TO Weekly 32: To Defeat Jim Crow 2.0, We Must End the Filibuster!

The ORGANIZER WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

ISSUE No. 32 – JULY 17, 2021

Please Distribute Widely!

————————–

IN THIS ISSUE (No. 32):

To Defeat Jim Crow 2.0, We Must End the Filibuster! — Editorial

Biden: Let Cuba Breathe, Lift the Embargo Now! — Editorial

Last Minute: Federal Judge Rules DACA Unlawful

The Meaning of the Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

Freedom Rider: U.S. Out of Haiti! – by Margaret Kimberly ‚ BAR

U.S. Labor Must Call for an End to U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel

Messages of Solidarity with the Million Worker March (Oct. 17, 2004)

**********

To Defeat Jim Crow 2.0, We Must End the Filibuster!

Independent Working-Class Action Needed

to Restore and Expand Voting Rights!

EDITORIAL

The name of the game is disenfranchisement. The latest blatant attacks on voting rights have even the corporate media broadcasting daily about the inherently undemocratic structure of the U.S. Constitution, particularly the composition of the Senate, which is based upon minority rule, and the Electoral College. It should come as no surprise to us, then, that with the further decomposition of capitalism even the right to vote won through blood and struggle cannot be allowed to stand.


The question before us is: What do we do about it – or rather, how do we best promote independent working-class action, which is what’s needed to restore voting rights?

 First, what are the facts?

There can be no doubt that Jim Crow 2.0 is on the rise. As of May 14, lawmakers had passed 22 new laws in 14 states attacking the right to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute. Since mid-May, the number of such states has increased to 28, with more than 350 pieces of legislation restricting voting rights.

New York Times article (May 15) described some of the new restrictions to the basic right to vote – restrictions that target Black voters in particular. These include limiting the use of drop boxes, modifying election rules, closing polling places in heavily Black districts, reducing in-person voting hours, doing away with local laws that allow automatic registration for absentee voting, granting broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers (for intimidation purposes), and removing hundreds of thousands of voters from the voting lists. It is so outrageous that even distributing water within certain boundaries of a polling station is a misdemeanor.

This Republican-led assault prompted Democrats in the House of Representatives to pass a voting rights bill last March – the For the People Act – aimed at restoring voting rights. But Republican Senators, joined by a few Democrats, including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, denied a debate on voting rights, shielding behind the Senate filibuster, which requires a supermajority (60 votes) for a law to be enacted.

Then, on July 1, the Supreme Court’s reactionary majority upheld Arizona laws that restrict the right to vote for Blacks, striking down the remaining clause in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that could be used to defend the right of Blacks to vote. (In 2013, the Court struck down a key clause in the Act.) 

But it’s not just about voting. The right to protest is also under attack.

According to Pen America, legislators – mainly Republican – have submitted 100 state bills that “in some way aim to amplify or introduce penalties associated with ‘protest related activity’.” The penalties in the new bills are severe. Activists blocking traffic, a tactic commonly used in protest actions, would become ineligible for student loans or unemployment benefits.

Those especially targeted are activists demanding justice for the victims of police violence and an end to the systemic racism that has permeated all aspects of the body politic. During the months of May-June 2020, more than 20 million activists took to the streets nationwide to protest the police execution of George Floyd. The New York Times (July 3, 2020) reported that as many as 26 million people in 550 cities nationwide took to the streets on June 6 in what the Times noted “may be the largest movement in U.S. history.”

What are the obstacles?

President Joe Biden and top Democratic Party elected officials are speaking out against the attacks on voting rights. Some of them, such as Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty, have even been arrested (July 15), for demanding passage of the For the People Act. Their overall focus, however, is on legislative actions to protect voting rights. They are refusing to end minority rule in the Senate. They are refusing to end the filibuster.

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) are the most egregious; they opposed the For the People Act on the grounds that it had no bipartisan support. Together with a few other Democratic senators, they introduced a compromise bill that was hailed by Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams, among others, but was roundly denounced by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans.

But it’s not just the recalcitrant “moderate” Democratic senators who are the problem; the Democratic Party as a whole, beginning with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is refusing to end the filibuster. All are content to shield behind the filibuster as they refuse to heed the will of the people and enact majority rule.

Why this refusal?

Biden and the DNC could easily strong-arm senators Manchin and Sinema into ending the filibuster and restoring full voting rights. But their eternal quest for “bipartisanship” prevents them from doing so. Their role is to maintain the capitalist status-quo – and preserving the filibuster is central to this task, just as it has been throughout U.S. history. Nnamdi Lumumba, co-convener of the Ujima Peoples Progress Party, explained: “The filibuster has been a means of coercion, especially against the Black working class. If you look at the history of the Senate filibuster, you see that it was created to stop any attempts to establish social justice over the last 150 years – particularly in relation to slavery, lynching, or voting rights.”

