T.O. 85 – Not One More Penny for War – Hunger Strikers – Antiwar Dossier – Palestine Pogrom – France/General Strike
(Photo: Some of the participants in the Feb. 25 antiwar strategy meeting)
Posted on March 9, 2023
The ORGANIZER Newsletter
Issue No. 85 (New Series) – March 9, 2023
(Formatted March 10 at socialistorganizer.org)
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IN THIS ISSUE:
• Report on the February 25 Antiwar Meeting in Davis, Calif.: “Not One Penny, Not One Weapon for Unjust Wars!” (Part 1 of 2-Part Report)
• Report on March 5 Action in Support of the ICE Detainee Hunger Strikers – by the Hunger Strike Support Committee
• THE WAR ON WOMEN / MARCH 8: Three Women’s Struggles – All One – by Mya Shone (expanded from her presentation February 25 in Davis, Calif.)
• WAR IN UKRAINE: A Few Words About the Chinese “Peace Plan” – by J.A.
• For the U.S. Congress “Socialism Is the Enemy!”
• WAR IN UKRAINE: “The United States is the Big Winner in the Conflict”
• RUSSIA AND UKRAINE: Rejection of the War on Both Sides of the Front Lines
• PALESTINE: Pogrom in Huwara – by D.F.
• FRANCE & THE FIGHT FOR A GENERAL STRIKE (Part 1): Statement by POID: The Situation Is Urgent, Macron Seeks to Ram Through His Pension Reform Plan
• FRANCE & THE FIGHT FOR A GENERAL STRIKE (Part 2) – The Forces Are Regrouping – by Daniel Gluckstein
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Report on the February 25 Antiwar Meeting in Davis, Calif.: “Not One Penny, Not One Weapon for Unjust Wars!”
(Part 1 of 2-Part Report)
Labor and community activists from across the United States, along with delegates from Mexico and Canada, met on Saturday, February 25 in Davis, California (in-person or via zoom) to discuss what strategy is needed to build a united mass, anti-war movement in the United States. The meeting took place on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – an invasion provoked and fueled by U.S. imperialism and its NATO allies.
The event was sponsored by the Sacramento chapter of the Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement/AFL-CIO, Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP), and Socialist Organizer. The demands adopted in October 2022 at the Paris Conference of the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers’ International (IWC) were the basis for the Davis meeting and for the actions held worldwide on February 24-25 at the initiative of the IWC.
The demands listed in the call for the Davis meeting were:
• Russian Troops Out of Ukraine
• U.S.-NATO Troops Out of Europe!
• Disband NATO!
• No Sanctions! Ceasefire Now!
• Close U.S. Military Bases Worldwide!
• Neither Putin, Nor Biden – No Support for Warmongering Governments!
• Not One Penny, Not One Weapon for Unjust Wars!
• Billions for Jobs, Schools, Healthcare, Immigration Reform/DREAMers and Social Services — Not War!
The demands to “Close All U.S. Military Bases Worldwide!” and “Billions for Immigration Reform/DREAMers!” were added by the organizers of the February 25 meeting in Davis.
In introducing the discussion, Alan Benjamin, member of the National Organizing Committee of Socialist Organizer, denounced the Biden administration’s escalation of the war in Ukraine. When Biden visited Ukraine in mid-February, he made an immediate commitment of $500 million on top of the $46.6 billion of military support provided last year and the $2 billion weapons request from the Department of Defense.
Benjamin cited former NATO allied commanders who have concluded that an attack on Crimea – even at the risk of a nuclear response – is essential. The intent, Benjamin stated, is to “obliterate the enemy” (meaning Russia) and, in so doing, send a message to Xi Jinping as well as Putin.
Influential New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof put it bluntly: “Liberating Crimea by the end of the summer … would present risks [sic!], but it could also set the stage for negotiations and an end to the war.
Benjamin went on to stress the need for the antiwar movement to remain independent of all capitalist parties, as virtually all the so-called ‘progressives’ in the Democratic Party, including Barbara Lee, the only congressperson to have voted against the war in Iraq, support the U.S. war effort in Ukraine. “Lee now tells us that this war is different, that it’s a ‘war for democracy’,” Benjamin continued. “But this is not a war for democracy and self-determination for any of the peoples and nationalities in the region, especially Ukraine. It’s a war for control of markets. It’s a war to line the pockets of the military-industrial complex.”
