The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter
Issue No. 71 – July 28, 2022
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IN THIS ISSUE:
• Fanning the Flames of Climate Disasters – by Coral Wheeler
• Manchin’s Poison Pills Are Buried in the Inflation Reduction Act – by The Editors
• How Manchin Profits from Energy Deals – by Coral Wheeler
• The Filibuster and the Remaking of the Nation’s Courts – by Mya Shone
• Biden’s Middle East Tour: Asserting U.S. Imperialism’s “Order and Stability” – by François Forgue
• International Appeal in Support of the People of Sri Lanka! – by IWC
• UKRAINE: Repression and “De-Sovietization” – by Dominique Ferré
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PLANET ON FIRE
Fanning the Flames of Climate Disasters
By Coral Wheeler
It’s not time to mince words: Capitalism and the U.S. two-party system will end all life on this planet. Take a quick look around – the world is literally on fire.
• A deadly heat wave has struck much of the United States and Europe, with 2,000 people killed in Spain and Portugal due to heat-related deaths, and fires forcing people from their homes across the European continent.
• In the United States, nearly 100 million people across the country are under alert for dangerously high temperatures, with the Northeast and mid-South regions reaching temperatures that feel as hot as 105 degrees.
• Over 14,000 acres of forest has gone up in intense flames near Yosemite, with thousands of people needing to be evacuated, and Lake Mead — the largest reservoir in the U.S that provides water for 25 million people — is on the brink of drying up, with water levels at only 27% of capacity – the lowest since it was initially filled in 1937.
• More than 900 million Chinese, about 65% of the population, are living under some kind of heat warning, with temperatures exceeding 104 degrees in many cases. The situation has become so dire that officials have warned that runoff from melting glaciers could overwhelm dams in western China.
Capitalism, the system that prioritizes the growth of capital and corporate profit over human needs, has long proved to be incapable of preventing the catastrophic warming of the Earth. However, with the recent Supreme Court decision “West Virginia vs. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)” – one of many disastrous Supreme Court (SC) decisions made in the last term – a group of only 6 unelected judges has gone even further towards limiting any government control on the battle against climate change. Indeed, the decision has far-reaching implications that will limit the government’s oversight on any number of issues, beyond even environmental protection.
The original case deals with the EPA’s Clean Air Act, which gave the agency authority to regulate power plant emissions. Rather than question the general authority of the EPA to do such a thing, the SC decision instead limits any government agency’s ability to regulate by claiming that any “major question” would need explicit authority from Congress before being subject to the agency’s authority.
And who determines whether the question addressed by a regulation is “major?” Any group of five of these same unaccountable justices, or more likely judges in the lower courts. The decision effectively removes authority to enact significant change from all government organizations, placing it in the hands of the judicial branch at the local or federal level. Although Congress can grant any regulatory agency a specific mandate, such legislation would be subject to the same Senate rules such as the filibuster, which currently make any positive legislation impossible.
“Vote Blue No Matter Who”?
With this decision, along with a number of adverse rulings brought down by the latest Supreme Court, the claims of liberals and Democrats that the way out of this is to “Vote Blue No Matter Who” is exposed for the ineffective strategy it has always been. Democrats not only failed to get even moderate justice Merrick Garland onto the court in the face of Republicans’ juvenile stalling tactics, but they allowed Trump to appoint three SC justices in his single term.
Not only that. The Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed the appointment of over 200 federal judges by the one-term president, including more federal appeals court judges than Obama was able to appoint in both terms.
Democrats notably failed to codify abortion protections into law, a failure that the overturning of “Roe vs. Wade” by this same Supreme Court has once again brought into sharp relief. The fact that Nancy Pelosi felt safe enough to support an anti-abortion primary candidate, even after the uproar against the decision, shows just how little the Democratic Party pays attention to the will of its base. And that is for a subject, abortion, that they pretend to care a great deal about – at least for fundraising purposes.
A Record of Broken Promises
The Democrats’ position on governmental regulation is far worse, even on the surface. Remember it was Democrats who gutted the social welfare state, particularly under President Bill Clinton. However, even at a time where 65% of Americans think the government is doing too little to combat climate change (Pew research poll 2020), President Biden is blatantly in favor of prioritizing the needs of capital over the survival of the planet and the human species.