The Democratic Party’s refusal to end the filibuster has been rendered even more necessary for the ruling class in the aftermath of the historic upsurge that swept the country to demand justice for George Floyd.

This movement, possibly the largest in U.S. history, destabilized the country’s political establishment and summoned all the wings of the capitalist class, including its “progressive” wing, to make every effort to channel the profound discontent of millions of people back into the safe channels of the Democratic Party.

It was a movement that arose from the rank-and-file and only later dragged in the nominal leaders of the Black and social justice movements. Its spontaneity is what frightened the Democrats; it was a movement expressing profound anger, which they did not control.

Ending the filibuster would mean opening the floodgates to the millions of people fighting for genuine police reform, voting rights, Medicare for All, a $15 federal minimum wage, the PRO Act, Papers for All undocumented immigrants – and all other pressing demands. 

What is to be done?

An independent mass-action and broad-based united front to defend voting rights needs to be launched immediately, with the labor movement’s full participation.

Some first steps have been taken in this direction, but they are only small steps in relation to what is needed. The Poor People’s Campaign, which is led by the Rev. William Barber, has called for a season of non-violent direct action from July 12 to August 8 to demand that Congress end the filibuster, pass all the provisions of the For the People Act, fully restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and enact a $15 federal minimum wage.

The labor movement needs to declare its independence from the Democratic and Republican parties – the one big property party with two names – and mobilize its millions of members in independent mass actions in the streets to defend and expand democratic rights. 

It took a mass movement, led by Black working-class organizations and their allies, to compel President Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1965. Today, a similar movement needs to take shape in the ranks of the labor movement and among labor’s community allies, first and foremost the Poor People’s Campaign, aimed at putting an end to the filibuster – and an end to the assault on working-class rights and democratic rights.

Independent united-front mass action in the streets across the nation, organized by labor-community coalitions, is an essential component of a winning strategy. But it is not the only component. Working-class political action aimed at organizing an Independent Labor Party rooted in the unions and the oppressed communities is more urgent than ever. Such a party could be forged in the labor-community assemblies’ fight to restore and expand voting rights, along with other key demands that the Democrats are refusing to implement.

Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) is promoting three local campaigns for independent working-class politics: the Ujima People’s Party campaign in Maryland, Connie White’s Campaign for City Council in Long Beach (CA), and the South Carolina Labor Party.

We invite our readers to learn more about these three campaigns by visiting the LCIPs new website: www.lcipcommittee.org. Please join us in this fight for independent working-class action.

**********

No Time to Lose, Lift the Cuban Embargo Now!

For the past 62 years, U.S. administrations – whether led by Democrats or Republicans — have sought to bring the Cuban Revolution to its knees with an embargo that has crippled the Cuban economy and plunged a once-resilient nation into chaos.

Never before in the history of the Cuban Revolution has the economic and social crisis – a crisis Made in the USA – reached such proportions. With the life support of tourism drastically weakened as a result of the COVID pandemic, and with the tightening of the sanctions by Trump, who declared Cuba a “terrorist country,” the discontent of the people has mounted by the day. It should be noted that Trump tightened the embargo against Cuba with 243 specific measures that rolled back the partial easings under Obama, and that the Biden administration has maintained all of Trump’s measures.

Thus, it was not a surprise when the people’s deep anger and frustration burst out into the open across Cuba. It began on July 11, when Cubans in the small town of San Antonio de los Baños spontaneously took to the streets to demand access to COVID vaccinations and to protest shortages of food, water, and medical services. As they marched, they chanted, “Patria y Vida” or “Homeland and Life” – a defiant twist on the government slogan “Homeland or Death.”

In an attempt to quell the protest, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel traveled to San Antonio to meet with the people — mostly peasants and working-class people with no access to remittances from relatives abroad or the capital to set up “paladares,” or small, family-run restaurants. He was met with empty water bottles.

In the days that followed, some of the protesters were rounded up and arrested. Many, no doubt, were paid agents of the CIA; such intervention – including sabotage, terrorist destabilization, and more – has been the norm over the past 62 years. But from all video accounts, the overwhelming majority of the protesters appeared to be ordinary working people and youth, mainly Afro-Cuban, who have been the hardest hit by the crisis and have had no conduit to air their legitimate grievances on account of Cuba’s bureaucratic rule.

Today, President Biden is encouraging all the forces in Cuba that are hell-bent on dismantling state ownership of the means of production and eradicating the gains of the Cuban Revolution. Biden, the hypocrite, feigns concern for the hardships facing the average Cuban, while refusing to lift the sanctions. Like Trump, he is catering to the right-wing forces in Miami who are pumping money into the effort to turn Cuba, once again, into the playground of the U.S. ruling elite.

The best help that we in the United States can provide the people of Cuba is to demand that the Biden administration immediately get off the backs of the Cuban people and their revolution. Lift the Embargo Now! Let the Cuban People Breathe!

