Make May 1st Iraqi Freedom Day!



A big leap forward in the anti-war movement

March 19, marking 2 years of occupation, saw an important step up in the international campaign to stop the war in Iraq. The mass rallies that took place right around the world called for "Troops Out Now". In the US twice as many rallies were held than last March 19. 30,000 marched in the Bay Area, 15,000 in New York City.

Many of the 100,000 protesters in Italy, for example, added the demand that Iraqis have the right to resist the occupation. They were joined the previous day by 200,000 striking public sector workers opposed to the economic attacks of the pro-war Berlusconi Government. Others demanded solidarity with the Iraqi Resistance.

What was new on March 19 was the much increased rallying of organised labour. The connection between jobs, livelihoods, and war is being driven home to workers everywhere.

Bosses' wars take workers' lives!

In the US the Million Worker March Movement, formed last year to protest Bush's attacks on the labour movement, called for and co-sponsored the anti-war actions. The ILWU Local 10 in the Bay Area stopped work closing down the ports (photo above).

In New York City the rally marched through the African-American neighbourhood of Harlem and was addressed by Brenda Stokely a leader of the Day-care Workers Union.

In Auckland, NZ, the rally was organised by trade union activists and two of the four arrested by police were union organisers.

In Brussels over 100,000 youth, unionists and anti-war activists rallied linking demands for jobs, for a 'social' Europe (see article on Europe). in opposition to the imperialist war in Iraq.

In Turkey, prominent among the 20,000 were members of the Workers' and Engineers Unions.

This growing labour activism is important, because while there are now over 5000 US troops who have refused to fight in one way or another, and while the Iraqi resistance continues to add to the toll of over 1500 US military personnel, only the mass strike action of the labour movement can bring the US and British military machines to a halt and defeat the imperialist war terrorists.

Only such a defeat can stop the imperialists from extending their 'war of terror' to Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and beyond.

Stopwork to stop the war!

Two examples: the ILWU Local 10 stopwork is part of a proud tradition in this union which stood against the Korean and Vietnam wars, and in 2003 resolved to oppose the US war against Iraq. The call to 'stopwork to stop the war' is a call that the international labour movement must now pick up and act on.

Second, in Auckland, New Zealand, a small militant protest of around 200 occupied the headquarters of the Australia and New Zealand Bank in the city for 30 minutes publicising the fact that this bank was profiteering from the occupation of Iraq and calling on the bank workers to take action against management.

This demand is a model for industrial action on the part of all those workers employed in the multinational banks, oil companies, military corporations and service providers currently profiteering in Iraq, to take industrial action against the blood money paid for by over 100,000 Iraqi lives during the occupation.

These two examples show how it is possible for organised labour internationally to take action to stop this imperialist war and occupation to re-colonise and plunder the assets of Iraq.

Make MayDay Iraq Freedom Day!

This is why we have to take up the call of the Million Worker March movement in the US to make May Day an international day of labour action against the war!

May Day is the traditional day when workers all around the world commemorate the history of struggles that have advanced the cause and rights of workers. If there is a cause that unites workers globally it is to resist wars of their imperialist ruling classes. Workers are the cannon fodder expended in their bosses' grab for territory and resources.

Workers sacrifice not only their lives, but their living standards as the huge financial cost of wars are taken out of the jobs, wages, health and other social spending vital to workers lives.

May Day is the day when workers must revive the traditional slogan that 'Workers of the World Unite' against bosses' wars and their causes - the drive by imperialist bosses to make workers pay in every way in their grab for the diminishing resources of oil, gas, and other raw materials that sustain their profits.

Solidarity with the Iraqi Resistance!

But it is Iraqi workers who pay the highest price in lives lost and a country smashed. Not only do Iraqi workers have the right to resist the imperialist occupation, workers everywhere have a duty to support them. The Iraqi workers alone have an interest in evicting the imperialist occupiers. This is because the various nationalist factions led by Baathist or Islamic leaders are only concerned to do deals with the US which will allow it to retain ultimate control over Iraq and the wealth created by Iraqi workers.

That is why on MayDay we must call for international support for the rebuilding of the Iraqi unions in defence of jobs, for the rights of women, for the nationalisation of industry under workers' control, for imperialist reparations, and for a national plan to rebuild the economy under a workers and small farmers government!

Stop work to stop the war!

No workers’ lives for bosses' wars!

Solidarity with the Iraqi resistance!


From Class Struggle 60 March-April 2005

No comments: