The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter – Issue No. 50 – January 29, 2022
IN THIS ISSUE:
• Editorial: Democrats Fail to Protect Voting Rights; Assault on Democratic Rights Moves Full Steam Ahead
• Editorial: Ukraine – Behind the Escalating War Between the United States and Russia
• Interview with Clarence Thomas Calling for Support to the Feb. 1 International Forum to Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners in the U.S.
• Message from IWC Co-Coordinators in Support of Feb. 1 International Forum to Free Mumia
• February 6: NorCal Campaign Launch of Marco Amaral for CA Superintendent of Public Instruction
• Solidarity with Striking Clover Workers in Azania / South Africa!
• Interview with Mbali Ngwenda (Azania / South Africa)
• Six Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Persecuted by the Israeli Government – by Alan Benjamin
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Democrats Fail to Protect Voting Rights; Assault on Democratic Rights Moves Full Steam Ahead
In our editorial in The Organizer dated December 22, we noted that when it comes to enacting far-reaching progressive legislation, “Democrats will always be two votes short.” Sure enough, on January 19 – just weeks after President Biden’s Build Back Better bill went down to defeat – Democrats once again fell two votes short, when Senators Krysten Sinema (Arizona) and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) blocked passage of critical voting rights legislation.
As noted in our editorial, there are 389 bills in 48 state legislatures that would curtail voting rights — that is, suppress and deny the participation of Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans in the electoral process. In the Republican-run “red states,” at least 20 anti-voting laws already have been passed. The assault on voting rights is moving full steam ahead both on the state and federal levels.
History has demonstrated this point amply: Basic democratic rights won through struggle are not cast in stone. So long as the capitalist system, with its two corporate parties, is still in place, every gain wrested from the ruling class is threatened.
From voting rights to reproductive rights
January 22 was the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that characterized a woman’s right to choose abortion as “fundamental.” The majority opinion, written by Justice Harry A. Blackmun, was rooted in a woman’s right to privacy, which he found implicit in the liberty guarantee of the due-process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. If one is to judge by their remarks, the majority of today’s justices think otherwise. They consider that it is up to each and every state to set the rules regarding abortion. That is why the headline of a Huffington Post article on January 21, echoed by others, declaimed: “Is This the Last Anniversary of Roe v. Wade?”
When the Supreme Court hands down its decision in a Mississippi case this summer (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization), access to legal and safe abortion could end for more than 100 million women, including those living in nearly every Southern state and many throughout the Midwest. And that is not to speak of vigilante rule imposed with the Texas anti-abortion legislation S.B. 8, which other states plan to adopt.
What has the Democratic Party done to preserve abortion rights during these 49 years. For the most part, it has stood silently by as access to reproductive care has become difficult and, in many places impossible, for women, particularly women of color without economic resources. Biden, who as senator supported the Hyde Amendment curtailing federal funding for abortion, has not uttered a single word to defend abortion as an essential woman’s reproductive right. As for Democratic Party legislators, themselves, it has been almost a decade before the token vote last September on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) – token because the legislation will fail inevitably in the Senate.
Which way forward?
Ever since our formation in 1991, a primary and consistent activity for Socialist Organizer has been the publication of our newspaper, The Organizer, demonstrating clearly in its masthead banner our strategic objectives at home and abroad: “For a Labor Party, For a Workers International.”
The Organizer is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer for independent working class political action. It enables our readers and supporters to follow political events carefully, helping them appraise their significance and their effect on the working class and oppressed communities, with the aim of developing effective proposals and strategies for action.
This is reflected clearly in our two recent editorials, both of which analyze how working-class priorities have been betrayed by the Democratic Party time and time again. We quote:
“In 2010, the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and yet failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would have greatly expanded labor rights. They found a convenient excuse: The Great Recession was enough of a strain on the corporate pocketbooks, they argued, that it was necessary to bail out Wall Street, NOT Main Street. And so EFCA was taken off the table, along with a host of other pieces of legislation needed urgently to rescue working people. Wall Street got close to $8 trillion in bailout funding, while Main Street got shafted. …
“Today, a similar situation is unfolding. The failure to enact the Pro Act and fund childcare and real Medicare expansion – along with the failure to protect and expand voting rights – is placed on the shoulders of two people: Senators Manchin and Sinema, the convenient foils. But, as Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen points out, it’s not about two individuals. ‘We cannot continue to put our faith in the Democratic Party,’ he said, ‘which takes every opportunity to betray us time and again’.”
