The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter
Issue No. 67 – July 8, 2022
IN THIS INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT:
NATO: Towards the Generalized Militarization of Europe – by Jean Alain
GERMANY: “We Will Soon Have NATO’s Biggest Conventional Army in Europe” (Chancellor Scholz) – by H. W. Schuster
MOROCCO: Immigrants Seeking Refuge in Spain Massacred in Melilla – The Face of Barbarism! – Correspondence from working-class activists in Morocco
PALESTINE: On World Refugee Day, the Palestinian Dream of Return Is Still Alive – by Ahmed Abu Artema
ECUADOR: The Popular Mobilizations of June 2022 – Correspondence from Working-Class Activists
FRANCE: Isn’t It Time? – Editorial in Issue No. 346 of La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers Tribune) – by Daniel Gluckstein
* * * * * * * * * *
NATO: Towards the Generalized Militarization of Europe
(article reprinted/translated from Issue No. 347 of La Tribune des Travailleurs, France)
By Jean Alain
What should we learn from the NATO summit that took place in Madrid (Spain) from June 28 to 30? According to the official communiqués of this U.S.-led military alliance, founded in 1949, the Madrid summit marked a “strategic turning point.” What is that?
NATO is now calling Russia “the most significant and direct threat to the security of the allies.” The military alliance adds, “We cannot rule out the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the allies.” Not only does NATO not rule out the possibility of a direct confrontation, but in fact it is looking for one. For example, during the summit, bombings took place on the Russian city of Belgorod, 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, as a result of massive arms deliveries to Ukraine from NATO countries. Shortly before the summit, the Lithuanian government (a member of NATO and the European Union) declared a blockade of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (a Russian territory between Lithuania and Poland and a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea).
The Madrid summit, moreover, was an opportunity for the U.S. president to impose upon the Turkish president, who was opposed to it, NATO membership for Sweden and Finland. (Finland has 1,300 kilometers of land border with Russia). In “exchange” – it goes without saying – there was a commitment by the Swedish and Finnish governments to restrict the activities of Kurdish militants who have taken refuge in their countries.
But it is not only Russia that is being targeted. Following in the footsteps of the G7 summit, which brought together the heads of state of the seven most powerful imperialist countries (and the European Union) a few days earlier, the NATO summit clearly targeted China as a “security challenge.” The NATO summit also contemplated intervention in the Sahel, where French imperialism is in great difficulty. China, the Sahel and yesterday Afghanistan … all far from the North Atlantic, which is supposed to be NATO’s zone of intervention.
The NATO summit was the occasion for decisions leading to the generalized remilitarization of Europe. 300,000 soldiers of all nationalities were placed on alert in the east of the continent and Biden announced – without putting a figure on it – that he would increase the number of U.S. soldiers present on the continent (there are already more than 100,000). “For our part, the United States is doing exactly what I said we would do if Putin invaded: enhance our force posture in Europe. We’ll station more ships here, in Spain. We’re stationing more air defense in Italy and Germany; more F-35s in the United Kingdom; and, to strengthen our eastern flank, new permanent headquarters for the Army Fifth Corps in Poland,” said Biden.
All this comes at a cost. Biden announced an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine (translate: $800 million taken from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers and given to U.S. multinational arms companies). Biden’s staunchest ally, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, added: “The 2 percent [i.e., Trump’s original goal that NATO member countries increase their military spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic product – ed. Note] was always meant to be a floor, not a ceiling, and allies must continue to step up in this time of crisis.”
These additional tens of billions of dollars and euros, which will fatten the arms dealers and fuel the next world war, will have to be taken from somewhere … and everyone knows where: from the budgets of public services, schools, hospitals, roads, civil servants’ wages, etc.
It should be noted that this policy dictated by Biden to his NATO “allies” has met with no resistance, especially from governments in which “socialist” parties are in power (Germany, Belgium, Portugal) or coalitions of “socialist”, “communist” and “radical left” parties (the Spanish State). Building on the broad pro-NATO consensus in the European Parliament, they all backed the summit decisions. A summit of preparation for a new World War.