Despite campaign promises to take significant action on climate change, and in particular to halt new oil and gas development on federal land, the Biden administration held its first onshore lease sales and proposed a plan for offshore drilling that could open parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet to drilling in the future.
The Democrats, meanwhile, have let their attempts at legislation to ban drilling fall to the same convenient foil as most of their meaningful legislation – the supreme power of Senator Joe Manchin. By refusing to eliminate the filibuster, single individuals such as Manchin, or Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, can effectively block any legislation they desire, providing the Democrats the perfect cover for their ploy of ineffectiveness.
The Democrats have shown time and time again that they are not the party of governmental oversight, they are not the party of the environment, they are not the party of women, and they are not the party of the working class. We need our own party, built from the ground up, representing labor unions and community organizations, and led by working and oppressed people. We must recognize the Democratic Party for what it is — merely one of two parties that would see the planet destroyed in the name of profit. We can save the world, but only as a united working class mobilizing and taking action in our own name.
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MANCHIN’S POISON PILLS
Manchin’s Poison Pills Are Buried in the Inflation Reduction Act
On July 27, Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they had reached a $433 billion deal on a health-care and climate spending package. The new bill, as reported in the Washington Post, “provides billions in home energy rebates to help Americans make their homes more energy efficient and new tax credits for lower- and middle-income Americans to buy new and used electric vehicles. It provides a bevy of tax credits to boost solar panels, batteries and other technologies… .”
What the Washington Post and the rest of the mainstream media have not reported, however, is what the Center for Biological Diversity in a July 28 posting calls “Manchin’s poison pills buried in the Inflation Reduction Act [that] will destroy livable climate.” The authors write:
“A proposed climate and energy package would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters.
“The provisions, in sections 50264 and 50265, are buried near the end of the 725-page Inflation Reductio Act. … ‘This is a climate suicide pact,’ said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction. The new leasing required in this bill will fan the flames of the climate disasters torching our country, and it’s a slap in the face to the communities fighting to protect themselves from filthy fossil fuels.’”
“The bill would require the Interior Department to offer at least 2 million acres of public lands and 60 million acres of offshore waters for oil and gas leasing each year for a decade as a prerequisite to installing any new solar or wind energy. If the department failed to offer these minimum amounts for leasing, no right of ways could be granted for any utility-scale renewable energy project on public lands or waters. …
“Fossil fuel production on public lands is responsible for about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. Peer-reviewed science estimates that a nationwide federal fossil fuel leasing ban would reduce carbon emissions by 280 million tons per year, ranking it among the most ambitious federal climate-policy proposals in recent years.”
A “poison pill” it is, brought to you care of Sen. Manchin, whose ties to the fossil-fuel industry are described in detail in the article below by Coral Wheeler. — The Editors
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How Manchin Profits from Energy Deals
By Coral Wheeler
It is a natural consequence of bourgeois society that the ruling class not only owns the means of production but utilizes bourgeois democratic structures to advance the interests of their class. The same people that stand to benefit from lowered taxes, financial and environmental deregulation, privatization, etc. are the same general group of people that benefit from decreased government oversight and a low corporate tax rate. And, since the same class has been in control of the world economy for over a century, the very law has been set up to make this continued racket completely legal.
This is why, despite the existence of ethics rules within the U.S. Senate that specifically forbid members from acting on legislation to advance the financial interests of themselves or immediate family, Senator Joe Manchin has made himself wealthy by blocking significant climate action – all while appearing to avoid breaking any laws (if barely). However, when combined with his legislative record, Senator Manchin’s ties to a coal power plant in West Virginia would even stretch the credulity of those who would deny the existence of extreme levels of corruption.
