Free Mumia! Campaign and Legal Update, and More…

  • T.O. WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
  • Issue No. 17
  • December 28, 2020
IN THIS ISSUE:
• Free Mumia!: International Campaign and Legal Update from Prison Radio
• Trump, Morocco, and the Recognition of the Israeli State — Report from Morocco
• Remembering Dean Murakami and Dean’s Presentation to Binational Conference (Dec. 2017)
• Four Countries, Four Continents, Four Events – Editorial Notes from The Internationale
• Azania / South Africa: Letter from SAFTU and AS-FI Response
• France: “It’ll Be Fine” – Editorial of Tribune des Travailleurs (POID)
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INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!

Open Letter by Mexican Activists to the Pennsylvania Governor

  • Attention: Tom Wolf
  • Governor of the State of Pennsylvania
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

We, the undersigned women, youth, and workers of Mexico, have been informed that Mumia Abu-Jamal’s life is in great danger in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak in the prison where he is serving his unjust sentence.

The Free Mumia coalitions in the United States and the International Workers Committee (IWC) have reported that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the Mahanoy Correctional Facility (in the state of Pennsylvania), where Mumia and 2,400 other inmates are being held.

We have been informed that in the past few weeks 100 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, an unusual situation given that the prisons have been isolated for weeks. It is clear that the prison guards are the ones who introduced the virus into the prison; 25 guards tested positive a month ago.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a person who, because of his age and health condition, is extremely vulnerable to the pandemic. He is 66 years old, suffers from liver disorders and diabetes. We affirm that in these conditions his life is in danger.

That is why we are writing to you to demand that you make the necessary arrangements for the immediate release of Mumia Abu-Jamal on humanitarian and health grounds, and we call upon you to take similar action with other prisoners in the same conditions.

We affirm, as we have done for many years, that his trial was rigged. Mumia’s alleged responsibility for the crime of which he is accused has never been proven. We declare that his death sentence was totally unjust and illegitimate, and even though his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, this is not a just solution and in essence it maintains Mumia’s alleged guilt.

We demand: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal now!

Send copies of your petitions and endorsements to mumiaformato@gmail.com and owcmumbai2016@gmail.com

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MUMIA ABU-JAMAL URGENT LEGAL UPDATE

FOP Loses for Now: Ominous Split Decision by PA Supreme Court

An Important Message from Prison Radio

December 17, 2020

Dear Friends,

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge Five and Maureen Faulkner have lost this fight. But the rematch is going to be brutal.

On December 16, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the FOP’s King’s Bench petition to remove Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner as the prosecutor in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s criminal case and replace him with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. 

Mumia is contesting his first-degree murder conviction for the shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981. His default opponent in court is the lead prosecutor for the city of Philadelphia: DA Larry Krasner. The recently dismissed King’s Bench petition argued unsuccessfully that Krasner is biased in favor of Mumia and should be removed.

In reality, Krasner has made clear, both through statements made in deposition and through legal action, that he will vigorously work to uphold Mumia’s conviction. The FOP’s problem with Krasner isn’t that he won’t fight to keep Mumia in prison; it’s that he’s not willing to blatantly shred the Constitution to do it.

Krasner was elected DA on an anti-corruption campaign platform, and he made history when he brought to light six boxes of exculpatory evidence from Mumia’s original trial that had been suppressed by the DA’s office for decades. Krasner has drawn a line in the sand. He’ll use every legal avenue available to prevent Mumia’s freedom, but he won’t violate the letter of the Constitution: That sets him apart from every previous prosecutor to face Mumia in court.

To the FOP, that’s unacceptable, and they’re betting that Attorney General Shapiro will fight this battle the way they want it fought: dirty. Maureen Faulkner, who worked with the FOP to bring this petition to the court, has stated on the record that she believes Mumia Abu-Jamal will be freed if he ever gets a new trial. The FOP’s strategy is to get AG Shapiro to file every imaginable petition against Mumia and his defense team – including against the use of the recently uncovered exculpatory evidence – to forestall his inevitable release.

This Train Is Still Headed Towards Freedom

In April 2020 Mumia’s criminal case won a massive victory: Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker ordered an evidentiary hearing based on the six boxes of long-buried evidence that DA Larry Krasner uncovered in 2018. Now, after a nine-month delay, this evidence that DA Ed Rendell and his cronies suppressed for decades will finally be heard in open court.

