Taking French lessons

Katrina Haynes reports on the Weekly Worker fighting fund

A wave of protests involving 40,000 peo­ple swept 200 towns and cities in Germany last week as the government announced the highest unemployment rate since the war (ie, 14% or 4.8 million).

These actions follow the inspiring exam­ple of the unemployed of France who started the ball rolling in December with militant protests which have clearly wor­ried the Jospin government.

While the actions of unemployed work­ers in both France and Germany have been backed by the ‘official’ organisations of the workers - the trade unions and left parties - they originated as spontaneous defensive actions. In both countries, the unemployed are in action to defend their living stand­ards against attack.

In Britain, the jobless have been system­atically attacked by successive govern­ments and shamefully deserted by the ‘official’ workers’ movement. More and more people are being forced off the unem­ployed lists and into crap jobs.

We should take inspiration from the spontaneous fight of the German and French workers. We should spread this ‘continental disease’ of militancy. Essen­tial however is a programme which moves beyond simply defensive actions and which can start to integrate the fight into a challenge to capitalist society as a whole.

This is the raison d’être of the Commu­nist Party. That is why, where others have talked about the organisation of the unem­ployed, we have actually undertaken the active fight for it - both in mass movement form in the 1920s and 1930s and through the Unemployed Workers Charter.

We know that our class in Britain will also produce its inspiring mass action and move­ment. To ensure this elemental energy is not dissipated in purely defensive action and ultimately squandered, we need to build a proletarian combat organisation. All comrades and partisans of the working class - unemployed and in work - should support this fight. An essential element of this support is financial backing. Rush us your donations now to help build the re­sistance.

Thanks for last week go to PO (Edin­burgh) who donated £20, LK from Peter­borough who gave £25, NT (Glasgow) who raised £40 through street collections, and CG from London who sent us £10. We are well on the way to meet our £500 fund tar­get for February - we’ve already raised £235. Keep it coming, comrades!

Katrina Haynes