URGENT APPEAL Mumia’s covid-19 Infection Has Been Confirmed by Prison Doctors After Initial Denial

17 Mar

• Free Mumia Immediately!
• Free All Political Prisoners!

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We need your urgent support.
Mumia Abu-Jamal must be hospitalized. He has tested positive for covid-19 and is being warehoused in a completely inadequate prison infirmary. Given his age, 67, his liver disease, and his blood-pressure challenges, Mumia’s life is seriously in danger. His condition is even more alarming, as he has been diagnosed recently as suffering from congestive heart failure. He needs to be released from prison and sent to a hospital for proper medical attention.

But that is not all. Mumia needs to be released from prison altogether, based on his documented innocence and his medical condition, which in itself should be sufficient to warrant his release.
There is growing clamor at home and abroad demanding Mumia’s release. On February 27, activists at an emergency action at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office called for Mumia’s immediate release and treatment at an appropriate hospital. On March 3, Mumia was able to speak by phone to his supporters as they rallied once again
outside Krasner’s office. Mumia expressed his gratitude for the worldwide support for him and for all other elders with life-threatening conditions who remain in prison.
We urge you to contact Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Secretary of Pennsylvania Prisons John Wetzel, and Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner with these three demands:
• Transfer Mumia to a hospital for proper medical care!
• Free Mumia immediately!
• Free all elders, vulnerable inmates, and political prisoners!
Here is the contact information:
PA DA Larry Krasner: 267-456-1000 (justice@phila.gov)
PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel: 717-728-2573 (jowetzel@state.pa.us)
PA Governor Tom Wolf: 717-787-2500 (Brunelle.michael@gmail.com)
Below is a sample letter to be sent to the email addresses above; if you are able to write a longer message incorporating these demands that would be even better:
My name is …………………….. and I demand:
• Transfer Mumia to a hospital for proper medical care!
• Free Mumia immediately!
• Free all elders, vulnerable inmates, and political prisoners!
[Please send copies of your email messages — with your name, organization and country
— to owcmumbai2016@gmail.com and SuzanneWRoss@aol.com]

Also, please write Mumia a personal note:
Smart Communications/PADOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733
We need to take action now!
“We could not save Malcolm X but we can save Mumia!”
— Assata Shakur (A Message to Mumia and to Us!)
In solidarity,
The Editorial Board of
The Organizer Newspaper

Call for a Working Women’s International Conference

23 Jan

Call initiated by Rubina Jamil, General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation, and Christel Keyser, National Secretary of the Democratic Independent Workers’ Party of France.

“Our Proposal is to hold an International Conference of Working Women”
All around the world, women are mobilising more and more in the fight for true equal rights between women and men.
Subjected to double oppression and double exploitation in every domain, as working women but also as mothers and as women, women are standing up against all forms of oppression, discrimination and violence, and against patriarchal domination.
We, engaged as we are in those struggles and mobilisations in our respective countries, know that the particular demands of women are part of the more general struggle of the working class for its emancipation.

However, and this is not contradictory, women have specific demands: equal pay, professional equality, legal equality, the setting up of structures for childcare, the right of women to self-determination, the right to choose regarding reproductive rights, and an end to the harassment and acts of violence they are subjected to as women.
This is why we propose that an international meeting be held before the workers’ conference called by the IWC*, involving working women engaged in the struggle to defend their existing rights, to win new rights and to win back the rights that have been lost.
In 1910, the Second International Conference of Socialist Women, held in Copenhagen, decided to organise the first annual International Women’s Day on 19 March 1911, to commemorate the Revolutions of 1848 and the Paris Commune. And on 8 March 1917, Russian women marked International Women’s Day by demonstrating in St. Petersburg to demand bread, peace and freedom. From 1920 onwards, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March.
We propose that on the occasion of the initiatives taken in each country to celebrate on 8 March 2021 (public meetings, demonstrations, rallies, etc.), the proposal to hold an international meeting of working women be put to the participants and discussed, and that delegations of working women begin to be formed and mandated to attend it.
Rubina Jamil, General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), Pakistan
Christel Keiser, National Secretary of the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID), France

  • The International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, for the Workers’ International (IWC), was formed at the end of November 2016 in Mumbai, India, at an international conference bringing together 350 delegates, workers, trade union and political activists from some 40 countries. Website: coi-iwc.org

If sisters and comrades agree with this call, you are invited to download the conference call from here and respond. In addition to the initiators, labour union and working women from 30 countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, have signed on.

