The civil war by US capitalism against its own working class has erupted with a vengeance in the state of Wisconsin.
In this state, the newly elected right-wing Republican governor, Scott Walker, is attempting to destroy the trade union movement by stripping the right of collective bargaining from public sector unions.
Walker, and the Republican majority, has refused even the fig-leaf of negotiation with the unions as he seeks to impose cuts in pay for public service employees as well as dramatically increasing their pension and healthcare payments.
Alongside all these savage cuts, the state’s ruling Republicans are determined to slash spending on education and every other public service as they attempt to make the working and middle classes pay for Wisconsin’s financial shortfall, amounting to $3 billion over the next two years.
At the same time, Walker is proposing to cut the amount paid by corporations to the state – an amount estimated to be $187 million.
This attempt to prop up a bankrupt state at the expense of working people has provoked a huge uprising across America.
At the weekend demonstrations in support of the Wisconsin unions took place in 50 states across America, each of which faces the same budget deficits, if not worse, and each of which is being forced to consider following Walker’s lead.
This involves threatening to call out the national guard to break the threatened general strike.
Clearly, the civil war against the working class being prosecuted by US capitalism is set to develop into a physical confrontation between the unions and forces of the capitalist state.
This was openly expressed by the deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana who tweeted on the internet that the authorities should ‘use live ammunition’ against what he described as union ‘thugs’.
Workers and their supporters in Wisconsin have clearly not been intimidated by this and they have clearly been influenced and inspired by the revolutionary upsurge in the Middle East.
At a 100,000-strong demonstration against these attacks, in the state capital Madison, people held placards identifying Walker with ousted Egyptian president Mubarak.
If the working class is not intimidated, the same cannot be said for the leadership of the unions.
They have agreed to virtually every one of Walker’s proposals in return for keeping collective bargaining.
These bureaucrats will happily sell out every hard-won gain and see their members’ pay slashed to poverty levels, as long as there is a place for them at the negotiating table.
Even this, however, is too much for capitalism to countenance.
Such is the depth of the capitalist crisis that capital cannot live any longer with even the most docile form of trade unionism, it requires nothing less than the complete destruction of the organisations of the working class as it seeks to drive workers back to conditions of near slavery.
This is, of course, not just confined to America, this requirement holds true for every capitalist nation on the planet.
None more so than in Britain.
Here the Tory coalition has already unveiled its plans to create a strikebreaking force to be used against workers fighting the most savage attacks on their wages and services ever seen.
Making strike action and collective bargaining illegal is already a priority within the ranks of the coalition, as they prepare to face the revolutionary tide set to be unleashed as the cuts bite home and the working class refuses to pay in blood to keep the bankers and this rotten capitalist system afloat.
Never has the requirement to build the International Committee of the Fourth International to lead the coming world socialist revolution in every country been more urgent or decisive.