“Trent Willis, president of ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco put it this way in response to the attacks on the voting rights of Black people:
“‘This is not the first time in our history that Black people have been led astray and let down by both political parties. Matter of fact, it’s an ongoing let-down since slavery. It’s an orchestrated backlash that too many Black people are acting like it is not happening. Wake up before we are back in chains’!”
What do we propose, how do we advance the struggle against capitalism, the private ownership of the means of production, and help move the working class forward towards socialism?
We are explicit in our editorials, pointing the way both to the self-organization of the working class, which takes place during mass struggle, and the importance of creating independent working class-political intervention in the body politic itself.
As we wrote in the editorial the “Silent Insurrection – and What Is to Be Done,” written on the anniversary of the January 6 right-wing insurrectionist storming of the Capitol:
“It’s the responsibility of the leaders of the trade union movement – the only organized expression of the working class as a class – to summon the immense power of the working-class majority and Black Lives Matter movement that saw 28 million people take to the streets to protest the police killing of George Floyd. It’s the responsibility of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win to issue an Emergency Call to Action, in alliance with its community allies, to defend – and expand – voting rights.
“There is no time to lose: Independent mass action in the streets NOW – for voting rights; reproductive rights/abortion rights; the ProAct; Medicare for All; Citizenship for All; and living-wage jobs and a union, not bombs and battleships. Waging this fight will inspire all working people and the oppressed to fight back.
“But as long as the labor movement remains tied at the hip to the Democratic Party, it will be waging the struggle with one arm tied behind its back. Independent mass action, though essential, must be coupled with independent working-class political action in the electoral arena.
“It is time to rise up and make the rulers tremble. The labor movement, spearheading a coalition with the communities of the oppressed, can and must defeat the ‘slow insurrection’ and turn things around in favor of working people – but for that it must break with the Democrats and act independently, both in the streets and in the electoral arena.”
That is why Socialist Organizer joined up with labor union leaders and activists, as well as leaders and activists from communities of the oppressed, to develop Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) as a transition to building a working-class party rooted in the trade unions and oppressed communities. The purpose is to create the building blocks — the labor-community coalitions – within local communities and our unions that can expand across each state and the nation.
Issues of concern within these communities create the basis for mobilization and independent electoral campaigns – be it for preserving and improving public education, developing mass social housing, putting a halt to deportations and ensuring citizenship for all, defending and expanding Medicare for All, and other pressing demands.
Historical change through collective action is at the core of Marxist theory and practice. It is the development of the organization of the working class into a conscious class and consequently into a political party that can lead to the conquest of power.
We need your support!
That is why we call on you, our readers and supporters, to renew your subscriptions and support The Organizer’s Expansion Fund. We need your help so that we can be more effective in building united fronts for independent mass action and independent working-class politics.
You can send your contributions to the PayPal link on our website (socialistorganizer.org) or you can send a check or money order to our new post office box in San Francisco: The Organizer, P.O. Box 40315, San Francisco, CA 94140.
We also invite you to join one of our monthly Revolutionary Study Groups, where you can learn more about Socialist Organizer and join us. Please contact us if you are interested at firstname.lastname@example.org. The tasks ahead are many and the challenges formidable. We are counting on your support.
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Ukraine: Behind the Escalating War Between the United States and Russia
For months, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has issued statements announcing his desire to join NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance. The U.S. administration has replied that this membership will take place if Ukraine decides to join. It is no secret that such membership is unacceptable to Russia.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, NATO has been absorbing all the countries surrounding Russia one by one, contrary to the verbal promises that Russian leaders claim were made to them by the United States. Russia has been encircled in the west by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – all except for Belarus and Ukraine.
Can Putin invade Ukraine?
This is what the Biden administration claims. What is the basis for its accusations? Putin’s regime has concentrated tens of thousands of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and has just sent troops to Belarus. But from there to invade Ukraine and confront the United States militarily is another matter. … The French Institute of International Relations explains:
“The Russians have decided to flex their muscles on the military level to put the West under tension, to raise the stakes and thus obtain a better basis for negotiations. … Invading the separatist parts of Ukraine would not serve much purpose. They are, in fact, already integrated into the Russian economy. … These separatist regions are much more useful to Moscow within Ukraine, because they can be used as leverage.” (Le Figaro, December 15, 2021)
What does the Putin regime want?
