West Virginia, the class struggle and the fight against Internet censorship
12 March 2018
The growing wave of working-class unrest in the United States and internationally is exposing and clarifying basic political questions. Among them is the central purpose of the campaign by the tech giants, the US government and the mass media to censor the Internet, under the fraudulent pretense of combatting “fake news” and “Russian meddling.” The real target is the suppression of social opposition.
This week is opening with an expanding number of working-class struggles. Although the unions managed to sell out and end the nine-day strike of 30,000 West Virginia teachers and school employees last week, the rebellion of educators across the US is spreading. Teachers in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona—organizing chiefly through Facebook groups that have added tens of thousands of users in the last few weeks—are pressing for West Virginia-like strikes to demand higher pay and secure pensions.
This is part of a broader movement of the working class, including a strike by 1,400 Frontier telecommunications workers in West Virginia and Virginia, and a strike mandate vote by 18,000 registered nurses at hospital giant Kaiser Permanente in California. Although the contract for a quarter of a million United Parcel Service workers does not expire until midsummer, thousands of workers are using social media to press for strike action.
In the United Kingdom, more than 40,000 lecturers are in the fourth week of strikes at 65 universities across the country. In Denmark, the right-wing government has responded to a threat by 80,000 public sector workers to strike on April 4 by announcing that it will lock out all 400,000 state employees in what the Danish media says would be the “worst…