Editors Note: The following article originally appeared in the February 1985 edition of the North American newspaper STRIKE!
“On the weekend of November 23-25, a conference was held in New York City to form a national libertarian workers organization. Delegates and observers from New York City, San Francisco, West Virginia, Massachusetts, upstate New York and Quebec were in attendance. Interested comrades from Philadelphia, Montana, Alaska and Iowa were unable to attend. Greetings and acknowledgement of invitation were received from the International Workers Association Secretariat in Madrid on behalf of IWA affiliates. In addition, word was received from several IWA affiliates, including the Norwegian Syndicalist Federation, the Regional Organization of Argentine Workers (FOR A), the Dutch Syndicalist Union (OVB), the Rebel Workers Group of Australia and the Italian Syndicalist Union (USI). Acknowledgements were also received from the Portland, Oregon FOCUS and various revolutionary syndicalists from upstate New York. Greetings to the conference came from the Movimiento Libertario Cubano (publishers of “Guangara Libertaria” in Miami, Florida), exiled Argentine workers in Spain (publishers of “La Abeja Obrera”), the Clark Fork Valley IWW branch and the [underground] Emanuel Goldstein Group in [Stalinist] Poland.
Those participating agreed on the need for an organized expression of working class Anarchism. Until nowhere has been no existing national workers organization engaged in explicitly anarcho-syndicalist activity. Furthermore, apart from the New York-area Libertarian Workers Group, there has been no U.S. affiliate to the International Workers Association (IWA). As a result, all of this has changed.
A new organization, the Workers Solidarity Alliance, emerged from the conference with two principle goals. Although it is not itself a union, the primary purpose of the new group will be to promote and contribute to autonomous workers’ struggle founded on the Anarchist principles of direct democracy and direct action. In addition, through affiliation with the IWA, the new organization will work towards solidarity with other sections of the Anarchist workers movement. Workers Solidarity differs from previous attempts at a U.S. libertarian workers’ organization in being a formation in which individuals may belong and participate, rather than a federation of local groups. Given that working class Anarchist militants are numerically few and geographically scattered, it is expected that this new form will help overcome the isolation that has lately characterize our efforts.
The Conference was marked by a rare fusion of realism and enthusiasm. Workshops were held on international solidarity work, cultural activity, workplace experience and the need for a broader, total definition of human liberation within the libertarian workers’ movement. There was debate on the proposed paragraphs dealing with sexual and racial discrimination in the statement of principles. It was decided that the proposed wording was far from adequate, and commission were formed with the tasks of developing alternate statements. In connection with this, a Women’s Commission was initiated, mandated with the responsibility of drafting a substitute statement on sexism and sexual politics.
The conference concurred with the Northern European sections of the International Workers Association in their support for the claims of the CNT/AIT as the legitimate organized expression of anarcho-syndcalism in Spain. This question of CNT patrimony has arisen from a recent attempt, supported by the Spanish social democratic government, to deprive the CNT of its financial restitution, disputing its rights in favor of a marginal accommodationist faction.
The formation of national commission to carry out tasks mandated by Workers Solidarity was implemented at the conference. An area in which these commissions will operate will be that of international solidarity work. A commission for Latin American was the focus of much discussion. Included in the mandate of this commission will be continued support for a journal [“No Middle Ground”] devoted to information on libertarian activism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Commissions dealing with Eastern European and South African workers struggles were also initiated. Other areas for commission work adopted were cultural activity and the unemployment problem. It was determined that “Ideas & Action” will henceforth be the official organ of Workers Solidarity [Alliance]. The network involved in the production and promotion of this journal was instrumental in organizing this founding conference.
The Conference decided to explore possible participation in the call to action for April 29  designated as “No Business as Usual”. This action is designated to be a concerted protest to the continued momentum towards a global nuclear war on the part of the superpowers. [The US and the former Soviet Union] Tentative plans for the commemoration of the [100th Anniversary of the] Haymarket event and an international revolutionary workers conference to coincide with commemoration set for 1986 were also raised for possible involvement.
