Report on World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (Paris, October 29-30, 2022)
IN THIS POSTING
– Report on the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (29-30 October 2022)
– World Conference Final Appeal and List of Signatories and Campaigns
– Messages to Conference and Some of the Presentations by the Delegates (more presentations and messages forthcoming; they are being transcribed and translated)
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Report on the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For Workers’ International (29-30 October 2022) – published in Tribune des Travailleurs, the newsweekly of the POID, France
On Saturday 29 October, the International Working Women’s Conference had barely ended when the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For Workers’ International opened. Coming from 32 countries*, the delegates, representing a great diversity of currents and organisations of the workers’ and democratic movements, took their seats.
[*Delegates came from Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Zimbabwe. Delegations from Afghanistan, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, China, Korea, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia were prevented from coming, some by visa refusal.]
After recalling that this conference had been postponed because of the pandemic and that it was entirely self-financed, Nambiath Vasudevan (India) and Daniel Gluckstein (France), the two coordinators of the International Workers’ Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC), introduced the discussion in which 49 speakers addressed the gathering.
Following is a brief account of the discussion and decisions, in particular the decision to issue an invitation to organise the widest possible public initiatives against the war on 9, 10 and 11 December. This report is published under the sole responsibility of Tribune des Travailleurs / Workers Tribune, the newsweekly of the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID) of France.
“No Concessions Should Be Made to War-Mongering Governments
NAMBIATH VASUDEVAN’s Introduction to the Discussion
NAMBIATH VASUDEVAN, trade union leader in India, co-coordinator of the International Workers’ Committee against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC) with Daniel Gluckstein, introduced the debate. He recalled that it was at the World Conference in Mumbai (India, November 2016) that the IWC was founded, which has conducted many campaigns and publishes a weekly newsletter in three languages.
He stressed that the difficulties had been overcome, making it possible to finally organise this 2022 conference: “In the course of its preparation, we have further expanded our action and, despite the difficulties due to the growing number of countries at war; due to COVID, which continues its ravages; due to the repressive policies of the regimes; and due to the refusal of visas, we are here, coming from 32 countries, and messages have reached us from 15 other countries.
Many of the delegates are young trade union and political activists. This conference is the product of a whole continuity and at the same time a new starting point.
He recalled that after Putin’s outbreak of war in Ukraine the IWC took the initiative to convene an emergency international meeting against the war on 3 April 2022, and he quoted extracts from the final declaration. They read as follows:
“We call for an end to this intervention, for an immediate ceasefire and for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the great capitalist powers – led by the US administration under Biden, the European Union and its capitalist countries, especially Germany, France and also Britain – did everything possible yesterday to provoke this conflict. …
“In fact, NATO, the US and the EU are co-belligerents. That is why, in addition to the demand for the ‘withdrawal of Russian troops’, we combine the demand for the ‘withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Europe’, the ‘withdrawal of all foreign occupation troops from all countries of the world’, the ‘cessation of all imperialist and neo-colonialist interventions’, the ‘lifting of sanctions’ and the ‘dismantling of NATO’.”
The IWC text states that “on October 12, 2022, as part of his ‘National Security Strategy’ (NSS), Biden expressed his intention to ‘shape a world order’. According to the U.S., Russia is a dangerous country, but its ‘strategic competition’ is with China. … NATO and the US offer no hope for world peace. … Some openly hint at the possibility of a third world war.
“The world recently witnessed a massive military mobilisation around Taiwan, when the US challenged its own ‘one China’ policy. For more than a year, hundreds of thousands of troops clashed on the India-China border. North Korea has periodically fired missiles over Japan. Japan is arming itself to be an effective strategic partner of the US in Asia. Germany is engaged in an arms race…”
Nambiath Vasudevan concluded:
“The world crisis of the capitalist system forcefully underlines the relevance of what we have always said in our documents: the future of humanity is in the hands of the working class, which presupposes that the workers’ movement preserves its independence in all circumstances. This is even more necessary in times of war. The long history of the workers’ movement teaches us that it is in these crucial times that no concessions should be made to war-mongering governments, and that is why we were right in our appeal of 3 April 2022 to state: ‘We call on all workers and young people, activists of all origins in the workers’ movement and workers’ organisations to reject any form of sacred union/national unity with war-mongering governments.’ This formulation is more relevant than ever.”
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“War Has Always Been a Dividing Line in the Labour movement”
DANIEL GLUCKSTEIN’s additional introduction to the discussion
DANIEL GLUCKSTEIN took the floor, explaining that “France is engaged in war. We are told: there is only one person responsible for the war, and that is Putin. Obviously, Putin is responsible for the outbreak of the war, for the atrocities committed in Ukraine; that is indisputable. But since we are in France, it is not Putin who has thousands of French soldiers stationed in Africa to keep the governments in the pay of imperialism. It is not Putin who decides that wages are falling, that social security and pensions are being attacked, that immigrants are being hunted down. …
“Of course, we condemn Putin, but we, the workers in France, are concerned: The enemy is in our country, his name is Macron and his government! We didn’t invent this slogan. It was launched by the German internationalist revolutionary Karl Liebknecht, in 1914, when almost all the leaders of the workers’ organisations claimed that the main enemy was elsewhere.”
Daniel Gluckstein continued: “On March 1, the European Parliament, almost unanimously, adopted a resolution that ‘encourages the strengthening of NATO’s enhanced forward presence in the Member States’ closest to Russia and ‘calls on Member States to increase their defence spending’ and ‘to allocate significant additional funds to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons’. The NATO resolution calls for “accepting that severe sanctions against the Russian Federation will inevitably have negative effects on (the) economic situation. That is: to make workers in European countries accept the economic consequences of sanctions. On 7 April, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which stated that “arms deliveries should be continued and intensified”. On 6 October, the same European Parliament decided to “massively increase their military assistance” to Ukraine and “invites the Member States to launch without delay the training of Ukrainian soldiers”, in this case 15,000 soldiers.
But, noted Daniel Gluckstein, “the main problem is not that the European Parliament votes for war resolutions, but that these resolutions were voted unanimously by left-wing MEPs, with a few exceptions. The French ‘left’ MPs voted for them: both those who call themselves ‘socialists’ and ‘insoumis’ [unbowed]. …
“On 19 October, there was a meeting of the Parliament’s Committee on National Defence and Armed Forces. In this committee, there was a discussion about the war budget. La France Insoumise (LFI) MP Bex said: “Our group welcomes the increase in the defence budget. … But this budget does not take into account inflation.” The criticism levelled by the “radical left” at Mr Macron’s war budget is that it should increase even more because of inflation!
“Then the minister announces the doubling of the number of operational reserves. This is positive, says the LFI MP, who added: ‘The 1,500 net creations of civilian positions … are salutary but how will you reinforce the operational staff sent to theatres of operations?’ … . This position has nothing to do with labour internationalism. Workers’ internationalism demands that one say: “Not a penny for the war budget! Not a penny for the war in Africa or for the war in Ukraine!” The 43 billion in the war budget are the billions that are taken away from our schools, our hospitals, our public services.”
Daniel Gluckstein concluded: “We live in strange times. People can call themselves ‘socialists’, “communists”, “insoumis” and even, for one of these deputies, a “Trotskyist” who belongs to parties that quietly line up under the NATO flag. For my part, as a leader of the POID, but also of its Trotskyist current, I believe that one cannot be a socialist, a communist, an insoumis or a Trotskyist while being a member of parties that line up under the NATO flag.