• Desirèe Rojas, president of the Sacramento LCLAA chapter and co-convener of the meeting, focused her remarks on the devastating war against immigrants – especially indigenous people – from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean — a war that originated with U.S. corporate “free trade” agreements. (The text below is expanded from her presentation.)
“In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was approved, followed shortly after by its Central American counterpart: CAFTA,” Rojas stated. “These bipartisan agreements were passed with the promise of economic opportunities, higher wages, better labor conditions — but none of this came true. Rather, what resulted was mass forced migration and the deterioration of labor in Mexico and Central America.”
Rojas continued: “Climate change promoted by the U.S. fossil fuel conglomerates – has devastated Haiti and Puerto Rico, whose false promises of U.S assistance were transformed into pretexts for further U.S. intervention and the assault on any and all forms of self-determination by these two nations.”
“The bottom line,” Rojas stated,” is that millions of people have been forced to migrate and seek asylum in the U.S., where they are ‘welcomed’ with fines, imprisonment, humiliation, caging, trafficking of child labor, and countless other hardships.”
“Over the past 20 years,” Rojas concluded, “our LCLAA chapter has been organizing for immigration reform, farmworker rights, and improved labor rights. We have been fighting to shut down private ICE Prisons. We have supported the detainees now on hunger strike at the Mesa Verde and Golden State Annex ICE Detention Centers, for whom we urge your support.
Rojas went on to introduce Armando Bolaños, a labor organizer based in Mexico City, and Esperanza Cuautle, a lead organizer for the MV/GSA Strike Support Committee. Bolaños is a longtime ally of Sacramento LCLAA and key organizer in Mexico with agricultural workers and with the Voto Por Voto campaign, which laid the basis for migrant workers living in the U.S. to vote in Mexican elections. Cuautle gave an extensive presentation on the struggle to shut down the Mesa Verde (MV) and Golden State Annex (GSA) ICE detention centers. [See below the update on the 55 detainees’ hunger strike.]
• Nnamdi Lumumba addressed the question of “peace” – and what people need. “Peace on the plantation” is not what we are discussing. It’s not the absence of war, it’s the presence of justice.”
Lumumba continued: “What kind of peace is there for the working people of Ukraine and Russia when billions are being spent on war. What does peace and justice look like for us?”
The Far-Right is calling for an end to the war,” Lumumba said, “but they don’t mean justice and the end of class oppression and exploitation. … What is necessary is for people to have access to resources. We need to deepen the discussion and go to the roots of the problem of imperialism here and in Russia. This will enable us to bring in people of color.”
• Monadel Herzallah was the next to speak:
The voice of Palestine needs to be heard. The Palestinian people, whose grandparents were ethnically cleansed in 1948, are being subjected to a vicious occupation. Last week Israeli forces terrorized Nablus, killing and seriously injuring more than 100 people. These terrorist acts are supported by the U.S.-backed right-wing government of Netanyahu. Shooting Palestinians has become a national sport.
In February, the number of Palestinian deaths doubled. The only winners of these wars are the military industrial owners. The Democratic-Republican debate is a joke. This money is being directed to the killing machines; it needs to be redirected to fund human needs.
Jordan is now hosting a high security summit, attended by the CIA and top Egyptian politicians. The aim basically, is to assert control under the pretext of “calming the situation.” But the Palestinian people are resisting, with some of the largest demonstrations since the original occupation.
We are going through a tough era, but we cannot relent, we need to be part of the change. A mobilization against the war is planned by the ANSWER coalition for March 18 in San Francisco and Washington. DC. One week earlier, on March 10, an action is planned at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. I hope to see you there. This is one of the fundamental struggles in the world today.
The meeting supported Monadel Herzallah’s call to participate in upcoming Palestine resistance demonstrations. A protest action will be held at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco (456 Montgomery St.) on March 10 from 4 pm to 6 pm.
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Report on March 5 Action in Support of the ICE Detainee Hunger Strikers
(participants in March 5 hunger strike support action in Bakersfield, Calif.)
By the Hunger Strikers Support Committee
There were close to 100 immigrant rights activists – including children and reporters –in attendance at the March 5 protest in Bakersfield, Calif., in support of the 55 hunger strikers. For more background information on the struggle, see the letter from FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez to U.S. Senator Alex Padilla posted at ww.socialistorganizer.org.