This evidentiary hearing is the first step to a new trial. 

Mumia has always said that he will be in prison until the people won’t accept his imprisonment anymore. We are the people, and we have to make clear our refusal. We know that it is police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct that have unjustly imprisoned Mumia and so many others. We must demand that corruption be revealed, and that the voices of its victims must be heard.

We know that Mumia’s imprisonment is unjust, and we cannot allow the truth to be buried, or for voices like Mumia’s to be silenced.

Apology without action is meaningless.” — Mike Africa

When We Fight, We Win!

Jennifer Beach & Noelle Hanrahan P.I. J.D, Prison Radio Co-Directors

(Forwarded by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; the full statement can be accessed at http://www.laboractionmumia.org. Also visit http://www.prisonradio.org for Mumia’s commentaries.)

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Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian and Moroccan flags during a demonstration in Rabat on Dec. 10, 2017

Trump, Morocco, and the Recognition of the Israeli State

Excerpts from Declaration by Editorial Board of La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers Tribune), published in Morocco

 On December 10, Trump announced that his administration recognized the autonomy of Western Sahara (under Moroccan sovereignty), and in return, the Moroccan regime, unable to fight against the pandemic and its catastrophic consequences on the youth and the working people, signed political, diplomatic and economic normalization … with the State of Israel.

Normalization with the State of Israel is synonymous with encouraging this criminal State to continue its racist policy against the Palestinian people, who were expelled from their land 72 years ago and suffer collective extermination and apartheid.

 Autonomy in the Sahara — as well as normalization with the racist and criminal state of Israel — is a translation and implementation of Trump’s plan known as the “Deal of the Century” and the Greater Middle East Plan, synonymous with the dismemberment and disintegration of all countries in the region.

Who can believe even for a moment that the U.S. administration wants our country to recover its unity and national sovereignty? Is it not this same administration that is tearing all nations apart, tearing apart all the peoples of the world through its military interventions and the fabrication of armed conflicts, or through its Structural Adjustment Plans and its debt and “free trade” agreements that are strangling the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the entire world?

Who can believe for a moment that Trump and his administration want our country to achieve political democracy, while that same administration is flouting democracy in the United States itself by refusing to acknowledge its electoral defeat?

The Moroccan people, the workers of this country and their organizations cannot accept normalization with the criminal State of Israel, because it is a threat tearing the people apart and pushing the entire region into chaos and disintegration.

The Moroccan people, the workers of this country and their organizations, cannot accept that the leaders of this country violate the constant and historical position of the Moroccan nation and its two linguistic components — the Amazigh speakers and the Arabic speakers — towards the Palestinian cause, which has always been a national cause of the Moroccan labour movement, inseparable from the struggle for social and economic demands.

The Moroccan people, the workers of this country and their organizations, cannot accept to flout the memory of the Moroccan nation, of its two linguistic components, and to flout the memory of the Moroccan martyrs fallen in the Palestinian struggle.

The Moroccan people, the workers of this country, and their organizations cannot accept any blackmail against their unconditional support to the Palestinian revolution, for any diplomatic interest whatsoever.

Because a people that accepts the oppression and colonization of another people cannot claim to be a free and sovereign people.

The Moroccan labour movement holds a major historical responsibility and must act urgently for:

– The cancellation and abrogation of any form of normalization with the racist and criminal State of Israel.

– Unconditional support to the Palestinian people in their struggle for emancipation, for the right of return of all refugees, and for the establishment of their free and sovereign State on all the territory of historic Palestine.

– Fighting, in unity of organizations, for national unity and sovereignty, through the election of a sovereign Constituent Assembly to break the imperialist stranglehold and to build our sovereign political institutions.

– For a Constituent Assembly that will elect a government capable of taking emergency measures to protect the working people and the majority of the nation.

– A government capable of taking emergency measures for employment, for the nationalization of national wealth without compensation or redemption, for agrarian reform and for democracy.

– A government capable of taking emergency measures for the planning of the economy, for the confiscation of large landowners, large companies, starting with the multinationals that humiliate our people and our workers on a daily basis.

– Fight for a workers and peasant government, the only government that will be capable of implementing a policy in favour of the workers and the majority of the nation.

— Casablanca, December 12, 2020

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Dean Murakami addresses immigrant rights rally in Sacramento, Calif.

