An international general strike was brewing, revolution was in the air. On both sides, people were thinking about it, preparing for it. Unitary global strikes against multinationals multiplied. Properties owned by multinationals in the Third World – from fruit empires to oil installations – were being overrun by local labor and peasant associations. The international federation of strike committees quickly came to a consensus. The momentum was there. It was now or never for a global general strike.
On the other side, governments assigned troops to guard industrial installations. Draftees and reservists were being mobilized. The bourgeoisie was in a panic, one after another the world’s stock markets collapsed as the wealthy transformed their declining paper values into diamonds and precious metals, whose value soared. The middle classes were dismayed, their children totally enthusiastic. The situation dragged on, nerves fraying. The troops, bored guarding factories, were becoming distracted, fraternizing with local girls, then with workers. Many of these young people were familiar with the Game “BvB.” They sensed what was about to happen and began talking about it to their comrades. Sympathies wavered. Discipline became harder to maintain. Junior officers were losing confidence, asking themselves questions, becoming edgy.
In the democratic countries the opposition media began to put hard questions to politicians. There was some talk of back door negotiations with the strikers. The White House squelched the very idea of pandering to terrorists by leaking to the press a National Security Council study on the effects of Star-Wars type missiles and laser strikes against the ‘terrorists’ who were ‘holding the world economy hostage.’ The Europeans, the Japanese and even some Republicans did balk at that idea. Not only would these occasionally fallible ‘smart weapons’ inflict collateral damage on population centers, they also threatened corporate property—the industrial plants and petroleum installations occupied by the strikers.
The UN debated various resolutions at length and ended up resolving nothing, eternally deadlocked by the possibility of US, Russian, European and Chinese vetoes in the Security Council. In any case, the US contemptuously ‘refused to have its hands tied’ by the UN.
As the situation dragged on, the billions were gaining confidence and the billionaires losing theirs. Strike-affiliated assemblies and workers councils were springing up everywhere, discussing, communicating, organizing daily life, preparing for defense, federating. Striking transport workers began making arrangements with agricultural workers to bring food to the cities. Supermarkets, long since emptied by looters (for the most part in good order) were being transformed into food coops. Artists and performers were organizing shows for the strikers. Movie theaters were transformed into forums; walls blossomed with posters and slogans; the young were cutting loose while their elders were patiently waiting for the inevitable showdown. Piecemeal, the economy was passing quietly into the hands of workers without anyone ever pronouncing the word “nationalization.”
Argentina was the first country to give way, followed by Brazil, then Bolivia. Whole governments piled into planes and took off for Miami, taking part of the national treasury in their baggage. Government soldiers, mostly poor peasants, began deserting en masse, setting off for home in groups, carrying their weapons for protection and safekeeping. The returning muchachos were welcomed by their relatives in the villages, who had taken over the landlords’ estates. There was heavy local fighting in the cities and on the land before the diehard latifundistas, career officers and police were overwhelmed.
Across the globe in Iran, the students (who had never stopped demanding their freedom), the oil workers (long out on strike), and the women (who never accepted the return to the veil) finally succeeded in overturning the dictatorship of the Ayatollahs – as their grand-mothers and fathers had overturned that of the Shah in 1979. The spirit of the Iranian revolution spilled over into the Arab world in a replay of 2011. One by one, the kings and princes of Morocco and Saudi Arabia were finding it prudent to go on vacation to Monaco, where the dictators of Syria and Egypt soon joined them. Age-old dreams of a pan-Arabic fraternity were reborn in harmony with those of other peoples and cultures.
In the European Union, a neo-liberal government of the Reconstituted Left, supported by the union officials, took power and called for negotiations and a truce. “You have to know how to end a strike,” declared the Prime Minister of the European Community, the French Liberal-Communist Thaurice Morez. But no one was really paying attention to politicians. Indeed, the French, Spanish, Italian and German strikers took advantage of the truce to mobilise support for their beleaguered colleagues in Russia, East Europe and North Africa, sending solidarity delegations with supplies and potential fighters.
The bloodiest fighting took place in China, where the new capitalists – leaders of the Communist Party and the Army – were refusing to relinquish power and were sending troops and tanks from distant provinces to shoot down student protesters and strikers in Beijing, Shanghai and other industrial centers.
On the other hand, in South Korea the transition from a government dominated by the big industrial cartels to popular self-government took place with minimal violence. The Korean students and workers, with their organisational discipline and long traditions of mass democratic and industrial struggle, had long ago forced the withdrawal of US occupation troops and insisted on a modus vivendi with the North, including the right to visit their relatives in the North. At the end of the 20th Century, Koreans had used general strikes on several occasions to win democracy. And it was the Korean labor movement which had called for the historic international strike against Samsung. Incidentally, Korean youth, when not studying or protesting, were totally hooked on getting together in game-cafés and playing “BvB.”
The Nuclear Alliance non-interference treaty between North and South Korea protected the united peninsula from pressure by the US-Japanese SEATO strikeforce or for that matter by China. Meanwhile, the Koreans pursued their North-South sunshine and democratisation policies, while moving toward national reunification. The labor movement in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia took heart from the Korean victory, encouraged by the hope that they would have a sturdy ally if they dared to take power and implement their program. Only the USA remained as a bulwark for the world-dominating corporations.