“War has always been a dividing line in the workers’ movement. … It is our duty, as activists in an imperialist power already involved in the war, to ask this question. From the beginning of the conflict we have said here in France: “Neither Putin, nor Biden, nor Macron”. We said: “Russian troops out of Ukraine, NATO troops out of Europe”, and we added: “French troops out of Africa”. Perhaps today we should add to these slogans: “NATO, out of Europe! France: out of NATO”, but also “NATO, out of the workers’ movement”.
The World Conference calls on all forces of the labour movement opposed to war to make their voices heard on 9, 10 and 11 December 2022
Among the 49 interventions that contributed to the debate, many delegates returned to the need for the labour movement to break away from the war-mongering governments.
This means governments which, like the British governments of Johnson, Liz Truss and Sunak, have made Britain “the second country to finance the NATO war in Ukraine, after the United States”, recalled Stefan Cholewka from Britain, secretary of a local union. “This is a policy that could not be implemented without the help of the Labour Party leadership, recently dubbed the “NATO party” by its leader, Keir Starmer. It is against these governments (and despite Labour’s support) that British workers are standing up, like the Liverpool dockers whose message Cholewka read out, adding: “Two million workers are preparing to strike in November, for higher wages, but also against the impact of the war budget on workers.”
Many other delegates returned to the question of policies of “accompanying” parties claiming to be workers’ parties: for example, two delegates from the Spanish state returned to the role of the Sanchez government – composed, they recalled, of the Socialist Party, the PCE and Podemos, which is implementing NATO policy externally and war internally against workers, pensioners, youth and against the peoples’ aspiration for self-determination.
Similar problems were raised by speakers from Greece, who pointed out that Syriza MEPs had also voted for the pro-NATO resolutions in the European Parliament, while another war was looming between Greece and Turkey. In Belgium, stated one delegate, the Socialist Party is participating in a government that has just decided to increase its military spending as required by NATO. This is also the case in Canada, a NATO member, explained one delegate, with the endorsement of the leaders of the New Democratic Party (a party formed by the trade unions) allied with the Liberal Party. In Switzerland, explained Dogan Fennibay, a workers’ activist, “the socialist party claims to represent the poorest, yet it is the most enthusiastic when it comes to submitting to NATO and the European Union.
This is a situation that exists in many countries supposedly run by ‘left-wing’ governments: so it is in Azania/South Africa, explains activist Mandlenkosi ka Phangwa, a country that “many people think is run by communists or socialists (since the government is composed of the ANC, the Communist Party and the trade union centre COSATU). In reality, however, this is not the case: today Azania is a colonial outpost that has refused, since the Kempton Park Accords in 1990, to allow the establishment of a genuine democracy, which would require that power belongs to the majority of black people. The majority of Black people in Azania today are still landless, jobless and in extreme poverty,” recalling the August 2012 massacre of striking Black miners in Marikana.
Julio Rivera from Peru pointed out that confusion is organised “from above” in the ranks of the working class and youth when, in his country, “among the organisations that claim to be workers, some leaders sided with NATO, while others supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine”.
Yet, one activist from Russia recalled, Putin’s victory in Ukraine “would only benefit 0.2% of the population, i.e. the dollar billionaires”. The real enemy, he added, “is the capitalist system itself, a system that has had its day, that can only cause crises and wars, and has now become a threat to the survival of the planet”.
For his part, Berthony Dupont from Haiti, editor of the newspaper Haiti Liberté, warned the conference that US imperialism is “about to invade Haiti for the fourth time in a century of neo-colonial domination”. The objective is “to put an end to the popular resistance that demands the departure of the puppet Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, and openly calls for a social revolution against the exploitation of the Haitian bourgeoisie, the historical ally of US imperialism”.
The same demand for an end to imperialist interference was made by the delegate from Zimbabwe, who reminded us of the vital need to lift the imperialist sanctions against his country, imposing a veritable blockade, which prohibited the delivery of medicines, while the Covid-19 pandemic was taking its toll.
After the pandemic, “during which we lost many relatives, friends and colleagues”, recalled Amlan Dewanjee of the Bangladesh Workers’ Democratic Party, “the crisis of capitalism is causing a dizzying rise in the price of essential consumer goods worldwide, while the war in Ukraine is threatening the whole world with famine. That is why we share the slogans of this conference: no Putin, no Biden, no NATO!”
The war hits working women first, recalls Rubina Jamil, General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) of Pakistan: “This is the fate of the women of Kashmir, subjected to the worst violence, but also of Palestinian women.”
Adama Coulibaly, on behalf of the Alternative Patriotique Panafricaine Burkindi from Burkina Faso, denounced the responsibility of the former colonial powers, in particular France, in the wars and plundering that are martyring the peoples of Africa. It is necessary, he said, “for workers to be able to decide what to do to prevent the imperialists and their local henchmen from continuing to dominate Africans and workers in the rest of the world. This struggle cannot be fought locally, because it concerns us all.” He called for finding ways “for the IMF, the World Bank, the UN missions, the French troops, the American forces, the foreign troops, whether they are UN, Russian or Chinese, to finally get out of Africa, as the demonstrators in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso demanded the day before.
Before him, Messan Lawson from Togo had asked the audience: “There is talk of an ‘anti-French revolt’ in the West African states. The truth is that the French bourgeoisie has never renounced its neo-colonial domination. Innocent Assogba from Benin agrees, recalling that French troops from Operation Barkhane – now stationed in his country – have been present since 2013: “And what has been the record since then?”
Morocco, says one activist, “is not part of NATO, but is subject to the whole strategy of this imperialist military alliance which seeks to build up its positions in North Africa in order to facilitate the repression of any workers’ and popular uprising in the region.”
Naji El-Khatib, from the Secular Palestine association, noted that in Palestine “the option of the Oslo agreements, which claimed that a Palestinian state would be erected alongside the state of Israel, is over. There is no Palestinian state, but a single Apartheid state that controls historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.” This is why “a broad movement is developing that fights for a democratic option: a single democratic state for all of Palestine. The secular Palestine of tomorrow will be neither Jewish nor Muslim: it will be a country without any nationalistic, ethnicist, racial or religious supremacy. A Palestine of democracy, social justice, security and freedom for all its citizens, guaranteeing the right of return for all refugees.
According to José Casimiro from Portugal, this war is simply a continuation of the policy of the capitalist system “by other means”, noting that in recent decades “a gigantic transfer from labour to capital has taken place”. A war “from within” against the workers, notes Cemal Bilgin, president of the Workers’ Own Party of Turkey: “Workers die in accidents in mines, on building sites, for lack of a minimum of safety measures. It is the children of the poor who provide the cannon fodder. In the Middle East, we often say, ‘It’s fate’, but the bosses are lining their pockets. Working class activists who want to resist are severely repressed by the police.
Repression was mentioned by several delegates, such as Constantin Cretan, a Romanian miners’ union leader: in addition to the three years in prison he served, “not having given up the fight for workers’ rights, Romanian ‘justice’ decided that I had to pay a fine of several hundred thousand euros to pay for the truncheons and tear gas used by the gendarmes to repress the workers’ demonstrations that I led.”
Many speakers recalled that in recent years workers and peoples have revolted against governments in the service of the capitalist class.