Binational Conference (Mexico-U.S.) Against NAFTA, Deportations, and Privatizations:

Remembering Dean Murakami

In the early hours of December 23, Dean Murakami, a longtime class-struggle labor leader in Sacramento, Calif., passed away. He had been fighting cancer.

Dean served as president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers as well as interim president and vice president of the Sacramento Central Labor Council. A toast to honor Dean’s memory was held on short notice the evening of December 23. It was hosted over zoom by Fabrizio Sasso, executive director of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, and Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers.

“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a labor warrior, a leader, and our dear friend Dean Murakami,” stated Brother Fabrizio. “His wife, Patricia, and all those who loved Dean are in our thoughts. His passing is a big loss for Labor and our community.”

Dean was not only a rank-and-file leader of educators’ unions in California. He was also an unwavering supporter of the communities of the oppressed and their organizations, especially the Sacramento chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). He was a keynote speaker at the December 2017 Binational Conference Against NAFTA 2.0, Privatizations and Deportations, co-sponsored by Sacramento LCLAA. The conference was held at California State University-Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.

Desirée Rojas and Al Rojas, president and vice president of Sacramento LCLAA respectively, gave stirring tributes to Dean, remembering his tireless efforts on behalf of undocumented immigrants and farmworkers, in particular.

The Organizer newspaper joins Sacramento LCLAA and Dean’s family and colleagues in honoring his memory by reprinting below his keynote presentation at the Binational Conference in Carson, Calif. His words — powerful, instructive, and compelling — speak for themselves.

Dean Murakami, Presente!

– – – – –

Excerpts from the Keynote Presentation by Dean Murakami to the Plenary Session of the Binational Conference (Carson, Calif.) — December 2, 2017

For many years, public higher education has been exploited by private enterprise in two ways. There are the profiteers of higher education. These are the for-profit colleges that receive over $16 billion in federal aid. They exploit some of our most vulnerable students, have them go into great financial debt with loans they often can’t repay, all for their own profit. Many of these for-profit colleges are headed by CEOs who make millions of dollars in salary and benefits funded by federal tax dollars.

There are also the corporate “reformers.” Corporations and other big money interests have decided to use public higher education to serve their workforce needs. Instead of doing their own traditional workforce training, corporations have turned to the community college to more of the career technical training. As a result, corporate lobbyists have used their political influence to pressure community colleges to turn out more Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and students graduating with certificates.

In addition, corporate interests have focused their efforts to reshape higher education into their own business model perspective. So now we have many super rich foundations and organizations funded by business that want to design higher education to meet the needs of the 1%.

* Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation * Koch Brothers * Lumina Foundation * William & Flora Hewlett Foundation * James Irvine Foundation * The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation * Ahmanson Foundation * The Walton Family Foundation * The Weingart Foundation.

That is a lot of corporate influence that will guide the future of higher education. The question is whether faculty and faculty organizations are willing to accept the direction the corporate foundations are leading the community colleges, and if not, do they have the ability to change that direction?

Over the past several years, an inordinate amount of time and money has been focused on certificates, graduation, and transfer.

However, the reality is that less than 25% of community college students will get a degree and/or transfer to a four-year college. That means all these millions of dollars are focused on 25% of the students. In addition, these programs focus on students who are full time and are academically prepared to take transfer level classes in English and math. These students tend to come from higher-income families and a small percentage of them are of color.

What about the other 75%? Aren’t they equally important? Shouldn’t we also focus on their goals, if not more so? Because corporations are so focused on their employment goals, students who do not obtain a degree or certificate represent a waste of societal time and taxes. Therefore, this leaves the less fortunate to be inadequately served. Should community colleges be primarily designed to help the privileged few or should it be for everyone?

This corporate exclusionary vision of higher education is one of the most critical battles we face for equity in community colleges today. Yes, this is a fight for equity. We need to fight for every dream, every aspiration, and every goal, for each one of our students!

We want all students to be successful, but the corporate “reformers” and our community college system has failed to recognize some of the most critical barriers to our student’s success, including: * Poverty * Joblessness * Food Insecurity * Homelessness * Drug & Alcohol Abuse * Abusive and/or Violent Environment * Lack of Childcare Mental Health (anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, suicide, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, etc.).

If we truly want to move the needle on student success, we must find the resources to address the societal, health, and mental health issues of our students and their communities. We can no longer pretend that colleges and universities can be an ivory tower, isolated from the societal and community problems surrounding them.

