Does Europe need a general strike?
Yes. European citizens need a general strike. We need to interrupt Europe’s economy for at least one day. We need to show we won’t tolerate any longer the financial terrorism and social blackmail that, banks, corporations and their puppet governments are extorting us with.
Now, do we need the European general strike of November 14th?
Again, yes. The European citizens need to demonstrate to ourselves that can organise beyond borders. We need to start believing that what unite us is stronger than the differences and barriers that capital-enslaved states have raised among us. We need to show ourselves our strengths and solidarity. More than ever, we need to stay together for the first time in history.
Another question would be whether this European general strike will have any effect on the devastating financial and social policies imposed on us. In other words, on the N14, will we achieve our main target? Will we manage to shift even a bit the winds of misery blowing across Europe?
I hope to be very wrong, but I don’t think we will. I don’t think any single of the factual powers will do more than raising an eyebrow before turning their head down on their agendas again.
Taking a quite loose look on history, back at the French Revolution, a main element of its success was the ability of farmers to interrupt the French economy. At a time when the main source of richness was still the land, farmers rejected to pay their taxes, took over the food stocks and kicked aristocrats out of their lands, putting the whole system on check. They took control over the core of the economy and achieved unprecedented social and political changes. Likewise, during the revolutionary outbreaks in the mid of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th, when general strikes became a common and powerful tool for struggle, one of the main pilars of workers success was, again, their ability to stall the economy. By then, economy was no longer based on land, but on industrial production and commerce. So, by taking over the factories, stopping the production and blockading the main distribution centers, such as harbors and railway nodes, they, once again, took control over the economy and managed to push their demands and ideas forward in the political agendas. Nowadays, land, production and commerce are far from the core of economy. Taking over the food, refusing to work during eight hours and blockading some avenues in main European cities won’t stop the economy, won’t give the citizens control over the financial system, the true core of today’s economy.
In my view, on the N14 there won’t be a general strike. It may turn our as a huge and historic display of solidarity and discontent; but it won’t be a tool for struggle, just a big complain. It won’t be a general strike because it won’t be general. TV’s stations will keep running, electricity will be feeding our appliances, stock markets will keep speculating, politicians will remain in their offices. It won’t be a general strike because it will strike no one. The only noticeable blows will be those of police battons on citizens’ bodies and the few euros missing from the payrolls -for those lucky enough to have a payroll. On N14, economy will keep running undisturbed. Who gives a fuck if Starbucks sell a hundred coffees more or less that day while its stock market value keeps raising?
When the meaning of general strike shifts from a mean to interrupt the economy to a big day for complaining, we will achieve nothing beyond the self-satisfaction of organising a big street party. This whole new meaning of general strike, gets even more futile the moment we realise that we are just complaining, asking for changes, to instituions and authorities that most of us, for a start, don’t even consider legitimate decision makers. The power of a true general strike lays on its ability to interrupt, stall and take temporary control over the whole economy. How to do that here and now? Well, that is the next big question and I don’t have any easy answer. Nowadays, the gears of economy are far away from our hands. It’s not anymore the land. It’s not anymore the production. It’s not anymore in the material world. It’s in the abstract con-fusion of electronic money and speculators confidence. In general, there is where we need to strike. So, if we want to make a difference, if we want to inspire ripples of resistance that will resonate all over Europe, we better stop wasting energy on just complaining and start focusing on devising new, radical and creative means of struggle. Let’s not repeat history. Let’s create it.