Since the primary purpose of the Workers Solidarity [Alliance] is to promote working class Anarchism, it was decided to include within the proposed statement of purpose an analysis of what the present-day working class is. The increasing proletarianization of segments of society and the changing class composition of those who create wealth without controlling it make it necessary to look beyond nineteenth century formulations which ignore a vast array of those who are presently workers in an objective sense. As a section of the International Workers Association, it was agreed that Workers Solidarity [Alliance] should seek and maintain fraternal/sororal relations with those groups who, while not Anarcho-syndicalist, actively work towards the goal of workers autonomy. At the same time, we wish to remain uninvolved in the internal disputes of other [North American, read IWW] organizations.
Concerning the existing trade unions in the United States, our work will always be amongst the rank and file membership and not include attempts to capture leadership or bureaucratic structure of those unions. We will remain always critical of all hierarchal and reformist forms.
The conference ended with a cultural event that was well received and attended. The tone of the conference was encouraging given the recent absence of an explicitly Anarchist workers’ movement. Participants debated vigorously and honestly without forgetting that we are comrades bound by the same ides and vision. The desire to be realistic was not used as an excuse to compromise our libertarian principles. The creation of a national anarcho-syndicalist organization in the United States has long been on the agenda. Now the first step has been taken.”
— Workers Solidarity Alliance]]>
During the past year or so, there has been talk about creating a new organization in the U.S. which would embrace and further anarcho-syndicalist activity. Accordingly, we, members of the Libertarian Workers Group, ideas & action collective and others, are now calling a conference to be held in New York City over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23-25 .
It is our intention that this will be the founding conference of a new national organization, which we propose to organize as the U.S. section of the International Workers Association.
We support the development of shopfloor forms of unionism, but the organization that we propose is not intended to be a labor union,but an organization of anarcho-syndicalist militants, which would promote the development of anarcho-syndicalist activity, such as direct workers action and self-managed forms of worker struggle.
We want an organization that is oriented towards activism and which is based in struggles in the USA of today and in support of our fellow workers in other lands. We are not oriented in taking over or building up any existing organization (such as the IWW), nor do we envision this new organization as a federation of pre-existing anarchist groups.
We envision an organization based on individual membership, which would include people active in labor struggles, feminism,Latin American and Eastern European solidarity, anti-nuke and anti-militarist activity and other areas. We are hoping that anarcho-syndicalism, as understood and evolved within the framework of the IWA, can serve as a minimum political foundation for our organization, recognizing that each individual or group may vary to some extent from the common basis. It is not our intent to have an organization that would be monolithic or incapable of reaching out to new people.
As an indication of our proposed basis of working together, we are including a draft of a proposed statement of our principles for the new organization. This draft is tentative and is subject to discussion and changes at the conference. [Note: the document adopted became the basis for the WSA’s main “Where We Stand” document.]
In order to ensure that we do not waste time and energy or repeat mistakes of other libertarian organizational efforts of recent times, and to ensure that we create a viable organization that can have an impact, we are asking that people should become activity involved in this organizing process and attend the conference as a voting active member only if they are in substantial agreement with what we are trying to do.
* Historical context: In the period between the 1981 demise of the ACF and the 1984 formation of the WSA, a number of factors lead to what we tried to convey as a position of neutrality. The two main drivers here, was the intense internal IWW factionalism of that period. Reflecting our desire to steer clear of being accused of meddling in the affairs of the IWW we tried to develop a position of neutrality. The second reason was some of our own founding member’s differences with the IWW based on a) either their own recent experiences inside the IWW and b) a principled position that they did not see the IWW as a viable option. However, it should be noted that the WSA was by no means founded in opposition to the IWW or it’s principles and that there have always been WSA members who are also members of the IWW.]]>
Workers Solidarity Alliance Statement in Support of the Recent and Ongoing Prisoners Strike in Georgia
We express our utmost support and solidarity to all of the prisoners in Georgia who have been on strike for the past three days, refusing to leave their cells to work or perform any prisoner-related duties assigned them by the prison. The strike is astounding in more than one way, perhaps the most important of which is that it has broken the racial boundaries that structure prisons. Black, white, and Hispanic prisoners are uniting together to demand the following:
In the prisoners own words: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”
The strike is taking place in at least half a dozen prisons across Georgia, involving thousands of prisoners. There have been reports of Telfair and Macon State prisons sending in tactical squads to brutally assault prisoners, in what can only be described as state terrorism aimed at silencing dissent. We stand in the company of countless others, condemning this brutal policy of repression and violence. We know that this is a strike that threatens the balance of power in the prisons, something that the wardens and guards will not allow.