Condemning U.S. imperialism’s responsibility in this march to war does not mean in any way giving political support to Putin’s regime. This regime was born out of the decomposition of the bureaucracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union, constituting a mafia layer of oligarchs enriched by the plundering of state property. It is a regime subordinated to the “laws of the market” and therefore to the imperialist-dominated “world order” — which does not prevent conflicts and contradictions from surfacing.
When, on January 6, Putin sent his army to crush the workers’ revolt in Kazakhstan, in the interest of U.S. and European multinationals, the Biden administration and the European Union did not protest, quite the contrary. [See special dossier on Kazakhstan on our website.] But the Putin regime has its own interests, and it defends them because it knows that it would have no place on the political checkerboard if tomorrow Russia were to become a mere reserve of raw materials for the multinationals of the imperialist powers.
Who is responsible for the military escalation?
According to the United States and the European Union, Russia is responsible for the escalation. The truth is that the U.S. administration is using the “threat of Russian invasion” to build up huge military forces on the Ukrainian side, and this is nothing new. Hundreds of U.S. and Canadian military advisers are present in Ukraine. U.S. military aid has totaled US$2.5 billion since 2014, and Biden just added $200 million in recent days.
The governments closest to the United States in NATO (Britain, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) have just made major arms deliveries to Ukraine. On January 24, NATO placed all of its members’ military forces “on alert,” including 8,500 U.S. troops.
On January 25, Biden warned of “severe” and “enormous” consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin … if Russia were to move into Ukraine. “I have made it clear to President Putin,” Biden said, “that there would be severe consequences, including significant economic sanctions as well, as I’d feel obliged to beef up our presence, NATO’s presence, on the eastern front, Poland, Romania, etc.”
According to German-foreign policy.com, “the Pentagon has announced the next large-scale Defender-Europe exercise to train the deployment of U.S. troops at the Russian border. According to NATO, Defender-Europe 22 will begin in May and last until mid-June. Approximately 33,000 troops from 26 nations are scheduled to participate, according to the Pentagon. … A permanent deployment of NATO battalions in Romania and Bulgaria is also in discussion.”
What do the European Union, France and Germany say?
On January 24, the foreign ministers of the European Union countries met with Antony Blinken, Biden’s Secretary of State. “The United States and the EU want to show their unity,” reported Les Echos. As early as January 20, Macron had stood at attention in Washington, announcing the dispatch of French troops to Romania. This stance is not supported unanimously by the French bourgeoisie. But it is in Germany that the U.S. policy is meeting the most resistance.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht opposed the transfer of German weapons from Estonia to Ukraine because such a delivery “will not help to defuse the crisis. She says that her position is that of the entire German government” (Ibid.). The German bourgeoisie has the most economic and commercial interests in Russia. Therefore, it has the most to lose in a confrontation with Russia, which would only serve U.S. interests.
Is there really a risk of war?
First, let’s remember that war has never stopped in southeastern Ukraine since the 2014 overthrow of the pro-Russian Ukrainian government by forces sympathetic to the United States and the European Union. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, an ongoing war pits the U.S.-equipped Ukrainian military against Russian-armed separatist militias. The result? More than 13,000 dead, 30,000 wounded, and 500,000 refugees.
The Associated Press reminds us that for Biden a war with Russia is not the priority: “Going to war with Russia could tie up U.S. forces for years for an uncertain outcome, while the Biden administration tries to focus on China as the main security threat.” Breaking up whatever stands in the way of plundering the Chinese market is Wall Street’s priority. That said, the place of the (largely U.S.-dominated) military-industrial complex in today’s global capitalist system demands ever-more armed conflicts. With the risk, writes the Associated Press, of “destabilizing the region and escalating to the point of risking a nuclear confrontation.”
What is the interest of the workers and peoples?
The workers of Ukraine, Russia, the countries of Europe and the United States have no interest in such a war. In Ukraine, it would bring more suffering. In Europe and the U.S., it would be a new pretext for “national unity” with the imperialist governments. In Russia, it would only serve to strengthen the Putin regime.