I teach at community colleges, and I can feel the anxiety and tension in my students. Immigrant students who are documented, undocumented, DACA students, and dreamers: These students are not re-enrolling in school; many immigrants are no longer going to work … the fear of deportations is having such a negative impact on our community. If these immigrants no longer come to work or go to school, you are relegating them to a life of poverty that can last generations. Deliberately segregating a part of the community to poverty is just plain morally wrong.

In the United States we have over 1 million foreign students in college.

We have to realize the value immigrants contribute to our society, culture, and economy. The better we incorporate immigrants into the California culture the better it will be for everyone. That’s why President Trump’s racist policies are going to kill America’s economy along with his plan to destroy public education, the middle class, and labor unions.

That’s why we need to fight for a better America. We need to fight for a better Canada. And we need to fight for a better Mexico. We have a long road to travel before we get to a place where our economies are working for everyone.

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“Four Countries, Four Continents, Four Events”

Editorial Notes of The Internationale, Theoretical Review of the Organizing Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI)

(November 2020)

Four countries, four continents, four events that occurred in November 2020:In Peru, after President Vizcarra was ousted on 9 November, a powerful movement of hundreds of thousands of youth and workers took to the streets to challenge the rotten, old, corrupt institutions subordinated to imperialism, demanding “a new Constitution”.

In India, no fewer than 250 million workers came out on strike on 26 November in response to the call by the main trade union confederations, on a platform of emergency measures to safeguard working people (1), rejecting the discriminatory laws and division between Hindus and Muslims, and joining up with the “Go to Delhi” march by farmer organisations.

In Ethiopia, the federal government sent in the army to carry out massacres in the Tigray region, as a continuation of 30 years of war, massacres and the “ethnicization” of political and institutional life under the big imperialist powers.

In France, 500,000 workers and youth marched throughout the country on 28 November – in response to a call by several political and trade union organisations – for the withdrawal of the Global Security Law, through which the Macron government is putting freedom of the press into question. An upsurge by hundreds of thousands of people against one particular aspect of Macron’s policy, which has been fed for months by the growing revolt against the government’s entire range of policies.

Is there a link between these four events, which all seem very different, and even contradictory in some cases? Whether we are dealing with the massacres in Ethiopia, or the terrible fate inflicted on the workers and farmers in India by a capitalist government which – like all the others – is taking advantage of the pandemic to inflict the hardest of blows, or the denial of the sovereignty of the Peruvian nation, or the intensification of the anti-democratic and anti-working-class character of the Fifth Republic in France under Macron… is there not a primary common point between these four events?

Namely, that each one of these situations flows from the dead-end into which the capitalist system, based on private ownership of the means of production, has led humankind.
A dead-end which is being expressed by the barbarism unleashed in Ethiopia (2) (and elsewhere in the world in various forms); but the working class, the youth and the oppressed peoples are resisting that barbarism.


Because, as emphasised by the Alarm Manifesto, which was adopted by the Third International Conference of the Organising Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI) meeting on 8-10 November, published in this issue of The Internationale: “the frightful acts of destruction and ravages which governments have imposed using the excuse of the pandemic are merely fanning the fires of revolt against existing governments.

This is what was expressed by the veritable uprising by 250 million proletarians in India, in response to the call by their trade union organisations and linking up with the oppressed rural workers.

One could say that in France and Peru, it was not directly on working-class demands that hundreds of thousands of people mobilised. And of course, the spark for those mobilisations was produced by democratic demands.

But, as pointed out in the Alarm Manifesto, everywhere “workers are coming up against the anti-democratic measures against freedom of speech and the freedom to organise that are being taken by governments, using the pandemic as an excuse.

And in Peru and France (just like in Barcelona, Algiers, Beirut, Santiago de Chile, Minsk and Bangkok in the previous months, and also in the United States in a certain form, (with millions of people protesting against institutional racism), “millions are expressing their pressing need to overthrow the current regimes and break with the existing institutions. Many of these processes underline the full relevance today of the Marxist theory of permanent revolution: the smallest democratic demand, the slightest demand for the national sovereignty of oppressed peoples collides head-on with decaying imperialism and makes the working class the only social force that can take the lead in the fight for democracy and sovereignty, linking those tasks with the tasks of the struggle for socialism.