That is, if the prisoners are left isolated, without public support, without us taking on their call for justice and taking action in solidarity with their struggle.
The prisoners in Macon, Hays, Telfair, Baldwin, Valdosta, and Smith state prisons do not have picket signs we can read, no do they have speeches that can be read out loud to us. We cannot see their faces or hear their voices. They are mostly invisible to us. It is now up to us to break though this wall of invisibility purposely imposed upon us and prisoners, by those who control society and our lives. The right to strike is the right of every exploited person in an exploitive society, prisoner or not. The wardens and guards in Telfair prison tuned off the heat last Thursday night when temperatures reached 30 degrees, in yet another attempt to silence the striking prisoners through dangerous and life-threatening measures. A prison system that first, does not provide adequate health-care, is now turning off the heat in the December cold of Georgia! The message is clear: “YOU DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS, WE CAN AND WILL STOP THIS STRIKE!”
We cannot allow the prisoners’ struggle to be an isolated struggle, it is a fight that needs fighting outside of prisons in order to win. Isolation kills struggles and movements, especially movements that are in firm opposition to the power of an elite class and its institutions, and the practice of those institutions. The Georgia prisoners strike demands our attention, we cannot afford to ignore struggles for human dignity. Every day is a struggle for us to retain some sense of dignity. Capitalist society lives off the dignity plundered from our lives; it exists with the exploitation of its masses for the sake of the few who build their mansions within sight of our prisons. It will exist this way until we destroy it. The working class is the victim of the global crime of Capitalism and State. We labor to build it up, all the while it buries us, quite literally. If we are going to change our society we are going to have to recognize the sources of our oppression. The oppression of the prisoners in Georgia, and all prisoners, is our oppression. Prisons are our oppression, as is the State that requires working class people to build prisons for other working class people. Support the struggle of the striking prisoners: CALL THE PRISONS DEMANDING HANDS OFF THE STRIKERS!
* Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.
* Hays State Prison is at 706-857-0400
* Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721
* Baldwin State Prison is at 478-445- 5218
* Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
* Smith State Prison is at 912-654-5000
* The Georgia Department of Corrections is at www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246
The Workers Solidarity Alliance aims to build a working class movement that can challenge this political and social environment, and transform society into one of self-management, where the needs of all its members are met, and none are exploited.
FOR A WORLD WITHOUT BOSSES, BUREAUCRATS OR STATES
workersolidarity.org // ideasandaction.info]]>
On September 26th the FBI raided homes and seized personal belongings (phones, computers, etc.) of anti-war and international solidarity activists — mostly people associated with Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) — in Minneapolis, Chicago and other cities, accusing them of giving “material aid to foreign terrorist organizations” such as FARC in Colombia and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. However, we believe this raid to be a bold threat against all left-wing revolutionary organizations that are involved in mass working-class organizing. The WSA wishes to speak out against this attack on FRSO. We urge all people of good conscience to oppose this state repression.
This attack has many people worried. Some are wondering if this is the beginning of an attack on U.S. social movements. The targeted members of FRSO are active in numerous social movement organizations, but mainly people affiliated to FRSO have been raided. We do not have a crystal ball, but we do not believe these raids signal open season on all activists. We believe the real danger here lies elsewhere. These raids may signal coming attacks on explicitly revolutionary organizations. As a revolutionary organization, this prospect worries us. More likely, however, these raids will encourage revolutionaries to keep their politics to themselves, or worse, drive revolutionaries out of social movements. While we do not agree with all of FRSO’s political views, we believe that revolutionaries should be active in social movements and open about their politics. The U.S. government has a long history of targeting small left-wing groups in isolation as a “divide and conquer tactic.” Witness the use of red baiting to divide the left and drive radicals out of labor unions in the 1950s, the effects of which are felt in organized labor to this very day. The example is relevant in this case, as a number of FRSO members are active members and leaders in the Twin Cities labor movement.