After lobbying in the ’80s for a permit for a power plant that burns “garbage of bituminous,” or gob — low-quality waste coal mixed with rock and clay and harder and less efficient to burn — Manchin proceeded to immediately profit from the deal. His company, Enersystems, sold old mines with piles of gob to AmBit, the company that owns and had requested the permit for the new Grant Town power plant. In addition, Enersystems leased the use of its other mines to AmBit, retaining one percent of the gross revenue from electricity generated by the plant burning their gob. To date, Enersystems’ only customer is the Grant Town plant. However, many international companies have had a stake in AmBit, and many have lobbied the Senate on dozens of bills handled by the committees on which Manchin sat, all while holding financial influence over Mr. Manchin through the companies’ ownership of AmBit.
The incestuous relationship between AmBit, Enersystems and Joe Manchin goes much deeper, including one instance where Manchin helped push through a price increase desired by the plant that was passed onto already struggling customers. But, most significant, is the fact that Manchin has consistently blocked any action on climate change at the federal level. The need for Manchin’s vote for the Democrats to reach a majority in the Senate means that he holds incredible power in blocking legislation.
Promoting the detrimental effect Biden’s Climate Bill would have on the power sector, Manchin has repeatedly blocked any effort from the Democrats to push towards renewable energy or regulate fossil fuel production. This allows Democrats to posture on climate change and environmental protection while being able to point to Manchin as a convenient excuse for failing to accomplish anything. And Manchin can point to decades of laws written by other members of the capitalist class to claim that his obvious corruption is also within the legal limits. However, make no mistake, Senator Manchin, as well as the Democratic Party, have no problem allowing the Earth to continue to warm to untenable levels, as long as it continues to enrich themselves and other members of the ruling class.
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FILIBUSTER / SUPREME COURT
The Filibuster and the Remaking of the Nation’s Courts
By Mya Shone
Not only women today but the entire working class is confronted with the harsh reality endemic to the institutional framework that governs the United States. Three right-wing Supreme Court justices (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett), appointed by Donald Trump, and two others (Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito), appointed by George W. Bush, were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote but won in the Electoral College. All are responsible for abrogating fundamental rights wrested through bitter struggles.
While the Electoral College win allowed Trump to nominate these justices, it is a potent change in Senate filibuster rules that secured their lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.
For many decades, it took a 60-vote supermajority to advance all federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments as well as legislation.
In 2013, however, when Democrats held a majority in the Senate and President Barack Obama occupied the White House, Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), blocked Obama’s nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, his pick for Defense secretary, and his choices for the National Labor Relations Board as well as for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
With the Obama administration seemingly at an impasse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid orchestrated a change in the Senate filibuster rules. A 51-vote simple majority would be sufficient for executive appointments as well as appointments for federal District and Appellate Court judges. The 60-vote requirement remained in place for Supreme Court nominations and legislation. In 2016, Mitch McConnell used the supermajority filibuster rule to effect by blocking Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia.
The roles reversed in 2017 with Donald Trump in office and a narrow Republican majority in the Senate. Foremost among Mitch McConnell’s and the Federalist Society’s priorities was to reshape the federal judiciary with control of the Supreme Court as the ultimate prize. Without a moment’s hesitation, McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, sprang into action as soon as Democrats filibustered the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court. McConnell had his Republican-controlled Senate vote to change the Senate filibuster rules to reduce the threshold for confirming nominees to the Supreme Court from 60 to 51. The rest is abject history.
Note: Aside from appointing one third of the members of the Supreme Court, Trump flipped the balance of several of the nation’s 13 federal appellate courts from a majority of Democratic appointees to a majority of Republican appointees (the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court, the Manhattan-based 2nd Circuit Court and the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit). In just his one term in office, Trump appointed 53 judges to the appeals courts — just under one third of the total current sitting appellate judges.
A word must be said about the Federalist Society and the “dark money” which has reshaped the federal judiciary. The Society not only picked potential candidates but its longtime vice president Leonard Leo shepherded Donald Trump’s nominations — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — through the Senate confirmation process. They weren’t his first run. Leo had led the campaigns previously to support the nominations of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito and was instrumental in the strategy to block Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Leo also is connected closely to two dozen conservative nonprofit entities with donors such as Charles Koch and Rebekah Mercer. Let us note — incidentally or not — that Leo is a knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic lay religious order which maintains its own diplomatic relations with 112 countries and has permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
Recommended reading: The Washington Post, May 21, 2019, investigative piece by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg, “A Conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts.”
