T.O. Weekly 65: Free Assange! – Striking Detained Immigrants – Colombia – France Elections

Cover Photo: Worldwide mass protests did not succeed in preventing Assange’s extradition

The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter

Issue No. 65 – June 21, 2022

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


• Free Julian Assange!: Presentation by the Editors

• The Assange Case: Establishment Progressives & the DNC Media, by Cliff Conner

• Detained Immigrant Workers Formally Announce Labor Strike, by the Mesa Verde Labor Strikers Collective

• “U.S. Wars and Interventions Have Caused Forced Migration,” by Jehan Laner Romero

• Colombia: Electoral Result Marked by the May 2021 Uprising, by Jean Allain

• France Legislative Elections: On June 19, the People Have Spoken: Macron and All His Plans Are Illegitimate! – Statement by POID

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On June 17, 2022, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed off to have Julian Assange, founder in 2006 of WikiLeaks, extradited to the U.S. where he faces 175 years in prison for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. We in the U.S. must now step up the fight to defend freedom of speech, to protect freedom of the press, and to free Julian Assange!

Intercept, an online investigative news service, captured the significance of the Assange case in a recent posting, stating:  

“In 2019, Donald Trump’s decision to prosecute publisher Assange was an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment. Commentators decried Trump’s War on Journalism, calling the prosecution of Assange “the biggest threat to press freedom in generations” and noting that the reckless effort to extradite a foreign publisher could “destroy investigative journalism as we know it.”

“Sadly, the end of Donald Trump’s presidency didn’t bring with it an end to the War on Journalism. Attorney General [Merrick] Garland is continuing to seek Assange’s extradition. The Biden administration has continued Trump’s policy.”

As a contribution to the campaign to free Assange, we are reprinting below excerpts from a longer article by Cliff Conner that was first published in the July-August 2022 issue of Against The Current magazine (ATC 219). The article, published before the announcement of Assange’s extradition to the U.S., appeared under the title, “The Assange and Donziger Cases: Establishment Progressives and the DNC Media.”

The article below is printed with the authorization of Cliff Conner and the editors of Against the Current. We are focusing in this piece on all matters related to Julian Assange. In our next issue, we will take up the important case of Steven Donziger, the environmental activist who dared to take on Chevron Corp.

Cliff Conner is a regular contributor to The Organizer. For more information on the Assange case, go to <assangedefense.org>.

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The Assange Case: Establishment Progressives & the DNC Media

(Part 1 on the Case of Julian Assange)

Cliff Conner

FOR PEOPLE WHOSE primary political values are human rights, the public welfare, and elemental justice, the cases of Julian Assange and Steven Donziger are no-brainers: They are the most blatant current examples of why the words “American justice system” have come to represent their Orwellian opposite. Assange and Donziger have been mercilessly victimized by the very society whose vaunted principles they have at great personal sacrifice labored to uphold. Unfortunately, however, progressive political opinion in the United States has in large part failed to recognize the outrageous miscarriages of justice their respective cases represent.

One consequence of Donald Trump’s four years in office has been an intense polarization of the traditional two-party system into an extreme rightwing, overtly racist Republican Party, with the Democratic Party as its only viable electoral alternative. As a result, many progressive-minded Americans have tended to take their political cues from the Biden administration and liberal media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and MSNBC, which tend to reflect the outlook and ideology of the Democratic Party establishment. Call it “the DNC [Democratic National Committee] media.”