Indeed, whether it involves demands directly linked to the daily survival of the working class – like in India – or democratic demands, the working class is the only social force capable of carrying with it all of the nation’s oppressed layers (in both the imperialist countries and the countries dominated by imperialism) in order to ward off the looming disaster.

Another point that is shared by all of these processes is that they all pose the question of the working class’s political independence, the urgent need to overcome its crisis of leadership and sweep aside the obstacles raised by the leaders of the old working-class organisations who have tied their fate to the decaying capitalist system.

Is it an exaggeration to say that in France – like in all of the imperialist countries – the Macron government, which is now in open crisis, is only “holding on” thanks to the consensus guaranteed to it by the leading apparatuses of the “left-wing” parties, which on 19 March voted as one in the National Assembly to approve the first installment of the government’s programme for bailing out the banks and the bosses (which today has reached a total of 560 billion euros, roughly equivalent to US$680 billion)?

Will they succeed in saving Macron and his regime, which increasing numbers of workers and youth want to “get lost”? At the time of writing these editorial notes, manoeuvres are well underway at the highest levels of the apparatuses in an attempt to distort the movement that wants to impose the withdrawal of Macron’s anti-democratic law, as the first of many defeats.


As the editorial in Issue No.267 (2 December 2020) of the French weekly labour newspaper La Tribune des travailleurs [Workers’ Tribune] states:

For its part, the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID) (3) has said it and expressed it on its banners and placards, and in its slogans and leaflets handed out on protest marches: we think that the urgent thing is to drive Macron from power right now, to convene a sovereign Constituent Assembly, to eliminate the Fifth Republic and open up the path to a government of the majority, a government to defend working people and the youth. Of course, one can share this position, or not. But let us say clearly that the first step for heading in this direction, and in any case the first step for heading towards breaking with the bourgeoisie and its institutions, is to insist upon the withdrawal of the Global Security Law right now, immediately. Unconditionally, and on a united basis. A first step towards the major change which the situation places on the agenda.

In Peru, on 10 November the formidable movement of the youth and the workers forced the leadership of the Workers’ General Confederation of Peru (CGTP) – the country’s main labour organisation – to formulate the demand of “the convening of a sovereign Constituent Assembly. This does not cancel out the fact that, as part of this same movement, that same leadership (which emerged from Stalinism) has declared itself in favour of a “social pact”, which is synonymous around the world with agreeing to the capitalists’ plans. But the powerful movement that rose up on 10 November, going against any “social pact”, precisely puts on the agenda the need to sweep away the old corrupt institutions that are completely subordinated to the IMF and the U.S. Embassy; therefore the need for the immediate convening of a sovereign Constituent Assembly by the urban and rural workers’ organisations, and a government of the CGTP together with the working-class organisations that will take the measures for breaking with imperialism, on which the nation’s survival depends.

Because in Peru, like in India and everywhere else, the workers have not “given up using these instruments historically derived from their class struggle to defend their interests” (Alarm Manifesto), beginning with the trade union organisations – which we do not confuse with the apparatuses that head those organisations. The historic strength of the general strike on 26 November in India shows that there is nothing inevitable about the Sacred Union (4) which the leaders of the labour movement have reached in practice with the capitalist governments.
Of course, one day of strike action is not enough to defeat the capitalist governments. Nevertheless, the platform of emergency measures put forward by the 250 million strikers may begin to answer the question posed in the Alarm Manifesto:

What measures appropriate to the situation would a government take if it was genuinely concerned to protect the health of the vast majority?

Because, “in all countries the question of the struggle for a government of the workers of the towns and countryside must be brought to the forefront in the face of the bankruptcy of all current governments unable to counter the pandemic, whether they are “classic” capitalist governments, or governments in which the old parties that emerged from the workers’ movement participate, or even governments composed essentially of those parties.

This question is being posed around the world, in every country, and it is linked to the need for the tool that is indispensable for the working class to accomplish that task: building the revolutionary workers’ party. This is the objective set by the OCRFI and each one of its member organisations in the various countries.

The Alarm Manifesto is published in this issue and submitted for consideration by “the workers, youth, labour activists around the world and all those who want to put an end to capitalist exploitation”, by all those who are seeking out paths for building the indispensable workers’ party and the International.

