Workers Campaign in Kiruna
Kiruna is an iron miners town above the arctic circle. The main industry is the iron mine, the biggest underground mine worldwide which is also the biggest iron mine in EU. The mining company which is very profitable and successful internationally, is the state owned LKAB with 2 000 employees in Kiruna.
Kiruna has 20 000 inhabitants. The Workers Campaign gained one local deputy in the local elections 2010.
The Workers Campaign started 2009 as an electoral campaign for those who don´t get their voices heard through the established parties. We set up two goals on the national level:
1. Get rid of the bourgeois centre-right government. We appealed for a vote against this government by voting socialdemocratic in the national elections. In the current situation there was no other alternative to actually replace the actual government than by a socialdemocraticly led government
2. Build a workers opposition after the elections, if the new government continued the bourgeois politics. This was valid also with a socialdemocratic victory. We advocated for a workers movement convention against all kind of bourgeois politics.
What do we mean by ”bourgeois politics”? Why has the center-right government failed?
1. Mass unemployment- The government has not acted to limit mass unemployment. Instead it has used it in favor of the bosses. The unemployment insurance was founded to insure that no worker should be forced to sell labor below it´s value but today it´s a criteria to get job seekers allowance that you constantly try to sell your labor to a constantly lower price.
2. Workers immigration – Since workers with legal jobs are given priority to residence permits the bosses are now given the power of all the politics of integration. They use this to exploit refugees and migrants and by this putting a pressure on all working conditions.
3. Taxes – The tax cuts have an obvious class profile – the 10% richest household with more than 1,5 million SKr income per year have gained a lot. The state tax subsidies for hiring domestic workers also mean that we all are paying the upper class to hire maids.
4. Health Insurance – The bosses are given the right to fire people who have been sick more than 6 months. They are being kicked out of health insurance and if they don´t find a new job they are forced to sell all they have to get welfare. They calculate that 50 000 people will be kicked out from health insurance rights 2010.
5. Sell outs – Small companies and entrepreneurs are being used to get rid of labor rights and to plunder the public sector on its resources. A new law has been implemented opening up tax financed health care to multinationals.
6. Education – Even more grades are being implemented, now in the lower classes. Secondary school is now divided between theoretical and practical programs and all children are educated along class lines.
7. Municipalities – The crisis is permanent and the level of service and working conditions are constantly worsening.
8. De-industrialisation – the crisis has left tens of thousands industrial workers unemployed. All the government ventures have been directed to the financial sector. The promised package for the car industry was never implemented.
9. Transport – Despite all the climate- and environmental talking private motorism expands with new highways and the cancellation of Norrbotnia Railway. Instead of guaranteeing cheap railway transports the railway traffic is getting privatized, due to directives from EU, which leaves the responsibility in the hand of multinationals.
10. The war in Afghanistan – Sweden increases its participation in the illegal occupation.
The Workers Campaign raised local candidates in the elections 2010 in Kiruna and gained one deputy. We demanded that the big ongoing transformations of the towns in Malmfälten (The Iron Fields) due to the mining industry should be used for construction of housing, schools, health care etc. We said that we didn´t accept double rent for housing announced by the local parliament. We demanded that the huge profits of LKAB should be funded for a social reconstruction campaign, controlled by the inhabitants them selves.
The candidature of The Workers Campaign was different. It was, and still is, a platform for us, the working people of the town which we all can use. It´s a channel for common people. Our representatives are not allowed to make money on their mission. They must follow majority decisions from our open campaign meetings and must resign if they misuse their mandate and loose our confidence. The Workers Campaign wants to implement rule of confidence in local politics.
The Workers Campaign practice international solidarity along class lines. We support suppressed workers opposition in Venezuela, we take part in the Anti-Imperialist Bloc against all kinds of EU, USA, NATO, UN-interventions, we participate in conferences and meetings aiming at strengthening workers internationalism and constantly seek ways to develop active solidarity.