On 28 April 2021, with the unlimited strike, the people rebelled and the youth came out,” recalled an activist from Colombia. Workers, women, indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians… actively participated in their own movement, forming popular assemblies, neighbourhood committees, organising their own defence against police killings. This upsurge was the product of more than thirty years of repression, of laws imposed on the people, of payment of the external debt, of privatisation.
Closer to home, stated Judit Somi, in Hungary, “the lowest paid layer of the intelligentsia, the teachers, provoked a wave of protests that broke out and grew. It culminated in a demonstration by 80,000 teachers, massively joined by students and parents. … Access to free public education is not a ‘national’ issue, but a class issue.”
In Algeria, stated a message from the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists, “we are no longer witnessing the outpouring of millions of people in the streets, but popular discontent has transferred to the companies, schools and universities”. However, “the regime, in spite of its extraordinary weakening, maintains itself thanks to the support of imperialism, on the one hand, and, on the other, to the support of its policies by the trade union leaderships”.
This raises the whole question of the class independence of workers’ organisations. A question which takes different forms from one country to another, but whose content is the same everywhere. Thus, Benjamin Gluckstein, a trade union activist in France, recounted the fight against the Dussopt law, which increases the working hours of local government employees: “Many municipalities, run by parties that claim to represent the workers, apply this law”, he stressed, contrasting it with the fact that “the workers’ movement has always fought for a reduction in working hours”.
Israel Cervantes, a worker at General Motors in Mexico, recounted the long and victorious struggle to get rid of the union that had been sold out to the bosses, which “made it necessary for us to form an independent national union of workers in the automotive industry, headed by the first female general secretary of a union in the industry”.
A similar struggle was reported by Andreas Gangl from Germany: the battle at Amazon for the right to form unions from Germany to the US. “Near Hamburg, employees organised their first strike and increased their workforce tenfold. But Amazon is now taking advantage of the war: in Poland; Ukrainians are employed as temporary workers with “citizen contracts” and even fewer rights than local workers. This is modern slavery”, he explained, countering it with the prospect of “forming an independent workers’ party”.
These issues were debated. For example, Milind Ranade, a trade union leader in Mumbai, India, said, “Faced with a government from the fascist BJP, the opposition is fragmented. All the trade unionists say they should come together, but everyone wants it to be under the leadership of ‘their’ union. The communist parties also say that there should be unity, but each one under ‘his’ leadership.” Is there not “a crisis of class consciousness”?
Dario Granaglia, shop steward at Stellantis in Italy, drawing lessons from the current political crisis, believes that the working class “needs the independence of its organisations. Independence means to stop pretending that the interests of workers and capitalists can be compatible. These so-called ‘common interests’ that too many leaders have put forward only result in the worst blows against workers, and ultimately pave the way for the extreme right.”
Randy Miranda, leader of the Workers’ Party of the Philippines, considers that the “US-China balance” policy chosen by the Philippine government is certainly not a reason to support it. He said that in the face of wars and imperialism, “we have the duty to raise the consciousness of the workers and to organise, patiently and methodically, the youth and workers’ movement. The only solution is our resistance and our struggle for socialism, and the only war worth fighting is that of the workers’ movement against capital.”
These questions are being asked in the very heart of the most powerful imperialist country in the world, the United States. An imperialist power built on the exploitation of millions of slaves taken from Africa,” stated Diamonte Brown, president of the Baltimore Teachers’ Union in Maryland. Black people in the US “suffer from the ‘white supremacy’ that capitalism has created to justify exploitation. … This oppression is a crime against the entire working class, and its eradication will be a tremendous advance for the entire working class”. This is precisely why her comrade Nnamdi Lumumba, in the name of the Ujima People’s Progress Party, recalls that “the right to self-determination of the Black people of the United States is part of the struggle against imperialism”. Also, the objective that their independent Black workers’ party has set itself is to “wrest Black workers from the influence of the Democratic Party” because “Black workers, like all US workers, must organise themselves outside the two imperialist parties (Republican and Democratic) and move towards a nationwide working-class party, a Labor Party”.
Fighting to reorganise the international workers’ movement along the lines of class struggle and the fight for socialism also means reclaiming its best traditions, recalled Christel Keiser, national secretary of the Independent Democratic Workers’ Party of France. She presented the conclusions of the International Working Women’s Conference, which brought together women and activists from 19 countries, in the continuity of the international conferences of socialist women at the beginning of the 20th century, fighting for the workers’ movement to take charge of “the fight against war, for the defence of democratic rights, for equal pay, against violence against women… So many questions tackled in this conference.” She insisted on the formation of the International Committee for the Defence of Afghan Women to launch an international campaign for the release of women imprisoned in the Taliban jails.
Should this world conference move towards the formation of a structured body, ask activists from the Independent Movement for People’s Rights in Chile? Gathering the main lessons of the discussion in his conclusion, Daniel Gluckstein recalled that this conference is part of “a long continuity. It began in a conference in Barcelona in January 1991, where activists of all tendencies came together to affirm that the working class has its own interests, with its own perspective. We were then at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and almost all the “left” and “far left” parties had aligned themselves with the “market economy”. In Barcelona, beyond the differences, we said: The workers’ movement cannot align itself either with the market economy or with war and exploitation.
“In these 30 years, the capitalist system in crisis has dealt terrible blows to humanity. We can say that all forms of the struggle against all forms of exploitation have taken their place in this conference. The struggle against war and exploitation, for the independence of the workers’ movement, the struggle for the Workers’ International, this is what we all share. Beyond that, there are differences, and we must know how to move forward while respecting these differences. The discussion continues. We accept neither war nor exploitation, and it is on this terrain that we have a duty to act together.
Concluding the proceedings, the IWC coordinators put to the vote a short resolution calling for the organisation, in the broadest unity and in the forms specific to each country, of three days of mobilisation against the war, on 9, 10 and 11 December (see below). The resolution was adopted unanimously. The various campaigns mentioned by several delegates were recorded and an appeal submitted for signature by the delegates. The world conference closed with the singing of the Internationale in all languages, after having paid tribute to the militant work of dozens of comrades, translators and organisers.
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Appeal from the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International
Paris 29-30 October, at the initiative of the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC)
We, workers, young people, activists of the labour and democratic movements from 47 countries and all continents, take up the words of Jean Jaurès, the historic figure of international socialism, on the eve of the outbreak of the 1914 war: “Capitalism carries war within it, just like the cloud carries the storm.”
This formulation is still of burning relevance today.
In 2022, wars are ravaging every continent, causing massacres, devastation, famines and epidemics. Tens of millions of people are being driven out of their countries. We are witnessing a formidable retreat of human civilisation, threatened with pure and simple disappearance.
The peoples and workers of the world are against war. They know that it means ever more oppression and exploitation.
We declare without the slightest hesitation that these wars, and the destruction and barbarism that they unleash, are the product of the decomposition of the capitalist system based on the private ownership of the means of production — a system which, in order to reap ever greater profits, does not shrink from any aggression.
The workers know full well how, in the name of the “war effort”, all governments, whatever side of the front line they are on, organise deregulation, unemployment, the destruction of education and public services, the dismantling of factories, the desertification of the countryside. Workers know full well that war is always used by governments to force labour organisations to forfeit their independence and submit to the diktats of the State.
Like all workers, we condemn the war unleashed by order of President Putin on 24 February 2022 in Ukraine. From the very beginning of the conflict, we have called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.
Like all workers, we note that the major capitalist powers, under the aegis of the Biden administration, NATO and the European Union, have done everything to provoke this conflict, and are doing everything to stoke it.