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THE U.S. WAR ABROAD
Biden fist-bumps Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Biden’s Middle East Tour: Asserting U.S. Imperialism’s “Order and Stability”
By François Forgue
From July 15 to 18, U.S. President Joe Biden toured the Middle East. It ended in Saudi Arabia with the meeting of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, to which Egypt, Jordan and Iraq were invited.
Joe Biden reunited with the effective head of state of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. When he was only a candidate, Joe Biden had assured, in the name of the “values” that the United States upholds, that he would have no relationship with the man responsible for the horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey. At the time, Biden said that Saudi Arabia would be treated as a “pariah State.”
In the name of “shared values,” Biden summed up the meaning of his visit to the Middle East by affirming that “we will build leadership.” He hailed Salman as the legitimate leader of Saudi Arabia. For the representative of the world’s largest capitalist power, the mention of human rights can only be made when it serves the interests of U.S. imperialism.
Clearly, Biden came to tell the Saudi ruler that he had a green light to repress, murder, torture those who oppose his power; to maintain the oppression of women; to overexploit immigrant labor, and to continue the massacre of the civilian population in Yemen. This is on one condition: that the Saudi regime does not oppose in any way the global plans of U.S. imperialism, the NATO war against Russia today, and the encirclement and military threats against China. As Biden said, “We are not going to allow a vacuum to be filled by Russia and China.”
Biden’s Middle East tour began with the State of Israel. Biden renewed the support and commitment of the United States to the State of Israel at a time of increasing abuses against the Palestinian population, forced evictions, expansion of settlements, and the increasingly brutal implementation of a system of Apartheid – a system denounced not only by the Palestinians but also by part of the Jewish population of Israel.
The same was true of Egypt’s dictator, General al-Sissi, who has imprisoned more than 60,000 Egyptian citizens for political reasons and trampled all political and trade union freedoms in Egypt. A $1.5 billion military aid contract was signed between the U.S. and the Egyptian government.
Many commentators said that Biden gave a lot and received little in return. “He is coming back empty-handed,” writes Le Monde. It is true that the deep crisis of the world capitalist system is also weakening the United States. But U.S. imperialism remains the keystone of the whole system, and its will is being imposed.
A columnist in Le Figaro writes on this subject: “The president succeeded in his trip to the Middle East because it was about reassuring America’s major allies in the region.” This commentary is in line with that of the U.S. magazine Foreign Affairs, for whom the main task was to consolidate order and stability, i.e., the regimes in place.
“Order and stability” are based on the march to war, on the oppression of peoples, and on the worsening of the conditions of survival of all peoples. But this order and stability are threatened at every moment by the resistance of the workers and the peoples. What is happening today in Sri Lanka, where the uprising of an entire people has forced the flight of leaders who seemed to be well established in power, is proof of this. [See Sri Lanka Appeal below.]
 The U.S. has been supplying arms to Saudi Arabia for its attack on Yemen via a circuitous process because there is a U.S. ban on offensive weapons’ sales to Saudi Arabia.
Human Rights Watch reported on June 13, 2022: “A new international report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) – the congressional watchdog – found serious gaps in US government oversight of how arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are being used. These findings show that Congress needs to get more involved in these weapons sales.”
On July 11, Reuters reported that the Biden administration is discussing lifting the ban on U.S. sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.
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INTERNATIONAL WORKERS COMMITTEE
Masses turn out in the streets of Colombo
International Appeal in Support of the People of Sri Lanka!
[For more information and/or to endorse, contact: email@example.com]
We are activists, workers, students, intellectuals, artists and internationalists who live in France and in various countries of the world due to economic, social or political conditions. We salute the first victory won by the people at home.
We salute the general strikes (haartal) on April 28 and on May 9 called by all the trade union organizations.
We salute the July 9 mobilization of the people in Colombo who, on a united basis between Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all faiths and ethnicities, drove away the President and forced the Prime Minister to resign.
