Riceviamo e pubblichiamo questo contributo dai compagni della redazione Il Pungolo Rosso, già disponibile sul loro sito (vedi qui):
scioperi di massa dei lavoratori dell’industria petrolifera,
solidarietà dei disoccupati, repressione di stato
Su segnalazione del compagno Fabrizio riprendiamo dal sito In Defence of Communism una cronaca dettagliata e lucida di una forte lotta operaia scoppiata nella prima metà del mese di aprile nella regione occidentale del Kazakistan a seguito dell’arresto avvenuto nella capitale Astana (ora ridenominata Nur-Sultan) di una delegazione di operai dell’industria petrolifera licenziati che protestavano, con un semplice sit-in, contro il proprio licenziamento e, più in generale, contro il processo di privatizzazione della industria petrolifera nazionale.
L’articolo, istruttivo, mostra la continuità sostanziale tra la “era Nazarbayev” (32 anni di “riforme liberalizzatrici”) e l’attuale governo capitanato da Toqaev nel segno delle politiche “neo-liberiste” che hanno spalancato la strada agli investitori stranieri, sia quelli occidentali (su cui insiste l’articolo), sia quelli russi e cinesi – investitori richiamati da condizioni favorevolissime stabilite nel corso dei decenni dal precedente governo-regime (esenzione di dieci anni dall’imposta societaria, di 8 anni dall’imposta sugli immobili, e il congelamento per 10 anni sulla maggior parte delle altre imposte, e perfino un “difensore civico” per i diritti e gli interessi degli investitori…) con la creazione di dieci zone economiche speciali, ognuna con una sua particolarità quanto ai “settori prioritari di sviluppo”.
Questo accadeva e accade nella sfera di influenza russa, e – in questo caso – russa-cinese, nella quale, inutile dire, date queste regole fiscali così sfacciatamente favorevoli al capitale, si sono precipitati anche i capitali multinazionali con base negli Stati Uniti e in Europa. Ecco un altro paese all’interno del quale infuria lo scontro tra pescecani dei due campi imperialisti a confronto e scontro in Ucraina. Il processo di privatizzazione, creazione di appalti e sub-appalti, decurtazione brutale del numero dei dipendenti, ha assestato colpi su colpi ad una classe operaia chiamata sempre più a fronteggiare anche un’inflazione rampante – queste le precondizioni di forti lotte operaie. Che sono da far conoscere, e con cui solidarizzare, spazzando via la pidocchiosa riserva mentale secondo cui gli operai, i proletari, gli sfruttati dell’area di influenza russo-cinese si muovano a comando dell’Occidente.
Il testo è in inglese, una scrittura lineare e chiara. Meglio sarebbe stato tradurlo in italiano, ma per realizzare in modo sistematico questo lavoro, servono nuovi aiuti, non bastando gli attuali traduttori. Compagne, compagni, fatevi avanti! Inviate la vostra disponibilità a email@example.com
Redazione Il Pungolo Rosso
Friday, April 14, 2023
Mass strikes in Zhanaozen and Mangistau
following the arrest of oil workers in Astana
Kazakhstan is again shaken by events related to mass rallies and strikes, which also began in the oil-producing western region of the country.
The reason for the protests was the mass arrest on Tuesday of a delegation of dismissed oil workers who went to Astana (now Nur-Sultan) to seek the truth from officials of the Ministry of Energy.
It all started with the fact that in early April, several hundred workers of the BeraliMangistau Company contractor staged a round-the-clock sit-in protest in the city of Zhanaozen, Mangistau region, at the office of the state company Ozenmunaigas, which is part of the national corporation KazMunaiGas (an analogue of Gazprom). The fact is that they all lost their jobs at once after their private service company lost the tender for carrying out the necessary work.
In this regard, the dismissed workers demanded to include them all in the composition of the state company Ozenmunaigas, repeating the previous statements of the striking oil workers in 2021 and 2022 about the need to cancel the results of production optimization and privatization of auxiliary enterprises with the return of their teams back.
In fact, in practice, this means the demand for nationalization, since as a result of the “reforms” carried out over the past ten years by the Western management of quasi-state-owned companies, tens of thousands of workers ended up in numerous private LLP, losing in the social package and earnings.
And then the protesters did not say anything new, but they were immediately joined by hundreds of ordinary unemployed people who rallied for many months last year in Zhanaozen, insisting on employment, and already at the end of March this year even blocked roads to oil fields in the neighboring city of Zhetybai. That is, the region has been in a fever for a long time, and new strikes with similar demands began on January 2, just on the anniversary of the famous January protests, which also started in this area then.
Having achieved nothing from the local authorities and the management of Ozenmunaigas, the dismissed oilmen sent their delegation of more than a hundred people to Astana for negotiations with officials of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Arriving in the capital on Monday, April 10, the walkers settled down for the night right outside the walls of the department, urging them to discuss their requirements with the leading top managers of KazMunayGas.
The next day, on April 11, negotiations took place, which ended in nothing, since the managers of the national corporation and officials of the Ministry of Energy, who are supporters of the neoliberal concept, could not allow the actual nationalization and acceptance of the whole team of the contractor organization into their composition. In their opinion, this would cause a chain reaction. Moreover, the government, even before that last year, actually rejected the demand of the drillers of Burgylau LLP, who had been on strike for several months, to review the results of the privatization of their strategic enterprise, which had sailed into private hands to foreign investors.