As we meet, over 100,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Europe. Tens of thousands of troops have been massed by NATO on the Ukrainian and Russian borders. 140 billion dollars have already been allocated by the United States and the European Union to the war effort, mainly to overarm Ukraine. Politicians and the media are openly talking about the risk of a possible 3rd world war and the use of nuclear weapons.
Workers are not deluded: The growing intervention of the imperialist powers in Ukraine is aimed at extending the domination of the multinational corporations – especially the U.S. multinationals – over the whole world. President Biden has warned that after Russia, China is the next target. .
Every minute, governments spend $4 million on war. Yes: $4 million a minute, over $2.1 trillion a year on war! While hunger in the world affects 800 million people and food insecurity affects 2.3 billion people – figures that are constantly increasing! 4 million dollars per minute for war! And there is a lack of funds to save the tens of millions of children who die every year from diseases that we know and can treat.
Therefore, while we demand the withdrawal of Russian troops, we also demand the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Europe. We call for the dismantling of NATO, the withdrawal of all foreign occupation troops from all countries of the world and an end to all imperialist and neo-colonial interventions. The war in Ukraine cannot be detached from the long chain of wars that have been ravaging all continents for more than half a century, wars that are always fomented by the capitalist powers and whose map of wars generally overlaps the map of the riches of the subsoil.
The workers have no common interest with the multinationals, nor with the capitalists of the different countries, nor with their own governments.
Yet it is clear that in the major capitalist countries the leaders of the labour organisations refuse to genuinely oppose the war. In the United States, they support the warlike ventures of President Biden; in the European Parliament, their elected representatives vote for resolutions that aggravate the sanctions against the Russian people, over-arm the belligerents and strengthen the links with NATO.
We appeal to all workers and youth, to activists of all origins in the labour movement, to labour organisations: reject any form of sacred union/national unity with the warmongering governments and the capitalists whose interests they defend. The only union that is consistent with the cause of peace and social justice is the union of the workers and peoples of the whole world. Down with war! Down with exploitation!
Workers of the world, labour organisations, oppressed peoples, let us unite against war and exploitation, to impose peace and preserve the future of humanity.
Endorsers of the World Conference Final Statement
Algeria. BELHADJ Amel, activist; BENTALEB Abdelkader, Comité d’organisation des socialistes internationalists, COSI (Organizing Committee of Internationalist Socialists); BOUGUERRA Mohamed, Comités unitaires pour le parti ouvrier (Unitary Committees for a Workers Party); KAHINA Nadine; MAHDI Adlène, Cercles des jeunes pour le socialism (Circles of youth for socialism); SABRY Nadia, COSI.
Azania/South Africa. PHANGWA Mandlenkosi, Azanian section of the Fourth International.
Belarus. IVANOV Yuri.
Bangladesh. CHOWDHURY Baddruduja, Democratic Workers’ Party; DEWANJEE Amlan, Democratic Workers’ Party.
Belgium. AIME Emilie, teacher; BRIKE Lionel, education trade unionist; DARMONT Eléonore, student; GIARROCCO Roberto, Unité-Eenheidscomité committee; K. Olga, social worker; MONSIEUR Serge, President CGSP ALR Vivaqua.
Benin. ASSOGBA Innocent, trade unionist; GNONLONFOUN Liliane, trade unionist.
Brazil. APPEL Emmanuel José, philosophy professor, UFPR (retired), PT Curitiba; CALDAS Andrea, university professor, PSOL-Curitiba; HOMEM Anísio G., editor, PT Curitiba; JACOBS Pedro, director of the 39th trade union nucleus of CPERS-Porto Alegre; RIBEIRO Cláudio, retired labour lawyer, PT founder, Curitiba; SANTANA José Carlos, PT Porto Alegre.
Burkina Faso. COULIBALY Adama, Alternative patriotique panafricaine APP-Burkindi.
Burundi. HATUNGIMANA Richard*; HAVYARIMANA Aline*; HAVYARIMANA Renovat*; IRAMBONA Alice*; IRIZA Allégresse*; KABURA Claver*; NDAYATUKE Désiré*; NIBARUTA Fleur, Association des mères célibataires, AMC(Association of Single Mothers); NININAHAZWE Alice*; NTIHWANYA Clément*; NSHIMIRIMA Fidélité*; SINZINKAYO Jérôme*.
Canada. MUBEZA Pamella, women’s rights activist*; NKUNZIMANA Paul, labour activist.
Chile. LAPERTE Marcela, Independent Movement for the Rights of the People (MIDP); SALGADO Edouardo Neira, MIDP; ITURRA Sixto, MIDP.
China. LEONG Apo; An anonymous workers’ activist based in Beijing; BING Lin.
Congo. BAKALA Joachim.
Egypt. CHAABAN Essam, writer-journalist and researcher in anthropology (Cairo University).
France. ADOUE Camille, Federation of Young Revolutionaries (FJR); BAHLOUL Maïa (FJR); BARROIS Jean-Pierre; CHARMONT Claude, trade unionist; CORBEX Pascal, FO trade unionist; DAIRE Jérémie, FJR; DE MASSOT François; DORIANE Olivier; DUPUY Martine, national secretary of the POID; DUTHEIL Daniel, FO trade unionist; FERNANDES Grégory; FERRE Dominique; KEISER Christel, POID national secretary; GLUCKSTEIN Benjamin, CGT trade unionist; GLUCKSTEIN Daniel, POID national secretary; JARY Éric, trade unionist; LISCOËT Catherine; MAS Nicole; MICHAUD Isabelle, CGT trade unionist; NOSZKOWICZ Patrice, CGT trade unionist; OURABAH Saïd; PIERROT GUIMBAUD Maël (FJR); POCHON Vincent, national secretary of SUD Chimie; ROBEL Paul, doctor; SAUVAGE Jeanne; TEMPEREAU Lucile; UHALDE Paul (FJR).
Germany. ALBERT Lara, member of Die Linke, trade unionist IG Metall; GANGL Andreas, trade unionist Ver.di, member of the strike committee of Amazon; HINTERMEIER Peter, trade unionist IG Metall, president of the local union of the DGB of Sömmerda; MULLER Norbert, trade unionist Ver.di (Frankfurt); NAUMANN Claudius, president of the council of staff delegates of the Free University of Berlin, spokesperson of the company section Ver. di, member of the Committee for a Workers’ Party; SAALMULLER Peter, SPD activist (Idstein), Ver.di trade unionist; SCHADE Vera, member of Die Linke; SCHULLER Klaus, member of the AfA (SPD workers’ commission), EVG trade unionist, member of the IOC monitoring committee; SCHUSTER H.- W., International Socialist Group (ISG).
Great Britain. CHOLEWKA Stephan, Secretary of Rochdale Metropolitan Council of Trade Unions*; MAC NALLY Doreen, Unite Community NW 567 Branch, Liverpool*; RIMMER Antony, Liverpool 47 Surcharged Councillor, Merseyside Pensioners Association, Liverpool Unite Community NW 567 Branch*; RUST Jo, Secretary of King’s Lynn & District Local Union, independent councillor in King’s Lynn*.
Greece. GUHL Andreas, activist.
Haiti. DUPONT Berthony, Haiti Liberté; THELOT Myrlène, Haiti Liberté.
Hungary. SOMI Judit, labour activist.
India. NAMBIATH Vasudevan, trade unionist; PATIL Aba Maruti, trade unionist; RANADE Milind, trade unionist; SUBBASH Naik Jorge, Spark group.
Italy. BRANDELLERO Luigi, worker, Tribuna Libera editorial staff; GRANAGLIA Dario, worker, delegate and trade unionist FIOM-CGIL; GRILLI Monica, teacher, delegate and trade union leader; FASCIANA Lillo, trade unionist; PANTELLA Agata, teacher; PRESTIPINO Fabrizio, teacher, Tribuna Libera editorial staff; VARALDO Lorenzo, school headmaster, Tribuna Libera coordinator.
Morocco. AYOUB Malik, editor of the newsletter Lettre ouvrière et d’information (Labour Information Newsletter); LAMINE Sakina; J. Smaïl, member of the Moroccan Workers’ Youth, JOM/UMT.
Mexico. CERVANTES Israel, Casa Obrera del Bajio; DIAZ CRUZ Maria de Lourdes, Moviemento Nacional por la transformacion Petrolera; ORTEGA Marisela, Instituto de formación política del Partido MORENA (Political Institute of MORENA); PLUMEDA Liliana Aguilar, Internationalist Communist League, SUAREZ Lidia, professor, de la Universidad Pedagogía Nacional (National Teachers University.
Pakistan. GULZAR Nasir, All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation; ILYAS Muhammad, All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation; JAMIL Rubina, All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation.
Palestine. EL KHATIB Naji, Secular Palestine.
Peru. RIVERA SALVADOR Julio, MINKA, Unitary Union of Electrical Workers.
Philippines. MIRANDA Judy, Workers’ Party (PM); MIRANDA Randy, Workers’ Party (PM).
Portugal. CASIMIRO José, workers’ activist, Left Bloc (BE); HENRIQUES José, O Trabalho and BE activist; PINTO Victor, linguist, O Trabalho activist; VARELA Raquel, history teacher and researcher; ZILHAO Adriano, O Trabalho and BE activist.
Romania. CRETAN Constantin, National Federation of Labour (FNM); CRETAN Marioara, League of Workers of Romania.
Russia. FEDOROV Sergei, activist.
Senegal. N’DIAYE Marcel.
South Korea. SIKHWA Jung, trade union activist; SANG Soo Ha, trade union activist.
Spanish State. MARTIN Reme, retired, labour activist; PEREZ DOMINGUEZ Eulogio.
Sri Lanka. MUDUNKOTUWAGE Saman.
Sweden. BAYRAKDAR Faraj, poet.
Switzerland. FENNIBAY Dogan; FIASTRI Marzia.
Togo. DJAOURA Tiguena; LAWSON Messan, PADET.
Tunisia. GUESMI Lotfi, trade unionist.
Turkey. BILGIN Cemal, IKEP (Workers’ Own Party); EROL Pinar; OZANSU Mehmet, IKEP (Workers’ Own Party); SOYLU Bedri.
United States. BACCHUS Natalia, Assistant to the President, Baltimore Teachers Union (Maryland)*; BENJAMIN Alan, Socialist Organizer; DIAMONTE Brown, President, Baltimore Teachers Union (AFT, AFL-CIO) (Maryland)*; KHONSARI Niloufar, lawyer and immigrant workers’ rights activist; KNOX Lisa, lawyer, immigrant workers’ rights activist; LUMUMBA Nnamdi, Organiser, Ujima People’s Progress Party (Maryland); MARQUEZ DUARTE Fernando David, member of UAW 2865, Decolonial Collective*; ROJAS Désirée, President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO)*; SHONE Mya, Socialist Organizer; WHITE Connie, Member, Continuations Committee of Labor & Community for an Independent Party (LCIP)*; HEINZE BALCAZAR Ivonne, member of the California Faculty Association (Dominguez Hills-CSU, California)*.
Zimbabwe. MAFA Mafa Kwanisai, Chimurenga Vanguard.
* In an individual capacity
· * * * * * * * * * *
After having heard the presentations of the 47 delegates, the world conference registers and supports the following proposals put forth by the delegates :
1. The conference wasi informed about and supports the initiatives of the International Conference of Working Women, in particular the constitution of the International Support Committee for Afghan Women.
2. The conference was informed about and supports the families of prisoners in Russia and the international campaign for the release of Russian trade union activist Kirill Ukraintsev.
3. The conference was informed about and supports the international campaign to organize Amazon workers.
4. The conference was informed about and supports the call by Chinese activists for “workers in all countries to stand up against the preparations for war against the Chinese people”.
5. The conference was informed about and supports the call for solidarity and the financial campaign to support the workers’ center (Casa del Obrero) of the people of the El Bajío valley in Mexico.
6. The conference was informed about and supports the call for the unconditional lifting of international sanctions against Zimbabwe.
7. The conference was informed about and supports the call to oppose any U.S. and/or UN intervention in Haiti.
8. The conference was informed about and supports the call by the Indian and Pakistani delegates denouncing the oppression suffered by the women of Kashmir who suffer from the permanent war.
9. The conference was informed about and supports the British delegates’ call for support for the Liverpool dockworkers’ strike for their wage demands.
10. The conference heard the call of the representative of the association Secular Palestine – which fights for a democratic and secular Palestine and for the right of return of refugees – and supports the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights.
11. In the international conference of working women, a Hungarian delegate pointed out the oppression of the Roma populations of Europe who deserve the solidarity of the workers of the world.
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Colia Lafayette Clark
Statement from OWC Supporters Honoring from COLIA LAFAYETTE CLARK (United States) and Message from Sister Colia to the World Conference Against War and Exploitation, Paris, France
Honoring Sister Colia Lafayette Clark
[NOTE: Sister Colia Lafayete Clark — a member of the Continuations Committee of the International Workers Committee (IWC), which sponsored the recent Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International, passed away on November 4 after a protracted debilitating illness, Sister Colia was not be able to attend the Open World Conference, but she, with the help of her son Tshaka Lafayette, sent a powerful statement to the conference, which is reprinted below (the second of two texts below). The first letter below was endorsed by many activists who have known and worked closely with Colia over the years.
October 15, 2022
Dear Sister Colia Clark,
We, the undesigned delegates and supporters of the 2022 Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation, send greetings of support and profound gratitude for your leadership in the U.S. Black Civil Rights Movement as a pivotal organizer in Selma, Alabama in the 1960s, and as a leader throughout your life for Black liberation, labor, independent working-class politics, international solidarity, women’s rights, education, and the arts.
We are delighted to learn that you are finally being honored for your role in Selma, an honor that is long overdue and that we understand has been often denied in the past because of your uncompromising opposition to the twin parties of U.S. capitalism and to the usurpation of the radical legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by the leadership of the Democratic Party.
We thank you for being among the founders of the Open World Conferences and Coordinating Committee members of the International Workers Committee, and for being an ongoing advisor, mentor, and participant. We are greatly saddened that serious illness prevents you from being with us this year at the 2022 World Conference Against War and Exploitation, and we send our deepest wishes that you will recover sufficiently to continue being engaged in our efforts moving forward.
Throughout human history, each generation of fighters for liberation stands on the strong shoulders of those who came before them. Please know that all the undersigned – whether we are your long-term elder comrades or the newest youths who have joined our efforts to save humanity from capitalist annihilation – recognize the debt we owe you and are fully committed to paying it forward. Our tasks would be so much harder without your leadership and inspiration.
In Unity and Struggle,
Mya Shone and Alan Benjamin
Coordinators of the U.S. Delegation to the
Paris 2022 World Conference Against War and Exploitation
Endorsers of Open Letter; titles listed for id. only.
Clarence Thomas, ILWU (retired)
Donna Dewitt, Past president, South Carolina AFL-CIO
Chris Silvera, Teamsters Local 808
Connie White, Socialist Organizer
David Keil, Labor Fightback Network
Nnamdi Lumumba, Ujima Peoples Progress Party
Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ)
Pam Africa, (ICFFMAJ)
Cynthia McKinney, former Green Party presidential candidate
Niloufar Khonsari, Socialist Organizer
Berthony Dupont, Haiti Liberté
Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté
Leonia Lamour, Haiti Liberté
Frantz Latour, Haiti Liberté
Ralph Schoenman, Past convener, Bertrand Russell Antiwar Tribunal
Millie Phillips, Editorial Board, The Organizer
Fernando David Marquez, UAW 2865
Razaklan Wali, friend and comrade
B. Ross Ashley, OCRFI Canada
Michael Carano, Teamsters Local 348 (retired)
Richard Saunders, Musician
– – – – – – – – – –
Sister Colia’s Message to the World Conference
Introduction: Following is the message from Colia Lafayette Clark to the Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation. The letter was read aloud (and translated into seven languages) to the delegates from 43 countries, all of whom joined co-convener Daniel Gluckstein in wishing her good health and thanking her for decades and decades of courage and leadership in the hard battle for social justice, Black national liberation, and independent working class politics. Conference delegates were extremely saddened to learn less than one week after the Paris conference that Colia passed away. Sister Colia, Presente!
– – – – – – – – – –
Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Comrades:
I really wish I could be in Paris with you at the IWC conferences but, due to an unfortunate illness that has me bed-ridden, it is not possible at this time.
However, I remain with you in spirit, and I am fighting every day to recover, so that I may someday physically re-engage in this effort.
You are convening at a perilous time in human history. The conflicts in Ukraine and the South China Sea create the very real threat of World War III along with the potential for a nuclear holocaust that threatens all of humanity.
In the name of NATO expansion and the maintenance of a unipolar world order, millions of poor and working-class Ukrainians have been internally displaced. They are being forced to live abroad as refugees where they are subject to exploitation and abuse whilst they face the daily threat of bombs and the destruction of their infrastructure with no end in sight. Unfortunately, the conflict in Ukraine isn’t the only one. We have ongoing crises in the South China Sea, Middle East, Haiti, Africa and other hotspots around the world.
Notably, our sisters and brothers in the Horn of Africa face the challenges of a perilous civil war in Ethiopia, a prolonged drought and a historic famine that threatens millions of families with malnutrition and death.
Moreover, US intervention and support for the Taiwanese independence movement has brought us closer to a direct conflict with China. Such a conflict could put the lives of billions of people in jeopardy.
All of these conflicts are disrupting vital supply chains, and thus causing workers here in the U.S. and around the globe to suffer. Moreover, disruptions in the global supply of energy, fertilizers, wheat and other commodities have caused a global recession and rampant inflation. The rising costs of food, fertilizers and energy have made daily life unaffordable.
This has destroyed consumer buying power and, consequently, is causing waves of job loss that many leading economists predict will worsen in the coming months. Such conditions always result in the exploitation of workers desperate to survive.
You convene with a very heavy responsibility, which is to organize the movement that will confront and reverse the policies that have created these dire conditions.
Nevertheless, I am confident that you all are up to the task because God is on your side.
May God continue blessing you with wisdom and strength as you proceed with your discussions and deliberations.
In unity and struggle,
Colia Lafayette Clark
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Presentation by NNAMDI LUMUMBA, Organizer, Ujima Peoples Progress Party (Baltimore, Maryland, United States)
I greet you with the word Uhuru! It is an African word for freedom. It is a concept we believe all colonialized/neo-colonialized people should be thinking about.
Comrades, Sisters, Brothers & Non-Binary Gendered Family,
We in the Ujima People’s Progres Party are a Black workers-led electoral party for social and economic justice in the state of Maryland in the United States.
We are anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal and support Unions and national liberation of colonialized and neo-colonialized peoples.
We represent part of the conscious working class sector of the Black liberation struggle in the U.S.
Our struggle for nation liberation and self-determination is a part the whole struggle to detect U.S. capitalism and imperialism.
The fight to end U.S. imperialism is a critical front in the struggle to end capitalist and neo-colonialist wars globally to oppress workers to maintain Capitalist control of resources, labor and markets.
Not only must we stop global U.S. imperialist wars, we must also stop its internal counterinsurgency wars against the indigenous peoples and African people brought to Americas for chattel slavey.
We believe that Black workers, and all working class peoples, must be organized out of the two main imperialist parties and into anti-capitalist and anti-capitalist organizations and parties. We are moving to break the grip of the two-party system and forge a national Labor Party rooted in labor and oppressed communities.
Black workers are facing mass incarceration, state sponsored police brutality and murder, Black workers have twice the unemployment rates of white workers, we also are experiencing high death rates from Covid and other curable illnesses like diabetes and hypertension because of systemic racism in the U.S. for-profit healthcare system.
Our people have a long history of resistance and struggle against U.S. capitalism and oppression. We have fought to end slavery, to end the Jim Crow system and gain Civil Rights. We had a liberation and anti-imperialist Black power movement in the 1960s and more recently an anti-police brutality Black Lives Matter movement.
Our Struggles for justice have had massive impact on the civil & democratic rights for other sectors of oppressed workers.
We must oppose attempts by the ruling class to convince workers to support imperialist wars. We must demand the end of wars and the use of billions of dollars to maintain their instruments of war. Currently the U.S. had over 750 foreign military bases to protect capitalist interests, not the interests of poor and working people. Workers must demand these resources be used to provide real peace and security for working people.
Black, Brown and all working people must b organized around our own class interests. We must build our own institutions of social, economic and political resistance to defeat the policies and actions of our national ruling classes to defeat imperialism globally.
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Presentation by LISA KNOX, Immigrant Rights Attorney and Activist (United States)
Hello. My name is Lisa Knox. I am an immigration attorney and advocate in the United States. Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this conference. We in the United States are far behind in our struggle, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from comrades worldwide.
Right now in the United States, as in many parts of the world, we are fighting a rising tide of fascism. In the face of capitalism’s failure to provide for people’s basic needs, people are turning to authoritarianism. As my comrade Mya has discussed, in the US, we have seen that manifest as attempts to control women, trans and non-binary people to fit a patriarchal vision of womanhood. Within that, migrant women are among the most super-exploited and oppressed sector of the working class.
There has been much talk of Trump’s authoritarian immigration policies. But, BOTH major U.S. political parties, Democrat and Republican, established this abhorrent system that dates back to the 1880s. The current Democratic administration perpetuates this legacy. In 1996, two years after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, the Democratic Party passed a series of far-reaching counter reforms aimed at criminalizing immigrants.
As a result of these anti-immigrant laws, today the United States operates the largest immigration detention system in the world, along with an inhumane deportation machine that deports hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year.
Many (and by some estimates, most) of those migrants are women and children. In detention centers, migrant women are unable to access reproductive health care, and some have even experienced forced sterilization. Trans women in detention are kept in solitary confinement units, where they are denied access to basic medical care and experience sexual abuse.