— 3 December 2020

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ENDNOTES

(1) Some examples: the withdrawal of all anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes; the cancellation of small farmers’ debts; a monthly cash payment of 7,500 rupees for all families not paying income tax; a free food ration of 10 kg per month per person in need; an immediate stop to privatisation of the public sector; permanent contracts for workers on insecure contracts; equal pay for equal work; expansion of the MGNREGA (rural employment guarantee scheme) to provide 200 days’ work per year in rural areas at enhanced wages of 600 rupees per day; the building of a high-quality hospital in each district; and many more.
The platform also rejects division on the basis of religion, as it includes the democratic demand for the repeal of the Modi government’s discriminatory anti-Muslim laws.


(2) Because who can believe that the leniency being shown to the Ethiopian regime by the big powers is not linked to the fact that the country has become the new El Dorado for the textile multinationals? A country where the Ethiopian worker, paid the equivalent of just US$23 per month, represents the world’s cheapest workforce in the textile sector.


(3) The members of the French section of the Fourth International are politically active in the POID.


(4) Translator’s note: The union sacrée or Sacred Union was a political truce in France during the First World War, in which a significant part of the socialist movement agreed not to oppose the government or call any strike, in the name of patriotism.

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AZANIA / SOUTH AFRICA

  • BLACK REPUBLIC
  • Newsletter published by the AS-FI
  • (Azanian Section of the Fourth International / OCRFI)
  • Issue N°21 – December 2020 

We Must Defend the Working Class! United Front Solidarity for Socialism! Workers of Azania Unite!

[Note: The following letter was received from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU). We publish it together with our response to it, to further amplify the clarion call, to unite the working class on a non-sectarian basis, around a revolutionary program that will prepare the masses and the Black Working Class for the seizure of power and the death of Capitalism.]

Letter from SAFTU

  • 8 December 2020
  • Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)
  • Secretary General: Cde Ashraf Jooma
  • Per email: ashrafjooma@gmail.com

Dear Comrades,

RE: SAFTU going back to the streets and call for joint action with all the working class formations

You are sectarian when you place the needs of your organisation above the interests of the working class”- V.I. Lenin

On the 25th of September we wrote to you informing you that we will be submitting a Section 77 notice to NEDLAC to force an agreement on the demands we have placed. It must be noted that those demands were drawn from the June 2018 Working Class Summit Declaration.

SAFTU has already started to mobilise its members. SAFTU has called for a 24-hour general strike on the 24th of February 2021, which is the day that the anti-poor budget will be presented by the government. We don’t see this total economic shut down as an event but as a process to resist what is unfolding in our country.

As we have said in our previous letter to you, no single component of the working class is strong enough to reverse this crisis. That is why we are writing this letter to call for maximum unity of the working class against the situation we outline in brief below.


The economic malaise places the nation at a point of no return. The levels of poverty, unemployment (in particular amongst our youth and women), inequality, corruption, crime, internecine violence, patriarchy, racism, xenophobia and other maladies have reached extreme proportions. We project untold levels of social strife if nothing is done.

The return of an apparent Covid-19 second wave in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, and the lack of State support for those already affected, will not be met with the same tolerance poor and working people allowed government and employers during the first wave.

For at the same time, in part thanks to the way Covid-19 amplifies race, class and gender inequality, we are battered by the pandemic of violence, with women and children bearing the brunt of an extremely stressed society, where nearly 60 people are killed violently in our streets each day. Most of these killings happen between Friday and Monday morning around shebeens [an unlicensed establishment selling liquor]. This underscores another crisis – liquor abuse – which directly follows from extremely high levels of stress and hopelessness, associated with the economic crisis facing the overwhelming majority.

We risk losing another generation of youth to drugs and the vicious cycle of crime. Women, including the aged, live in fear in their homes and streets.

Government is collapsing, overrun by cronyism, corruption and gross neglect. The Zondo Commission reveals rot reaching to the highest levels of our political elite: the Cabinet, the ruling party and the mayor of our largest city. So corrupt are some State officials and politicians that not even the lifesaving Personal Protection Equipment desperately needed by our heroic health workers and citizens during the pandemic was safe from their greedy claws. South Africa’s political leadership have become multimillionaires at the expense of the people. They had a ranking of 23rd best state in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index in the mid-1990s but that fell to 70th least corrupt in 2020.

We calling for a tight coordination of the working class programmes and will call for resuscitating the working class steering committee and the launching of the peoples assembles on the ground to ensure effective coordination on the ground. We will welcome any other suggestion on how we as the working class could better coordinate to ensure effective mobilisation.