The people rose up because they couldn’t stand it any longer, because they wanted to be able to eat, to have electricity in their homes, to be able to obtain medicines and petrol. We heard the slogans in the demonstrations: “Seventy-four years is enough! “Enough of the divisions! “Power to the people!”
Yes, the people are right. The President has left. All the institutions of which he was the heart must go with him. The interim President has no mandate to call on the army to repress the people. We firmly condemn comments saying that “the protestors are fascists.” We warn him that any attempt to repress the people in a bloodbath will provoke massive mobilizations in all capitals of the world until the Sri Lankan people have achieved total victory.
All political prisoners must be amnestied. The members of the law enforcement agencies and the military who refused to fire on the people must be reinstated with full compensation.
Seventy-four years ago, the question of the Constituent Assembly was raised. It is being raised again today. The people were able to drive the corrupt out of power. They have the capacity to run the country.
The woman who, mourning the death of her husband, had to wait more than 24 hours in a queue in front of a petrol station is right when she said: “It is not me or my husband who contracted that debt, but it is my husband who paid for it with his life. It is all the successive regimes that have contracted those debts and are solely responsible for my husband’s death.”
The debt contracted by the corrupt is not the people’s debt! We issue a solemn warning: It is for the Sri Lankan people to freely define their future!
It is not for the leaders of the United States of America or any other foreign power to decide the future of the Sri Lankan people; it is not for Biden to tell the Sri Lankan government what it must do to “restore economic stability.”
The IMF must not dictate the economic program, including privatizations, in Sri Lanka. We warn against any attempt to divide the victorious people, by creating conflicts and carrying out provocations.
We will stand by the Sri Lankan people as they freely find their own way.
• No to repression! No to foreign interference!
• Yes to the right of the Sri Lankan people to freely define their destiny!
– July 17, 2022
Initiators of the Appeal
Mudunkotuwage Saman, Samarasinghe Chula (retired teacher), Medina Horacio (Chile), Rajapaksha Supun (science student), Manikbowe Nihal (military retiree).
And with them the first endorsers in France
AMARASINGHE Wije (71 génération-france), ARACHCHIGE Laksman, BANDU Mano, BOPAGE Athul, BOPAGE Eresha, COSTA Chaminda, DEHIWALA Janak, FERNANDO Ranjith, GUNARATHNE Mahesh, JAYALAL Iroshan, KATHALUWA Anura, KATHRIARACHCHI Dilip, LOKUPATHIRAGE Wasantha, MAHABAMUNA Nimal, MAHABAMUNA Palitha, MAHAWADUGE Wasanatha, MALAGAMMNA Saman, Nandasiri Thenuvara, NIRMAL Amanda, PANAPURA Saman, P KUMARA Malipe, PAPILIYA Lakshan, PERERA Lucky, RANASINGHA Hirantha Josep, RUPIKA Gamini, SELLAHENDI Lal, SUMANADASA Jayantha, THILAKARATHNE Verni, THIRIMANNA Indika, WETHTHAMUNI Sunil, WITHARANA Ajith,Dushmantha.
Endorsers in Sri Lanka
Jayalath Dasantha (Former deputy secretary of Ansell Lanka branch of Free Trade Zones And General Service Employees Union), CHAMINDA Sampath, W.D. SIRIWARDANA , H.A. CHANDRIKA Shamalee, P.P. LAKSHMAN, S.JANAKA Nisantha, J.M. NIHAL Upali; Jayathissa Kamal (Former Vice President of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Jayawickrama K. (Former core member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Kaluarachchi Athula Kamal (Former President of the Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Kaluarachchi Vipula (Former Secretary of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Kanapathi S. (Former core member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), M. Nasar (Former core member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU ), Priyantha Ajith (Former core member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Rohitha de Silva Janaka (Former core member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Roshan Chandana (Former Organizer of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU), Santha Kumar Mudalige (Former Executive Member of Ansell lanka branch of the FTZGSEU).