Biden, representative of the U.S. oligarchs, could well pay tribute to Putin at the end of the summit. Thanks to the military intervention in Ukraine by the representative of the Russian oligarchs, Biden congratulated himself: NATO is “more united than ever”… behind the interests of Wall Street.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“We Will Soon Have NATO’s Biggest Conventional Army in Europe” — Chancellor Scholz
By H. W. Schuster
In a show of national unity, in early June and by a very large majority, German MPs voted to provide 100 billion euros for the army. On June 3, the Bundestag (Parliament) voted to amend the Fundamental Law (which serves as the Constitution) to allow for the creation of a “special fund for the Bundeswehr,” the German army. This special fund, worth 100 billion euros, was then adopted.
The amendment of the Fundamental Law required a two-thirds majority. In an expression of “sacred union,” or “national unity,” the parties in government all voted in favor – the Social Democratic Party SPD (minus eight votes against), the Greens, the liberal FDP – as well as the main party of the bourgeoisie, the CDU-CSU. In the vote for the special fund, these same parties voted in favor, as did a large part of the fascist far right AfD.
The party Die Linke voted against it en bloc. In violation of all basic democracy, the amendment of the Fundamental Law was adopted without any discussion in the trade unions, political parties, etc.
On the same day, the federal budget was passed. The military budget for the year alone amounts to 50.4 billion euros. As for the special fund, it was explicitly excluded from the “golden rule” of indebtedness, but, like the other debts, it will have to be paid for by the working class through the destruction of public services, education, healthcare, pensions, etc.
In accordance with the objectives set by NATO (to devote 2% of GDP to armaments), the real military budget spread over five years is thus increased to more than 70 billion euros per year. And in the event that the special fund is fully “consumed,” the law provides that “the federal budget will continue to provide the necessary financial means to … finance the German contribution to the NATO objectives in force at that time.”
Thus, a regime of ever-increasing war budgets was established, for which the rules of “limiting the debt” did not apply. This increase leads to unprecedented cuts in all other budgets (public services, etc.) down to the level of the municipalities.
For German imperialism, it is a question of becoming, according to Social Democrat Chancellor Scholz, “the largest conventional army in Europe” in NATO, just behind that of U.S. imperialism, and playing the central role in Europe.
No doubt this will provoke massive resistance from the working class as the Scholz government is violating the oath of the German people after 1945: “No more war ever, no more fascism ever.” And its decision to increase the war budget directly threatens the working class and the gains it has made since 1945. We must fight these attacks with a united struggle against war and exploitation.
* * * * * * * * * *
MOROCCO: Refugees Massacred in Melilla– The Face of Barbarism!
Presentation by Jean Alain
JUNE 29 — It was “a real war at the border crossing of Melilla on June 24 – a war that caused a catastrophic toll of deaths and many injuries.” This statement was made by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH).
On that day, more than 2,000 refugees from sub-Saharan Africa tried to cross the border fence that separates the Moroccan city of Nador from the Spanish colonial enclave of Melilla, in Moroccan territory. Having fled misery and war in their countries, these refugees were trying to reach Europe to survive.
What happened at the fence defended by the Moroccan police and army? The unbearable images made public by the AMDH leave little room for doubt. They show dozens of bodies, with corpses and severely injured people literally piled on top of each other under the surveillance of the military.
The statement from the AMDH continued:
“It was in this inhumane way, surrounded by piled-up bodies, that the Moroccan authorities arrested dozens of sub-Saharan migrants in front of the fence. … The confrontation with the military lasted almost nine hours, when rescue workers were needed.”
The official death toll is 28, but the real figure is probably much higher. The AMDH denounced the attempts by the Moroccan authorities to bury the dead without an autopsy and without opening a judicial inquiry. Access to the Hassani Hospital has been denied to journalists, and the area around the morgue is controlled by police.
