The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.62/No.20           May 25, 1998 
Danish Strike: First Blow To Euro  
As the European Union formally approved 11 members of the European Monetary Union and announced that the projected common currency, the euro, will be launched next year, Denmark was shaken by an 11-day strike by a fifth of the country's workforce.

It was not the first general strike in Denmark, let alone in Europe. But the massive workers' action had a different character because it came at a different time. In Europe, southeast Asia, North America, Australia, and elsewhere working people are standing up to the demands for sacrifice by the exploiting classes in a more universal way. At the root of the reaction by those who work for a living and produce (along with nature) all the wealth of society is the growing realization that the world capitalist system is dragging humanity toward intolerable conditions of life and toil. Unemployment levels not seen since the 1930s across the European continent are fueling social polarization and the rise of fascist currents as well. The future for working people is not one of prosperity and democracy but economic misery, Bonapartism, and war.

The acceleration of the resistance by the working class and labor movement is also behind the euro's birth defects. These were revealed by the spat between the two strongest powers within the EU - France and Germany - at the Brussels "euro" meeting, which was supposedly set to register a step away from the conflicts between these armed nation states. The gathering instead confirmed that interimperialist rivalries are intensifying and that the attempt to create a bloc around the euro as a protection by these powers against Wall Street's dominance in Europe can easily crumble.

The general strike in Denmark gave the rulers of that country and the employing classes across the continent a glimpse of the fights they will increasingly bump into. Hundreds of thousands struck for a sixth paid vacation week - less time to give life and limb for the boss - at a time when employers are demanding the opposite. The government stepped in and imposed the settlement that didn't meet the demand. Most private-sector workers, however, won an additional 2-5 days off per year. This is what the capitalist classes will face more and more in Europe as they attempt to use the euro to justify slashing the social wage, layoffs, and speedup.

The Danish strike coincided with the victorious fight of dock workers in Australia, and spreading labor struggles in the United States and other imperialist countries. Growing layers of workers are gaining self-confidence through these battles and are toning their muscles for the ones to come. Revolutionists must turn to this resistance wholeheartedly. This is high time for organizing solidarity actions through the unions, bringing fighters from around the world in contact with each other - from the teenagers who struck McDonald's in Ohio to Puerto Rican independentistas, Irish freedom fighters, and workers in Denmark - and stepping up sales of revolutionary literature with consistency and timeliness.  
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