CHOWDHURY Badrudduja (General secretary Democratic Workers Party), NURUL ALAM Atik (director, cinematographer), JOSHIM Ahmed (Journalist), FAIJUL Hakim , MOSHREFA Mishu (trade union leader, Kamruzaman (journalist), Md. AKLAS Hossain (Youth leader); ABDUS Salam (social worker); Md. SOBUZ Hossain (Driver association leader); SUMI Khan (left women activist); MOLLAH Abdus Sobhan; Sk ABDUR Rashid, Sk ISMAIL Hossain, Sk ROBIU Islam, SALMA AKTER Shilpi (President youth federation Chittagong); KHANI Jahra, Student; JAYMAL Abedin (President Farmers Union); KABIR Amhed (President Bangladesh National Workers Union).
ABOT Guy, Art historian; AGOSTINIS Sylviane, Trade Unionist CGT Ministry of Labour; AIT ELHADJ Samia, Trade Unionist teacher 94; AUDIN Thierry, Trade Unionist teacher 94; AUFFRET Patrick, Trade Unionist City of Paris; BACQUE Agnès, Trade Unionist; BALLAY Paul, Trade Unionist National Education; BAROUTI Éliane, retired teacher; BARROIS Jean-Pierre, anti-war activist; BARTHEZ Floriane, Trade Unionist CGT Judicial Services; BENIZEAU Luc, Trade Unionist 94; BERNON Michel, Community activist; BERRUT Jacqueline, Trade Unionist; BONHOMME Loïc, Trade Unionist FERC-Sup CGT; BONNEFON Sarah, Trade Unionist FERC-Sup CGT; BONVIN Mugilan, Trade Unionist Roissy Airport; BOUADJADJA Yazid, Trade Unionist Roissy Airport; BOULAY Cécile,France Unbowed activist , Trade Unionist; BOYER Olivier, Trade union officer; BRAHIM Rabah, Trade Unionist City of Paris; BRANDELY Cécile, Lawyer; BRIOUDE Martine, CGT activist; CALLANQUIN Nathalie, Trade Unionist; CAPPELLETTI Michel, Trade Unionist; CARRIE Jean-Emmanuel, Trade Unionist teacher; CHAMBONNET Maria, Trade Unionist 75; CHAMBONNET Pascal, Trade Unionist teacher; CHARLES-MARSAC Philippe, Trade Unionist postal worker; CHICHE Bruno, Trade Unionist 94; CHICHE Marie-France, Trade Unionist; CORBEX Pascal, Trade Unionist; CRIQUET Fabrice, Trade Unionist Roissy Airport; DAMIEN Martine, retired teacher; DENIS Jean-Claude, retired teacher; DORAT Patrice, Trade Unionist ADP; DORIANE Olivier, POID National Committee member; DRABINOWSKI Muriel, Librarian Teacher; DUBESSY Jean, research scientist , Trade Unionist SNCS (FSU) pers cap; DUPUY Martine, POID national secretary; FAURY Stéphanie, Trade Unionist CGT Sud 77 Hospital center; FERRÉ Dominique, editor – La Tribune des travailleurs; FLORENCE Nicole, POID member; GARNIER Joël, Trade Unionist; GLUCKSTEIN Benjamin, Trade Unionist City of Paris; GLUCKSTEIN Daniel, POID national secretary, co-ordinator of the IWC; GODARD Cyrille, Trade Unionist postal worker; GROISIER Jean-Michel, Trade Unionist; GUIGUET Jean-Claude, retired teacher; HADDAOUI Monia, Trade Unionist , Teacher CGT; HETZEL Charles, Trade Unionist; HO A TCHUNG Yolande, nurse; KEBBACHE Nordine, Trade Unionist CGT Roissy Airport; KEISER Christel, POID national secretary; KESSELMAN Donna, academic; LABAT Olivier, Trade Unionist CGT FAPT; LAFOND Éric, Trade Unionist teacher; LE CORRE Muriel, Trade Unionist teacher; LE GUENNEC Catherine, POID activist; LEITAO André, POID member; MALLE René, Trade Unionist Social worker; MARCUCCILLI Jacqueline, Town Councillor; MEIGNANT Caroline, Trade Unionist teacher 94; MENET Charles, Trade Unionist; MOUTOUSSAMY-RIQUET Elsa, Trade Unionist CGT Judicial Services; OBELIANNE Suzanne, retired accountant; OMHOVERE Gwenaëlle, Trade Unionist; PEREZ Raphaëlle, painter; RENAULT Louis, Trade Unionist, retiree; SANTIAGO Coralie, Trade Unionist; SCHEIN Didier, activist; SICRE Jean-Luc, POID member; TACCHELLA Gauthier, Trade Unionist railworker; THENOZ Guillaume, Trade Unionist CGT Ministry of Labour; URBAIN Mireille, Human rights activist; VAUTIER Marc, retired postal worker; VENON Michel, Trade Unionist CGT; VICENS Valérie, Trade Unionist CGT Ministry of Labour; VIDAL Dominique, CGT member Post Office; VILELA Julio, Trade Unionist CGT Orly Airport; WILSON Jonathan, Trade Unionist teacher; YON André, POID.
Britain (all in personal capacity)
Sarah WOOLEY General Secretary BFAWU; Ian HODSON, National President BFAWU; Jane DOOLAN UNISON NEC; Amerit RAIT UNISON NEC; Rebecca BROOKMAN UNISON NEC; Cllr Joanne RUST Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Secretary Kings Lynn TUC; Stefan CHOLEWKA, Secretary Rochdale TUC , Margaret K. TAYLOR Treasurer Rochdale TUC; Cllr Jane GEBBIE Unite member Deputy Leader for Bridgend County Borough Council (personal capacity); Cllr Anna ROTHERY, Leader Merseyside Independents; Cllr Mick GILGUNN Islington Council, Islington North CLP; Adrian KENNETH Branch Secretary Hull UNISON; Fiona MONKMAN Chair, Islington UNISON; Mike CALVERT Deputy Branch Secretary, Islington UNISON; Shirraz DURANI Tottenham CLP; Jo ALEXANDER Tottenham CLP; Carmel CADDEN Environment Officer Haringey & Barnet branch , Community Unite and Hornsey and Wood Green CLP; Noeleen GRATTAN Haringey Unison; Peter DURRANT Fenland Unite Community member; Antony RIMMER Liverpool 47 Surcharged Councillor, Merseyside Pensioners Association, trade unionist (CWU and Unite); Doreen McNALLY, Liverpool Unite Community branch and former spokesperson, Women of the Waterfront; Steve HEDLEY former Senior Assistant General Secretary, RMT
Vasudevan Nambiah (India) co-ordinator of the IWC; PATIL M. A.; Professor Uday MEHTA; CHERUVATHOOR Denzil, Fourth International; DSOUZA Franklyn, Fourth International
Afzal Rana, Gulzar Welfare Society, fayyaz Samina, Secretary Women Wing APTUF, Gulzar Nasir, APTUF, Gulzar Yasir, organiser APTUF Youth Wing, haider Sunyia, President Pink Rickshaw Union, Haider Taj, President, Punjab Teachers Association, HAROON Younas, Orient Worker Employees Union, ilyas M., Workers Union Nisar Art Press, Jamil Rubina, APTUF, Khalid Mian, Railway Workers Union, Khan Akbar, National Bank Employees Union, Khursheed Ahmed, General Secretary, All Pakistan Workers Confederation, NIZAMI Ashraf, Dr., president, Pakistan Medical Association; Rehman Taimure, Prof. Rehmatullah, Youth Secretary, Salim M., Longshoreman Workers Union; Sk Robiul Islam.