In a statement, some 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to help the refugees condemned the massacre and “demanded an end to the criminal policies financed by the European Union and its many accomplices, including States, certain international organizations, and several civil society organizations that subcontract these criminal policies.”
* * * *
The Tragedy of Melilla: Moroccan Troops Fire Upon Sub-Saharan African Immigrants Seeking Refuge in Spain
[Note: The following statement was issued by Moroccan activists preparing the World Conference against War and Exploitation, for a Workers’ International.]
JULY 6 — A real human tragedy took place on June 24 in the north of Morocco after the attempt by about 2,000 migrants from sub-Saharan countries to enter Mlilya (in Spanish Melilla), an enclave occupied by Spain. This attempt was repressed in a bloody and deadly manner, costing the lives of at least 28 young migrants and injuring dozens. Their only “crime” was to enter Europe through this occupied city.
This tragic event coincided with another similar event: The death of at least 46 migrants trapped in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, after a day of extremely high temperatures. This occurred about 145 miles from the border with Mexico. The young people who died were hoping to reach the United States.
Blaming the Victims
Many voices are calling for an investigation into the deaths of the migrants, but the Spanish government – a “left-wing” government – has praised Rabat’s “collaboration in defending its borders.” The Moroccan authorities, in fact, are conducting a real manhunt against dozens of migrants. Thirty-seven have been charged with “illegal entry into Morocco,” “violence against law-enforcement officers,” and holding an “armed gathering,” according to their lawyer, Khalid Ameza.
Twenty-eight other migrants will be tried for “participation in a criminal gang to organize and facilitate illegal immigration abroad,” according to the lawyer, who reports that the majority of the defendants are from Darfur (western Sudan), which is in the grip of a serious food crisis and where recent violence has left more than 125 people dead and 50,000 displaced. Others are Chadian and Malian, and one is Yemeni.
The death of these young Africans reveals the deadly nature of the “security” cooperation between Morocco and Spain and exposes the criminal policy of the European Union. “In Nador, we were beaten in an inhumane way,” Omar, a Sudanese migrant who fled war and prison in his country, told Agence France-Presse. “We don’t feel safe here, our lives are in danger.”
The responsibility of the labor movement, in Morocco as in Spain
The labor movement – in Morocco, Spain, and internationally – should state loud and clear that imperialism is the one responsible for these repeated tragedies. It’s imperialism and its murderous plans in Africa, namely the IMF plans, that ravage the nations of the continent. It’s imperialism that imposes the structural adjustment plans and the debt that crush workers and youth.
It is these criminal plans that fuel the armed conflicts and wars that are ravaging dozens of African countries, causing famine and driving entire populations to flee. The refugees are hoping to enter Europe to survive, while the European Union and European governments are pushing to make Morocco the watchdog for the protection of its borders, imposing trade and economic agreements that only worsen the situation of workers and youth in Morocco.
Organizations that speak on behalf of workers and democracy, in Morocco as in Spain, must condemn this racist and criminal policy pursued by the European Union and its local agents. They must demand the legalization of all refugees, the free movement of citizens, and the right to refuge. They must condemn the military interventions and economic plans, debt, and free trade agreements that are ravaging the African continent.
* * * * * * * * * *
On World Refugee Day, the Palestinian Dream of Return Is Still Alive
By Ahmed Abu Artema
[Note: Ahmed Abu Artema is a Palestinian refugee, writer and one of the main organizers of the Great March of Return events in Gaza. The French version of this article was published in Tribune des Travailleurs No. 346 with the author’s agreement. The full article was published originally in English in Mondoweiss.]
“The longest refugee tragedy in the world is that of the Palestinians, who were forcibly uprooted from their homes in 1948. The right of return remains the essence of the Palestinian cause.”
