Knuckledusters as an Instrument of “Social Dialogue” in Contemporary Russia
Who Is Bothered by Alexei Etmanov?
Reprisals against union leaders have, unfortunately, ceased to be merely a part of the ancient history of the trade union movement. They have more and more often become a reality of labor relations in today’s Russia.
On the night of November 8, when Alexei Etmanov, chair of the union committee at Ford-Vsevolozhsk and co-chair of the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), returned home after his shift, he was attacked by three armed bandits. It is clear that the people who sent them wanted to ensure numerical superiority. Here, however, their calculations ran afoul: Alexei managed to force his attackers, who were armed with knuckledusters, to retreat in shame.
However, in order to dispel any doubts as to the motives for the attack, the “organizers” of this piece of brigandage telephoned another union leader at Ford, Vladimir Lesnik, and threatened reprisals if the Ford unionists “didn’t stop getting in [their] way.”
Over the past two years such attacks have happened more than once: labor activists have been savagely beaten in Kaliningrad, Togliatti, and Taganrog. Each time the targets were union activists who challenged the complete sway of their employers and thus all employers who recognize no one’s rights other than their own sovereign right to dictate the work conditions and the lives of “their” workers. Continue reading
The Fight Is Effective When the Fighters Know How to Defend Themselves
On the night of November 8, Alexei Etmanov, the chair of the trade union committee at the Ford-Vsevolozhsk plant, returned home from the second shift. He parked his car in a lot and headed for his house. On Heroes Street three men jumped in his path and without uttering a word attacked Alexei. They were armed with knuckledusters.
During the tussle, Alexei managed to pull a stun weapon from his pocket and get off a shot. The cloak-and-dagger types beat a hot retreat.
Etmanov told a police investigator that in his opinion the assailants were ordinary “yobs.” However, he turned out to be wrong.
The following day, Etmanov’s deputy, Vladimir Lesik got a call on his mobile phone. The caller warned him that the nighttime incident had nothing to do with robbery or mugging.
“You got a mild chewing-out. But if you keep getting in our way, you’ll part with your life,” the anonymous caller declared.
The combative trade union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk gets in a lot of people’s way—both employers and dealers. And, by establishing the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), the young workers of Vsevolozhsk have also gotten in the way of employers in Taganrog and Togliatti, as well as those trade union organizations that the authorities use like an “engine whistle” to let off the steam of popular rage.
It is a matter for the police to find out which of these forces attacked a labor leader with knuckledusters.
For our part, we would like to remind our sons of Lenin’s statement that a revolution is worth its salt only when it knows how to defend itself.
Trade union activists are in the process of preparing an appeal to the police to open a criminal investigation. Continue reading
Rezistenţa Populară (Moldova)
Rezistenţa Populară/Народное сопротивление (People’s Resistance; henceforth, RP) is a Marxist political movement that conducts popular protest actions and works to help the working class achieve self-identity and unity. The RP is convinced that the world of private entrepreneurs, thieving speculators, private banks, chronic unemployment, and armies of poor people—a world where the rich gradually grow richer while absolutely all other strata of the populace grow poor—is unjust and should be destroyed. It should be replaced by a world of social guarantees, a world without private ownership of the means of production and the exploitation of men by other men; a world where all the mean of production will belong to the whole society and will be used for its benefit, not merely for the enrichment of the minority constituted by the powers that be and the major private capitalists and owners.
In our struggle with capital we are creating a revolutionary working-class party. We take our ideas to the masses by appealing directly to work collectives and all those citizens who do not wish to merely look on as they are constantly robbed and repressed by the current ruling clique. In its actions, the RP exposes the thieving essence of the neoliberal reforms now being carried out in Moldova by the ruling party. As strange as it may seem, this party is the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM). However, the goal of the RP is not the gradual but pitiful improvement of workers’ lives or the constant struggle against discrete manifestations of developed capitalism’s negative tendencies, but the complete removal of the capitalist system as the underlying cause of all these phenomena. Continue reading