**********

LAST MINUTE: Federal Judge Rules DACA Unlawful

On July 17, The New York Times reported the following:

“U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen on Friday ruled in favor of nine Republican-led states seeking to block the Biden administration from accepting new applicants to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that has protected many young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation. Hanen said former President Barack Obama exceeded the authority of the executive branch when he launched the program in 2012.”

An immigration attorney, who is a longtime supporter of The Organizer, wrote the following quick note about the decision:

“It’s a bad decision, but if there’s any silver lining it’s that it raises front and center the need to fight for permanent protections.

“The decision itself, which will certainly be appealed – though with little chance of reprieve from a conservative 5th Circuit and SCOTUS – bars new applicants into the DACA program. Current recipients aren’t affected, and DHS can continue to process DACA renewals for now as the issue continues to move through the courts.

“The court order also explicitly says that it does ‘not require DHS or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take’.”

[See our next issue, No. 33 (July 21), for an in-depth analysis of the fight for immigrant rights today.]

***********

Mass demonstration in Port-au-Prince in February 2021

The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse: A Bloody Settling of Accounts Within the Ruling Class

(reprinted from issue no. 298 — July 14, 2021 — of Tribune des Travailleurs / Workers Tribune, the weekly publication of the Democratic Independent Workers Party of France)

On the night of July 6 to 7, around one o’clock in the morning, the private residence of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was attacked by an armed commando. A few hours later, the Prime Minister reported that the president had been assassinated. In the days that followed, it was announced that the commando was composed of two U.S. citizens of Haitian origin and 26 Colombian mercenaries.

Moïse, a banana businessman, had been elected president of Haiti in 2016 in an election in which less than 21% of voters participated. He was a close associate of former President Michel Martelly. Like his predecessor, he had been nothing more than a puppet of the big powers, starting with the United States, which for decades had been pulling the strings of political life of the island, especially since its occupation in 2004 by United Nations troops.

In recent months, the masses have held numerous demonstrations against Moïse’s corrupt regime, which is subservient to the great powers, demanding that he step down from power and protesting against the 50% increase in fuel prices decreed by the government under the orders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These protests peaked on February 6, 2021, the day before the official end of Moïse’s term of office … while the latter claimed, with the support of the U.S. administration, that the end of his term was set for February 7, 2022.

With the purpose of deflecting the workers’ and people’s growing protest movement, a wing of the Haitian ruling class, represented by the “opposition” parties, tried to co-opt these protests. Their goal was to prepare a palace coup that would change the team in power in Port-au-Prince. Their ultimate aim was to better preserve the status quo, which, over the past 17 years, has deprived the Haitian people of their sovereignty and basic rights.

The least we can say is that Jovenel Moïse was widely rejected by the majority of the working masses and poor people of Haiti. However, his assassination by a commando of mercenaries has nothing to do with the struggle of the masses. It does not serve in any way the cause of the country and the struggles of the Haitian people. It is first and foremost a bloody settling of accounts within the Haitian capitalist class.

The same people who obviously ordered his assassination have not sought to take power, leaving it up to the representatives of the U.S. administration to announce that elections will be held next year, with the barely concealed objective of ensuring continuity with the corrupt governments subservient to foreign powers that have presided over the country’s destiny for the past 17 years.

The editorial of the latest issue of the weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté, which appeared on the day Moïse’s assassination was announced, stated:

“The country has progressively found itself in a total impasse. There is a climate of terror, insecurity, and in short, a deep political and administrative paralysis. The all-out destructive policy of imperialism has thus borne fruit, to the point of not only plunging Haiti into chronic underdevelopment, but also alienating it from all its industrial and agricultural development possibilities.

“A kind of regression, if not stagnation, of the standard of living has set in, with the majority of the active population without work as the people sink a little more each day into the violence of misery and arbitrariness.

“The public finances are in constant deficit, the public servants are more and more irregularly paid. The people are pressed beyond the limits of what is bearable, some of them only managing to survive thanks to the subsidies of their families living in foreign lands.

“In truth, nothing can get us out of this labyrinth of confusion, against the backdrop of misery and poverty — nothing can remedy the profound discontent without a fundamental change in the capitalist system, which has always viewed us as a country and a people to be exploited and made completely dependent on their neo-colonial policy. …

“In our opinion, progress and change in the country must be the result of the conscious action of the masses, of the popular forces, of the cadres, the peasants, the workers, the labor forces that produce the national wealth, without which we will never be able to rebuild the nation on new and just social basis. …

“Whatever happens, Haiti Liberté will continue to assume its historical responsibility to promote the overthrow of this system, so that the underprivileged masses can succeed in putting an end to the reign of the watchdogs of the imperialist powers and destroying all the links in the chain of catastrophes and political disasters that have befallen our country.” 

—  Written with our correspondents from Haiti Liberté

**********

Freedom Rider: U.S. Out of Haiti!