As a result, the government gave the command to arrest all participants of the sit-in rally at the ministry building by the evening of the same day, which was done by the staff of the SOBR without any ceremony. The video footage distributed on social networks shows that this detention was not motivated by anything, since the oil workers did not violate public order, but simply stood or sat near one of the many entrances of the Ministry of Energy.
A similar case already took place in the summer of 2021, back in the “Nazarbayev era”, when a delegation of another striking collective of “Kezbi” LLP from Zhanaozen also sat outside the buildings of the Ministry of Energy and KazMunayGas for a week, but no one arrested them then. As a result, the former civil servants and managers made a number of concessions, but a large group of activists were still fired for participating in an illegal strike, and then employed in a private company “BeraliMangistau Company”, which just now practically ceased to exist.
The protesting oil workers failed to repeat the successful experience, but by mass detention in the capital, the authorities themselves provoked a powerful protest, which immediately began in Zhanaozen and Mangystau region. Actually, such a result was to be expected and only an idiot could not have foreseen it.
At the same time, the soil for the rallies has already been fertilized by an increase in fuel prices, which was falsely explained by the same Ministry of Energy allegedly exporting gasoline and diesel fuel to Russia and neighboring countries, although the government imposed a ban on this on January 20. It became clear to everyone once again that it was not the state excise tax to replenish the budget that had increased at all, but only the profits of monopolists and gasket companies still associated with family members of the former Elbasy, namely his middle son-in-law TimurKulibayev.
Practically, this is a complete tracing of the processes that began the January speeches of last year, since then the trigger for rallies and strikes was a multiple increase in prices for liquefied gas, and now the trigger of discontent was food inflation and an increase in the cost of fuel. And even the “patriotic” pill did not help here.
Immediately after the delegation was detained in Astana, workers of dozens of enterprises who had previously made the same demands to the government went on strike, and oil workers of the main production at oil fields in the Mangystau region, including with the participation of foreign capital, also protested. All of them insisted on the immediate release of their comrades.
The workers of the following enterprises were on strike: “Burgylau” LLP, “BZHB” LLP, workers of the Karakudykmunai oilfield, “Ozenmunaigaz” LLP, “Kezbi” LLP, “Munayspetsnab” LLP, collectives of three oilfield service companies of Zhetybai. The unemployed of Zhanaozen, Zhetybai, Zhigyldyaul, Aktau regional center and other settlements of the Mangystau region supported the arrested with their protest actions.
And in the evening, a mass rally of residents of Zhanaozen began and continued at night from April 11 to 12. According to eyewitnesses, thousands of people took part in the action. Until the morning, residents refused to disperse and did not believe the reports that the detainees had been released. And indeed, at night the entire delegation was still in the local police building in Astana.
But the scale of the strikes itself is striking, which can now spread to neighboring regions, since the first reports of protests have already passed. Moreover, a burning discontent has accumulated against foreign managers and Western companies who actively sued workers and engaged in anti-union activities. For example, the contract organization of the American company Chevron sued 69 workers activists for participating in an illegal strike at the Tengiz field on February 11.
And there are many such cases. Plus, not a single social and economic demand of workers and the unemployed, which was put forward in January last year at the time of the general strike, except for the reduction of the price of liquefied gas, was not fulfilled by either the government or the president, which means that all the contradictions and discontent of the impoverished masses remained and have now found a way out through new protest actions.
Moreover, it is not a fact even if the authorities release all the detainees and now make a number of concessions to the dismissed oil workers that everything will calm down immediately. After all, already at the night rally in Zhanaozen, the speeches were about the employment of all the unemployed, and the demands of the protesters increased markedly.
In particular, people started talking about the land that fell into the hands of the latifundists, that foreign corporations are in charge of the oil industry and that it is necessary to abandon private companies and include all service enterprises in the state corporation KazMunayGas. Just like last time, it may turn out that the measures of the authorities will be late and do not meet the needs of the moment.
However, few people still know that the government, together with the Presidential Reform Council, headed by the former head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and British financier Sum Chakrabarti, have outlined a plan for total privatization and the same KazMunayGas as Ozenmunaygas will simply fall into private hands and demand the cancellation of the results of optimization and privatization of auxiliary enterprises it will lose all meaning.
This is the main contradiction, when from below the masses demand nationalization and socialization of production, revision of subsoil use contracts and production sharing agreements with foreigners, and the ruling class and the government are thinking about further deepening market reforms and complete denationalization of the extractive industry in the interests of American, British and European corporations.
Therefore, the aggravation of the class struggle against oppression and capitalism in these conditions is simply inevitable. Even if we manage to freeze the social conflict now, it will break out again at another time and in another place.
Now Kazakhstan is paying the price for 32 years of market reforms carried out by Nazarbayev, when 70% of the entire extractive sector fell into the hands of Western capital, and the entire Soviet processing industry and the lion’s share of agriculture were destroyed. In addition, many deposits in the Mangystau region are already fading and the region will become a zone of continuous unemployment in 10 years.
On the morning of April 12, detentions of protesters began in Zhanaozen, but at the moment striking oil workers from various oilfield service companies continue to gather at the bus station of the city. The workers of “MZHM” “Ozenmunaigaz”, “Burgylau” LLP and other enterprises also do not start working. Now they demand the release of all detainees and the fulfillment of the demands of the workers of the BeraliMangistau Company.
We continue to monitor developments.