As the call for an Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation, for a Workers’ International (Paris, October 2022) reminds us: “All military interventions of imperialism, carried out in the name of ‘democracy,’ have resulted in bloody chaos, the dislocation of entire nations. The peoples of the world want peace.”
Workers and their organizations must oppose Biden’s war threats unconditionally.
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Interview with Clarence Thomas Calling for Support to the Feb. 1 International Forum to Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners in the U.S.
[Note: The following interview with Clarence Thomas was conducted for the IWC Weekly Newsletter by Alan Benjamin, member of the editorial board of The Organizer Weekly Newsletter. Brother Thomas is a past Secretary-Treasurer of ILWU Local 10 and remains a rank-and-file leader of the San Francisco Bay Area labor movement as a retiree in his union.]
Question: Brother Clarence, you’re a convener of the February 1st International Forum and its Call to Action to free Mumia Abu Jamal and All Anti-Racist and Anti-Imperialist freedom fighters. You issued your own personal Call to Action for this forum in which you underscore the need to put an end to the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, Apartheid and racial violence perpetrated against African Americans, in particular.
Why is this International Forum so important today? And what are the new developments with the Mumia case that make it absolutely imperative that Mumia should be freed immediately?
Clarence Thomas: Mumia is an innocent man. He was framed because as a revolutionary journalist he documented the repression facing African Americans in Philadelphia and other crimes committed by the ruling class in Pennsylvania. He was listened to widely. He was, and remains, the voice of the voiceless, a man of great integrity and courage. He was targeted at a very young age because he was a member of the Black Panther Party and because of his great intellect. That’s why the powers-that-be, beginning with the Democratic Party and the Fraternal Order of the Police, want him locked up for good.
Mumia’s situation is not unique. Many other political prisoners were framed and have been locked up for life.
A fact that often gets overlooked is that Mumia has been a member of the National Writers Union for some time. The NWU is affiliated to the UAW. He has said many times how proud he is to be a card-carrying member of a union. He has been steadfast in his support of labor. The international labor movement needs to know this.
During the period of Apartheid in South Africa, the liberal establishment, but also the Black clergy and Black labor leadership, spoke out loudly against the crimes of Apartheid. But the fight against Apartheid here in the United States has not been embraced like it was in South Africa. Nowhere near.
We cannot ignore this fact: the labor movement and the society at large have been impacted by white supremacy. Jim Crow; the mass incarceration of Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans; and the Black Liberation Movement don’t receive the respect they deserve.
That is why the fight to free Mumia is so important. He should be freed now, today! All the evidence that was withheld – and that has now surfaced in the six boxes – exposes the frame-up. We must make Mumia’s freedom an example to be followed. Mumia’s case represents an opportunity for all political prisoners who were framed. We must release them all from prison.
This is a moment, an opportunity, for the labor movement nationally and internationally to come forward, front and center, and really do something because if we don’t, we will all be affected by this travesty. Our struggles for voting rights, labor rights, women’s rights, and more, are all interconnected. We are all fighting the neo-liberal policies in one form or another. We have to connect the dots.
Question: In your statement in support of the February 1 International Forum you point to the day-long work stoppages organized over the years by ILWU Local 10 as examples of the kinds of actions that could be organized internationally. Tell us about this.
Clarence Thomas: At key moments of struggle, both at home and abroad, members of the ILWU – and of ILWU Local 10 in particular, have exercised their democratic rights as workers, and they have withheld their labor to demand justice and redress of grievances.
During the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, we refused to unload South African cargo. Our action was heard around the world. In 1999, 29 ports on the West Coast were shut down to demand justice for Mumia. In 2008, 29 ports were shut down to protest police violence against Black people. In 2020, ports again were shut down on Juneteenth. The list is long.
The labor movement could be using its leverage in the global economy and carrying out actions such as we have done. The situation is urgent. Our voting rights as African Americans are under frontal attack. The Democratic Party cannot even protect the African American people’s right to vote. More than ever, we need to mobilize in our own name.
An Injury to One Is an Injury to All, Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Free them All!
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Message from IWC Co-Coordinators in Support of Feb. 1 International Forum to Free Mumia
January 21, 2022
Attention: Organizing Committee of the International Forum
on Feb. 1 to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all Freedom Fighters
As co-coordinators of the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation (IWC), with trade union and working-class supporters in 61 countries, we wish to inform you of our endorsement and support to your February 1st International Forum to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all Freedom Fighters. We will publicize your forum widely the world over.
Soon after receiving the request to endorse and promote your forum, we learned that Mumia’s defense attorneys had discovered no less than six boxes of never-before-released evidence in a storage room at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. The new evidence in these boxes is overwhelming and confirms what Mumia’s lawyers and supporters have been saying for four decades. Mumia is innocent; he was the victim of a rigged trial. He was framed because of his political activism from an early age on behalf of Blacks and all working people.
Mumia was framed and convicted 40 years ago, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history, when ex-cop Frank Rizzo became mayor. At that time, the city’s police department, working closely with the district attorney’s office, routinely engaged in violence and murder against Black and Latino inmates, corruption, bribery, and falsification of evidence to secure convictions.
Mumia’s lawyers immediately demanded a new trial.
The millions of workers and young people who marched throughout the United States to the cry of “Black Lives Matter” were not mistaken: the frame-up of Mumia and all other political prisoners is institutional racism that has been deeply rooted in the United States ever since slavery and Jim Crow segregation. It is this institutional racism that is responsible for the incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal and all anti-racist and anti-imperialist freedom fighters.
Mumia and all political prisoners in the United States must be freed immediately!
We wish full success to your International Forum.
Nambiath Vasudevan and Daniel Gluckstein,
International Workers Committee
Against War and Exploitation (IWC)
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NOTE: Additional messages of support to the February 1 International Forum were sent from Pakistan, Great Britain, and Germany. They are posted on socialistorganizer.org.
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February 6: NorCal Campaign Launch of Marco Amaral for CA Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dear Bay Area and NorCal Supporters and Friends,
Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) invites you to the Bay Area /NorCal campaign launch for Marco Amaral, a special education teacher running an independent and working-class campaign to become California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Amaral’s campaign is challenging the pro-business incumbent Tony Thurmond and the Democratic Party machinery that backs him. This at a time when Thurmond is sending teachers and students to in-person classes without proper COVID testing, social distancing, or PPE in the midst of the Omicron surge. As was noted in LCIP’s endorsement statement of his campaign:
“From fighting for free colleges and universities, to fighting for a $70,000 teacher annual mini- mum salary and a $25-an-hour living wage for all classified employees, to ending the school-to- prison pipeline, ending military recruitment in our schools, and defending ethnic, gender, and women’s studies, Marco Amaral’s ten-point platform offers a powerful working-class alternative to the oppressive business model that has eroded public education under both Democratic and Republican rule.”
Amaral’s campaign is critical for another reason: It points the way forward for working people and oppressed communities tired of the dead-end strategy of electing Democrats who again and again betray the demands of working people. With millions due to participate in the June 7, 2022 election, Amaral’s campaign has the potential to send reverberations across the nation.
But to defeat the Democratic Party machinery, Amaral will need the backing of labor and community assemblies rooted in the working-class, youth, and communities of the oppressed. As Striketober demonstrated, only from the bottom up can we win.
• Join us Sunday, February 6 from 2 to 4 pm for a video discussion with LCIP and the Marco Amaral campaign on how you can support. To join, please register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwoc-2qrTIoE9Y_aNyZbTNde8gh6xanoFgb
• In the meantime, we encourage you to donate to Marco Amaral’s campaign to help build this powerful movement.
• You can follow his campaign at amaral4sup2022.com as well as on Face- book, Twitter, and Instagram.
Sponsored by Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) and the Marco Amaral for CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Campaign
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Solidarity with Striking Clover Workers in Azania / South Africa!
Five thousand Clover workers, organized by the General Industries Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), have been on strike since November 22, 2021.
The vast majority of workers at South Africa’s dairy giant, Clover, earn below a living wage despite the soaring profits Clover has boasted over the years. Milco SA, a consortium led by Israel’s Central Bottling Company (Coca-Cola Israel), purchased a majority stake in highly profitable Clover in 2019.
Despite the workers’ objection to this, based on solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israeli imperialism, the South African state authorities approved the merger on the basis of “creating jobs” as part of the so-called Masakhane project. Not only have Clover dismantled the project through retrenchments (lay-offs) of workers and managers that are part of it – meaning all 500 new jobs promised are gone – but by bringing forward their restructuring project, Sencillo, over 2,000 jobs have been lost.
Clover wants to retrench 300 workers. Additionally, four branches are proposed to be shut down, adding another 350 jobs lost, not including workers who took the Voluntary Severance Packages (which amount to forced retrenchments). GIWUSA reported that the company wants to relocate the City Deep Branch to Boksburg, risking another 812 job losses.
Media propaganda says Clover is unable to continue its operations due to the “ongoing pandemic” and lack of service delivery in various locations. However, Clover made a sterling $673 million (R10.8 Billion) of revenue by the end of 2020 compared to the $462.3 million (R7.4 Billion) end of 2019. Yet with this job bloodbath, the South African government, who narrowly won the last elections on a mandate of creating jobs, is refusing to hold Clover accountable.
Milco SA’s real intentions with Clover are to dismantle the local productive capacity Clover has, while securing the market share and brand loyalty Clover enjoys in South Africa for dairy products and beverages to eventually be imported. This would mean mass job losses and soaring dairy prices for working class communities in South Africa.
The ANC government welcomed the take-over of Clover by Milco SA and turned a blind eye to the violation of international law by CBC with its operation in the occupied territories of Palestine. We are not surprised by this as the ANC government has been the active agent for both national and international capital.
With its neo-liberal policies, the ANC government placed the interests of capital at the center of the development of the country. Instead of development and advancement of the lives of the masses, we have seen and experienced the entrenchment of the positions and wealth of the old-Apartheid ruling class. Black cheap labor is still the foundation of South African capitalism and the ANC government is the facilitator of the supply of black cheap labour.
Not only are the workers of Clover affected by this brutal pursuit of profits. Many small towns like Lichtenburg in the Northwest, Heilbron and Frankfort in the Free State are going to be impacted with the closure of Clover Branches. Clover, as part of its restructuring strategy, is closing its in-land facilities and moving them to the coastal areas. The local economies of these small towns are going to be devastated because Clover operations form an integral part in relation to economic activity and jobs.
Many farmers and farm workers are already feeling the brunt of these closures. With the closing of its facilities Clover has also terminated its milk supply contracts with the local farmers and the latter in turn are abandoning farms and cutting jobs. The security of milk supplies is coming under severe constraints and already the prices of milk are rising. These local towns are not only losing manufacturing capacity but also farming capacity – and this is threatening food security.
Workers’ demands are clear:
1. The unconditional reinstatement of all retrenched workers;
2. The complete scrapping of all austerity measures including the 20% salary cuts;
3. The disinvestment of Milco SA/CBC;
4. Nationalization of Clover SA and its complete transformation into a co-operative run by workers and communities.
We urge organizations and individuals to donate to the union’s strike fund (see PayPal link below) and join in solidarity actions across the world. We are also calling upon people in Southern Africa and the rest of the world to boycott all Clover products.
Clover workers are fighting against imperialist strategies of securing the “market share” to dump products in the neo-colonial world in the name of securing profits on the backs of super-exploited workers and communities. This is a struggle for the international working class, which holds the most power when standing united against the bosses’ drive for increased profits.
The attacks on workers and our communities can only be overcome through uncompromising unity of the international working class. We call for principled unity in labor and progressive movements behind the striking Clover workers.
When workers use their collective organization to fight and win, it lights a beacon to workers everywhere seeking to improve their conditions, showing that as an organized working class we have a world to win.
An injury to one is an injury to all!
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Details for Clover Workers’ strike fund:
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Interview with Mbali Ngwenda, Socialist Community Activist
(reprinted from Issue No. 28 – January 2022 – of Black Republic, published in Azania / South Africa; the interview was conducted by Mandlenkosi Phangwa)
Question: Please kindly tell us about yourself and your activism, including the organization or movements you are involved with.
Mbali: I am Mbali Ngwenda, a young activist based in Pretoria/Tshwane. I am currently a member of the SRWP [Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party] and very active in the party. Previously I was involved in community activism conducting workshops and small programs that assist here and there. I am a member of the United Front.
Question: You have been active in support of the Clover protests. What are the fundamental demands by the workers and affected stakeholders in this protest?
Mbali: The main demands of the striking Clover workers are as follows:
· · The demand for the unconditional re-instatement of all retrenched workers;
· · The reinstatement of the dismissed workers at Empangeni;
· · The payment of workers’ bonuses, this was demanded and won at the CCMA;
· · The complete scrapping of all Austerity measures, including the 20% salary cuts;
· · The disinvestment of the CBC [Central Bottling Company];
· · The nationalization of Clover SA under workers’ control and its complete transformation into a cooperative;
· · The complete boycott of all Clover products by the public in solidarity with striking workers.
Question: Why, even after 1994 breakthrough and the pronouncement of freedom and economic growth, is the working class in South Africa still having to continue to fight with the employers?
Mbali: The pronouncement of freedom and economic growth was in favor of business. It was an entry point into free-market economics and neo-liberalism. It was not really a breakthrough for the working-class but rather for local and international Capital. The working-class fights with the employers during the 1990s resulted in many gains for the workers, such as the Labor Relations Act and the basic right to strike.
Today, however, there is a serious roll-back on these gains, if not a complete disregard for them – and this has happened most aggressively with the ushering in of Cyril Ramaphosa. Workers and unions must fight the employers tooth and nail, otherwise the erosions of the first bulwark against Capital exploitation – that is, the labor movement – will collapse. Then workers will be completely exposed to the cruelty of Capital.
Question: What is the link between organizations of the working class and the unions in regard to the Clover strike?
Mbali: The Clover workers need support in this fight. Any organization that understands their plight must support them concretely. They have been striking for two months already, and as working-class organizations we understand that the fight needs to be escalated. We need to give the striking workers confidence that there is widespread, unconditional support for their struggle.
Question: Are these pickets and protests effective?
Mbali: Yes they are. They display the potential of working-class power and how to better foster it. It also allows for the development of a political consciousness that can take this struggle forward beyond negotiating with Capital through bargaining councils and CCMA. They allow us to agitate for a paradigm shift in politics.
Question: What is the link between Clover and the State of Israel? We have seen posters that link the two.
Mbali: About 59.5% of Clover was sold to MILCO, which is a consortium of CBC (Central Bottling Company). Now they have operations in Israel’s illegal settlements – both in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. CBC and its subsidiaries own a regional distribution center in the illegal Israeli Atarot Settlement industrial zone. They also own a vineyard near Mount Shifron, in the occupied Golan Heights, and a dairy farm, as well as offices in the illegal Israeli settlements.
So simply put MILCO and the CBC have business in Illegal Israel and continue to do business in violation and complete disregard of the human rights of the oppressed Palestinian people. This is completely unacceptable, and workers have been loud and clear about this, telling MILCO to pack its bags and leave South Africa.
Just as we fought against Apartheid, we will not tolerate a Neo-Apartheid State, be it here in South Africa today or in illegal Israel.
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Six Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Persecuted by the Israeli Government
By Alan Benjamin
After 12 years of Netanyahu’s government, the new government that took office in June 2021 presented itself as one of “change.” The decision it took on October 22 indicates its continuity with Netanyahu’s government. Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order labeling six Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as “terrorists,” outlawing them and justifying the crackdown on them.
The banned organizations are Addameer (which defends the rights of Palestinian political prisoners), Al-Haq (a member of the International Federation for Human Rights – IFHR), DCI-P (the Palestinian branch of an international children’s rights organization), UAWC (the Union of Agricultural Committees), the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Bisan Center (research and development). These six NGOs have been established for years and receive funding from both the UN and the European Union.
Gantz’s decision caused a reaction from Israel’s leading human rights organization, B’Tselem (which has been cooperating for years with Al-Haq, one of the targeted NGOs). B’Tselem stated:
“1) The characterization of human rights organizations as “terrorists” by the Israeli “government of change” is characteristic of a totalitarian regime, with the clear objective of liquidating these organizations.
“2) But war is not peace, ignorance is not strength … and the current Israeli government is not one of change, but rather the continuation of the violent Apartheid regime that has reigned for many years between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. B’Tselem expresses its solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues, is proud of our work together, and is determined to continue it.”
Recalling that she has worked with these organizations since their foundation, Israeli journalist Amira Hass described the real reasons for the repressive measure:
“These associations defend Palestinian farmers in the West Bank against the administration and pogromist settler groups and have drawn the attention of international public opinion to administrative detentions, and in particular the detention of children. … The real reason for this persecution is that they are fighting against the occupation that is suffocating their people, and it is the occupation that is terrorism.”
Twenty-one Israeli humanitarian and human rights organizations have protested this decision.
 This is a reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984, which depicts a totalitarian society that proclaims: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”