Fear of the return of Trump is certainly not entirely irrational, but it does not justify the DNC media’s purposeful indifference to the dangers the Assange and Donziger cases represent. It is not only a failure on their part; it is potentially suicidal for them, because it feeds into the MAGA crowd’s narrative of the mainstream media as “enemy of the people.”(1)

If the Trumpists succeed in manipulating the electorate into returning their hero or a successor sociopathic demagogue to office, a great deal of the blame will fall to the Biden administration for not only failing to address the existential crises of our era, but for exacerbating them. In his first year and a half as Chief Executive, Biden’s sycophancy toward the Pentagon has accelerated the militarization of American society(2) and has returned us to the brink of thermonuclear holocaust.(3) At the same time, his unshakeable fealty to the fossil fuels industry has drawn us ever nearer to the climate catastrophe point of no return.(4)

While those are the most important examples of the continuity of Biden’s policies with Trump’s, his failure to remedy the appalling judicial injustices done to Julian Assange and Steven Donziger – which he could easily do – is no less disgraceful. To understand how these extremely consequential cases have receded into a blind spot in the national discourse, it is necessary to review their treatment by the establishment news publishers.

Julian Assange as Portrayed by the DNC Media

The Washington Post’s coverage of the Assange case has been especially harsh. Its position can best be judged by official statements of its editorial board. I have been able to find only one, which was published on April 11, 2019. Here is its headline: Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability. This was its lede:

“He may ultimately face courts in the United States or Sweden, as well. If these democracies handle it properly, Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.”

WaPo has also occasionally published opinion columns mentioning the threat to freedom of the press posed by the prosecution of Assange, but they are exceedingly rare. A Google search revealed only two, and here is the lede of one of them:

“Julian Assange, I think we can all agree, is a dirtbag. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing that he’s been arrested and will apparently be extradited to the United States.”(5)

Calling someone a dirtbag is hardly the way to win public support for a victim of judicial injustice, even if it’s coupled with a mild caveat about broader consequences of the case. And it should be noted that WaPo’s concern about those broader consequences seems to have manifested itself only when Trump was in office. With Biden at the helm, its coverage of the Assange case has been limited to brief news articles that prioritize unflattering assessments of Assange’s character.

Liberal media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and MSNBC tend to reflect the outlook and ideology of the Democratic Party establishment. Call it “the DNC media.”

The New York Times’ treatment of the Assange case has generally been less toxic than WaPo’s, but it has been far from adequate, especially in light of the fact that the threat to freedom of the press Assange’s prosecution represents has been widely designated “The New York Times problem.” That phrase first made its appearance when the Obama administration’s Department of Justice realized that the same charges it initially brought against Assange could also be brought against the New York Times and many other mainstream publishers. Obama quickly dropped the charges against Assange. Trump’s DoJ reinstated them and Biden’s continues to push them.

On May 23, 2019, the Times’ editorial board published a statement headlined Julian Assange’s Indictment Aims at the Heart of the First Amendment. It warned:

“The Trump administration seeks to use the Espionage Act to redefine what journalists can and cannot publish. . . . the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange . . . could have a chilling effect on American journalism as it has been practiced for generations. It is aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment.”

This was an effort to issue a warning about “the New York Times problem,” but it undercut its own effectiveness by ending on a note echoing the WaPo editorial board:

“Mr. Assange is no hero. But this case now represents a threat to freedom of expression and, with it, the resilience of American democracy itself.”

Although the Times published several op-ed pieces that warned of the dangers posed by the Assange prosecution, it also published a vicious attack against Assange by Michelle Goldberg, one of their regular columnists and a frequent commentator on MSNBC. Goldberg didn’t call Assange a “dirtbag,” but her animosity toward him was nonetheless undisguised. She labelled him “an odious person,” and falsely accused him of “misogyny,” “antisemitism,” “a conduit for Russian intelligence services,” and “helping Trump become president.”(6) All of this echoes the standard talking points of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, who have sought to scapegoat Assange for their electoral failure.

Again, while other Times opinion columnists have accurately warned that attempts to criminalize the publishing of government secrets is a mortal threat to the existence of a free press, Michelle Goldberg’s screed effectively undercut the possibility of rallying American progressive opinion behind the demand that the Biden Department of Justice drop the charges against Assange.