The WSA condemns this attack and the arbitrary power which it claims for the repressive agencies of the state. We should also note the hypocrisy of the state agencies who do not shrink from supporting or engaging in mass-scale terrorism abroad, while asserting arbitrary powers at home in the name of “anti-terrorism” and allowing domestic armed extremists to assist in policing the border in Arizona. We lastly wish to offer a word of solidarity to the victims of this raid (a few of whom are known individually by our own local members and have shared involvement in local labor organizing), and urge all to raise our voices in protest. As the old saying goes, “an injury to one is an injury to all.”
For a World Without Bosses, Bureaucrats or States!
Workers Solidarity Alliance
On Saturday, February 6th, 2009 at least 300, and by some estimates possibly as many as 500, people turned out in the city of Riverside California to demand an end to the raids, harassment, and racial profiling increasingly being conducted by US Border Patrol agents against the residents of our local communities and workplaces.*(ED)
Participating were organizers, spokes people, and protesters from a number of local immigrant rights organizations, student groups, local churches, human rights organizations, labor organizations, concerned residents and others. In all, at least 8 organizations participated in making this event possible.(1)
The majority of those in attendance seemed to be residents of the IE (Riverside and San Bernardino counties), but I spoke to at least one individual that had had made the trip all the way from Los Angeles to demonstrate his support and solidarity. The ethnic demographics of the protesters was mainly Chicano/Mexicano, but a good number of people of other ethnicities also took part in the march in the best spirit of inter-ethnic solidarity. The protesters ranged in age from very young children accompanying their parents, to the elderly, and every age in between.
At the initial staging point of the demonstration, which was located at the City hall in downtown Riverside, presentations and speeches were given by several speakers from the community and various participating organizations. These described the dire situation that immigrants, and suspected immigrants (I.e. basically anyone with brown-skin), face due to the daily workplace and community raids conducted throughout the IE by armed Border Patrol agents. Mention was also made of the recent discovery of a unmarked and hidden Border Patrol facility in the city of Riverside and of the official policy regarding monthly arrest quotas on the part of the Border Patrol . These two discoveries are what initially prompted the organizers, the community and it’s supporters to come together for Saturdays demonstration.
After the speeches at the Riverside City Hall had concluded, the participants then marched together in a large peaceful procession for several miles to the final rallying point across the street from the once clandestine Border Patrol facility. While marching the protesters displayed colorful signs and banners in support of those persecuted by the system of national frontiers and xenophobic laws. The protesters also sung songs and occasionally chanted slogans in support of those oppressed by the raids and deportations that have divided and separated so many families. In the best spirit of solidarity the participants in the march were considerate and respectful towards one another, and also towards pedestrians, motorists, and the community at large.
At one point, about half-way to the march destination, it begin to rain, but the marchers remained unfazed and covered themselves from the downpour as best they could, shared umbrellas when possible, and continued on to the rallying point while a few well prepared and considerate organizers handed out free plastic rain ponchos to those participating in the march. Along the way we received many cheers as signs of solidarity and goodwill from passing motorists and pedestrians. On a more ominous note, a friend was later to inform me that a resident had unfurled a large confederate flag from a second story apartment window as our procession had passed by. However, this display of bigotry was the only negative incident that I was to be made aware of involving those living along the march route during the protest.
When the procession arrived at the final rallying point, which was located immediately across the street from the once clandestine Border Patrol facility, we were confronted by the sight of a group of about 30 or so members of the Minutemen organization. This group appeared to consist mainly of middle aged and elderly folks, by appearances mostly white, but with a couple conspicuous people of color among their small isolated group. The self-proclaimed ‘minutemen’ busied themselves waving about banners with pro-Migra and anti-immigrant slogans on them. One of them carried a sign that stated, “I Support American Workers”, apparently the concept of international solidarity among the working class has escaped the members of this xenophobic and nativist organization. Unfazed, the protesters refused to engage the Minutemen in acts of confrontation, this even after a few of the Minutemen crossed into the street to yell and berate the pro-immigrant rights protesters and their cause.
At the final rallying point more speeches were given. An Aztec dance troupe and bands provided entertainment. People joined together in dancing and in the singing of songs. And the participants gathered in a circle and joined hands as a display of solidarity with those persecuted by our nations unjust immigration policy.
