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The power of workers

This article is over 8 years, 6 months old
Issue 2360

In Egypt, Brazil and Turkey people have taken to the streets in their thousands and their millions to demand social justice.

These protests can pull in everyone from the poorest to the relatively well off. Media pundits emphasise the role of a young, technology-savvy middle class.

But there is more to social movements than meets the eye.

Societies are divided by class, between the workers who generate wealth and the bosses who exploit them. Struggle between these classes drives social change.

When Egypt’s revolution began in 2011 the focus was on demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

But there were also walkouts and workplace sit-ins—on the buses, on the docks, in the hospitals and in the enormous textile factories.

Two days of general strikes dealt the killer blow to Mubarak’s regime. And workplace struggles have been at the centre of the revolutionary process ever since.

Workers keep the wheels turning in society, and they have a unique power to shut them down.

This is why Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists are calling for strikes again. It’s why socialists in Brazil have thrown themselves into building for next week’s general strike.

And it’s why the misery the Tories are inflicting here isn’t inevitable—if workers fight back.

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