For the program, we had one formerly detained individual call in. Mothers of detained folks shared their experience having loved ones detained and on HS, and a lot of individuals from Mesa Verde called in to share their experience and words of gratitude. Eunice Hernandez, a member of the Strike Support Committee, read the letter from Baldemar Velasquez.
ABC and Telemundo were among the media present. Thirty-three Papeles Para Todos (PPT) members traveled from the San Francisco Bay Area. Folks inside got their yard time suspended by GEO, the for-profit private corporation, to prevent us from interacting with them across the wall.
MV / GSA UPDATE
Good news if you haven’t heard yet – the contract between Yuba County Jail and ICE has officially ended!
This means that the county jail in Marysville, CA will no longer be used to inhumanely and unjustly incarcerate immigrants. This victory comes after years long efforts led by formerly and currently detained people, our partners in the Yuba Liberation Collective, and you!
There are still six immigrant detention centers in California, all run by for-profit companies, and we ask you to continue to join us to close each and every single one of these places down.
Currently, around 55 people are on hunger strike at Mesa Verde and Golden State Annex near Bakersfield, CA, to protest inhumane treatment including medical neglect and abuse, and obscenely low wages ($1 per day) for hard manual labor. Several hunger strikers have filed a lawsuit against ICE and GEO after illegal retaliation to their hunger strike.
As of this afternoon there is also a breaking news update that several of the people striking are at risk of being transferred to facilities even further away from their loved ones and attorneys. Please demand that ICE stop these transfers.
Together we will continue to fight for the closure of all detention centers.
Rev. Deborah Lee and the IM4HI Team
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THE WAR ON WOMEN / MARCH 8
Three Women’s Struggles – All One
By Mya Shone
Here we are in the 21st century, not the Middle Ages prior to the 14th century, yet women throughout the world still are struggling for the fundamental right of bodily autonomy and personhood, against patriarchy and being treated as property.
The spontaneous movement of women in Afghanistan; the eruption across Iran under the banner “Women, life, freedom,” and the ongoing fight for reproductive rights in the United States, particularly the right of a woman, not the state, to control whether or not she can terminate a pregnancy (abortion) are three seminal struggles requiring our support and action today.
When we look at the intolerable situation of women under the Taliban’s Islamic tribal rule in Afghanistan let us not forget that the Taliban, as other mujahideen (Islamic guerrilla fighting forces), was largely funded and supported in the early 1990s by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the CIA, and Saudi intelligence, and that it came to power again in August 2021 as a concession by the United States and other NATO powers, which had been waging covert and overt war in Afghanistan for over 50 years. It was predictable what would become the plight of women under the Taliban. Once again in power, they lost no time in imposing strictures.
In March 2022, the Taliban instituted a ban on girls attending high school. Universities were closed to women in December. But that was not enough. On December 21 the Taliban barred female staff, including teachers, from working in schools, closing off one of the few professions that remained open to women and as a consequence sealing off access to primary school education, too.
Three days later, on December 24, the Taliban leaders declared women could no longer work at international or domestic NGOs with the result that many of the institutions handling humanitarian needs in Afghanistan ceased operations. The consequence was felt throughout the country. Today, about half of the 40 million people in Afghanistan face life-threatening food insecurity with six million nearing famine – forcing more families to sell off their young daughters. [According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, more than half of girls (57%) married before the age of 16, and 60% to 80% of all marriages are forced marriages.]
Denying girls access to education, denying women the ability to work and sustain their families, that still was not enough. Edicts have been issued in many cities and provinces across Afghanistan such that women and girls over the age of nine are imprisoned in their homes. They cannot walk outside even to shop for food or receive medical care unless accompanied by a Mahram – an adult man related to the woman, such as a father, brother, son or uncle and even so accompanied, they are forbidden from visiting a public park or attending religious services at a mosque.
A spontaneous movement of women emerged — courageously taking to the streets — as soon as the Taliban regained power. These women were arrested immediately, and many have been tortured. Leaders, such as Mursal Nabizada, a former member of the Afghan parliament, have been assassinated — gunned down in their homes.
The struggle of the Afghan women is our struggle. The Spontaneous Afghan Women’s Movement appealed to the International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For a Workers International and we responded. Delegates to the International Working Women’s Conference, held October 29, 2022, created the International Committee for the Defense of Afghan Women. Aa petition has been signed by union members and leaders as well as political activists around the world. Arrangements have been made for support for the families of imprisoned women as well as re-settlement in other countries for those facing immediate persecution.