Demonstrations such as this, and other actions in support of immigrants, are more vital then ever as police departments in the IE, and beyond, are apparently showing an ever greater willingness to work with Border Patrol agents in the processing of those arrested for even minor offenses who are also suspected of being undocumented immigrants based upon their appearance, which amounts to an unofficial, but active policy, of racial profiling on the part of local police departments (3). Add to this the recent discovery of the clandestine Border Patrol detention facility in the city of Riverside, the monthly arrest quotas on the part of Border Patrol , and the urgency of the situation takes on a new dimension.
Needed more then ever is the solidarity and support of all who are against the Criminalization of workers simply because of what part of the earth they happened to be born on, the color of their skin, or language that they speak. If its not possible for you to join us in fighting for immigrant rights, and the rights of all workers, due to your distance from the IE please note that this is a nationwide problem, with raids being conducted on a daily basis throughout the country. In fact this is an international problem, with working class immigrants often facing brutal persecution and severe exploitation by authorities, xenophobic groups, multinationals, and employers around the world (3). In consideration of this we need to take the steps necessary to begin organizing in our communities in solidarity with those around the world who are struggling against the immigration laws and quotas that serve to keep the international working class dehumanized, divided, and marginalized for the benefit of capitalism and the ambitions of its ruling class.
Siempre en lucha!
Worker Solidarity Alliance WSA (personal capacity)
1. Participating organizations included, Warehouse Workers United, LiUNA, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, the Inland Empire Rapid Response Network, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and other churches, student groups from UC Riverside and the Claremont Colleges, the Mexica Movement, and the Brown Berets. Courtesy of Rockero: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/02/224529.php
2. Riverside Police: Border Patrol offered help identifying immigrants
3. ZACF: Workers, Bosses and the 2008 Pogroms
* Editors Note:This essay was written in February of 2009 and originally published on Anarkismo and LA Indymedia by a WSA member residing in Southern California. However, despite the passage of over a year since the original publication of this article it should be noted that the situation for migrant labor throughout much of inland Southern California remains virtually the same as that described in the article, and that daily raids and deportations against migrant labor by armed agents of the Homeland Security Department continue virtually unabated, though certainly not unopposed, in many areas of Southern California.]]>
The following statement was adopted at the recent WSA Continental Conference, May 2010.
W.S.A. Inter-organizational relations Statement
The Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) reaffirms our commitment to fostering mutual respect and building good, solid and cooperative inter-organizational relations between North American and international class struggle anarchists.
WSA is mindful and respectful of the autonomy of each of our North American allies. While recognizing this autonomy, differences in history and traditions, WSA seeks to engage our allies in the most constructive and meaningful manner while maintaining our own organizational integrity. WSA affirms our commitment to building the Class Struggle Anarchist Conference and other such forums for dialogue and cooperation. We seek to further respectful and comradely dialogue and discussion between the various groups and organizations which make up the diverse North American class struggle anarchist tendency that exists today.
We are further committed to seeking to build on the initial work of the Inter-Organizational Labor/Labour Working Group and other area specific Working Groups (such as housing & anti-eviction). By working together in areas where we have similar activity or interests, we can share experiences, use limited resources wisely, create greater opportunities for solidarity and to build an autonomous workers movement.
WSA looks forward to another year at inter-organizational cooperation and relationship building based on mutual respect and comradeship.
Workers Solidarity Alliance
339 Lafayette Street-Room 202
New York, NY 10012
In light of the tragic events of 27 April 2010, when a solidarity caravan of observers bound for the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala (Oaxaca, Mexico) was subjected to a cowardly attack by paramilitaries linked to governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, resulting in the death of comrade Beatriz Alberta Cariño Trujillo and Finnish comrade Jyri Jaakkola, we, the undersigned organizations, declare:
In consequence of the above, the signatories of this statement demand:
We have no illusions about the authorities cooperating in these demands, since we know that in the end they are the ones who are responsible for the murders, with the paramilitaries simply doing the dirty work.
Satisfaction of these demands will only come through the struggle of the people, through the pressure that the popular organizations can exercise and through their capacity for mobilization from below. We take this opportunity, therefore, to express our solidarity with this people, and express our readiness to support and assist future efforts to break the siege and to defeat the alliance of political gangsterism, the mafia-like paramilitarism and oligarchic despotism. The struggle of the people of Oaxaca is our struggle too.