Latest Developments in the Assange Case

When Biden took office in January 2020, many progressive-minded Americans assumed, not unreasonably, that his administration would be much better than Trump’s at defending freedom of the press. First Amendment supporters expected Biden to follow Obama’s example and dismiss the charges against Assange, but that did not happen. In October 2021, a coalition of 25 press freedom, civil liberties, and human rights groups sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice to drop its efforts to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange.

The charges against Assange, they declared, “pose a grave threat to press freedom both in the U.S. and abroad.” The letter was signed by, among others, the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Fight for the Future, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Human Rights Watch, PEN America, and Reporters Without Borders. Alas, the Biden administration has still shown no inclination to heed their appeal.

All supporters of human rights should demand that Priti Patel refuse the extradition request, that Merrick Garland immediately drop all charges against Assange, and that Assange be released from prison immediately.

As of this writing, Julian Assange remains incarcerated in Belmarsh Prison in London, in conditions described by Nils Melzer as “psychological torture, a form of torture aimed at destroying the personality of an individual.”(12) Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He has recently published a book on the case entitled The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution.(13)

The Biden Administration has not only declined to drop the charges against Assange; it persists in demanding that the British government extradite him to face espionage charges carrying a 175-year sentence in a maximum-security American prison. British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s ruling on the U.S. Department of Justice’s extradition request is said to be “imminent.”(14) The Council of Europe—the continent’s leading human rights organization comprising forty-six member states—has called on the British government to refuse to extradite Assange.(15)

All supporters of human rights should demand that Priti Patel refuse the extradition request, that Merrick Garland immediately drop all charges against Assange, and that Assange be released from prison immediately.

What Accounts for the DNC Media’s Stance in These Cases?

The source of the DNC media’s hostility toward Assange and reticence with regard to Donziger is similar but not identical. The hatred of Assange was not primarily due to the allegation that he was to blame for Hillary Clinton’s defeat; the essential motive came from the military, the “intelligence community,” and the diplomatic corps. The Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the State Department were all shocked and appalled by Wikileaks’ effectiveness in exposing widespread U.S. war crimes, and they ardently want to crush Assange as a fearsome example to all potential successors. Despite the apparent Republican versus Democrat polarization, supporting the aims of the U.S. military and its imperial objectives is entirely bipartisan.


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  8. fair.org, July 2, 2021.
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  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5km4S7Jcjo
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  16. amnesty.org, April 25, 2022. SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
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  1. Mufson, “Chevron Claims Another Round in Endless Jungle Fight.”
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ICE Detention Center

Detained Immigrant Workers Formally Announce Labor Strike

Labor strikers issue demands for private prison operator to fulfill

By the Mesa Verde Labor Strikers Collective

Detained immigrant workers at the Mesa Verde ICE Detention Facility in Bakersfield, Calif., have formally announced their labor strike. This is the second labor strike launched within eight months at the facility owned and operated by the GEO Group. Workers enrolled in the “voluntary work program” – who earn $1 per day to clean the dormitories – coordinated a work stoppage due to the unsanitary and unsafe conditions the private prison operator has subjected them to throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t understand the hypocrisy: outside of detention we’re not allowed to work because of our immigration status, and here we’re told we can work but they only pay us $1 a day. We feel they’re taking advantage of us and our situation,” said a labor striker inside Mesa Verde. The labor strike is inspired by the mass labor movement and worker unionization taking place across the country, where workers are demanding a living wage, better working conditions, and better worker treatment.