Let us build upon this effort. Now is the time for us to step up our activity. As an initial step, sign the petition at http://defendafghanwomen.org, distribute it with a commitment to gathering at least five more signers. You will receive a newsletter once you sign.
We all are aware of the spontaneous reaction of Iranian women as well as the outpouring of men after the brutal murder by the morality police of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, who had been arrested for wearing her hijab (head scarf) such that a bit of her hair showed. “Woman, life, freedom” became the rallying cry throughout the country. Merchants closed shops and strikes took place in some industries. But the brutal force, arrests and beheadings by the government, as well as the lack of political direction and organization has curtailed the mass movement for now.
Still, thousands of women — a number that is growing — risk arrest as they dare to walk about and attend events without head coverings. Small rebellions erupt spontaneously, whether shouting from rooftops or small protest gatherings. As always, this is a brief hiatus in what must emerge in a struggle against oppressive despotic rule.
(organizers of the International Women’s Conference, Paris, October 29, 2022)
Here in the U.S. the ongoing battle for reproductive rights, particularly the right to abortion, is the most critical aspect of the war on women. As legal challenges are filed in state after state against anti-abortion laws, activists across the country await the pending anti-abortion court decision from Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal district judge in Amarillo, Texas.
Kacsmaryk is an anti-gay crusader who also is known for his attacks on the right to contraception. Although there is no legal basis, it is anticipated that Kacsmaryk will impose a stay on the use of the primary drug that is used in medication abortion throughout the United States. Medication abortion, rather than surgical, is the method used now for more than half of early term (10 weeks or less) abortions.
The bogus federal case has been brought against the FDA which authorized the use of mifepristone, more than 20 years ago. A restraining order would mean that the drug cannot be used while the case wInds its way through the notoriously conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the reactionary-majority Supreme Court, the very court which overturned the Roe court ruling that guaranteed women bodily autonomy and the right to terminate a pregnancy.
No matter if a state, such as California, protects the right to abortion within its individual state constitution or through specific state laws. A federal restraining order will supersede that right just as Roe previously had superseded any state law that had banned abortion.
This war on women is at root a battle over who controls the means of production and, as a consequence who controls decision-making in society. The ability to control one’s body — including the decision whether or whether not to bear a child at any specific moment — is intrinsic to controlling one’s life and involvement in the workplace and political structure. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her 1993 confirmation hearing: “When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.” In fact, she is treated as property.
Restricting or denying a woman education, employment, partner choices, reproductive choice, and ownership of property inevitably controls her engagement as an equal member of society.
Thus … the battle for democratic rights for women is intrinsically the struggle for who controls the means of production and the societal structure that flows from it. Whether in Afghanistan, which remains locked into an ancient tribal patriarchal structure, in Iran with autocratic religious rule, or in the United States, the most advanced capitalist country, which in the struggle of the bourgeoisie against the monarchy included on the face of it a recognition of inalienable democratic rights, the struggle of women is one and the same — a struggle which must be waged together as it can be resolved only through the struggle for socialism wherein equality of rights and full participation in society is guaranteed to all.
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[In Part 2 of this Report-Back on the February 25 antiwar meeting, we will publish excerpts from the statements by Niloufar Khonsari (Socialist Organizer and immigrant rights attorney), Paul Nkunzimana (IWC correspondent in Canada), Millie Phillips (LCIP Continuations Committee), Karena Acree-Paez (West Coast coordinator of Black Alliance for Peace), Liliana Plumeda (TCI-Mexicali, Mexico), and Cynthia Rodriguez (Sacramento immigrant rights attorney). We will complete the report by publishing the decisions and action campaigns that were approved by the participants in this important meeting.]
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WAR IN UKRAINE:
A Few Words About the Chinese “Peace Plan”
The Chinese government has proposed a 12-point “peace plan” and has sent its foreign minister to present it in Europe and Russia.
As soon as it was unveiled, however, the plan was rejected by the Biden administration. It benefits “only Russia,” said Biden. “China is not very credible,” added the NATO Secretary General. “It is not a peace plan,” continued the president of the European Commission. All accuse China of wanting to deliver weapons to Russia (which China denies) – accusations from those very governments that are delivering tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine.
The Chinese government does not act here in order to protect the people from war. Its own policies against the workers in China proves it. But the parasitic bureaucracy of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has, as always, the hope of a “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism.