June 20 every year marks World Refugee Day, designated by the UN to honor refugees forced to flee their homeland to escape conflict or persecution around the globe. According to the UN, 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror every minute.
World Refugee Day this year comes as the world focuses on the humanitarian plight of the war in Ukraine. Statistics indicate that 14 million persons have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the war. In addition, the tragedy of the conflict in Syria continues into its 11th year, having forced 6.8 million people into refuge.
However, the longest refugee tragedy is that of the Palestinians forcibly uprooted from their homes in 1948. Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees in Palestine and the diaspora. These refugees, their children, and grandchildren have waited for decades to exercise their natural right of returning to their towns and villages.
Palestinian refugees are those uprooted because of terrorist operations by Zionist militias during 1946 – 1948, as well as their children and grandchildren.
During what has come to be known as the Nakba, 750,000 Palestinians left their homes and villages because of massacres carried out by Zionist militias. Part of them fled to the Gaza Strip and West Bank inside the borders of historic Palestine. Others took refuge in nearby Arab countries, especially Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Israel tries to mislead the world by propagating the lie that Palestinian refugees left their homes willingly. However, the truth is that Israel is responsible, not only for the well-documented ethnic-cleansing massacres that took place, but also for preventing the refugees’ return. In 1950, the Israeli Knesset passed the Absentee Property Law allowing Israeli authorities takeover of Palestinian refugee properties. Israel used this law against Palestinian refugees to take their property and allocate it to Jewish migrants.
The right of return is imprinted in the psyche of the Palestinian people. Thus, it continues to resonate strongly today after 74 years of the Nakba.
Israel’s bet was that the right of return would be buried with the passing of the first generation of refugees. However, that bet failed as the belief in the right of return did not diminish in subsequent generations who were born in the diaspora. Israel and her Western supporters tried on more than one occasion to bypass the right but, they have failed because no Palestinian leadership ever had the authority to concede it. The right of return in the Palestinian psyche is above politics. It is a non-negotiable, inalienable right.
Palestinian refugees have kept their property documents and house keys safe till today; and pass them down from generation to the next. The names of refugees’ hometowns and villages are visible in the names of streets and neighborhoods, which is sufficient evidence of the deep-rooted dream of return. [See photos.]
The right of return is the essence of the Palestinian cause. Israel’s unfortunate luck is that it was established by the ethnic cleansing of another people. Thus, Israel is trying to swim against the tides of history by seeking stability and security in a state founded at the expense of another people. Israel is highly sensitive to the right of return because it views it as an existential threat. However, Palestinian refugees and all those who believe in human rights and justice worldwide need not take into account Israeli calculations, based on apartheid and aggression. In simple terms, a Palestinian refugee wants to go home irrelevant of other concerns.
Israel decided that it would be a state for Jews only. This project collided with the existence of the Palestinian people. Israel wanted to change this reality via the forced uprooting of the indigenous population. However, the problem did not disappear because the refugees did not melt away; and still cling to their right of return.
Israel does not have a land area problem. It still exerts considerable effort to assimilate Jewish migrants from around the globe and give them Israeli citizenship. During times of crises, such as the one currently in Ukraine, Israel grasps the opportunity to convince Jews – Ukrainian ones in this case – to migrate to Palestine and receive Israeli citizenship.
When Palestinian refugees dreaming of return see strangers land in Ben Gurion Airport, receive welcome from Israel, and obtain its citizenship, they wonder with an overwhelmed feeling of oppression, “why can we not return like that?”
Palestinians tried through the peaceful Great Return March to go back to their homes. They were met with Israel fire that killed them.
The only explanation for the contradiction between the open arms Israel shows to migrants from thousands of miles away versus the gunshots refugees receive from across the Gaza perimeter fence is that Israel is an apartheid state. It believes in the rights and well-being of Jews only. To Israel, non-Jews do not deserve life – even if they are the original inhabitants of the land.
