model'. The Bundesbank reacted to the strong wage increases of the early 1970s with measures intended to slow economic growth. These measures focused one-sidedly on price stability and slowing down internal demand. The trade unions supported this export-oriented policy of increased productivity and 'modest wage rises'. Thus unit labour costs remained stable.

In social terms this 'German Model' worked by giving security to the core workforce while lowering the standards of the rest. From the Kohl government of the 1980s to the Green Party-SPD coalition of the 1990s this tendency became ever more pronounced: legal changes allowed the expansion of temporary work, companies were taxed less heavily, state spending and welfare services were reduced. During the current crisis the Merkel government and employers have driven this policy further. [more...]

Wildcat no.91, Autumn 2011, [e_w91_nardo.html]

Tomato Harvest in Nardo, Apulia – The First Self-Organised Strike of the Day Labourers

Devi Sacchetto, Mimmo Perrotta

When, in the early dawn of the 30th of July 2011, a group of about 40 African migrants refused to continue harvesting tomatoes on the fields of Nardo (Lecce), nobody would have thought that this would be the beginning of the first self-organised strike of migrant day labourers for better working conditions in Italian agriculture. The group of day labourers refused the demand of the 'caporale' 1 to perform an additional task: to separate the green tomatoes from the valuable red gold, for an average wage of 3.50 Euro per container of 300 kg. The caporale, who had hired the workers, hoped that the workers' concern for their income would make them more cautious, if not submissive – given that the economic crisis has also entered the sphere of agriculture. But he was wrong. The day labourers returned to Masseria Boncuri and erected a street blockade together with some friends, totalling around 60 people. For two years the association Finis Terrae and the Active Solidarity Brigades have organised a tent city on this former farm which accommodates the seasonal agricultural labourers. The day labourers initially arrived hereto harvest watermelons, but they were disappointed that due to low market prices the companies refused to harvest the fruit. They hoped that with the onset of the tomato harvest they would find some days of paid work but they did not accept piece-wages that had dropped to below that of the previous year. This is how the strike started, which was to last for about two weeks and in which, at least during the first days, all migrants from Masseria took part, which was around 350 people. A strike, the impact of which, was to be felt several weeks after it had finished. [more...]

Wildcat no. 90, Summer 2011

Who Owns the Land? –
Peasant Struggles in Indonesia

In December 2008 about 500 cops and hired thugs attacked the Suluk Bongkal, a hamlet in the province of Riau, and drove away its inhabitants. Two military helicopters bombed the hamlet with napalm to burn down the 700 huts. Two children were killed, 200 people were arrested, the other people were able to escape. The Sinar Mas Cooperation had ordered this attack.

In Indonesia only a small share of the land has an ownership title attached to it – on the main island Java it is about a third of the total land, on the smaller islands it is even less. There are hundreds, if not thousands of disputes, but not many of them become public.. People get killed (in the first half of 2011 there were at least seven victims) or injured. There are numerous arrests. But all of these struggles remain confined to a local level and there are hardly any direct links between them. [more...]


Self-deregulation and asset reallocation in the UK, August 2011

Since June 30, when a one-day strike caused mild additional disruption to parts of Britain’s Public-Private administrative mash-up, trade unions have anxiously debated whether to risk another partial shutdown of disciplinary machinery in schools and dole offices. But on Monday August 8 their agonizing was made redundant (so to speak): a notice on the wall of Brixton JobCentrePlus announced that the interrogation rooms were ‘closed due to unforeseen circumstances’ and all benefits would be paid in full.

On Tuesday August 9, hundreds of grinning young professionals (henceforth HNWI: High Net Worthlessness Individuals) appeared on the streets of Clapham Junction with brooms and rubber gloves to photograph themselves mimicking the clean-up of cleaned-out chain stores accomplished earlier that morning by outsourced municipal workers. One HNWI got herself into the national press by wearing a t-shirt bearing the hand-scrawled legend: LOOTERS ARE SCUM. Some of her fellow class clowns differed slightly on terminology, opting instead for the word TERRORISTS.

While anyone who lives in a riot zone and takes class contradictions seriously might hesitate to say what‘s happening, HNWIs of all kinds (thank you, ’user-generated media‘) are shrieking uninhibitedly for class war.


Wildcat 90, Summer 2011

Theses on the crisis

On the road to nowhere

1) Polarisation and divisions

In all the crises of capitalism the balance of power initially shifted against the working class. During this crisis, too worse conditions have been enforced: work has been intensified, real wages have declined, and social welfare has been cut. We are witnessing the biggest redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top in human history. This redistribution does not only result in a harsh polarisation between the 'super rich' and the 'poor', the policy of crisis also deepens the differences within the class and intensifies individualisation. [more...]

Wildcat 90, Summer 2011

Movement in Spain – .... and all of a sudden everything became real

The riots in the French banlieues and the heavy clashes in Athens at the end of 2008 were said to be related to high levels of youth unemployment. In Spain this rate of youth unemployment has approached the 50 per cent mark – so when would the youth in Spain finally breach the social peace? Though the youth in Spain took part in the protests against the Iraq war in spring 2003 – and for the first time they put up tents in public squares, which was taken up again and expanded by the student movement against the Bologna reforms in 2008/2009 – it was puzzling that in general the younger generations in Spain have remained rather passive for a long time, despite the fact that since the crisis has taken off, their future prospects have deteriorated daily. Now they have finally entered the political stage in the form of a broad protest movement. [more...]

Wildcat 89, Spring 2011

Flight from the land and food riots

During break-time conversations at lefty conferences everyone talks enthusiastically about their allotments and their self-grown veggies. More people of the left scene attend workshops on tomato cultivation than day schools on the global crisis. On the German magazine market 'LandLust' is the current shooting star, their print run registers double-digit annual growth figures. The magazine expresses the desire of the urban population for the conventional, the simple and healthy life.

All this has little to do with 'agriculture'. Agriculture still means hard physical labour and a modest income, last but not least in the organic farming sector. Globally people try to escape from this type of labour in order to make a living in an easier way. These people are in high demand at the global assembly lines because they are used to heavy work, which has to be done because otherwise the livestock would starve or the crop would wither away. [more...]

Advance publication from Wildcat 90 - to be released at the end of June!

In Our Hands is Placed a Power:

A Worldwide Strike Wave, Austerity and the Political Crisis of Global Governance

by Steven Colatrella

Austerity and Global Governance

Austerity has taken on the characteristics of a global political regime. Worldwide, governments have imposed austerity in the form of cuts in programs benefiting working people, lower wages and large scale public layoffs of workers and legislation limiting or weakening organized labor. These austerity programs have had strikingly common characteristics in a wide variety of countries, and governments have typically imposed them at the initiative of global governance organizations, such as the IMF, EU, G20 and WTO. As a common agreement among government leaders, as a program openly in the interests of a narrow sector of society, namely of capitalists in general and more precisely of global finance capital, austerity may in that sense be understood as a regime, as an international order enforced by the collective action of states. Yet this degree of commonality of program and of class interests across governments ranging from Europe to the Middle East, from Asia to America and Africa, bespeaks the importance of Global Governance as a project of unification of the ruling class globally. [more...]

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