Looking forward to see you in the streets

  • Comradely yours, 
  • Zwelinzima Vavi 
  • General Secretary 

– – – – –

Letter of Reply from AS-FI

Azanian Section of the Organising Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI) & International Workers Committee (IWC)

10 December 2020

Dear Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi,

Dear Comrades of the national leadership of the South African Federation of Trade Unions:

We thank you very much for your letter, sent to us on the 8th of December, 2020. [1]

We welcome your decision to address the political parties, trade unions and community organisations of the Black working class of our country, Azania, as we also share your concerns that “no single component of the working class is strong enough to reverse this crisis“, and the need to “to call for maximum unity of the working class”.

Unity of the Black working class and all its organisations is now more than ever needed to stop the anti-workers, anti-Black majority and anti- democratic policy of the ANC-COSATU-SACP tripartite alliance government — a policy that is fully subordinated to the dictates of International Monetary Fund, WTO and of the white capitalist minority, which, in our point of view, safeguarded all its economic and social privileges through the 1994 agreements.

The situation you describe in your letter is truly the situation of the Black working class majority in our country. The situation in South Africa/Azania is a particular illustration of the situation the international working class and toiling masses are facing these past months, as a result of both the management of Covid-19 pandemics by all capitalist governments on the one hand, and of the agony of the world capitalist system, based on private ownership of means of production, leading humankind to barbarism.

Under the National lockdown of the tripartite alliance government, reminiscent of the State of Emergency under Apartheid, the working class and its communities found themselves having to endure severe hardships.

The ANC-led government, from the onset, assured the people that they had everything under control, and that there was a plan. THEY LIED!

That was evident from the chopping and changing and relaxation of the measures implemented and the lack of provision of basic sanitizers and masks to the masses, and the different approaches to the provinces with the latest measures announced.

They succumbed to the dictates of monopoly capital; the major supermarket chain stores, the taxi industry, the mining industry, and the white owned farming industry especially in the Cape Province (which is DA controlled) that is the Wine and Fruit farmers who export their products.

Workers have been put into a precarious position and forced to work. The migration of workers from the Eastern Cape (one of the poorest provinces) to the Western Cape and back has resulted in the recent increase in Covid19 infections and deaths.

NO provision was made for the masses that have been in an impoverished condition for decades, due to lack of proper and adequate housing, healthcare, education, social services and a high unemployment rate.

Lack of PPEs has put the frontline workers who are regarded as essential services, at great risk, and health workers’ organisations are taking the matter to court to compel the state to comply.

In such a situation, our political tendency will unconditionally support the call for a 24-hour general strike on the 24th of February 2021, day of presentation of the anti-poor budget by the government.

Of course we know that a single day of general strike will not be enough to defeat the government, as was shown by the most powerful strike in human history that took place last November 26 in India, with 250 million workers went on strike against the reactionary government of Modi.

But we see the call for a general strike on February 24th by SAFTU as a possible first step toward a more general movement that will defeat the ANC-led capitalist government and its anti-worker, anti-poor budget.

As you invite us to formulate our “suggestion on how we as the working class could better coordinate to ensure effective mobilisation”, we would like to submit to SAFTU, and to all trade union, community and political bodies involved in the preparation of the general strike the following demands, around which we suggest to set up a broad united front, at all levels in the country: plants, townships, universities and colleges, farms, by encouraging street, block and workplace committees to educate, and build capacity to eradicate the political apathy that exists.

– Down with anti-poor budget 2021!

– Immediately stop the privatisation of State-owned companies!

– Immediate and full access to water and sanitation

– Provide an income grant to all unemployed and casual workers. And the insourcing of all casual workers

– All wages must be paid in full

– Immediate prohibition of lay-offs

– Provide adequate medical facilities to Informal settlements, like mobile clinics

– Feeding schemes to distribute free healthy meals to the unemployed, elderly and children

– Nationalise the healthcare system; the private Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities. One national healthcare system

– Testing and treating of Coronavirus and other opportunistic infections must be free and accessible

– All National and International Debt must be cancelled

– Bail out the working class, not the Banks and finance capital

– Provide PPE to all workers and their communities

– Immediate requisition of private farms under control of black farmworkers

– Nationalise mining industry

– Immediate free and decolonized higher education

We submit these proposals to you, and to all those who are ready to mobilize the Black working class majority of the country for its own interests.