Labor strikers in immigrant detention call on supporters to help amplify their demands:

  1. Detainee treatment: That all individuals detained are treated with respect and dignity by all Mesa Verde officers;
  2. Voluntary Worker Program: That the number of volunteer workers increase to 12 and the worker salary be in accordance with CA Labor Law minimum wage of $15 per hour;
  3. Facility issued linen and clothing: Per Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS), detained individuals “shall be issued clean clothing, climatically suitable and presentable.” We’re constantly being issued old, torn and unserviceable or indelibly stained linen and clothing. We request this practice to cease. Furthermore, climatically suitable clothing issued: 1) shorts for the summer and 2) sweatpants and wool blankets for winter. Three days of laundry for jumpsuits and an extra pair of shoes to use for the recreational yard.
  4. Personal Hygiene Items: We request hygienic supplies including razors that don’t give razor burns, irritation or cuts to skin (preferably double-blade), shaving cream, deodorant, dental flossers and better quality toothbrushes.
  5. Food Service: We request that hot water be available during all meals. Per PBNDS “better quality food, proportioned servings, food (meals) cooked properly,” more access to and properly washed fruit given at every meal.
  6. Maintenance: Per PBNDS, “safe potable water shall be available throughout the facility”. We request that maintenance to fix and sustain livable conditions in the facility.
  7. Visitation: In accordance with the announcement by ICE regarding a new visitation guidance, we urge a full fledge and reinstatement of in-person visitation at the MV facility just like at GSA, by June 16, 2022. In addition, we request that free virtual visitation be made available so each person at MV has an equal opportunity to see their family members, friends and loved ones.
  8. Health Care: We request that proper health care be provided by MV to all detained individuals, e.g. hire a doctor to be on site and not shared with another facility, to be referred to outside specialists promptly, and offer preventative health care like providing sunscreen in the summer.

Requests to convene a meeting with the facility administrator has been met with hostility, nonetheless, the labor strikers welcome open negotiations with The GEO Group.

Many participants in the “volunteer worker program” rely on the $1 per day compensation to call their family members and loved ones or purchase items in commissary, which are often expired or moldy, as a new report has found.

fundraiser has been launched to support the labor strikers’ efforts.

For more information contact: Esperanza Cuautle | 415-254-0475 | advocate[@]pangealegal.org.

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“U.S. Wars and Interventions Have Caused Forced Migration” — Jehan Laner Romero

[Note: Following is the presentation delivered by Jehan Laner Romero to the online April 24 Forum titled “Forced to Flee: Capitalism and the Refugee Crisis.” Jehan is an immigrant rights attorney and activist. The other presentations referred to by Jehan in her presentation below are posted on our website – socialistorganizer.org – in issues 63 and 64.]

Mya Shone (forum co-convener): Our last speaker is Jehan Laner Romero. She is an immigrant rights attorney in San Francisco, California. She has defended immigrants from detention and deportations under three different U.S. presidents and administrations – Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden. Her approach to the practice of law involves directly impacted members of the community having a say in how their legal representation is carried out.

Jehan Laner Rombero: Hi everyone; good afternoon. I’m really honored to be here, especially with some people I really love and care about, and who I work alongside within this movement. So, as Mya said, I’m going to be talking about what the U.S. has done and what impediments the U.S. has erected to migrants and refugees coming into the U.S. I’ll probably be repeating a bit of what was said earlier from our other speakers. Something that we need to keep in mind as we talk about all of this is that the U.S. has caused with its wars and its interventions into other countries a lot of the forced migration – like Jofel, Lidia, and Camille said.

Our modern, mass detention system began in the 1980s and it was actually a response to families fleeing the dictatorship in Haiti. That’s when we first started to see mass deportation centers and detention of family members, and it was against Black migrants. The U.S. has continued with that same system of detention and deportation of Black and Brown migrants.

It bears repeating that a lot of these refugees are fleeing the policies that the U.S. put in place – whether it be NAFTA or CAFTA, which Lidia Suarez talked about. Climate change and environmental changes accelerated by U.S. corporations – especially in Central America – has affected many of the regions. Like Jofel said, it has changed what can be grown there, and how people need to come to the U.S. to make money for their families. Similarly, in these countries – like Pamela was talking about – women are oppressed four times over. So, while, by law in Central America there might be laws against gender-based violence or in Mexico there might be laws against gender-based violence, in reality it’s not enforced – these crimes are not investigated. So, many crimes of violence against women are perpetrated with impunity – again, forcing women to make the really hard decision to flee and come to the United States.

