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Today, March 20 is the 14 anniversary of the US “shock and awe” criminal attack on Iraq, an invasion of hundreds of thousands US, British and other troops, accompanied by massive air strikes. By May 1, 2003, the end of major combat operations was declared by the Bush administration and the military occupation began.
The US had openly declared its policy of “regime change” in Oct 1998 with the passage of the “Iraq Liberation Act.”
With George W. Bush’s election in Nov. 2000, the plan to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein picked up steam, particularly following 9/11 in 2001.
The drumbeat of war focused on charges that Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” which the US media promulgated relentlessly at the behest of the administration and the Pentagon despite evidence to the contrary.
14 years of massive destruction, untold millions of civilian deaths, injuries and displacement, ongoing political chaos that has spread throughout the region, and the ongoing military engagement of thousands of US troops. Not to mention billions and billions of dollars spent to pursue policies of aggression and domination.
Not to be forgotten, yesterday, March 19 marked the 6th anniversary of the US/NATO war on Libya, an exercise of political and military intervention that has similarly left that northern African country in unending spiral of death and misery for its people.
Literally, not a word is spoken in the news media about these two continuing horror stories, the result of imperialist ambitions to control oil resources and markets.
<On Monday, March 20, The Labor Forum will hear about a bill being discussed by the Georgia General Assembly described as "OSD" for public transportation." As you remember, the "Opportunity School District" amendment was soundly defeated at the ballot box last fall when voters rejected the idea of a state takeover of public schools under the direction of the Governor. It was widely seen as a way to further the privatization of public education.
Nikita Howard of ATU #732, the union representing MARTA workers, will describe the impact of HB 160 which intends to set up the Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding. This interview will be broadcast from 4:15-4:30pm.
At 4:30, Saladin Muhammad, a leader of Black Workers for Justice will call in from N. Carolina to talk about the upcoming Southern Workers School to be held in Atlanta, Ap.22-23.This is a project of the Southern Workers Assembly, a solidarity network of rank and file workers across the South building worker power. This is the second convening of the school which includes two in person meetings and eight online sessions over the summer designed to ground worker leaders in labor history, organizing skills and movement building.Details about the Southern Workers Assembly can be found at http://www.southernworker.org
The Labor Forum airs every Monday from 4-5pm on WRFG 89.3FM.
For additional information, the website is http://www.wrfglaborforum.org
Join Freedom University students and Atlanta’s diverse social justice community in welcoming the farmworker leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers! We will march to demand that Wendy’s return to the fields of Florida and make a real, verifiable commitment through the Campaign for Fair Food to guarantee respect, dignity, and justice for farmworkers.
Please bring your voices, your friends, and musical instruments in an exciting picket at Wendy’s!
*Please note that the new meeting place is Wendy’s at 660 Boulevard. Please park on nearby Charles Allen Drive, other street parking, or arrange other transportation. Parking is not available at Wendy’s.*
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a farmworker-led human rights organization based in Immokalee, Florida. The CIW has transformed human rights standards in the agricultural industry and led the fight to end modern day slavery and human trafficking in the U.S. through its internationally-recognized Campaign for Fair Food. The “Return to Human Rights Tour,” a 2-week, 12-city tour, is the longest protest action in the last ten years of the Campaign for Fair Food. The tour will mobilize thousands of consumers in the national boycott of Wendy’s fast food restaurants. The boycott, launched by the CIW last March, has garnered tremendous support from tens of thousands of students, faith leaders, human rights activists, and consumers of conscience across the country. In spite of the growing pressure, Wendy’s has dug in its heels and defended its decision to shift purchases away from Florida’s tomato industry — hailed in the New York Times as the “best working environment in American agriculture” — and towards a Mexican industry, riddled with inhumane working conditions.
This March, the Fair Food Nation will call on Wendy’s to return to the fields of Florida and join the Fair Food Program, where “quality” is defined not simply by the guarantee of tasty produce, but also by the guarantee of respect and dignity for the human beings who harvest our nation’s fruits and vegetables.
Among the many groups of low-wage workers who are organizing to gain living wages and respect for their labor are farm workers.
We celebrate the diversity of the many social groups that have come together for the International Women’s Strike. We come from many political traditions but are united around the following
The May Day general strike should raise all the demands of the movements of the workers and oppressed against all the mounting attacks of capitalism. These include, for example, demands against union busting and those that speak to the struggle of low-wage workers, including the demand for a global minimum wage.
However, the May Day global general strike’s sharpest focus must be against all that Trump has come to represent — racism, white supremacy, neofascism, Islamophobia, attacks on immigrants, attacks on women and LGBTQ people, and a drive toward imperialist war. What’s more, the May Day global strike must be against the whole system of capitalism and imperialism and for socialism. Forging a united front among the most militant and revolutionary forces can help this happen.
Can it be done?
Whether or not the masses are willing to join such a global general strike at this moment is a question that can only be answered if there exist, on the part of enough forces, the will and commitment to fight for it. What is beyond question is the objective political necessity of a global mobilization of the masses on a new level of militancy and higher political level. The global general strike, more than an end in itself, should mark the beginning of a wider, escalating struggle of the workers and the oppressed across the planet, whose ultimate goal must be nothing less than socialist revolution.
Why a global general strike?
While many struggles tend to have a local character, it is no longer possible for the workers and the oppressed to conduct the struggle against neofascism, capitalism and imperialism on a solely local basis. The changes in global capitalism have made it both necessary and far more possible for the struggle to be waged on a globally coordinated scale.
The masses can ‘shut it down!’
Militants have wisely expanded the conception of the general strike. The capacity of organized workers to leave work, wherever they can, remains a critical part of a strike. Today, however, more advanced conceptions of the general strike allow for the wider participation of the masses no matter if they are in unions, have a job or, like so many workers, are forced to take low-wage, part-time or temporary jobs. Students and youths all over the world are walking out of schools. Women are now planning a March 8 global strike, reportedly in 30 countries. The masses have discovered that by their numbers and militancy, they can bring much of society and the economy to a halt or “Shut It Down!”
Organize people’s assemblies to build for a May Day global general strike
We believe that convening local people’s assemblies around the world to help prepare for a May Day global general strike is an organizing tactic that should be used widely. Such assemblies can take many forms, including people’s and workers’ assemblies, women’s assemblies, LGBTQ assemblies, student and youth assemblies, etc. These assemblies could facilitate bringing tens of thousands of organizers into general strike-building, as well as providing the opportunity for militants and activists to issue their own calls for the general strike that reflect local demands, as well as the demands of diverse sections of the workers and oppressed.
First task: Defend the oppressed
In building for a global May Day, it’s important to understand that the first need is to rally to the political and physical defense of the most oppressed who are the first targets of Trump. Some on the left have mistakenly dismissed the movements for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and Muslims, Latinx and Indigenous rights, which Standing Rock represents, and all the struggles of the most oppressed, including women, LGBTQ communities and people with disabilities, as “identity politics.”
This mistake can only serve to further marginalize and demonize the most oppressed sections of the working class, who are already the first targets of neofascism. This mistake also ruptures the necessary solidarity between the workers and the oppressed. When we talk about the working class, we are talking about the oppressed. This is why the workers’ movement changed the slogan “Workers of the world unite” to “Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite.” Our view is that it is the oppressed who are in the leadership of the entire working class.
Trump does not represent the beginning of attacks on the oppressed. Capitalism’s war on the oppressed has been going on for a long time. Trump has only unmasked it.
As part of the task of defending the oppressed, we advocate for the establishment of local defense committees whose first priority is to defend the oppressed against attacks from both the state and reactionary, white- supremacist and neofascist elements.
Trumpism is a desperate attempt to save capitalism by dividing the workers and oppressed
The election of billionaire, white supremacist and neofascist Donald Trump in the United States, together with the ascendency of neofascists in other parts of the world, has opened up a new phase of the world struggle between global capitalism and imperialism and the workers and the oppressed. The crisis that produced Trump is the crisis of a dying capitalist system. The goal of Trump and his neofascist, global counterparts is to divert the global uprising against a dying capitalist system into a global war against the most oppressed by destroying the revolutionary objective of solidarity between the workers and the oppressed.
Capitalist parties cannot lead the fight against Trump
We must not allow the liberal (actually neoliberal) wing of the imperialist ruling class, represented by the Democratic Party in the U.S. and by pro-capitalist, social-democratic parties elsewhere, to lead the struggle against Trumpism. This camp of the global capitalist class has been the main servants of capitalism, charged with preventing the working class from becoming independent of capitalist political parties. This camp of world imperialism has thrown the entire working class under the bus, paving the way for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world.
We welcome the mass protests against Trump. It is a sign that millions are becoming radicalized. The protest movement must not be usurped by any capitalist party, but instead channeled toward independent revolutionary resistance and uprising. It is up to the workers and the oppressed of the planet, including all genuinely independent progressive forces, to commence now the final struggle to rid humanity of the malignancy of capitalism once and for all.
A revolutionary united front against neofascism, racism, war, capitalism and imperialist war
This crisis has opened the biggest opportunity for a regroupment of the revolutionary, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist left on a global scale in a lifetime. We appeal to all anti-capitalist forces — whether communist, socialist, anarchist, etc., and especially those belonging to oppressed peoples, nations, communities, the labor movement and the working class — to embark on a new road to a global, revolutionary, united front.
Among other things, such a revolutionary front would be an ally of the militant youth, who all too often have come to view most of the left as wanting to put a brake on their militancy.
It is not necessary for anyone to give up their principled political differences in order to forge a revolutionary united front. However, especially now, anti-capitalist forces cannot allow differences to become a barrier to forging such a front. We are not opposed to a broader front on a temporary basis. Genuine revolutionaries must set aside sectarian habits. We also understand the need for different tactics that address the whole working class and its many different layers of political consciousness.
To repeat, we understand the need to be able to work with broader forces on a temporary basis. If, however, revolutionaries are not able to forge a higher level of unity, it will only make it easier for the Democratic Party and other pro-capitalist parties to resuscitate themselves by posing as the opponents of Trump.
On to the May Day Global General Strike! Shut It Down!