May 08, 2010
Greece is a test case for the social dismantling that awaits us all. This policy is being enacted by all the institutional parties, by every government and by all of globalised capitalism’s institutions. There is only one way to hold back this policy of barbaric capitalism: popular direct action, to widen the strike movement and increase the number of demonstrations all across Europe.
The Greek working class is angry, and with good reason, with the attempt to load responsibility for the bankruptcy of the Greek State onto their shoulders. We maintain instead that it is the international financial institutions and the European Union who are responsible. The financial institutions have plunged the world, and Greece in particular, into an economic and social crisis of historical proportions, forcing countries into debt, and now these same institutions are complaining that certain States risk not being able to repay their debts. We denounce this hypocrisy and say that even if Greece - and all the other countries - can repay the debt, they should not do so: it is up to those responsible for the crisis - the financial institutions, not the workers - to pay for the damage caused by this crisis. The Greek workers are right to refuse to pay back their country’s debt. We refuse to pay for their crisis!
Instead, let us shift the capitalists into the firing line: Greek capital generates some of the biggest profit margins in Europe due to its investments in the poorer Balkan countries, the absence of social protections, collective guarantees and a minimum wage for Greek workers, not to mention the country’s gigantic black economy in labour and an even greater exploitation of immigrant work. Greek capital is also very lightly taxed, due to the weakness of the State (with regard to the rich) and major corruption which permits fraud and tax evasion on a massive scale. So it is equally up to Greek capitalists to pay for this crisis.
We also denounce the attitude of the European Union. The EU was presented to us as a supposed guarantee of peace and solidarity between the peoples, but now it is showing its true face - that of acting as an unconditional prop for neoliberalism, in a complete denial of the notion of democracy. As soon as an economy becomes mired in difficulties, all pretence of solidarity evaporates. So we see Greece being scolded and accused of laxity, with insulting language bordering on racism. The “Europe which protects us” that liberals and social-democrats extolled at the time of the scandalous forced adoption of the Lisbon Treaty (particularly in France and Ireland) now seems a long way away.
As far as actual protection goes, the EU and the financial institutions have combined their efforts to frog-march Greece towards the forced dismantling of public services, through austerity plans that recall the “Stuctural Adjustment Plans” of the IMF: the non-replacement of staff, wage freezes, privatisations and VAT increases. Today the EU is demanding that the retirement age be moved back to 67, not only in Greece but also in other countries, and is also threatening to dismantle the social welfare system. In this way they are opening new markets for investors, while guaranteeing the assets of rich investors, to the detriment of the basic interests of the working class. It is a Europe of the ruling class, and one which we must all work together to oppose.
This is why we call for participation throughout Europe in solidarity initiatives with the Greek working class and with future victims of the onslaught of the banks.
Against the values of greed and rapacity that the European Union is based on, let us respond with class solidarity! Greece is a test case for the social dismantling that awaits us all. This policy is being enacted by all the institutional parties, from out-and-out bourgeois to liberals and social democrats, by every government and by all of globalised capitalism’s institutions. There is only one way to hold back this policy of barbaric capitalism: popular direct action, to widen the strike movement and increase the number of demonstrations all across Europe.
Workers Solidarity Alliance (USA-Canada)
Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
Common Action (USA)
Union communiste libertaire (Québec)
Revista Hombre y Sociedad (Chile)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
Miami Autonomy & Solidarity (USA)
6 May 2010]]>
01/14/09- A natural disaster has descended upon Haiti whose scope we only are seeing the surface of at this time. The Haitian people will be struggling to rebuild their lives and their home possibly for decades in light of unprecedented collapse, both physical and social. Yet despite the unpredictability of earthquakes, this disaster is unnatural, a monstrosity of our time. The extent of the damage of the earthquake is part of the cost of unrestrained exploitation which at every step put profit above the health, safety, and well being of the Haitian people. While the world watches on ready to help, power is being dealt an opportunity. The Haitian workers and peasants have been fighting for their rights to even the most basic level of existence for decades, while the UN-occupying force, the state, and the ruling elites maintain the social misery without relenting. Now as Port-Au-Prince is in rubble, new opportunities arise for rulers to rebuild Haiti in their own interests, and likewise for the Haitian workers and peasants to assert their right to their own Haiti, one where they will be not be forced to live in dangerous buildings, and work merely to fill the pockets of elites, foreign or domestic.
As we move from watching in horror to taking decisive action, progressives can offer an alternative. There is a strong and beautiful desire to do something, to help others in this time of need. Our actions are strongest when we organize ourselves, and make a concerted effort in unity. Right now we can have the deepest impact by committing ourselves to act in solidarity with the autonomous social movements of Haiti directly. They present the best possible option for the Haitian people, and are in the greatest need. At the same time, we are in the best position to help them out our common interest as people engaged in struggling against a system that works to exploit us all. We are calling for solidarity people-to-people engaged in common struggle. It is not only a question of money for AID but also an autonomous and independent act of international solidarity that illuminates the bankruptcy of the occupying forces, multinational corporations, and Haitian elites that are primarily responsible for the decayed state of Haiti. There will be aid flowing and money given as a form of charity until the next disaster. Our act of solidarity should, in no shape or form, be solely an act of humanitarian aid. It should not be an apolitical act, and we shouldn’t give the green light to those that wish to capitalize on the suffering of others. It should be an act of solidarity to the struggling people of Haiti and their organizations while at the same time rejecting the totally inept Haitian elites and their state apparatus for bankrupting Haiti. The earthquake is a natural disaster, but the state of Haiti, the abject poverty of the masses and the vile injustice of the social order, are unnatural.
We have a relationship with one organization, Batay Ouvriye, and are putting our resources and time into helping Batay Ouvriye to help rebuild from the catastrophe and maintain the struggle for a better Haiti and a better world. Batay Ouvriye is a combative grassroots worker and peasant’s organization in Haiti with workers organized all over Haiti, especially in the Industrial sweatshops and Free Trade Zones.
We have set up a means to send money to Batay Ourviye.
If others wish to send money to Batay Ouvriye, please email
Miami Autonomy & Solidarity
and Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity Network
Should you or your organization wish to make a donation to the Miami Autonomy & Solidarity/ BO Haiti Solidarity Network fund, you may do so as follows:
Money Orders: Payable to Miami Workers Center
Obama and his cohorts have lured many sincere working people into supporting the war in Afghanistan by promises that it will curb terrorist attacks against the US and bring freedom, democracy and women’s rights to Afghanistan. The real facts in Afghanistan show such “humanitarian” concerns to be nothing but lies:
* US/NATO aerial bombardments relentlessly murder thousands of Afghan civilians in their homes, villages and cities; in fact, air bombings in Afghanistan have significantly escalated under President Obama
* US/NATO forces have allied since day one, and remain allied, with the “Northern Alliance” warlords responsible for mass atrocities against civilians in 1992 and who now dominate the corrupt regime in Kabul, through which they secure immunity for their past and present crimes
* Afghani women activists—to whose cause the occupiers pay lip service—have consistently denounced the US-led occupation and puppet regime, demanding that foreign troops leave and calling for prosecution of both Taliban and pro-US war criminals
The escalation of the war is a disaster for the oppressed poor and working people of Afghanistan. As such, the “surge” will inevitably fuel more terrorist attacks against civilians in the US and elsewhere, attacks which elites will then use to justify the far bloodier terrorism of “Western” military powers against cities and villages in the Middle East. US elites will then seek to manipulate workers’ fear of terrorist attacks into support for the so-called “War on Terror,” increased defense spending and decreased funding of education, welfare, healthcare and social services, increased militarization of the domestic police, and increased spying and repression of workers organizations and anti-capitalist political organizations in the United States. All in the guise of “fighting terrorism.”
It is our stance that authentic peace and security can only be achieved through worldwide working-class solidarity against all forms of oppression. The Workers Solidarity Alliance firmly stands with the oppressed people of Afghanistan and with progressive organizations such as the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and others, who we know are risking their lives at this moment to defy imperialists, warlords and fundamentalists alike. The WSA unequivocally supports the aspirations of all oppressed Afghanis for a free, democratic and peaceful life.