Like Jofel was talking about, the Trump Administration put in place impediments on the border. One of them was called, sadly and ironically, the Migrant Protection Protocols, which were actually very dangerous for migrants, where they are forced to wait in horrific conditions of temporary shelter camps on the border. Many have been waiting for 2 or 3 years. This was also reinforced by what some have known to be called Title 42, which is another law that was passed to keep migrants at the border under the “guise” of not bringing COVID into the US. I say “guise” because, at the same time, a lot of the politicians that put this law in place were also denying the existence of the pandemic and impeding the type of science-based responses required to fight against the pandemic.

Early on in the pandemic, in July 2020, The New York Times investigations provided that the U.S. was actually spreading COVID to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Central America through deportation flights. So, Title 42 was put in place to block people from entering the U.S. to supposedly to stop the spread of COVID, but meanwhile, the U.S. was spreading COVID throughout the region with the deportation flights. Title 42 is still in existence today. Like Jofel said, there are tens of thousands of migrants waiting at the border to come into the U.S. to claim their right to seek asylum here in the U.S.

We’ve also seen, as other folks have talked about, how refugees from Ukraine — who also deserve asylum — are being treated differently than the Black and Brown migrants, especially from Haiti, Cameroon, Central America and along the Mexican border. In the interior of the U.S., we also have a similar situation of Black and Brown migrants being treated worse. For example, Black migrants are seven times more likely to be deported than other migrants. This is a result of the criminal legal system here in the U.S., which we know commits injustices against Black people in the U.S. Like Jofel said, migrants who are in the U.S. and who are Black and Brown are already arrested at higher rates and criminalized at higher rates by the regular criminal legal system. These injustices are compounded in the U.S. deportation system because, being convicted or arrested for a crime in the U.S. is what often leads somebody into deportation proceedings.

Protest at ICE Detention Center

Many of those laws that I was talking about that further criminalize immigrants or punish them, again, through deportation, were actually passed by a Democratic administration, under Bill Clinton. So, it’s both Republican and Democrats who reinforce the deportation system in the U.S. Like Mya said in the beginning, Obama actually deported, famously, the most migrants of any president, and Trump put in place some of the most inhumane laws that we’ve seen in recent memory. But he really took those cues from Obama and continued the same system.

I will end this on a somewhat hopeful note about how we’re fighting this system, and a little bit more of the same about what Biden is doing. There has been a long history of immigrants fighting in this country. For example, like Jofel was talking about, the 2006 migrants who organized in 2006 shut downs. During the pandemic, under the Trump Administration, we’ve seen amazing organizing by detained folks – and I’m going to speak about folks especially detained here in California, which, at the beginning of the pandemic, had one of the biggest detained populations in the U.S.

It’s important to talk about detention because there is a mass detention structure here in the U.S., and that’s what fuels our mass deportations. So, there’s no way that an administration can deport as many people as it does if it doesn’t have a place to hold people. Folks are not just being held in these centers for a few days – they are being held for months and even up to years. It’s completely inhumane.

During the pandemic, a wave of hunger strikes was started by folks who were detained in these detention centers, resulting in the detention population dropping from around 40,000 migrants to, at its lowest, around 12,000 migrants. Here in California, at one point, no women were actually detained through their organizing efforts. They were able to free themselves with the help of some attorneys who were bringing their cases to court. Leaders continue to organize now under the Biden Administration in these detention centers.

