Over 70,000 Maquilador (Sweatshops located on the US-Mexico Border) workers have been on strike for weeks in Matamoros, Mexico - just south of Brownsville Texas. They were marching with signs saying “Sindicato y empresas matan a la clase obrera” (Unions and companies kill the working class ), chanting “unity, unity,” “walk out! walk out!,” “the workers united will never be defeated” and “strike!”. The numbers have been growing as the strike continues. The workers have set up a Facebook page to spread the news and agitation of and for the strike. Throughout the page, the posts are calling out both the companies, and the unions. Around 50 factories have been forced to STOP production – though this is likely to change depending if the unions and bosses are successful at suppressing the strike.
Imperialist bourgeois media has had a blackout for the majority of the strike. When they did finally mention it, they downplayed the numbers and ignored the struggle the workers are waging with the union (Union of Laborers and Industrial Workers of the Maquiladora Industry- SJOIIM) which is the tool of the capitalists to repress and disorganize labor. As a matter of fact, all the capitalist press erases the workers struggles with the union and recognizes the union as the voice of the workers.
The censorship of this MASSIVE industrial action by workers which has already been affecting US auto production (the sweatshops assemble auto parts for the American auto industry among other goods), comes from the hatred and fear that international capital has of the power of working class unity and proletarian internationalism. Instead, the capitalist classes on both sides of the border hit us with their toxic chauvinist nationalism as they rally workers to beg for crumbs at the table.
Workers as a Unified Power
Many of these workers understand their class interests as workers and have consistently been calling themselves the “working class”. They have been using the Facebook page to give each other warnings and advice, speak on coming actions, and thank local people that have been bringing them food and supplies to carry on. This shows a level of organization that exists among them needed to wage the strike. Strikes are no joke. They are a historical tool of working class power. This is why when unions make no strike deals with the bosses, they objectively disarm the workers they allegedly “represent”.
The working class has the potential to stop the economy in its tracks, it can struggle against its arch nemesis (capital) and bring its alternative to society. This isn’t exactly great news for the capitalists, so they do EVERYTHING in their power to prevent working class organizations armed with their historical knowledge and theory from forming. This is why their media outlets take the unions as the voice of the workers. This is also why they sell us nationalism and identity politics. Nationalism and Identity politics are ideological tendencies of capitalism that blur the class divisions of capitalist society. They attempt to displace the antagonism of labor vs capital to make “race”, gender, sexuality, etc – the focal point of struggle. This is a completely metaphysical and bullshit approach which unites FUNDAMENTAL class enemies (Workers vs Capitalists) and channels workers into obedience, voting drives for one or the other capitalist political parties, and reproduces false divisions within the working class - keeping us from organizing our power.
Their Class Demands Strike at the Very Heart of Capital Accumulation
The workers are demanding a 20 percent wage increase, a bonus, a decrease in their union dues and a return to a 40 hour work week. All these demands are in the interests of the international working class as a whole. The fight for a higher wage is the crux of working class struggle. The wage question alone exposes the antagonistic relationship between the working class labor that produces everything humanity uses and the parasitic capitalist class that exploits that labor. The wage given to a worker can never equal the value of the labor power the worker provides to produce goods (and add new value to the economy). This is why Capitalists will always resist wage increases.
Power in our Unity - The Working Class is International
The strike not only shows us the power of a unified working class, but it also exposes the unity of different fractions of the bourgeoisie against the working class in Mexico and the US (even during their government shutdown when this strike began). It also exposes the opportunism of the capitalist politicians (the mayor siding with the companies), and the anti-working class nature of the yellow unions such as the (SJOIIM) whose professional bureaucrats have been hiding from the workers in other factories demanding to go on strike.
As the international capitalist crisis continues and deepens, the only viable solution for us is the unity of the working class across all “races”, ethnicities, sexes and borders. WE MUST organize ourselves based on our class interests that have no borders.. If you agree we need to build an autonomous working class movement based on our class interests against capital. If you agree we need to fight for a world free of this antagonistic and parasitic class relation, contact us! Let’s move forward together! Let’s build the workers alternative!