* * * * * * * * * *
The Popular Mobilizations of June 2022: Correspondence from Working-Class Activists
On June 23, tens of thousands of peasants and indigenous workers stormed Quito, the nation’s capital, in response to the call issued by the Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador (CONAIE), which brings together the most oppressed and exploited sectors of the population on a ten-point platform of emergency measures [see below].
A state of emergency has been declared by the government of ultra-reactionary President Guillermo Lasso, and the repression has already left several people dead. Worker activists from Ecuador, signatories of the call for an International Emergency Meeting against War, have sent us their reflections, major excerpts of which we publish herewith.
This formidable peasant and indigenous mobilizations pose the problem of junction with the organized working class, and thus the responsibility of the leaders of the political and trade union organizations of the working class, especially since the platform in ten points perfectly synthesizes the demands of the workers and the peasant masses.
The report from our correspondents in Ecuador reads as follows:
“The previous popular mobilization called by CONAIE took place in October 2019 against the government of former President Moreno [against the withdrawal of state subsidies to fuel prices – ed. Note]. The current president, Guillermo Lasso, is acting in the same way as his predecessor on key issues. They are, as we say here, ‘two butts in the same pants’.
“The main difference between them is that Lasso is a banker, and a fanatical member of Opus Dei .
“On the CONAIE side, the main difference with 2019 is its leadership. The new leader of CONAIE, Leonidas Iza, expresses both his differences with Correism  and claims to follow the socialist thinker Jose Carlos Mariategui .
“The June 2022 mobilizations have the characteristic of being more general, more national and more popular than in 2019. This is shown by the ten-point platform that CONAIE [see sidebar below] presented to Lasso. This platform was ignored by the banker-president until the general strike, after which the answers he gave in the heat of the protests did not convince either the leaders or CONAIE’s social grassroots.
“The international political context has changed, with the election of the left-wing candidate Petro in Colombia [Ecuador’s neighbor]. All the attempts to accuse Petro of ‘communism’, ‘guerrilla’, ‘violence’, ‘authoritarianism’ have failed. Moreover, many Colombians voted for Petro against his main competitor, a demagogic businessman who resembles Lasso to a tee.
“In thirteen months of government, the result of Lasso’s policies has been a disaster, except, admittedly, in the area of vaccination. For the rest, in the popular imagination, Lasso appears worse than his predecessor Moreno. This is why one can hear the popular clamor demanding ‘Out with Lasso!’
“The increase in fuel prices has increased the government’s tax revenues. But this has not been reflected in the improvement of public services. The increase in the price of oil triggered the general rise in prices and has not served to reactivate the economy, create jobs or improve public services, nor has it reduced poverty. This has fueled popular mobilization.
“The ‘dialogue’ proposed by the government is the last strategy left to Lasso to try to defuse the popular mobilization. If CONAIE succeeds in achieving tangible and immediate results for the popular masses in this ‘dialogue,’ it could quickly become the main political force in the country. But if the ‘dialogue’ leads to the same results as in 2019, the current CONAIE leadership may lose the confidence of the masses.
“Given the crisis in the ruling class and the momentum of the mobilizations, Lasso may be ‘dropped’ by the armed forces and the police, which would lead to an early presidential election. Another option, already considered by the Social Christian Party, the main bourgeois party, is to replace Lasso with his vice-president, Borrero.
“The way in which the ‘dialogue’ to end the crisis is conducted and its results will therefore be decisive for the future.”
 Influential and reactionary organization linked to the Catholic Church.
 That is, during the presidency of Rafael Correa (2007-2017), who, under pressure from the masses, showed some signs of resistance to imperialism, without calling into question the private ownership of the means of production.
 Jose Carlos Mariategui (1894-1930) is a Peruvian Marxist working-class activist influenced by Latin American nationalist currents, founder of the Peruvian Socialist Party (1928) and of the CGT of Peru in 1929.
* * *
The Ten-Point Platform
Beginning June 13, five indigenous and peasant organizations, of which CONAIE is the main one, called for an indefinite strike to obtain a program of emergency measures known as the “ten-point platform.” The demands of the platform read, in part:
1. Lowering and freezing fuel prices. Restoration of state subsidies on fuel prices for farmers, transport workers, fishermen, etc.
2. Welfare assistance for the more than 4 million poorest families; moratorium of at least one year and renegotiation of their debts with reduction of interest rates. Halt the seizure of property (houses, grounds, vehicles).
3. Buy from the peasants their production at fair prices (milk, rice, bananas, onions, fertilizers, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, etc.) so that millions of small and medium peasants can live from their work.
4. Commitment to public policies and investments to end precarious work. Demand payment of the arrears of employer contributions to the Social Healthcare Insurance System (IESS).
5. Moratorium on the expansion of mining and oil activities (through which private companies plunder indigenous lands), auditing and full redress of social and environmental impacts.
6. Respect for the twenty-one democratic rights of indigenous peoples: bilingual education, indigenous justice, indigenous self-determination.
7. Stop the privatization of strategic sectors (Bank of the Pacific, hydroelectric plants, Social Security, telecommunications, roads, healthcare, etc.).
8. State control of prices to prevent speculation in basic necessities.
9. Healthcare and education. Immediate increase in the healthcare budget to deal with the shortage of medicines and the hiring of personnel in hospitals. Guaranteed access for young people to higher education; improvement of public infrastructure (schools, colleges and universities).
10. Development of public policies to stop the wave of violence, contract killings, delinquency, drug trafficking, kidnapping by organized crime.
* * * * * * * * * *
La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers Tribune) Issue No. 346 – 29 June 2022 – Editorial
Isn’t It Time?
By Daniel Gluckstein
Never before has a President of the Fifth Republic been in such a minority in the country and in the National Assembly. Never before has a President been so dependent on the support of the various “oppositions”. The attempts to poach individual MPs on the right and left who are deemed Macron-compatible will no doubt be insufficient to form a majority coalition. We are told that we will have to make do with ad hoc majorities for each text that is put to the vote.
It is in this context that Jean-Luc Melenchon, responding on 22 June on behalf of France Unbowed to Macron’s speech, declared: “The Prime Minister must appear before the National Assembly, must present a programme of action and seek the confidence of the Assembly. If she doesn’t have this confidence, she must resign. If she has it, she must then propose legislation and the Assembly will debate it.”
If we understand correctly: either Borne does not have the confidence of the Assembly and she resigns, but Macron and the Fifth Republic remain in place; or Borne has the confidence and Macron and the Fifth Republic will remain in place, together with Borne.
For those who are in the camp of democracy, in other words of majority rule, isn’t it time to move on to something else?
Not long ago, the same Melenchon and the candidates of France Unbowed were campaigning on a programme (“A Common Future”) in which we could read: “The institutions of the Fifth Republic have become dangerous, they organise a solitary power, the citizens are excluded from political decision-making, trust is broken between the people and their representative institutions. We have the power to re-found our common institutions, we propose that the French people give themselves a new Constitution drafted by a Constituent Assembly.”
For those who are in the camp of democracy, i.e. of majority rule, hasn’t the time come to act?
Nothing obliges France Unbowed to make proposals that will allow Macron and the undemocratic institutions to govern. Quite the contrary… At a time when the Fifth Republic is plunged into crisis, the millions of France Unbowed voters are entitled to expect their 75 National Assembly members to deploy a real mass campaign and hold multiple public meetings, rallies and assemblies in which motions would be adopted and committees formed for “a sovereign Constituent Assembly right now, let’s end the Fifth Republic!”
Breaking with Macron and the Fifth Republic, starting a campaign for a Constituent Assembly right away, for a government of the majority for the majority by the majority: faced with the regime’s crisis, this should be the initiative of National Assembly members elected on the mandate of a Constituent Assembly.
Any other position would be to turn one’s back on democracy.