Though Biden used immigration as one of his campaign rallying points to say that Trump is inhumane and here’s what he did, Biden has actually not fulfilled many of his promises, and kept some of the same policies that I was speaking about – [like] the Migrant Protection Protocols that were in place under Trump and continue under Biden. Title 42 has been in place under him. Biden’s Department of Justice has actually fought to keep detention centers open. California passed a law to end private detention for migrants here in California, and the Biden Administration, the Biden Department of Justice fought in court to keep these detention centers open, and they continue to open private detention centers to make money off of the detention of immigrants. So, we’ve continued to see Biden enforce the same policies that we’ve seen from previous presidential administrations – even though he campaigned against it.

We are really taking direct leadership from those detained right now in detention centers to keep bringing up their demands while they are within detention. Formerly detained leaders are actually leading the fight here in California to close detention centers – they’re leading the fight with their local governments to end the contracts that keep these detention centers open, and the laws that allow our taxpayer monies to keep these detention centers open. So, we will continue to fight alongside of our detained and formerly detained leaders to shut down these detention centers, which has been allowing the U.S. to deport and detain people en masse.

Thank you.

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COLOMBIA: Electoral Result Marked by the May 2021 Uprising

Gustavo Petro addresses campaign rally

JUNE 15 — Having received 8.5 million votes (40.3 percent of the vote), Gustavo Petro came out on top in the first round of the presidential election on May 29. He is a former guerrilla leader, whose vice-presidential candidate is an activist descended from Black slaves. This result is without doubt an expression of the uprising underway for more than a year.

In April-May 2021, starting with a trade union mobilization against the tax reform of former president Ivan Duque, a powerful movement of millions of workers, peasants, and young people rose up against the Duque government and, beyond that, against the institutions of the State itself. It’s a movement that began to form popular assemblies that brought together the working population and its organizations around demands for a break with the past, paving the way for a Constituent Assembly.

Because of the absence of a true working-class leadership capable of helping to centralize them, however, these assemblies remained at an embryonic stage, before being brutally repressed by the State, which, as usual, called in the “death squads.”

This year-long revolt found a distorted expression in the May 29 presidential election. The candidate of continuity with the right-wing policies of past presidents Uribe and Duque was eliminated in the first round, putting an end to their 20 years in power. A fraction of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie preferred the populist millionaire Hernandez Suarez, self-proclaimed champion of the “anti-corruption struggle.”

A former mayor of Bogotá, Petro ran on behalf of the Historic Pact coalition (comprising the Communist Party, the Patriotic Union, and “progressive” bourgeois groups). Multiplying his declarations “against neoliberalism,” he promised agrarian reform, the cancellation of certain privatizations (especially in the health sector), the trial of those responsible for the protracted repression, and the restoration of diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

However, in the face of attacks from the most reactionary sectors, Petro publicly pledged on April 18 not to proceed with “any expropriations” (especially of land), stressing that if elected his government would never harm “the owners of their wealth and assets.

Whether they expressed this by voting Petro or by abstaining (45% abstention in the first round), workers, peasants and young people have not given up their aspiration to end the old oligarchic State, the corruption, and the subordination to U.S. imperialism. The second round of the election will take place on June 19. An activist who participated in the People’s Assembly movement in Colombia summarizes, in a document sent to Workers Tribune (France), what she believes a government that truly broke with the old regime would need to do. She wrote:

To make the sovereignty of the nation prevail, it is necessary to oppose all imperialist agreements and institutions, such as the IMF, the OECD, the World Bank, and NATO. We must declare the non-payment of the foreign debt, demand the withdrawal of U.S. troops from our country, nationalize the banks and natural resources, abolish the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, guarantee food security, renationalize privatized public services, repeal the 100 anti-worker laws of previous governments, re-establish public funding for schools and universities, impose agrarian reform, re-establish political rights and freedoms, oppose all attempts to privatize the judicial system, establish a progressive income tax, guarantee subsidies and cheap credit for small and medium-sized farmers, etc. For this, we will have to rely on our own strength to abolish the dictatorial and imperialist regime; then we will have a better government.

by Jean Allain

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About the Colombian Regime

The current Colombian State, representing the interests of the comprador bourgeoisie subordinated to U.S. imperialism, was built on the basis of the physical crushing of the “reds” of the Liberal Party (bourgeois-democratic, anti-imperialist party), whose 300,000 supporters were exterminated between 1948 and 1963 by the “blues” of the Conservative Party.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the corruption and militarization of the regime increased, with the rise of the drug cartels (whose traffic, encouraged by the CIA, financed the counter-revolution in Central America) and the bloody repression of the peasants by the army and paramilitary groups, in the name of the fight against the guerrillas.

The “peace accords” signed in 2016 between the regime and the guerrilla group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have not changed the nature of the regime. The latter has made Colombia, on behalf of Washington, the rear base for imperialist military provocations against Venezuela (1,500 miles of land border separate the two countries). According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Colombian regime holds the sinister record for the number of murdered activists — workers trade unionists, peasants and students, political activists.

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Teacher unionists in Marseille (France) protest President Macron’s privatization “reform” project.


On June 19, the People Have Spoken: Macron and All His Plans Are Illegitimate!

[Note: Following is the statement issued by the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID) of France in the aftermath of the June 19 national legislative elections.]

Rejected by a large majority of registered voters, Macron, his government and his policies suffered a total defeat on June 19. As no coalition has a majority, Macron cannot even count on a cohabitation government.

There is a loser. Is there a winner? The NUPES (1) has more than doubled the number of National Assembly members of its component parties, while the National Rally [2) has made a worrying breakthrough, going from 8 to 89 National Assembly members. But the fact is that on June 19, both of them were quick to proclaim the legitimacy of the new five-year term and to promise they would respect the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.

Yet there is a majority: 57 percent of registered voters refused to cast a vote for a particular candidate. More than 70 percent of them were young people, and almost as many were blue-collar and white-collar workers. In Seine-Saint-Denis, where the NUPES won all the seats, it received the votes of barely one in four registered voters.

From the point of view of democracy and the break they claim to be making with what has gone on before, logically the leaders of the NUPES should say clearly that the illegitimate Macron must go and the illegitimate Fifth Republic must go too; and they should immediately launch a campaign of mass mobilization for the convening of a sovereign Constituent Assembly so that the power is given to delegates of the people – elected, mandated and revocable – to decide what a genuine democracy should be.

In the aftermath of the second round, the NUPES leaders are not moving in this direction, leaving Macron free to try to save the regime. While [Prime Minister] Elisabeth Borne is working to cobble together majorities on the right and the left, Macron himself is calling all the trade union and employer leaders to the Elysée Palace to set up his “National Council for Refoundation.” All these maneuvers are aimed at enacting the most anti-working-class and anti-democratic programs against the public pension schemes and for austerity, for financing war budgets and eliminating public services.

The vast majority of this country, working people and the youth, reject Macron and his policies. Democracy demands that no support be given to this government. No compromise is possible, on pain of plunging the country even deeper into chaos and of providing water to the mill of a far-right which, as Marine Le Pen claimed yesterday, is biding its time.

Workers, young people, the country is going to enter a difficult and unstable situation. Let’s close ranks! For months, more and more strikes and workers’ mobilizations for demands have been taking place in all professional sectors and throughout the country. It is in and through the class struggle, in and through the united mobilization of the workers and their organizations, without any collaboration with the government, that we will prevent the march towards disintegration and reaction.

For this, a workers’ party is needed. The Democratic Independent Workers’ Party (POID) has been campaigning for months for a government of working people without Macron or the bosses, a government that takes emergency measures to serve the people’s interests. Join us, come and participate in the assemblies that the POID is organizing all over the country in the first week of July.

  • The National Bureau of the POID

June 20, 2022

  • Translator’s note: The New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) is the electoral coalition headed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France Unbowed.
  • Translator’s note: The National Rally is the right-wing coalition headed by Marine Le Pen.
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