By Margaret Kimberley, BAR senior columnist

(reprinted from July 15, 2021 issue of Black Agenda Report)

“Every step Haitians take towards true independence has been systematically subverted.”

The recent assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise has created a great deal of confusion, not only about the crime itself but about the role that the United States might play in that nation. Scant and contradictory information make it difficult to discern who benefits from his killing. Moise was the United States puppet president who refused to step down in February as Haiti’s constitution required, and despite massive protests across the country opposing the continuation of his administration.

Questions about the assassination are relevant but they are not particularly helpful in analyzing the situation. Details about the plot are important but so is understanding the history of Haiti’s relationship with the U.S. and other countries. That history makes a mockery of any claim that the U.S. could be helpful at this moment. 

“Moise was the United States puppet president who refused to step down in February as Haiti’s constitution required.”

Haiti was met with animosity from the beginning. Black people successfully leading a revolt made its former enslavers very angry. In 1825 and again in 1838 the French sent warships threatening to conquer Haiti and re-enslave its population unless they were paid millions of francs. So great was the debt that it was not paid off until 1947 and is estimated to total $25 billion . The narrative that Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere should always be followed by an explanation of how the French grand theft left a nation in financial ruin.

The United States has already directly intervened in Haiti. In 1915 Woodrow Wilson sent marines to occupy that country and they remained for another 19 years. That occupation was followed by U.S. puppet governments including the notorious Duvalier family. Every effort that Haitians have made to win sovereignty for themselves has been met with attack.

Bill Clinton sent troops again in 1994 and his successor George W. Bush followed by kidnapping president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Nature added to Haiti’s woes with a catastrophic earthquake in 2010 and United Nations so-called peacekeeping forces brought cholera which killed 10,000 people.

“Every effort that Haitians have made to win sovereignty for themselves has been met with attack.”

Democrats and Republican presidents alike have done great damage to Haiti with election interference. In 2009 secretary of state Hillary Clinton pressured the government to prevent the minimum wage  from increasing to 61 cents per hour from a paltry 24 cents. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake she forced puppet president Michel Martelly to undo election results and stay in office against the will of Haitian voters.

This is the history that must be remembered when we are told that Haitian officials are requesting the presence of U.S. troops in the wake of assassination. Even if true, the U.S. can never play a positive role there.

Foreign interventions are at the root of Haiti’s problems. Even philanthropy is suspect. The millions of dollars raised after the 2010 earthquake ended up in the hands of the oligarch class. Venezuela’s Petrocaribe project was intended to provide oil to Haiti and other nations at steeply discounted prices. Instead, it was undermined by theft on a massive scale. None of the funds reached the people who desperately needed them.

“The U.S. can never play a positive role in Haiti.”

Haitians are perfectly capable of handling their own affairs. Whenever they take a step toward independence they are quickly subverted. It is bad enough that the United Nations refused to compensate Haiti for the cholera epidemic that it caused, but now they declare who will be the next president , without any input from the Haitian people.

The United States playing any role in Haiti’s future is akin to the fox being left in charge of the henhouse. The assumption that the exploiters can suddenly become helpful is a racist one. Haitians have been punished ever since 1804 because they dared to resist oppression from white led nations. Every step they take towards true independence has been systematically subverted.

If outsiders do nothing else, they must call attention to Haiti’s history and speak the truth about two hundred years of oppression at the hands of more powerful countries. The narrative of incompetent Black people must be denounced whenever it appears. It is the U.S. and its allies who must be exposed as the creators of a failed state. The Haitian people have suffered at their hands long enough. Anyone claiming to be concerned about their fate should speak in their defense and that means opposing any U.S. intervention.

 Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

**********

U.S. Labor Must Call for an End to U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel

By ALAN BENJAMIN

In August 2014, when the violence by the Israeli State flared up against the Palestinian people in Gaza, trade unions in various cities across the United States called for an end to the blockade imprisoning 1.9 million people. This was an important first step in affirming labor’s opposition to U.S. policy in Palestine.

Seven years later, a discussion has opened more widely in the labor movement concerning the situation in Palestine and the deep roots of the conflict. Unions are beginning to raise much more fundamental challenges to U.S. policy in the region.

What has changed since 2014?

• The humanitarian crisis has increased exponentially. The latest crisis began when the Israeli military attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, at the very same time that the Israeli government was confiscating Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan – and right-wing racist mobs were parading through the streets across Israel chanting “Death to Arabs,” destroying Palestinian shops and property, and injuring scores of Palestinians.

• In 2014, Gaza was declared unlivable. Today the situation is far more dire. The sea is filled with sewage due to water filtration systems that have been decimated by repeated Israeli bombings. Hospitals and schools are barely operating for lack of clean water, electricity, infrastructure and funding. The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza have targeted the entire population of 1.9 million Palestinians confined to a 140 square mile land area.

