International greetings to AWL conference 29-30 April 2006
Dear comrades of AWL,
Lalit will be holding a Labour Day gathering on the 1st of May.
Our theme for this Labour Day gathering is (literally from the kreol) "Building Alternative Economy Politics". The economic crisis is already being felt in Mauritius as thousands of jobs get destroyed in the sugar industry and in the textile sector as quotas, guaranteed prices, and protected markets are whittled away by the WTO. The Mauritian government persists in its defence of economic interests of the Mauritian sugar and textile bosses even though sugar/cane and textile production have no future. Even if they do survive, these sectors can only survive at the cost of major job loss and transforming secure employment into casual, or seasonal work. Rising unemployment is undermining work conditions and wages in all sectors.
The economic crisis is coupled with a social crisis as the family institution can no longer cushion the economic crisis as it did in the past, and is breaking out into more and more intra-familial violence.
The lack of job security was what triggered off the biggest strike movements in Mauritian history in 1937, 1943, and 1979. The gains made by the working class over decades are being decimated.
Lalit is right in the middle of a national campaign for alternative economic politics. We are working at building mobilisation on the basis of the following transitional demands:
For the government to take immediate measures to force the sugar/cane industry to diversify agriculture. For instance, to place as a condition for sugar mill closure their replacement by modern non-GMO agro-industrial factories that generates secure jobs on a massive scale;
For compensation money from the European Union to be used to create jobs, not to destroy jobs in the sugar/cane industry;
In the meantime unemployment benefits sufficient for families to live on be given to the unemployed;
For the Central Bank to re-control foreign currency that is at the moment being controlled by the private sector which has a direct interest in devaluing the Mauritian rupee causing drastic price rises.
Lalit sends comrades of the AWL our warmest regards, and renewed determination in the struggle for socialism.
27 April 2006.
In order to send you our greetings for your annual conference, we will say some words about two items: first the question of secularism, and secondly on the lessons from the last big social movement in France who shacked the government and succeeded to put the CPE to the dustbin.
We read your Debate Bulletins preparing your conference and the public debate in Solidarity on the “famous” Danish cartoons. We appreciate your fight against bigotry, your denunciation of the Blair’s religious hate law, against the attempt of religions and churches to interfere with the public life in society. The political Islam is not alone: in Europe, the main enemy is the Catholic Church and the protestant churches like the Anglican Church who is a state religion, more precisely THE state religion in Britain with the Queen at its head.
If you focus on the question of free speech without relating to the question of the state, you will not advance. The question is not only a question of free speech, of free thinking, of academic, artistic, scientific, political freedom, it is at first a political question: we think that the fight for a secular republic in Britain must be put on the agenda.
Where does exist an official religion, a state religion, there can’t be full equality nor true democracy. Thanks to you, we reread or rediscover the historical episode of the overthrow, with the blessing of the Queen, of the legal and democratically elected Australian Labour government in 1975. Such a thing can happen in Britain when, tomorrow, the workers will go forward, taking revenge on the thacherite-blairite attacks and preparing for the achievement of a workers’ government, of a workers’ republic. An ultra-leftist will say, as soon as we remind such an historical fact, “…but the army and the police are stronger and more efficient tools to defeat workers if the political menace of revolution is threatening seriously the bourgeois order”. Before radical meaning, the bourgeoisie will prefer to use constitutional weapons to counter the labour movement….
If you fight seriously for the workers’ government, you cannot focus only on economic matters, you must put the nature of the state, the kinds of institutions needed to achieve the goal of welfare and equality for all.
In France, when Chirac made the law on the veil, the problem for us was not to be against the ban of the veil in public schools, it was to be distinct and independent from the right-wing government who is the carrier of the capitalist agenda, of the assault against workers’ social gains, who is the carrier of the attacks against secularism, against secular school, the promoter of communalism. As they were, and still are, the promoters of the European Constitutional Treaty who is a dreadfully anti-secularist weapon.
About the recent events in France.
We succeeded to make a common campaign with left groups like Le Militant, La Commune and others like the CCI(T) on the following line : to win on the CPE-CNE (all the measures to turn labour to casualisation ) the labour movement must target the Chirac-Villepin-Sarkozy’s government. To do so, we argue for the preparation of a general strike and a united national demonstration against the power. We made a common meeting on 4 February, and then 4 leaflets in common we tried to dispatch at the central demonstrations in Paris.
Liaisons is printing a pamphlet on the balance of the events, centred on the question of general strike and its relationship with the question of power: it will be available soon. And this Saturday 29 April, we made a national public meeting with these groups in order to have a political assessment on the present situation. And prepare future common actions in the coming events. We are sure that the situation will not be quiet until the next coming presidential election in April-May 2007. The right-win must inflict a defeat to French workers to keep its rank at the European and world levels, on economical as on political grounds.
By these little regroupment, we made a distinctive pole in the left where the whole majority (PS, PCF, LCR, LO, PT) is for gaining concessions from the government but not in order to oust them before 2007. There is a lot of work to achieve before to make that regroupment a strong and visible force. But there is no other way that hard and patient work for preparing the next coming fight.
In that case as on the secular question, the mainstream of the left is accepting the political institutions of the 5th Republic. As long as they will stay on that, they will lead workers to defeat. But we believe that large layers of the strikers and militants of the last weeks will learn more easily and rapidly from their experience than the old bureaucratic apparatus (big as little ones)!
The editorial board of Liaisons
Arguments pour le socialisme (France)
When you are a handful of marxist militants, who claim to be in the Third Camp’s tradition in a country like France, where there are three big trotskyist organisations living from more than 40 years, with a large political and social influence, despite they are still not at the same level as the PS or the PCF, so you need to have a tool to tell your ideas, your conception and help organise actions according to your political orientation.