The root cause of this migration is U.S. imperialism and global capitalism, which have displaced millions of migrants to the United States. For centuries, the United States has plundered and exploited countries all over the world, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. To give just one example, in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unleashed economic forces that enriched the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican ruling classes, displaced millions from the Mexican countryside, and drove millions more into poverty. Global climate change, another consequence of capitalist exploitation, has also contributed to displacement.
In response to this political landscape, displaced migrants in the United States have organized and resisted on a massive scale – struggling against the bourgeois rule of both major political parties who have attempted to suppress, crush, or co-opt the movement. As a result of their demonization by the right-Republican Party and consistent abandonment by the supposedly more progressive Democratic Party, immigrant organizers and communities have fought for rights and reforms independently, rather than relying on the two-party system to champion their causes.
In 2006 — in a historic show of working class power that culminated on international workers’ day — over 10 million undocumented workers participated in a de facto general strike, shutting down major economies and cities, in response to a Republican bill that criminalized migration, but Democrats failed to support and even tried to shut down strikes.
Immigrant youth, seeing the failures of the Democratic Party, began to organize to confront and overcome the Democratic Party. They led a series of public campaigns exposing the brutality of deportations under Obama. One such campaign was known as “Not One More,” which demanded that the Obama administration use its executive powers to stop all deportations. These mobilizations forced the Obama administration to take action. After years of claiming it was not possible, Obama created “DACA,” a program that temporarily “legalized” the presence of undocumented youth brought to the United States as children.
Yet DACA was only a partial victory, and fell short of the movement’s demand to stop all deportations. As a result, undocumented youth – especially Black and LGBTQ immigrants, many of whom were excluded from DACA – have gone on to lead a new militant movement that seeks to stop deportations for all immigrants living in the U.S., not just those brought to the U.S. as children.
I will focus on one aspect of that movement: detained immigrant workers’ fight against exploitation.
Right now, we are working alongside detained workers on labor strike in the state of California, who have recognized their power as workers. Because most detention centers in the United States are privately run, for-profit by corporations, they exploit detained labor as a means to keep their costs low and profits high. Detained workers perform essential labor like cleaning bathrooms and dormitories, preparing and serving meals. For their work, these workers are paid $1 per day. For comparison, in California the minimum wage is $15 per hour. So these workers make in two weeks what a free worker makes in an hour. This is super-exploitation.
Women have been at the forefront of this fight. During the COVID pandemic, detained women at the Mesa Verde detention center were the first to organize strikes, demanding their release and protections from the virus. They won release, and no more women are detained at Mesa Verde. Their success inspired a wave of strikes, leading to the labor strike happening now.
Women and LGBTQ organizers are also leading the solidarity work happening on the outside. Immigrant women workers have made the connection between their own exploitation and that of their detained siblings. They have staged protests at two detention centers, and at the immigration office responsible. We have connected the strikers with media to get their story heard, and helped them petition the state of California to recognize them as workers entitled to health and safety protections. We also filed a lawsuit, asking a federal court to recognize that detained workers are entitled to the legal protections afforded all workers, including minimum wage.
Our short-term goal is to win immediate improvements in the material conditions of detained workers. Longer term, by disrupting the profits of the corporations that run these immigrant prisons, we seek to shut down detention centers as an essential part of the US deportation machine, to end deportations that separate families, and open borders to refugees.
In detailing this history, we hope that the lessons of the immigrant rights movement in the United States can serve as a critical model for mass movement organizing everywhere where immigrants are exploited and oppressed. With immigrants displaced worldwide, none of these fights are possible without building unity with workers and other oppressed communities in the United States and around the world.
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Presentation by BERTHONY DUPONT, Editor, Haiti Liberté (Haiti)
[Introductory Note by Marie Laurette Numa: In the framework of the International Conference against War and Exploitation, which took place in Paris, France from 29 to 30 October 2022, at the initiative of the International Workers’ Committee we are publishing in its entirety the presentation of our director, Berthony Dupont. ]
Comrades of the International Workers’ Committee, Workers’ Activists,
A special greeting on behalf of the Haitian people, at this crucial moment when the United States is about to invade Haiti for the fourth time in a century of neo-colonial domination. They present their invasion project under the guise of a fight against gangs, but their main objective is to put an end to the popular resistance that demands the departure of the puppet Prime Minister Ariel Henry and openly calls for a social revolution against the exploitation of the Haitian bourgeoisie, the historical ally of US imperialism.
The phenomenon of banditry is the result of a certain economic policy under the influence of the capitalist system which has destroyed all our national enterprises. Agriculture has been reduced to nothing. Local industries have been privatised or liquidated. All this facilitated unemployment, inflation and high living costs. Peasants were dispossessed of their land and the government never instituted any social programmes to help the impoverished and suffering masses, especially in the working class areas.
In fact, the laboratory of banditry was born out of the organised war against the popular masses and the harsh economic consequences of the capitalist system imposed on Haiti by the World Bank and the IMF.
Despite the increased misery, our government, under the pressure of the capitalist banks, has found no other solution than to raise the price of fuel to 128%. This has automatically increased the price of public transport and basic necessities, making life more miserable for the working class, whose wages remain stagnant.
We in Haiti, although we are a country born of war, of a war of independence, are not a people inclined to war. Nevertheless, we are at war; the West is at war with us, and Haiti is certainly a country at war, always at war. A permanent war that is waged with classic subtlety and whose leaders refuse to discover the damage that is only getting worse.
We have not attacked or provoked any country, but the war has been imposed on us, as it has been imposed on the Cuban, Palestinian, African, Venezuelan, Syrian, Ukrainian, Russian and many other peoples.
The United States of America, through a low intensity war, is destabilising us to the point of making life impossible. Everything is being sabotaged with a view to total destruction. And in the hope of deceiving international opinion, they declare themselves to be one of the “friendly countries of Haiti”. Oh yes! One of Haiti’s executioners, they should say.
This war that does not say its name has often taken many forms, either through a bloody coup d’état, or through a military occupation, often resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths without taking into account the displaced, the wounded and the victims of all kinds.
Yet since the beginning of the imperialist proxy war in Ukraine, instituted by the US and its NATO allies, US aid to Ukraine has exceeded $100 billion. US Senator Chuck Schumer said that “the fight is far from over” and that “we must continue to help the brave and valiant Ukrainian people”. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that “we want to see Russia weakened”. The real driving forces behind this war are the geopolitical interests of US imperialism and its drive for global hegemony.
“For God’s sake, this man can’t stay in power,” said the US president. Biden’s rhetoric that Putin should not stay in power revealed the fundamental objectives of this war: the overthrow of the current Russian regime, its replacement with a US-controlled or US-advised puppet, as in the time of Boris Yeltsin. The dismemberment of Russia is also pursued so that its precious resources would eventually be owned and exploited by US and European finance capital.
Money for war, but not to address and provide solutions to hunger, misery and poverty. Why has Haiti, dominated by US imperialism, never received such assistance from the man who at the United Nations boasted of being our neighbour?
The masses, even with their fingernails, will defend their dignity and sovereignty. We cannot avoid this war in which we are embroiled. Our only solution is to organise ourselves to fight the enemy in all its forms.
The reasons given by the Biden administration to justify their plan for military intervention or occupation in Haiti are a pack of lies. The truth is that the Haitian ruling class, which is subservient to imperialism, has totally failed, and they must intervene at all costs to regenerate it, so that they can continue with the same policy, which is to push Haiti further into the abyss.