These hopes run up against a harsh reality. This “peaceful coexistence” with China is not something the capitalists in the United States are particularly keen on. They have China in their sights much more than Russia. Thus the New York Times (March 5) reports on a ten-day military exercise in California allowing “a new Marine regiment to test combat concepts that the Pentagon might one day need in a battle against China.”
At the same time, the Biden administration approved the sale of $619 million worth of ammunition for its fighter jets to Taiwan. A sale “that risks offending Beijing” (Le Figaro, March 2). And from March 13 to 23, giant military exercises will bring together South Korean and U.S. armed forces.
What motivates both these preparations for war and the rejection of the Chinese “peace plan” is the quest by the capitalists in the United States to fully dismantle state ownership, the main obstacle to their direct control over the Chinese economy. — J.A.
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For the U.S. Congress “Socialism Is the Enemy!”
What is the main enemy identified by the U.S. Congress, which brings together the leaders of the two capitalist parties, Republican and Democrat?
Is it Putin? Is it “terrorism”? No.
The resolution approved on February 2 by 219 Republican and 109 Democratic congresspeople, after three days of debate, is titled “Denouncing the horrors of socialism.”
Let us pass over the usual amalgam that this resolution takes up, equating socialism and Lenin with the crimes of Stalinism. This is old hat.
The resolution states: “Whereas the United States of America was founded on the belief in the sanctity of the individual, to which the collectivist system of socialism in all its forms is fundamentally and necessarily opposed … the Congress denounces socialism in all its forms and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States.”
Clearly targeted in this resolution are Social Security, Medicare, public education, public healthcare, public services, etc. – all considered by Wall Street and corporate America, with the support of the politicians in their service, to be “socialist” cancers on the U.S. body politic.
This resolution following on the heels of the umpteenth vote allocating billions of dollars in military aid for the war in Ukraine, and the umpteenth vote aimed at dismantling public services – at least has the merit of clarity. For the leaders of the world’s most powerful imperialism, the enemy is the historic struggle of the workers’ movement to overthrow the capitalist regime, based on private ownership of the means of production, and to put the means of production at the service of the whole of society.
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WAR IN UKRAINE
“The United States is the Big Winner in the Conflict”
The city of Bakhmut (north of Donetsk) was the scene of a bloodbath on March 6. On the Russian side, waves of soldiers were sent in, decimated one after the other. On the Ukrainian side, despite the colossal losses, Zelensky demanded “the continuation of the operation.” Thousands of men were sent to be massacred. For whose interests? Neither the interests of the Ukrainian people, nor those of the Russian people. The beneficiaries of the war are comfortably installed far from the battlefields.
A spokesperson for the Circle of Economists, expressing the point of view of a section of French and European capitalists, stated the following on March 6:
“The cost to Europe of this war is mainly the result of the increase in energy import expenses in 2022, which is of the order of 400 billion euros, of which about 50 billion will benefit U.S. exporters. …
“The global balance sheet of the conflict includes the human cost with losses in deaths and seriously injured people that probably exceed 150,000 soldiers on the Russian side, 120,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian side plus civilian losses in the latter country. The direct and indirect costs of the conflict are therefore colossal for the belligerents in terms of human losses, for Ukraine and the European Union in terms of economic and financial costs. The United States is, at this stage, the big winner of the conflict.”
The Biden administration has just announced new military aid to Ukraine to the tune of US$400 million, bringing the “bill” for U.S. aid to Ukraine since 2022 to nearly $80 billion.
This U.S. commitment for further aid to Ukraine encouraged an escalation of threats from Putin’s regime, especially as his army is breaking down. In a report, the newspaper Voïennaïa Mysl (linked to the General Staff) indicates that the regime of the oligarchs is considering “the use of modern strategic offensive and defensive weapons, both nuclear and non-nuclear, taking into account the latest military technologies.”
The slightest slip could at any moment cause the conflict to degenerate into a global nuclear confrontation.
Only one social force can stop the march to world war: the international working class. As the great revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg wrote on the eve of May 1, 1913: “In this period of arms race and war madness, only the resolute will to struggle of the working masses, their capacity and readiness for powerful mass actions, can maintain world peace and repel the threat of a world war.”
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RUSSIA AND UKRAINE:
Rejection of the War on Both Sides of the Front Lines
In a thousand and one ways, rejection of the war is expressed. Even in the ranks of the Russian army.
Thus, in a collective video-recording, soldiers mobilized in unit 33860 from Orenburg address Putin. They denounced the fact that after a semblance of military training, they were sent to the Donetsk region where the militia of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” sent them without any preparation to assault Ukrainian lines.
“We have not received any proper military training. … We are sent to be massacred. We don’t even have maps to orient ourselves on the ground. We go on the assault “blind.” Stated their spokesperson. In the rear, the FSB (political police) reports that in Tobolsk (Western Siberia) on February 26, and again in Novouralsk (Central Siberia) on March 3, minors – some as young as 15 years old – were arrested as they were about to burn down military registration offices.
And what about on the Ukrainian side?
More and more of them are trying to escape the “mobilization.” According to Le Figaro (March 3) “in the city of Kiev alone, more than 110,000 anonymous people are making themselves known, with photos or videos, where military and police officers are handing out “winning tickets” – a nickname given ironically to these summonses that can lead any Ukrainian to be mobilized for the army.” That’s more than 10% of the fighting-age men in Ukraine’s capital.
On both sides of the front lines, the only response against those who refuse to support the war is repression. A Russian activist noted:
“In these circumstances, we have two things to do. Support all those who are persecuted, so that they can survive. And wait for the moment when we will have the opportunity to turn the tide, to dismantle the repressive machine and bring our friends, brothers and classmates back from the prisons and trenches. That moment will come, let’s be ready to seize it!” – D.F.
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PALESTINE: Pogrom in Huwara
The facts: On February 22, the Israeli army killed 11 Palestinians and injured 100 in Nablus. On the 26th, two Israeli settlers were killed in the Palestinian village of Huwara. Within hours, hundreds of armed settlers set fire to the village, killing one Palestinian and injuring dozens. “They reduced everything to ashes … They fired live ammunition … My children are terrorized,” testified the inhabitants (francetvinfo.fr, February 28).
Israeli General Yehuda Fuchs acknowledgeed that what took place was, in fact, a pogrom. He said that “the pogrom had taken the military by surprise” (The Times of Israel, March 1). “By surprise”? It had been prepared for weeks by the provocations of the most extremist wing of the Netanyahu government. Smotrich, the Minister of Finance, declared that it should have been “up to the State of Israel to erase the village of Huwara” (March 1) and not just the settlers!”
On the 28th, several hundred Arab and Jewish demonstrators protested in Tel Aviv “against the settler government.” As for the Palestinian villagers, they organized rounds “with a piece of wood in one hand and a flashlight in the other,” as in the village of Turmus’ayya: “We don’t want to attack anyone, but only to defend our people, our village, our homes, our land and our honor” (Challenges, March 2), said one of them.
If many Israeli officials have protested against this pogrom, it is because it “sets the West Bank on fire” (Haaretz, February 28). This worries even the Netanyahu government. For at the same time, the State of Israel is going through the most serious crisis in its history.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz has just called on Netanyahu to meet with him in order to avoid “the civil war (that) is at our doorstep.” Gantz is not talking about the uninterrupted war waged by all governments of the “left” and the “right” for 75 five years against the Palestinian people. He is talking about the risk of an explosion at the top of the Zionist state apparatus and the risk that it will fall into chaos.
This is a prospect that worries U.S. imperialism, the main sponsor of the State of Israel. On February 8, Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, issued a solemn warning to Biden: “this stabilizing force in the region [Israel – ed. Note] is on the way to becoming a destabilizing force.
 A pogrom was a massacre of Jews encouraged by the authorities in the Russian Empire before the 1917 revolution.
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Photo: Withdraw the plan!
FRANCE & THE FIGHT FOR A GENERAL STRIKE (Part 1):
Statement by POID
Democratic Independent Workers Party of France
The Situation Is Urgent, Macron Seeks to Ram Through His Pension Reform Plan
March 8, 2023
By their power and numbers, the strike and demonstrations of March 7 are historic.
For two months, millions of workers and young people have been on strike and have held six mass demonstrations. But the government persists in maintaining its reform, which is rejected by a very large majority of the population.
Two out of three people questioned consider that shutting down of the country is legitimate.
Therefore, what solution to make Macron back down, if not the general strike?
The need for a general strike is at the center of discussions in workers’ assemblies.
In many sectors, with their unions, they have begun to go down this road. With their strike funds, elected strike committees … the movement from “below,” from the rank-and-file, is under way.
It would gain in strength if it could rely on a clear call for a general strike issued “at the top” by the leaders of the trade union confederations.