That need for a paper, a bulletin is reinforced when the politics or the internal life of these big organisations don’t allow to be active in them on long term or with efficiency.
But what makes more necessary such a voice is the present political and social situation in France as it appeared in the movement by workers expressed by the vote No at the 29 may referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty and, during the last three months, by the youth and students movement against the CPE and the casualisation of labour and the pressure forward the general strike expressed by the big demonstrations and strikes on February, March and April.
In these two cases, what makes the issues successful is not what provided the official leadership of the labour movement but what the rank and file imposed against the will of the summits.
In 2005, whatever PS or PCF or CFDT or CGT or FO or FSU displayed as electoral consign (Yes or No) what they didn’t want was the victory of the No as an expression of the massive rejection of the iron heel of capitalism .
In 2006, the pressure of youth and workers obliged all of the top union and left officials to say “down with the CPE” – even Chéréque, the scab leader of the CFDT – but what that leaders don’t want is a general strike who put the fall of the government on the agenda.
So we got a victory against the CPE but the government, the bosses and the top officials avoid the development of a general strike. They avoid the fall of the government. That round is over, now we must prepare for the next round in order to go towards our final goal: workers’ power and socialism.
That’s why APS exists! Now it is a very little bulletin with short resources (a web site and a web blog but no office, no bank account) but if you believe in your ideas, in the capacity of workers to change the world, that is the basement of Marxism, you must take your keyboard, write, shape your ideas, and dispatch them to help the struggles and organisation of workers.
In day to day activities, we operate with the bulletin Liaisons who associates militants from different traditions. We plan in the coming year to publish documents from Third Camp’s tradition and analysis promoting the self activity of workers and international solidarity.
In that task, your press (Solidarity, the AWL web site, yours leaflets, your analysis) is playing a big part. So we wish you a good conference in order to help the growth of a revolutionary voice of the labour movement.
Paris, 23 April 2006.
Thank you for inviting Solidarity (U.S.) to observe your conference. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to send a representative. Nevertheless, we send you warm greetings on the occasion of your annual conference.
We appreciate and share your desire to facilitate an exchange of views among Marxists from different countries committed to independent working-class politics and consistent democracy. As internationalists, we agree with the need to put political discussions with other groups with whom we have friendly relations on a more systematic basis. While Solidarity is the result of a broad regroupment of revolutionary socialists, we are conscious that our political formation shares common antecedents with the Alliance for Workers Liberty.
Therefore we are not surprised, and find it fitting, that the major debates at your conference will be about Iraq and your work in the trade unions and workplaces. Our basis of political agreement asserts, “Socialism is the political and economic rule of the working class, in which the means of production are under the social ownership of the working class, which democratically plans economic life. The working class organizes its political and economic rule through councils of workers and popular representatives, freely chosen among a variety of organized working class and popular parties...Socialism can only be achieved by a revolutionary mass political movement of the working class.”
In the U.S., given a fifty year separation of socialism from the working class movement, our central strategic task consists in trying to foster independent working class organization and consciousness largely through the building of rank-and-file movements and putting politics on a self-conscious class basis. This also informs our activity in formations like US Labor Against the War and efforts at independent working class politics. As a feminist and anti- racist organization we also understand the combined nature of our revolutionary and democratic tasks, as well as the need to support the specially oppressed when they organize independently for their liberation.
The Bush regime is in crisis, but despite its criminality and the debacle of its main imperial venture it would be a terrible mistake to expect it to implode on its own. The gap between the enormity of the real crisis and its reflection in “practical politics” is likely to remain, in the absence of a domestic insurgency from below. The apparent ‘alternative’, the Democratic Party, unlike its own voting base, doesn’t want to stop the Iraq war. For the movements to influence the political debate and the public mood requires mobilizing massively and independently to “Bring the Troops Home Now!”
Here we are at odds with your decision to not demand immediate withdrawal. We understand that you opposed the war and favor the end of the occupation, have no confidence in the ‘democratic’ pretensions of Bush and Blair, but fear that immediate withdrawal would extinguish the possibilities for Iraqi working class, secular and democratic forces to continue organizing.
We are not indifferent to the fate of Iraq’s independent labor movement, its women’s and other civil society organizations. We note, however, that all of those that we are aware of call for immediate withdrawal. We believe that your position is mistaken. Certainly, within the U.S., your argument would not be understood, and would be used as a cover by reformist and pro-Democratic Party forces to weaken antiwar mobilization.
With revolutionary greetings, may you have a fruitful conference!
The Political Committee of Solidarity (U.S.)
Workers’ Liberty Australia
As Workers’ Liberty supporters in Australia we send our best wishes for the success of your Annual Conference in analyzing, debating and coming to a fresh set of political perspectives about the world in which we live and how to change it for the better. Workers’ Liberty in Australia was established in 1980 is now active in the Australian union movement and in supporting a third camp perspective by actively supporting the independent trade union movement in Iraq. Please accept revolutionary greetings from comrades who take inspiration from your efforts in the struggle to create an independent voice for the British workers movement. A voice which is free from the influence of clerical ‘anti-imperialists’ or false leaders in the labour movement and is instead based on independent working class solidarity across the globe.
Third Camp socialists in Poland
On behalf of the Third Camp socialists in Poland we would like to send warm best greetings to all participants of the national conference of the Alliance for Workers Liberty.We hope that the developement of cooperation between ours and your organisation will be continued.
Piotr, Urszula, August for the Revolutionary Left Current