United States (all in personal capacity)
Benjamin Alan, Member, Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper, San Francisco, California; Benjamin Medea, Co-founder, Code Pink, Washington, DC; Black Katherine, President Emerita, Philadelphia Chapter, Coalition of Labor Union Women, CLUW (AFL-CIO); Bruskin Gene, Union organizer / retired, Silver Springs, Maryland; Bryant Don, Member, National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 40, Member, Administrative Committee, Labor Fightback Network, Cleveland, Ohio; Dewitt Donna, President Emeritus, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Charleston, South Carolina; Eaton Sandy, Retiree, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Quincy, Massachusetts; Eisenscher Michael, Solidarity INFOService, Oakland, California; Fisher Allan, Past president, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121, San Francisco, California; Lumumba Nnamdi, Ujima People’s Progress Party, Baltimore, Maryland; Rojas Desirée, President, Sacramento LCLAA (AFL-CIO), Sacramento, California; Schoenman Ralph, Past General Secretary, Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal, Vallejo, California; Shone Mya, Member, National Organizing Committee, Socialist Organizer, Vallejo, California; Silvera Chris, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 808, Long Island City, New York; Thomas Clarence, Past President, ILWU Local 10, Richmond, California; White Connie, Member, Continuations Committee, Labor and Community for an Independent Party, Long Beach, California.
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NO TO WAR AND EXPLOITATION!
Ukrainian mineworkers’ protest on December 10, 2015
UKRAINE: Repression and “De-Sovietization”
By Dominique Ferré
On July 19, the SBOu (political police) of Ukraine conducted a search of the home of the well-known Ukrainian human rights activist Volodimir Cheremis. The search was accompanied by beatings and insults.
Under Article 436-2 of the Criminal Code, which punishes those guilty of “denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” Cheremis is threatened with a trial that could send him to prison for eight years.
Who is Volodimir Cheremis?
Is he an agent of Putin? No, he is a “respectable” man, who contributed to the drafting of the Ukrainian Constitution in 1992 and one of the founders, in 2000-2001, of the coalition “Ukraine without Kuchma” (the former pro-Russian president who was overthrown in 2004). His “crime”: He is the host of an independent information channel on the Telegram channel that has spoken out against the repression against workers’ and leftist activists in Ukraine.
Cheremis is far from being the first to fall victim to the repression of the Zelensky government. On February 24, the day of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, the latter declared martial law, which entrusts the military authorities with the task of repression of “internal disorders.” It also extends the powers of the special services, including those of the SBOu – which, like the Russian FSB, is the direct heir to the KGB.
While Putin’s regime in Russia represses and jails all opponents of the war, the Zelensky government – hailed as the champion of “democracy” by NATO and the imperialist governments of Europe and the U.S. – does not act otherwise. At the end of March, it banned 11 political organizations, all of them accused of being “pro-Russian,” which is far from being the case for all of them.
In reality, just as Putin’s regime in Russia seeks to use the war to try to ban any expression of class struggle, Zelensky’s government is using Russian aggression to push through all the anti-labor counter-reforms that it previously was unable to impose on Ukrainian workers.
On March 15, it passed in the Supreme Rada (Parliament) Law No. 7160, which is a “reform” of the Labor Code that it had failed to impose in peacetime. Suspension of collective-bargaining agreements, forced transfers, reduction of weekly rest, undermining the rights of women workers, and undermining the prerogatives of trade unions are at the heart of the “reform.”
On July 20, the Rada again adopted a new labor “reform” that allows any company with fewer than 250 employees (i.e., the majority of companies) to impose individual employment contracts with each employee, including the terms of dismissal. The trade union confederation KSPOu sees this as an infringement of the conventions of the International Labor Organization ratified by Ukraine.
In line with all the attacks on the Soviet-era Labor Code that have taken place since the beginning of 2000 in the name of “de-Sovietization,” Draft Law No. 5371 was prepared by a commission chaired by former Georgian President (now Ukrainian citizen) Mikhail Saakashvili— a commission that includes representatives of employers and the U.S. government agency USAID.
The Ukrainian regime is, as much as Putin’s regime in Russia, the political representative of the mafia oligarchs who have been plundering the former Soviet republics for 30 years, using the same mafia and authoritarian methods. But the major difference is in the degree of subordination to U.S. imperialism. Thus, when it comes to the implementation of the anti-worker counter-reforms, Zelensky proudly declared, a few months before the war: “Everyone has told me — the Europeans, the IMF, the EBRD [1)], the World Bank – that they are all very happy and even say to me: let’s slow down a bit.” 
 International Monetary Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, all in charge of privatizations in Eastern Europe.
 Quoted by Olga Baysha in her book “Democracy, Populism and Neoliberalism in Ukraine” (December 2021).
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