The situation is urgent, Macron seeks to ram through his pension reform plan.
Macron will seek to do this in one of two ways: either through an alliance with the Republicans in the Senate and the National Assembly. Or, failing that, by using Articles 47-1 or 49-3 of the antidemocratic Constitution of the Fifth Republic [which authorizes the president to rule by decree, overriding the National Assembly and Senate –Tr. Note]
The workers know that there is nothing to expect from these two bodies.
Democracy will not come from the Senate, nor from pseudo-debates in the National Assembly, nor from the “joint commission” dominated by the Macronists and the Republicans.
Democracy means satisfying the demands of the vast majority. It means the withdrawal of the reform. Macron and his government are an ultra-minority in the country.
The leaders of the parties affiliated to NUPES [left coalition led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon – Tr. Note] parties claim to support the mobilization of the working class and the youth. Let them prove it!
Let them break [NUPES] with Macron, let them leave their benches and walk out of the National Assembly and the Senate as long as this project has not been withdrawn!
Let them stop supporting the Macron-Borne government’s adherence to NATO and the war in Eastern Europe—something they have done with their repeated votes in the European Parliament and in the National Assembly.
Let them proclaim publicly that Macron must go and that they are ready to form a government of rupture whose first decision will be the withdrawal of the pension reform.
For support to the general strike in unity,
to finish with Macron,
for a government of the working class and democracy: join the POID, read and distribute the Workers’ Tribune!
Contact the POID. Read the Workers’ Tribune.
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FRANCE & THE FIGHT FOR A GENERAL STRIKE (Part 2)
La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers Tribune) Issue No. 379 – Editorial
The Forces Are Regrouping
(March 1, 2023)
By Daniel Gluckstein
We are a few days away from March 7, the date on which workers are being called on by their trade union organizations to “bring the country to a standstill” to block the Macron-Borne pensions reform.
On both sides of the class fence, the forces are regrouping.
In the Senate, the traditional right-wing parties are working hard to find an agreement with Macron to extend working life by two years, to wind up the special public pension schemes and to degrade the conditions set for retired women.
They are supported by the heads of the organizations representing the bosses, who are in favor of these measures but are worried about a possible social crisis that will get out of hand. As for the NUPES senators, officially opponents of the Macron-Borne project, they are promising to act “responsibly”, anxious not to destabilize the institutions of an increasingly unpopular Fifth Republic.
On the other side, the working class is gathering its forces, in all its diversity: workers from the public and private sectors, from large and small companies, from urban and semi-rural areas, women and men, young and old, retired and active… And with them, the university and high-school students. And many independent craftspeople and shop-owners, small farmers…
For weeks, the movement has been spreading, and the workers have been taking charge of organizing the mobilization. Committees have been formed, generally supported by the trade unions, which have set themselves the task of organizing the “shutdown” of the department, the workshop, the school; and which, linking up with delegates from other departments, workshops and schools, are seeking to organize the “shutdown” of the whole business, the whole town…
On March7, the country will experience one of the largest mass strikes of recent decades, the combined result of the call from “above” and the takeover from “below” that is organizing the movement.
At the center of it all: strike action. To bring the country to a halt is to bring the economic machine to a halt and thus to affect the very heart of the source of capitalist profit. Therein lies the “most convincing argument” – the millions of euros in profits that go up in smoke for each day of mass strike action – to make this government back down.
The mass strike by millions of women and men united with their organizations breaks down the compartmentalization and division between professions and categories, above which it raises the demands, hopes and the will of the whole working class.
The mass strike is the gathering of the exploited against the exploiters, for all to see. Behind the common demand of “total withdrawal of the Macron-Borne reform”, it raises another question: who should lead the country, which class, for which interests?
The mass strike can only end in one way: the total withdrawal of the Macron-Borne reform. It cannot be diverted from this, either by a return to the fragmented tactics of leapfrogging strikes, or by slogans for specific economic groups that oppose unity. The regrouped force of the working class can do anything, provided it remains united.
(1) Translator’s note: Currently, there are public pension schemes that are specific to groups of public sector workers such as Paris metro workers, electricity and gas workers and the French Central Bank.
(2) Translator’s note: The New Popular, Ecological and Social Union (NUPES) was the electoral coalition for the June 2022 legislative elections headed by Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of France Unbowed. The coalition included France Unbowed, the Socialist Party, the Communist Party and Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV).