Internet Statement 2010-25


Worker’s Struggle in China for Higher Wages and Better Working Conditions Must Be Broadly Supported

June 17, 2010     

During the last days it came to attention also here that in the last weeks the workers in China increased their efforts to fight for an improvement of wages, which are many times to low, or rather, absolute mini wages, as well as they fought for an improvement of their unbelievable lousy working conditions, and they have already achieved some successes in part. This is quite excellent and we should massively support that from here.

China is the so-called Workbench No.1 in the world. Every day millions of male and female workers, producing for example far more than 80 percent (electronic-, textile-, toys industry) of the whole world’s needs, are slaving away there. There is an absolute contradiction between this gigantic performance for the world and the wages they receive. The capitalist’s world-wide system of exploitation is to blame as well as, of course, the system of new exploiters which developed again since the overthrow of socialism managed by Deng Xiaoping and others after Mao Zedong’s death. Since then the Chinese clique of revisionists has introduced capitalism again which is characterised by an enormous exploitation of masses of workers especially coming from rural areas, and this capitalism unfolded explosively. The super profits of the international capitalists e.g. of different monopoly capitalists, for example some in our land, have also increased explosively.

The German cars manufacturing company Volkswagen has ten factories running only in China where it manages the production of certain car models and of parts. In our country there is (still) the native plant in Wolfsburg (Lower Saxony) and four others. But if you compare how much wage is paid there, it is an inverse relation. The often disregarded minimum wage in China is regionally different and it is about 100 Euros per month. It is not even tenth of what is paid here but rather one-twentieth or even less what Chinese workers earn who have manufactured these cars, electronic equipment, toys etc. or parts of them which are assembled here!
Anyway it is already clear that these relationships are not made for eternity. And now it has come to a point when also the colleagues in China are increasingly fed up with their conditions which do not allow them to eke out their existence, not to talk about conditions which are slightly in accordance with their daily burden of work or with the every day growing abilities and requirements (that should not be forgotten).

This fight of the Chinese colleagues for basic worthy working conditions and wages should be massively backed by the colleagues in our country, and not only by those of Volkswagen but of course also by those of the many other branches like electronic branch, energy branches, and not to forget steel branch – all what has fled from here and was shifted to China – as well as by all of the other colleagues!

For a long time, the capitalists have concentrated their efforts especially on China and have shifted production facilities to there or developed new ones in order to grant their profits and to multiply them, in the same time they razed productive facilities in our country in order to relieve themselves from the masses’ pressure. It is excellent that now in China , if you want to say so, it crushes and jumps on them like a genie from the bottle.

It is up to the Colleagues here in this country and also the trade unions and their representatives, as they have most of the organised structures in their hands, and of course to all left and progressive forces, to organise support for the Chinese colleagues.

Of Course there have always been strikes in the past, also in other parts of Asia or elsewhere in the world. This has never gone so far to move the organised representatives in European countries to organise support on a greater level, as it actually had been possible for them, although it occurred often within the same Company. This must finally change now. The reason for that is more than given!

Since revisionist forces like Deng Xiaoping and his successors have established their rule after Mao Zedong’s death, a capitalist rule has developed in China which in the mean time had an impact on the circumstances in the whole world, one can hardly estimate its vastness. Of course the monopoly capitalists of other countries, especially from the USA, having raked in huge profits from there, are very concerned about what is coming up there. Above all an ever increasing competition has emerged between the monopoly capitalists in the USA and China and the former ones have tried already quite often to unfold subversion in order to promote separatism and divide the country as they wish, but up to now they did not have quite a chance. So certainly they will try to use this channel to enforce their influence within China and to put pressure on the ruling clique. Nevertheless, also in this respect their chances are slim, at least still in the moment.

The international capitalists just have tried to use that in order to split the worker’s movement in the former so-called highly developed countries and to suppress them, especially since the seventies, by launching a propaganda against growth –keyword “Club of Rome” – a propaganda against the further development of industry and, above all, against the form of energy generation which is by far the most effective and economical one: nuclear energy. They did this in order to use it as a general pretext for the reduction [of industry] here. This has never prevented neither themselves, nor the Russian or also the Chinese and other revisionists to develop and to use these forms massively. The Chinese as well as the soviet revisionists have their inglorious share in this split. (See also the respective writings of the GNE [Group New Unity]).

As a result of this policy of imperialism, millions of workers in these once high-developed industrial nations have been tossed into permanent redundancy, and this has reached a high level now, on the one hand bearing the impoverishment of great parts of these workers, but above all a massive decrease of their particular ability to commit themselves to social progress and to the further development of society. Nothing has weakened the workers’ movement in the developed countries that much as this so-called anti-growth movement of the seventies and the following decades. In the mean time, in many of these countries there is only a rest of the working class remaining, an every day decreasing part of it even being able to bring pressure on the capitalists an their system of exploitation.

In countries like China it is just the opposite way. In the last decades the working class has developed enormously there. Millions of people were torn into industrial production and there they have learnt new things and developed new capabilities. And their absolutely justified demands for prosperity and for the use of the whole new possibilities also have multiplied.

A kind of a, so to speak, mirror-related condition has emerged. In the once high-developed countries there is a decrease of population, social an economical upheaval and destruction, stagnation, and partly an impoverishment that is bordering on depravity. In countries like China a boom-like and explosion-like development also of class-struggle is breaking through. What must be established is a connection between these different segments in order to stand up to the international exploiters as well as to the domestic ones. This chance seems to develop more and more.

For example, there is also a mutual connection between the Chinese and the German development. This has already emerged in the sixties, when in China there was increasing a massive criticism of the revisionists’ attempts and their aims for an overthrow. (Key word: “Cultural Revolution”) In Germany there was an also very critical and revolutionary movement spreading among the masses of youth. This had an enormous impact then, and it caused considerable alarm among the ruling class in the own country as well as internationally. And so they thought for measures to thwart such a connection by all means.

Now, very recently, the propagandists of bourgeois interest to exploit are speaking about the “Limits of Growth” also in China, and it is actually very clear from where this theory now again gets its impetus. Where productive forces are unfolding mass-movement is unfolding, too. This is the truth which shows once again at present. And of course all the reactionary anti-growth prophets are already in their posts, supposedly soon also including the Chinese ruling clique itself which of course will also try to misdirect domestic resistance. Burt at present it seems more likely that they are forced to make concessions, a certain appeasement, because in the same time they must keep an eye on the attempts at division by their international capitalist rivals.

The possibilities of the capitalists, once more to shift the productive facilities to elsewhere, eventually to India as it is recently said, are not unrestricted. At least their permanent evasive manoeuvres from one country to the other, from one region in the world to another one, will not be so much useful for them because at every place where they have been they leave behind their marks in the minds of the masses, marks of experience, marks of new insights, marks of ability to cope with capitalist exploiters. That is objectively their bad luck.

But we should use this chance and develop the connection between us and the colleagues in China and also towards other parts of the world by giving our all, systematically and regardless of the petty-bourgeois, selfish and short-sighted objections from the side of revisionist and other partisans of bourgeoisie.

M. W.
Gruppe Neue Einheit (Group New Unity)

[translation from the German original]