There can be no hope for liberation of Afghanistan by foreign occupiers—only the struggle of oppressed Afghanis and authentic solidarity from struggling people around the world offers any such hope. American workers who wish to stand up for oppressed Afghanis should stand against the war-mongering of “our” government.
It is heartening to see the anti-war movement stirring in the US and internationally against the troop surge in Afghanistan. However, the movement as it stands now suffers grave limitations. It is telling that many liberals and Democrats who have spoken out against the war in Iraq are willing to compromise with the Afghan war. This fact alone speaks to the dire lack of coherent social principles in the broadly defined anti-war movement. Many who criticize it do so (as with Iraq) out of “strategic” or “pragmatic” reasons—that the war is a “mistake” or “cannot be won.” Such reasoning is not anti-war. These reasons imply that the war would be just fine if the US could achieve its aims.
That is but a flip-side argument to those now clamoring for “victory.” On the other hand, in our experience, many in the protest movement seem more concerned to prove their moral righteousness, while neglecting to build an anti-war movement that can actually defeat wars. We find both the “pragmatic” and “moral” arguments against the war unsatisfactory.
The WSA proposes a different orientation for the anti-war movement. As an organization of working-class militants rooted in the traditions of anarcho-syndicalism, libertarian socialism and class struggle, we are convinced that militarism can only be defeated by the rank and file of working people, in common struggle against the class of bureaucrats, politicians and capitalists who profit from the slaughter of war. Only through a mass struggle against all bosses and the overthrow of capitalism and its supporting political structure will war and imperialism ever be definitively ended. While we firmly support anti-war protesters, we know full well that news-grabbing marches by a small crew of professional activists are no substitute for the kind of mass working-class resistance that wreaked havoc on the US war effort in Vietnam: rank-and-file refusal, sabotage and mutiny, social upheaval in the ghettos and working-class communities from which the soldiers are recruited, and so on.
Here we find the Achilles heel of US imperialism. The US military is an army made up of recruits largely from working-class backgrounds. With rampant unemployment and underemployment in precarious service industry jobs, many workers increasingly see military service as their only viable career option. Many immigrants join the US military in exchange for US citizenship, interpreted as a path to a decent job and a better life. Frontline GIs are enlisted largely from working-class neighborhoods, towns and ghettos suffering economic hardship. The rank and file of the US military do not simply enlist because of blind patriotic loyalty to the ruling elite. They often enlist out of the economic hardship inherent for working-class people forced to live under an economic system in which basic necessities such as shelter and health care are treated as luxuries for those who can pay rather then necessities that all people are in need of and have a right to, in a word—capitalism. Already we have seen the first stirrings of resistance in the military’s rank and file, from soldiers who have refused to serve in Iraq. We deeply respect the courage of those soldiers and technicians who have taken a stand against the madness of war, asserting the value of working-class lives. Their brave example serves as the clearest manifestation of the fact that US soldiers do not fight simply out of ideological faith in the objectives of US imperialism.
The anti-war movement, if it is to have a chance at success, must encourage the growing resistance in the lower ranks of capitalism’s armed forces. The rank-and-file soldiers of capitalist empire, recruited from the working class, could turn against the brass to become a true workers’ army dedicated to fighting the real enemy at home: the ruling class of capitalists, politicians and the middle managers who do their bidding.
We pledge our support for rank-and-file soldiers who refuse the orders of their commanders. We extend our support in particular to the Iraq Veterans Against the War, an organized grouping of veterans and active-duty soldiers that seeks to undermine support for imperialist war in Iraq and Afghanistan from within the US military. We also encourage efforts to establish solidarity across battle lines with the rank-and-file of state militaries around the world.
While supporting anti-militarist resistance within the armed forces of the US, NATO, and other imperialist states, we also acknowledge the right of oppressed Afghanis to resist all forms of aggression and despotism at home, whether it be in the form of foreign imperialism or homegrown autocracy. Thus the Workers Solidarity Alliance extends its solidarity to all who struggle to build a truly democratic Afghanistan that respects the humanistic aspirations and needs of all working-class Afghanis, male and female alike. We affirm again our internationalist, anti-authoritarian principles and our solidarity with oppressed and struggling people everywhere.
The Workers Solidarity Alliance