• The illegal settlements across the entire region of historic Palestine have increased dramatically. Land and home evictions have revealed the Israeli State’s clear and declared intent to drive all Palestinian people from their homeland in a process that prestigious international human rights organizations have characterized as “ethnic cleansing” by an “Israeli Apartheid State.”[1]

• The “two-State solution” promised in the 1995 Oslo Accords has been revealed to be a sham. Whatever hope people in the region and around the world may have had in the “two-state” peace process has been definitively dashed. The Oslo Accords have not produced even a semblance of a Palestinian State. What has resulted are 165 powerless, mini-prison camps — all disconnected, all administered and policed by the Israeli State.[2]

• In 2018, a law was adopted proclaiming Israel as the Nation-State of the Jews — and only the Jews. While it codified Israeli practice over decades, its formal adoption revealed for millions of people around the world the true face of an Apartheid State that had masqueraded over the years as “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

People opened their eyes to a State that has different laws according to whether a person is Jewish or not Jewish — with identity cards for Palestinians much like those issued to Black people in Apartheid South Africa.

• More and more people around the world — including more trade unions and union federations (with a majority of the trade unions in Canada) — are denouncing the Israeli State publicly for committing “crimes against humanity.”

Hundreds of thousands of people have organized marches and rallies on every continent to condemn the illegal settlements, evictions, bombings, and blockade. Never before has there been such worldwide outrage and mobilization against Apartheid Israel.

Will the Naftali Bennet government’s treatment of Palestinians be any different?

A question regarding the new Israeli government has been raised in numerous trade union gatherings: Shouldn’t we wait to see how the new Naftali Bennett government tackles the Palestinian question before passing any judgment?

What are the facts?

The new Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennet, was a long-time Minister of Defense under Netanyahu. He supported publicly the 2018 law proclaiming Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people – and only the Jewish people. He stated publicly that “the existence of a Palestinian State would be political suicide for Israel, adding, “the Palestinians aren’t worthy of a State.”

Wherever he goes, Bennett proclaims that he is more right-wing than former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2010 in a televised debate, his racism came to the fore when he stated that, “Palestinians were still climbing trees like apes when the Israeli State was formed.”

The November 9, 2016 issue of Haaretz, a daily newspaper published in Israel, quotes a statement by Bennett, following the election of Donald Trump. Bennett opposed a “two-state solution” and a Palestinian State as follows:

“Trump’s victory is a tremendous opportunity for Israel to immediately announce its intention to renege on the idea of establishing a Palestinian State in the heart of the country. That would be a direct blow to our security and the justice of our cause.

“This is the president-elect’s [Trump’s] outlook as it appears in his platform, and that definitely should be our way. Salient, simple and clear. The era of the Palestinian State is over.”

No. There will be no change of course in relation to the Palestinian people under Naftali Bennett’s coalition government!

What way forward?

The U.S. labor movement needs to send a signal to President Biden and the Congress that change in U.S. policy toward Israel is needed urgently. We need to raise the demand that Apartheid must go, that full democratic rights of Palestinians must be respected, that Palestinian self-determination must be respected, that all Palestinians evicted from their homeland must have the Right to Return, and that equal rights for all – including labor rights — must be respected. 

This will require laying the foundation of a Democratic and Secular Palestine with equal rights for all citizens, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.

The May 2021 “Call by 985 Israeli Jews to Stop Apartheid,” urged the international community to raise these demands. It concludes as follows:

“We call upon the international community to intervene immediately in order to stop Israel’s current aggressions … and to work towards the actualization of the Palestinian Right of Return and to bring about historic justice; to reach a just and democratic solution for all … and founding a State of all its citizens.”

None of this will come about unless the U.S. government insists on these changes. Our government spends $10 million a day in aid to Israel, funding that could go to meeting human needs in the United States. The U.S. must end this aid to Israel. It must adopt BDS, urge an end to the blockade of Gaza, and call for an end to Israel’s current aggressions against the Palestinian people.

********************

ENDNOTES

[1] Many highly respected international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Israeli-based B’tselem have designated these practices by the Israeli State as “Apartheid,” perpetrated by a “regime of legalized racial discrimination against the Palestinian people.” The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into these practices.

Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, noted that, “We are witnessing forced evictions and displacement, land confiscation and alienation, settler violence, the appropriation of natural resources, and the imposition of a two-tiered system of unequal political, social and economic rights based on ethnicity. … Legally, morally, politically, this is entirely unacceptable.”

[2] The British financial magazine, The Economist, which is no friend of the Palestinian people, nonetheless captured this reality quite accurately in an editorial dated May 15 titled “Two States or One.” It stated, in part:

“The Palestinian territory in the West Bank is an archipelago drowned in a sea of expanding Israeli settlements, illegal under international law. Gaza is an island cut off from the world by the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. The Palestinian Authority was supposed to be an embryonic government.

“Young Palestinians now see it as an agent of Israeli occupation, even as they praise Hamas … for resisting Israel. Instead of the stalled two-State process, the new Palestinian vision demands individual rights in a single State. … Even Israeli Arabs complain about inequality and have risen up during the fighting in Gaza. … Many critics of Israeli policy, including some Jews, now compare the treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid.”

A Palestinian trade unionist further explained this point:

“The ‘two-State solution’ provided the illusion that the Israeli State could accept a Palestinian State. But it was never the intention of the Israeli Apartheid State to allow anything resembling a free, independent Palestinian State. The Oslo Accords process only provided cover for the Occupation Forces to keep building illegal settlements in clear violation of international law and to continue the ethnic cleansing of residents of places like Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan – just like they did to 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, including my grand-parents.”

***********

July 10, 2021 launching of Clarence Thomas’s “Mobilizing in OUR OWN NAME” at the ILWU hall in San Francisco. Left to right: Pierre Labossiere, Clarence Thomas, Ralph Schoenman, Mya Shone, Alan Benjamin and Lita Blanc

Messages of Solidarity with the Million Worker March

Clarence Thomas

(partial list of messages sent to the October 17 March and Rally in DC)

To: Clarence Thomas,

Co-Chair, Million Worker March and

Executive Board Member

ILWU Local 10

MESSAGE FROM INDIA

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We are with you at every step of the Million Worker March on October 17, 2004. We are at your side in the fight against war, poverty, unemployment, social injustice, and all sorts of devastations thrust upon humankind and the working class by the Imperialist Globalizers and their Ruling Collaborators all over the world.

In the name of “Globalization” and a “New World Order,” what we are witnessing today is a world that is everyday becoming more and more dangerous with new wars, nuclear proliferation, and enormous defense budgets — all at the cost of basic human and social needs, increased devastations, and untold sufferings for the people the world over.

In the struggle against Imperialism, in the struggle against oppression and for justice — which has to be a relentless and united one — the suffering community are with you. Stop not till the goal is reached!

Please accept and convey our Red Salute and Congratulations to all the Fighters!

In Solidarity,

C.K. Sanyal,

General Secretary,

National Federation of Sales Representatives Unions (NFSRU)

Kolkata, INDIA

*************

MESSAGE FROM AFGHANISTAN

 Dear comrades and friends,

We strongly support your voice and struggle on October 17, 2004 for workers’ rights — and we announce our solidarity with you.

The workers and oppressed of Afghanistan have suffered the disasters of war more than any class of society. But due to non-democratic regimes, the laborers have had no chance to organize and build their own independent mass unions and organizations.

So, as we support you in your struggle, we request that all worker rights defenders in the heartland of Imperialism help Afghan workers to build their own unions and fight for their basic rights. Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA) needs your support and solidarity in the particular situation of Afghanistan and the weak position of the working class in terms of building independent unions of workers.

Long live workers’ solidarity around the world

Nasir Loyand

Left Radical of AFghanistan (LRA)

************

MESSAGE FROM PAKISTAN

Dear Sister and brothers,

The All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) is a national trade union center in Pakistan working to uplift the working class and ignored segments of society with better working and living conditions. Its aim is to abolish bonded and child labor and to carry on the struggle to eradicate all sorts of discrimination against men and women, by forming strong and effective women and youth wings.

On behalf of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, we express our deepest greetings to our brothers and sisters for holding a Million Worker March in Washington, DC on October 17, 2004 to defend the U.S. workers’ rights, and to oppose the U.S. war against the people of Iraq, and for the national sovereignty of the Iraqi people.

We strongly endorse your Million Worker March and its objectives of promoting workers’ rights, peace (with the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and mercenaries from Iraq), and national sovereignty in all countries oppressed by U.S. imperialism.

In Pakistan, people and workers are facing harsh conditions, due to government anti-worker policies.. The gap between the poor and rich is extending widely. The government of Pakistan, instead of providing remedies for the common people, is denying workers’ rights by putting a ban on the right to trade union organization and collective bargaining in clear violation of ILO Conventions.

We, the workers in Pakistan, are struggling to restore trade union rights by bringing the Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) into conformity with ILO Conventions. We are struggling to lift restrictions on trade union activities in the public and private sectors, to restore trade union right in all industries, to secure a minimum wage of RS.6000/- (US$ 103) for unskilled worker, and to stop the contract and daily wage system, among other demands.

We are also struggling for peace and national sovereignty, and we are holding several protest rallies to demand the withdrawal the military forces of the US and its allies from Iraq. We want peace not only in our region, but around the globe.

On behalf of the Pakistani workers, we wish your great success in your struggle and more power for the U.S. working class.

Long live workers Unity!

LET US GLOBALIZE OUR STRUGGLE –

TO DEFEAT IMPERIALIST GLOBALIZATION!

In solidarity,

Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhary

General Secretary

All Pakistan Trade Union Federation

President

Pakistan Workers Confederation-Punjab

Rubina Jamil

Chairperson

All Pakistan Trade Union Federation

Secretary

Pakistan Workers Confederation

***********

MESSAGE FROM BRAZIL

Central Unica dos Trabalhadores (CUT)

Unified Workers Federation

Rua Caetano Pinto, 575

CEP 03041-0001

Bras, Sao Paulo, SP – Brazil

Sao Paulo, October 6, 2004

Clarence Thomas

Co-Chair, Million Worker March and

Executive Board Member, ILWU Local 10

The National Executive Board of the Unified Workers Federation (CUT-Brazil), meeting on October 5, received the letter sent by Brother Clarence Thomas to the international labor movement, in the name of the Organizing Committee of the October 17th March to Washington DC (“Million Worker March”).

With this message we would like to express our warmest support for this initiative of our trade union brothers and sisters in the United States of America. It comes at a crucial moment in our common struggle in defense of the interests of workers, in defense of peace, and against the policies of war fed by the Bush government.

The CUT identifies fully with the objectives of the October 17th March, as they were explained in the letter from Brother Thomas: to unite workers with the existing anti-war movement in your country, and with the struggles for social justice, and to advance a labor agenda that includes universal health care, the reinforcement of civil rights, support for public education and an end to the occupation of Iraq.

Your struggle is our struggle in defense of the workers and for a world without war and exploitation!

We wish great success for the October 17th March, which will certainly have an important impact in the United States as well as on an international scale.

In Fraternity and Solidarity,

JOÃO ANTONIO FELICIO

Secretary General                                  

JOÃO VACCARI NETO

Secretary of International Relations

*******************

MESSAGE FROM INDIA

October 3, 2004

Dear Brother Clarence Thomas,

The decision of American unions and other social organizations to organize a Million Workers March in Washington on October 17, 2004, just few days before the US Presidential election is truly magnificent. We congratulate you and all others in this great initiative.

There is no doubt that both main U.S. political parties contesting the election followed policies in the interests of only the rich. They created wars, framed tax laws, and made trade treaties to unjustly enrich their cronies. The economic and social burden consequent upon such dreaded policies were passed on to the shoulders of working people and their families. Hence, the demands raised for the Million Workers March, demands for changing U.S. policies, for jobs, labor rights, social security, right to health care, education, end occupation of Iraq assume international significance. These demands of the workers in the most advanced industrialized country undoubtedly coincide with the issues and demands of the most backward country workers. Capitalist exploitation is universal.

We are with you in your Washington March on October 17. We fully support the demands. We trust U.S. labor would embrace the March wholeheartedly and the independent power gained by the U.S. labor movement would help workers in other countries of the world in their struggle for liberation.

In Solidarity

N. Vasudevan,

General Secretary

All India Blue Star Employees Federation

Convenor — Trade Union Solidarity Committee,

Mumbai, India

**********

MESSAGE FROM BANGLADESH

Dear Comrades,

It is encouraging to learn that you are holding a million workers march in Washington on 17th October. Your initiative is in defense of the rights of the American workers, your common struggle against war and occupation and for the sovereignty of the Iraqi people and to respect the trade union rights in Iraq.

You are fully aware under which false pretext Iraq was attacked and occupied. Weapons of mass destructions is a false plea, which the attackers now shamelessly confess. Then why a sovereign nation and innocent people are attacked, destroyed with an ultra-modern arsenal, including depleted uranium. In the process more than thousands of Americans had to lay their lives. But for what and for whom? It is only for the economic gains, oil wealth for the big cartels.

The greed of the profiteers and exploiters is never ending. They are out to grab more wealth from every corner of the world. In our country Bangladesh, the American-led economic imperialists are our to grab our oil and gas resources. Our power and telecom sectors are their target. The sea port of our country is on the list of being taken over by the warmonger’s accomplice SSA.

Brothers and Sisters,

We are in the fight. We are facing difficult odds. But we always feel that we are not alone. Because of the various initiatives particularly of the OWC Continuations Committee, the international labor movement is in solidarity with each other.

In this connection, we remember the presence of Brother Clarence Thomas of ILWU Local 10 and other representatives from Europe and Asia in our “National Conference to “Save our Port and Save our Country” in March this year. The successful conference was able to halt the SSA initiative for the time being. Through fierce resistance, we will struggle to halt the handing over of our gas to Unocal. 

We firmly believe that your proposed March on 17th October could be an eye opener to the U.S. administration. The occupation and genocide in Iraq must end, U.S. Forces must come back home, the burden on the taxpayers must ease, the workers will win back their legitimate rights.

We congratulate ILWU Local 10, which took the initiative of this great march.

We wish total success.

1. M. SHARIAT ULLAH

   GENERAL SECRETARY

   CHATTAGRAM BANDAR SRAMIK UNION (Chittagong Port Workers Union)

   BANGLADESH.