The Haitian people in its essence abhor the situation in which they live, but they can only endure it because it is crushed by American imperialism; and because this situation of war has been imposed on it. The people will have to defend themselves by all means, including revolutionary violence.
We can never forget the words of the famous Cuban revolutionary José Martí: “Whoever does not wage a war that he could not avoid is a criminal.” Only active, concrete action by the international working class, united on the basis of a revolutionary socialist programme can help us get out of this mess safely.
The Haitian people say NO to war, also NO to the total destruction of their country by the Western consortium of plunder, robbery and rape of national sovereignty. The only solution to this international poacher’s brigandage is the definitive overthrow of capitalism that continues to subjugate and kill oppressed peoples.
Stop Washington’s war moves towards Russia and China!
Stop the endless wars: in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, and everywhere else!
I would like the Conference to denounce this imperialist intervention because it is already at the door. The assassination of a political leader on Friday night is a criminal act by imperialism to justify its invasion.
We need billions of dollars for housing, health care, education, jobs and climate. Such money should not go to war profiteers! This is simply revolting and immoral! No to the US war in Ukraine! Out with NATO! No to the US war in Haiti! Out with the Yankees!
Long live the struggle of the international working class!
Long live the struggle of the Haitian people! Thank you.
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Message from UTIER (Puerto Rico)
DECLARATION OF SOLIDARITY –
OPEN WORLDWIDE CONFERENCE
Fraternal greetings and solidarity from the UTIER in Puerto Rico. UTIER is an 80-year-old trade union representing the public electricity sector with a long and proud history of social struggles in Puerto Rico. We have achieved economic improvements for the workers we represent and also great social conquests to guarantee a quality of life for our country.
We have been fighting for more than 40 years against the privatisation of the electricity company, while the government and the businessmen impose all the neoliberal strategies to justify and try to legitimise the people’s validation of privatization. UTIER continues to fight.
We are up against a government that is bankrupting the company and the country, the disaster of hurricanes Maria and Irma, the earthquakes and the pandemic. The Government announced the signing of a contract with a private operator for the area of transmission and distribution among others that UTIER has always represented for more than eight decades. The company is called Luma Energy, created on 17 January 2020 and its parent companies are Quanta Service and ATCO of American and Canadian capital respectively.
The privatisers do not recognise the union’s collective bargaining agreement or the union and all acquired rights, including pensions. All disappear. This has led to the displacement of more than 3,500 workers from the company to other government jobs that have nothing to do with their qualifications, experience and working knowledge of the electricity sector.
Privatisation is widely seen as an attempt to destroy UTIER, the only electrical workers’ union in the country that advocates for a transition to 100% renewable energy in its grid and practices class struggle. The lack of solidarity and respect from unions in the US that immediately aligned themselves with the privatising company and the employer meant that the struggle has become harder but not impossible to defeat.
UTIER, together with the people, continues to fight to defeat the privatisation which has already increased rates five times in one year and the service has dramatically worsened leaving the people continually without an essential service.
For this reason UTIER supports all efforts and solidarity from the Open World Conference which is being held in Paris, France and we express our support and invite you to continue this solidarity. We also respectfully ask our comrades who are continuously fighting against neo-liberalism for their solidarity and rejection of privatization.
It is imperative that the contract with the privatisation company Luma Energy be cancelled, that the thousands of displaced men and women be returned to their jobs and that the public electricity company of Puerto Rico be strengthened.
A strong embrace of solidarity
Angel Figueroa Jaramillo
* * * * * * * * * *
Presentation by STEFAN CHOLEWKA, Secretary of Rochdale TUC and a member of the editorial board of LABOUR INTERNATIONALIST (UK)
I refer delegates to their IWC dossier with a message from three British comrades who could not attend this weekend.
I will read a new message from comrade Doreen McNally (former spokesperson for ‘Women of the Waterfront’ – Liverpool dockers wives and partners).
I will then comment upon this text.
The message was adopted by the executive of a Liverpool Unite, the union branch with 700 members.
An extract from the Liverpool message reads:
‘Unite Community NW 567 branch unfortunately cannot attend the IWC Conference. We fully support and send solidarity.
The Liverpool dockers are currently on strike. The demand are for an inflation pay rise and review of existing wage rates.
There has been talk around the trade union movement about coordinating strike action. There will be more than 1 million on strike very soon’.
‘Liverpool dockers send solidarity to the IWC Conference…You can be assured we will fight the employers in the finest traditions of Liverpool dockers…
…The cost of living is driving 14 million people into poverty. 8 million are working adults. 4.4 million children are in poverty. People cannot feed their families who are being evicted by private landlords’ because they cannot afford rent increases…
25% of schools say that they will run out of money by September – due to high cost of gas and electricity)…’
This is the current situation in Britain’.
I wish to make the following commentary:
Liverpool dockers have rejected wage increases below the rate of inflation, that stands at 10.1%. In effect a wage cut.
It is for exactly for same reason that 200,000 postal workers and train drivers have been on strike.
Nearly 2 million workers are now preparing to go on strike in November.
To say that the strikes are about cuts in the standard of living is not enough.
These strike, including the Liverpool dockers strike together with other container ports, is about the cost of the war in Ukraine that the Tory government wishes the working class to pay for.
The UK is the second largest financial contributor to NATO after the United States.
The new prime minister Rishi Sunak was chosen because he was the most strident warmonger in the previous Johnson government – increasing the defence budget to 3% of GDP as chancellor of the exchequer.
The City of London supported Sunak because they too need the profits from the war in Ukraine.
That is why we say:
Neither Putin nor Sunak!
Down with NATO!
Down with Sunak’s government!
Even this is not enough!
It is not only the Tory government that wishes the working class to pay for the war in Ukraine.
This is the position of Starmer. The leader of the Labour Party!
Let’s give a few elements:
Firstly, for months Starmer has supported the Tories by advocating ‘national unity’. Let is take one quote from Starmer: ‘The Labour party is the party of NATO’.
All the strikers are fighting not just the bosses, and the Tory government, they are also fighting against NATO as well!
Secondly, the TUC Congress has just taken place. Before Congress Rochdale TUC held a discussion. Despite the strike wave taking place across the country, not a single call had been made for a General Strike to satisfy all the workers’ demands.
Not a single national trade union leader or local TUC called upon the TUC Congress to take responsibility.
Rochdale TUC issued such a call. They were the only one in Britain to demand that the TUC should call for a general strike!
At the TUC Congress no emergency motion from a national trade union was made – despite trade union leaders saying repeatedly at rally’s up and down the country, that only the TUC could issue a call for a general strike.
Instead a motion was passed calling for ‘coordinated industrial action’ and for a ‘Day of Action’.
Who can possible imagine that a single ‘day of action’ will satisfy the demands of the strikers!
Doreen added a note saying that a general strike is necessary. She is absolutely correct!
We fully support her.
A final comment:
Many trade unionists now say that a general election is needed to get rid of the NATO Tories!
However, NATO Starmer with his corporatist ‘Industrial Strategy Council’ will not solve any problems.
We need a government that serves the interests of the working class inspired by the example of the Liverpool dockers for the immediate satisfaction of all strikes demands!
I fully support the proposal to form an international committee to campaign in defence of Afghanistan women proposed by the IWC Women’s Conference. I am sure that we can get 100’s of signatures in support of such an initiative from Britain.