We thank you again for your request and stand available to meet with you, as we don’t have separate interests from that of the Black working class majority.

In Solidarity

Yours in the struggle for a Socialist Workers Republic

Comradely

  • Ashraf Jooma
  • Secretary General
  • +27 72 393 2973

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ENDNOTE

[1] Formally, the Socialist Party of Azania no longer exists, as some of its leaders decided without any discussion to unilaterally dissolve the party within a so-called “Black Consciousness Movement United” (BCMU). But we, as former general secretary of SOPA, and SOPA Youth Organization, SAYRO, continue the political tradition and heritage of the SOPA, and its fight for a Black Republic of Azania, and for an Azanian Workers Party. 

* * * * * * * * * *

Out with this [Macron] government!

FRANCE / POID EDITORIAL

La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers’ Tribune) Issue no. 270 – 23 December 2020 – Editorial

It’ll Be Fine …

By Daniel Gluckstein

Macron has got everything right in response to the pandemic, and even better than other countries: this was the line peddled by the government spokesperson as he reported on the Council of Ministers meeting on 21 December. The truth is quite different: on 21 December, the official death-toll in France due to the Covid-19 epidemic was 60,900, or 909 per million inhabitants. This should be compared to the 974 deaths per million inhabitants in the United States, where Trump has implemented a disastrous policy based on a denial of the pandemic, and to the 857 deaths per million inhabitants in Brazil, where Bolsonaro – also in denial – has abandoned the population to one of the worst health situations.

France, a country with a Social Security system and public services – which for this reason is often cited in the labour movement in the United States and Brazil as an example to follow – has achieved the feat of producing results that are barely better than those in the United States and much worse than in Brazil! This reality is the result of the policy pursued by successive governments, which for decades attacked the Social Security system and the public hospital network; but it is also first and foremost the result of the policy pursued by the Macron government, the result of its repeated lies about testing and masks, and of its refusal to take the necessary emergency measures and requisition measures.

As we come to the end of this dramatic year, we our send our solidarity wishes to the tens of thousands of bereaved families and the hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered and are still suffering from the illness and its aftermath, to the workers who have been laid off by bosses who have benefitted to the tune of billions from the government, to the young people who have been expelled from university faculties and high schools by the government’s decisions, to the young people condemned to insecure employment and chasing after small jobs, and to all those who have suffered and are suffering from the moral, psychological, financial, material and health consequences of the pandemic, and also and above all from the irresponsible policy of the Macron government as it follows in the footsteps of Trump and Bolsonaro.

To all those people, we send our wishes of solidarity and fightback: we wish for the mobilisation of the workers and youth on a united basis to impose the indispensable emergency programme that will confiscate the billions from the speculators and apply them to banning lay-offs and job-cuts, to creating jobs, to opening up the hospital beds and school classes that are needed; in other words, a programme of human civilisation opposed to the government’s programme of barbarism.

We will not be sending our wishes to the recluse of La Lanterne (1), who is receiving medical care in the best possible conditions. The man who began his career as a bank clerk in Baron de Rothschild’s business is from all points of view the representative of the financial and banking aristocracy. “The aristocrats to the lamp post” [2] was the song sung by the people of Paris during the French Revolution, convinced that once the aristocracy and the monarchy had disappeared, then “It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine…” [3]

Times have certainly changed. But yes, it’ll be fine, once Macron is driven from power together with his policies. The sooner the better.

ENDNOTES

[1] Translator’s note: La Lanterne is a hunting lodge in Versailles, one of the two official retreats of the President of the Republic. Macron is staying there currently, convalescing from Covid-19 in isolation.

[2] Translator’s note: The slogan “À la lanterne!” [“To the lamp post!”] gained special meaning in Paris and throughout France during the early phase of the French Revolution, from the summer of 1789. Lamp posts were used by mobs to perform lynchings of officials and aristocrats in the streets of Paris. The English equivalent would be “String them up!” (UK) or “Hang’ em high!” (U.S.).

[3] Translator’s note: “Ça ira” [“It’ll be fine”] is an emblematic song of the French Revolution, first heard in May 1790. It underwent several changes in wording, with the sans-culottes version calling for the lynching of the nobility and the clergy (using the phrase “à la lanterne!”), but the chorus always included the title words.

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