2.  TAFAZZUL HUSSAIN

   PRESIDENT

   BANGLADESH JATIYO SRAMIK FEDERATION (BJSF)

   (Bangladesh National Workers Federation)

******************

MESSAGE FROM KOREA

Dear colleagues,

We strongly support the Million Worker March on Oct 17 in the U.S!

Coincidentally, on Oct 17, we Korean activists, including labor union organizations, will be launching massive demonstration in the Seoul streets in opposition to the war in Iraq and for the purpose of bringing the South Korean troops home.

Nowadays, regardless of nationality and race all over the world, the situation confronting the grassroots movements is similar.

Firstly, almost everywhere and every day, we have been faced with tragic situation that fundamentally originates from the capitalists’ greed for profits.

We have been faced with the horror of attacks from the so-called ‘neoliberalistic structual adjustment’ plans that forced upon us the race to the bottom for the reason of competitiveness effectiveness, that means privatization of public sector and diminishing of pensions, and so on.

It’s the same case in Korea, too!

We support you when you write the following:

“It won’t stop with just one march, but will gain momentum from that march.”

Let’s pave the way for the international solidarity of the rank and file with this struggle so as to deal a blow to the globalization of capital !

Thank you

Jung Sik Hwa

Vice President of Korea Metal Worker’s Federation

************

MESSAGE FROM THE PHILIPPINES

Dear Comrades,

We workers from the Philippine Railways and the Workers Party, express our solidarity and support to this Million Worker March being organized and pushed by the brave working men and women of America. This action of yours will surely have a big impact in the consciousness of greedy capitalists and their puppies in government. Truly it’s high time for the working class to show its force and be heard, we are the majority and yet we are treated like a commodity; our hands make the world move but we are treated as slaves with no dignity.

Good luck to your March, we hope someday, the world’s working class will move in single motion and direction to fight for workers’ dignity.

Long Live Solidarity of Labor.

Edgar P. Bilayon

Chairman,

Philippine Railway workers Union

Deputy General Secretary,

Philippine Workers Party

***********

MESSAGE FROM HONG KONG

Dear Friends,

It is very exciting for us to learn about the Million Workers March to be held in DC on Oct. 17, 2004. We are sorry that we can’t stand with all of you in this important event, but we are here sending you our best wishes for the big success of the event. We strongly believe that it can enhance stronger solidarity among workers in the US and challenge the existing US Government.

I want to let you know that you are not alone. Hong Kong workers are also facing the same difficulties due to the economic globalization. We need to keep hand in hand to fight for workers’ rights in the US and in Hong Kong and in the world as well. Your March will definitely serve as an example for our labor movement.

Best wishes.

CHAN Ka Wai

Associate Director

Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

*************

MESSAGE FROM THE UK

Dear comrades,

As you take part in the Million Worker March in Washington DC on October 17, you should know that in Britain there are many hundreds of thousands of trade unionists who share your opposition to the shameful war on the people of Iraq and the continuing occupation.        

TGWU 2/441 Branch and Torbay & District Trades Union Council, based in South-West England, have both played an active part in promoting the aims in Britain of the International Campaign for Labour Rights in Iraq, making sure that the British labour movement is part of the international mobilisation to defend trade union independence in Iraq, to defend the right of all Iraqi trade unionists to join a trade union of their own choosing, free from interference by foreign governments and their puppets in Baghdad, and free to oppose the privatization of their economy for the benefit of the big corporations.

We are also mindful of the fact that just before the war on the Iraqi people was unleashed, the British government was telling us that it could not afford to fund the pay increase being asked for by the firefighters, who are prepared to risk their lives to save others, and then a few days later, as innocent women and children in Iraq were being bombed in Iraq, our Finance Minister announced that the whole cost of that murderous adventure would be covered by the taxpayers. The most recent official figure calculated that cost at £6 billion.      

We say with you: Taxpayers‚ money, money generated by working people, should go towards jobs, universal health care, public housing, public education, proper pensions and proper public services, not for war!         You should also know that the British government has recently floated the idea of introducing a law similar to the Patriot Act that exists in the US. We share your view that the aim of such legislation is to try to terrorize and suppress the struggles of working people for their rights, and to destroy democratic control of the economy and of society.     

The answer is: organize! Mobilize the full strength of the labour movement, which represents the interests of the many, not the few!  Let us show that we the many are the true defenders of genuine democracy, based on universal social rights, we are the true defenders of the fundamental freedoms that were won by organized working men and women through hard struggle, and which must allow all men and women to live with dignity, secure from hunger and oppression.         

The old slogan that appears on many trade-union banners around Britain is still true, and still applies to struggle in the US, in Britain, in Iraq, and around the world: Unity is Strength.          

Together we can win! Let’s Organize!  

Yours in solidarity

Charlie Charalambous

Chair, TGWU 2/441 Newton Abbot & Mid-Devon Branch

President, Torbay & District Trades Union Council

**********

%d bloggers like this: