The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter
Supplement to Issue No. 60 – April 17, 2022
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
IN THIS SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT:
• “Forced to Flee: Capitalism and the Refugee Crisis” Forum – Sunday, April 24, 2 to 4 pm Pacific – Online – Register today!
• They Will Meet on October 29 — by Christel Keiser
• RUSSIA: Preventing Them from Sending Our Children on the “Special Operation”: Testimony of a Russian Mother
• AFGHANISTAN: Protest Actions by the Spontaneous Movement of Protesting Women Demand: “Open the Schools, NOW!” — by Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA)
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“Forced to Flee: Capitalism and the Refugee Crisis” Forum – Sunday, April 24, 2 pm to 4 pm Pacific – Online – Register Today!
Join us for a timely and significant forum – Forced to Flee: Capitalism and the Refugee Crisis – in preparation of the International Working Women’s Conference (IWWC). The forum date is Sunday, April 24, 2022 and the time is from 2:00 to 4:00 pm Pacific (5:00 to 7:00 pm Eastern). This will be a Zoom gathering with simultaneous Spanish interpretation available for this forum.
The registration link is here:
Our focus is the worldwide refugee crisis, a crisis that is primarily the result of war and capitalist dislocation – NAFTA and the updated USMCA are two examples. The number of refugees worldwide is astounding, and the refugee numbers increase each day. At least 82.4 million people – one in 95 worldwide – have been forced to flee from their homes, either internally displaced or as refugees (U.N. Refugee Agency). Most of the refugees and displaced persons, as in Ukraine currently, are women, children, and the elderly. Amnesty International reported recently that half of all refugees (those fleeing from their countries) are children.
Our speakers’ list is still in formation. Confirmed speakers at this writing are:
Rubina Jamil is a convenor of the International Working Women’s Conference. Long active in women’s struggles, Rubina is president of the Pakistan Working Women Organization and is the chairperson as well of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation, which has 240 affiliated unions across all sectors of the economy.
Pamella Mubeza, from Burundi, is a feminist, mother, and human rights activist who mobilizes women against patriarchal and discriminatory practices imposed on women. She is the founder of two notable organizations in Burundi: the Association des Maman Célibataires pour la Paix et le Développement [Association for Single Mothers for Peace and Development] and “Our rights, Our choice,” which educates and provides support as well on reproductive issues. In Canada today, where Pamella Mubeza is herself a refugee, Pamella is the program director for Immigrant Integration at the Ottawa Shika Center.
Jofel was forced to flee the Mexican countryside after NAFTA eliminated the traditional use of land (ejidos-collective ownership) and opportunities for work. She has lived undocumented in the United States for over 25 years with the threat of deportation at any moment. Jofel is an effective and eloquent organizer for Papeles Para Todos, the Papers for All campaign based in San Jose, Calif., which seeks to mobilize the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States to gain citizenship for all.
Lidia Suárez, a member of the Organization of Workers and People (OPT) in Baja California, OPT is a professor at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (National Educators University), where she teaches and researches issues involving migration and indigenous communities.
Mirlande fled Haiti to seek work and the unfound promise of a more secure life in Brazil. She and her family have taken the precarious and danger-laden route up through Central America into Mexico hoping to make their way to Brooklyn, New York with its large Haitian community.
Forum speakers will address specific situations in their countries. Discussion will follow with a focus on our preparations for the International Working Women’s Conference. The IWWC will take place Saturday, October 29, 2022 in Paris, France, the day before the two-day international gathering for the Open World Conference.
Your participation and contribution to the discussion will help us all advance the struggles in which we engage.
Please register today!
The U.S. Organizing Committee for the
International Working Women’s Conference
* * * * * * * * * *
They Will Meet on October 29 …
By Christel Keiser
What do the “Spontaneous Movement of Women Protestors” in Afghanistan and the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee (see articles below) have in common?
In both cases, they are women who are refusing to submit to the situation that their governments want to impose on them. In both cases, they are women who are fighting against the barbarism generated by the capitalist system. And in both cases, this resistance is based on collective organization, which is the only way to win their demands.
Some are victims of U.S. imperialism, which in 2021 put the Taliban back in power. These are the very same Taliban who, among other obscurantist measures, are depriving girls of the right to education. The others are the victims of the reactionary policy of Putin’s oligarchic regime, which started the war in Ukraine, resulting in the death of thousands of Ukrainians … and Russian soldiers.
For the right to education of girls and all young people, against Putin’s and Biden’s war, they will meet on October 29, in Paris, in the International Conference of Working Women, which will precede the International Conference Against War and Exploitation, for a Workers’ International.
* * * * * * * *
Preventing Them from Sending Our Children on the “Special Operation”: Testimony of a Russian Mother
“I am the mother of a boy who is doing his military service near the Ukrainian border. After February 24, contact with many conscripts was lost. There were rumors that their phones had been confiscated and that they had been sent to Ukraine for the ‘Special Operation.’ We parents sounded the alarm. We started calling their military units, the Ministry of Defense, the military prosecutor’s office, etc.
“We were told that only soldiers who had enlisted for the ‘Special Operation’ were serving on the front lines. However, according to our information, the officers were making the conscripts sign contracts without a date or were making them sign contracts of engagement under duress.
“I called the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee. They told me how to proceed to prevent my son from being sent on an operation. I gave them a sample statement to sign, even though I know they don’t have a pen or a cell phone to take a picture and send it. I also passed it on to the mothers of the comrades in his unit, so that we can act together. Our bags are already packed, and we are ready to leave at any time to prevent them from sending our children on an ‘operation’.”
* * * * * * * *
Protest Actions by the Spontaneous Movement of Protesting Women Demand: “Open the Schools, NOW!”
Sarah is 13 years old. On the morning of March 23, like the other little girls in her neighborhood, she got ready for her first day of school with joy and a certain amount of impatience after eight long months of interruption. But when she arrived, she found the gate closed and dozens of Taliban policemen forbidding the girls from entering the school. So Sarah went home with tears in her eyes.
Contrary to their promises, the Taliban closed the schools without notice, giving the pretext that the girls were not wearing the Islamic headscarf. Yet Sarah and millions of Afghan girls wear the headscarf. She still does not understand why she is not allowed to go to school like the boys.
But Sarah and hundreds of other girls did not remain silent. They demonstrated on March 24 in Kabul, even though for the past eight months the Taliban has brutally suppressed all women’s protests, arresting, imprisoning, torturing, raping and killing. They demanded the immediate reopening of all girls’ schools.
It was the “Spontaneous Movement of Protesting Women” that organized the demonstrations. It emerged after the Taliban returned to power in August 2021. It is at the forefront of the struggle of women and all Afghans against the fascist and misogynistic Islamic regime of the Taliban. The movement brings together secular, feminist and socialist women and girls.
The movement called on people and families to “protest until the right to education and all other rights are guaranteed for their children. We will not back down: we demand the basic rights of the people, especially women.” On March 24, they chanted, “Let a new order begin: Open the schools, now! We want education! Break the silence, Speak out!”
After 20 years of military occupation (2001-2021), the United States decided to return power to the Taliban. It launched a massive media campaign to make the Taliban “presentable,” claiming that their practices had changed. The U.S. said it was “optimistic” that the Taliban would no longer restrict freedoms, oppose women’s rights, or interfere with women’s right to work or their presence in society.
The United States signed a “peace agreement” with the Taliban in February 2020 in Doha, Qatar, and returned them to power in August 2021 after the withdrawal of NATO forces. The day after returning to power, the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on women’s rights, closing all girls’ schools until March 23.
By closing girls’ schools again, the Taliban are holding millions of women and girls hostage in order to pressure the so-called “international community” to officially recognize their government and release nearly $10 billion in frozen Afghan government assets from overseas bank accounts.
The Taliban have not changed since the 1990s. They know that literate and educated women will not accept being confined to the home: they will want to work and earn a living, to free themselves from the bondage of men through financial independence, and to fight for equal rights and freedom.
The Taliban may ban the education of girls, they may impose curricula based on religion and not on science … but the potential for resistance and struggle is there: and tomorrow it will overthrow the misogynistic and medieval tyranny of the Taliban.
The Afghan people have no hope in the so-called “international community” because it is responsible for their fate. The Afghan people can only rely on the progressive, democratic and secular forces, on the “spontaneous movement of protesting women” and on the solidarity of workers and women all over the world, to pave the way for a society free from oppression, exploitation, and discrimination — a society of equal rights for women and men.
— Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA), Kabul, April 2022
* * * * * * * * *