TSS PLATFORM – 2 YEARS IN, WHERE ARE WE AND WHERE ARE WE GOING
On November 10th-12th 2017, the Transnational Social Strike Platform (TSS) that involvs radical unions, workers and social movement collective’s, migrants and activists will meet in Berlin to further develop the TSS as a political infrastructure. From Poznan to Paris, London to Ljubljana – we have had to face up to the difficult task of initiating a process of communication amongst migrants, precarious and industrial workers, from diverse sectors from care and health work to the gig-economy and logistics, to the experiences of migrants that have struck the borders of Europe in their millions.
The TSS Platform emerged from the intersecting of experiences from across Europe, experiences that spoke of limits and constraints, the limits of intense days of action, the limits of national bargaining and the limits of the institutions both of political and worker representation. We begun with a first meeting in Poznan, Poland, to question the usual geographies of transnational political action and to point to a new configuration of European political space.
This condition become reflective of localised histories, one not only has a relation to its local context, but increasingly has at its core a transnational process stripped of any local character. To organise transnationally is not to take the development of struggles from local to global as a sequential step, but a realisation in the first instance that these processes are the result of transnational movements of social domination that can only be resisted through a transnational movement of insubordination. Our local, national and transnational contexts are networks of the same interconnected system that manages migration, that manages global chains of exploitation and wage disparities in relation to one and another.
The transnational social strike is for us the process of insubordination of exploited subjects, which overcomes organized structures and national borders and which is now confronting a new phase of capitalistic domination. The strikes against the border regime of Europe by millions of migrants, the women’s strikes against Trump in the US and against the draconian abortion laws in Poland and Ireland, the global women’s strike on March 8th and the self-organised resistance against new forms of socially enabled digital platforms in the gig economy have clearly shown that these are not merely local or national experiences to be dealt with in local or national confines, but that each local specificity is being actualised within general transnational process. Our aim, as TSS platform, is to create the conditions for amplifying and multiplying all these struggles by highlighting, emphasizing and fostering their transnational connection.
STRUGGLES AGAINST THE LOGISTICS OF EXPLOITATION
The new frontier of disruptive start-ups and the spread of platform capitalism relies mainly on the rapid digitalization of society and production, this has been one of the most important issue discussed during the German electoral campaign of this year. Automation, Algorithmic profiling, networked services, data mining and Artificial Intelligence are not producing any liberation from exploitation processes.
At the same time, digitalization emerges as the basis of the logistical re-organization of new labour relations, in which a massive use of machine intelligence makes it possible to extend control over workers alongside a revival of old exploitation mechanisms, such as the extension of the working time, piece work and the increasing role import of low-cost migrant labour force from Europe and beyond.
Despite the blackmail exercised within the transnational exploitation chains, labour force finds ways to organize themselves and also across borders. Amazon workers appealed to their German, Polish and French colleagues to “work less quickly to be safer”, following this call, Amazon’s management was forced to respond to the claims, while riders of Deliveroo, Foodora and Uber Eats organized strike actions in Great Britain, Italy, Germany and France, and aside also, the management of the platforms of the “Food Tech” was obliged to respond to the demands, as well as the courts.
GERMANY: UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT MOMENT
The G20 protests in Hamburg have marked a new link in the “factory of repression”, a tendency that extracts wealth and manages the flows of commodities through a repressive strategy, from the Libyan detention camps to the German prison system. In addition, one must remark that the increase in repressive measures is coupled with a tougher command on labor, through the use of methods to discipline and govern the workforce, such as welfare restrictions and administrative sanctions. The access to the welfare system is increasingly accompanied by work measures imposed through blackmailing, the acceptance of worsening labour conditions and the contextual transformation of social security benefits into private debt, extending measures often already experienced by migrant workers. We think that we must look at these tendencies not as purely national elements, but as a newly articulated model of exploitation that, as has already happened with the Agenda 2010 during the 2000s, can be extended to other European countries. To this regard, the loi travail in France represents a relevant example.
In the last years Germany has been described – by governments but also by social movements – as the leading force in Europe because of its economic and political stability. However, the spread between riches and poors and the social inequalities are constantly increasing in the country, through the avanguardistic work of precarization, flexibility and the dogma of high labor productivity that the country has begun back in the nineties and that is progressively investing the whole continent. The reception system for migrants and asylum seekers entails institutional racism and intensifies exploitation of migrant labor, supported by the pressure made by the rise of new far right political groups that in the last elections gained a wide access to the German parliament. Moreover the governmental check on debts means privatization and dismantlement of welfare systems. To meet in Germany means therefore to launch the challenge of the transnational social strike in one of the crucial political hubs of the contemporary logistics of exploitation.
WHY COME TO BERLIN?
The meeting in Berlin will be the occasion to deal with all these crucial issues, promoting meetings between the workers of transnational companies which will participate, in order to find commonality in their experiences, strike practices and claims on a transnational level.
The meeting will be organized in the form of workshops, assemblies, and plenary sessions. It will start on Friday 10th and end on Sunday 12th November. The detailed program, workshops descriptions and the registration form, with information for travelling to and from Berlin and for finding accommodation will be published in the next days.
Workers, activists, unionists, we invite you to join us to exchange, discuss and organize!