On the 2020 election in the Excited States

7 Nov

Today I woke up to two news items.

More important personally, my baby brother Gord has a new heart this morning.

More important politically, Trump has probably lost the election unless he wins one of his dubious court challenges or his ragtag little bands of wannabee Fascisti actually get organised to start something. The right of the American working people to have their votes counted matters more than ever in this pandemic, no matter whom they vote for.

Trump’s defeat is less reason for celebration than my brother’s successful surgery, however.

One wing of what Gore Vidal used to call the Banksparty is going to replace the other wing in the White House. The largest turnout in recent US history has seen to that, despite the convolutions of the election system, based on the Electoral College established in the eighteenth-century Constitutional compromise between the Southern slaveocracy and the Northern mercantile incipient bourgeoisie.

This has sparked divisions within each of the imperialist party organisations. The Republican party is dividing between the Trumpist diehards who want the votes to be recounted until they get the result they want and the old-line conservatives who want to be able to influence the incoming Biden administration. Meanwhile, out of the public eye if one is not paying attention, the blue-dog Democrats are upset that they lost a few seats in Congress while the Squad and their “progressive” allies increased their numbers. See this article in the Intercept.

Make no mistake about it, the lesser of two evils is still evil. The Democratic Party of the United States is in no way a party of the working class, despite the collaboration of a majority of the top bureaucrats of the union federations; that party has proved it over the decades since 1948 by its refusal to even consider repeal of the invidious Taft-Hartley Act labor law, by its support and encouragement of imperialist adventures abroad from Korea to Venezuela, by its extreme reluctance (especially when led by the sainted Kennedy brothers) to act in the interests of the racialized portions of the population. Robert Kennedy as Attorney General went so far as to have his and Hoover’s FBI surveilling ML King. In the decades since, the Democratic Party when in power has continued to act in the interests of the big banks and corporations, e.g. refusing to consider a thoroughgoing replacement of the US healthcare “system” with a single-payer, government administered system like Canada’s, Britain’s, and the European countries.

They happily stab the workers and peoples of the world in the back while their Republican colleagues stab us in the front.

The struggle is not over, it simply moves to a new front. Build a workers’ party! Join Labor and Community for an Independent Party!

Fcebook is reportedly killing the Notes …

6 Oct

… and they can sit on it and spin. I will continue to post long posts from here, and from my other WordPress site.

Screw you, Zuck.

A Tribute to Tom Bias (1950-2019), Leader of the Labor Fightback Network

16 Dec

From The Organizer newspaper, December 2019

The labor, socialist, independent politics and labor music movements lost a leader on
October 17, 2019, when Tom Bias succumbed to a long struggle with cancer. Up until a few weeks before his death, Tom continued his activism, even when he knew he had very little time left and had declined further treatment. Many of us working in these
movements have lost a close friend and comrade. His wife Linda Bryk, daughter Fiona
Kyle, and other family members lost a loved one, and, to them, Socialist Organizer (SO)
sends our deepest sympathy.
We in SO knew Tom mostly through our work in the LFN, which Tom took over chairing after the group’s founder Jerry Gordon died in 2016. Some of our members also remember Tom from the 1970s, when he belonged to the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
Tom’s activism started in college with the movement against the Vietnam War, where he first met and joined the SWP’s youth group the Young Socialist Alliance. Tom left the SWP in 1979, and was, for a while, a member the Fourth Internationalist Tendency, one of the groups that split off from the SWP in the early 1980s following the degeneration of the SWP. Though Tom declined to join any other socialist groups for the rest of his life, he maintained close relations with many of his comrades from those years and remained staunchly anti-capitalist.
In young adulthood, Tom spent some time in Iran, where he learned to speak Farsi and
became knowledgeable about the politics and culture of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. He kept on being an antiwar activist, primarily in New Jersey, where he worked with New Jersey Peace Action. His knowledge of the Middle East served well
the movements against U.S. wars in the region.
A stalwart supporter of organized labor, Tom became a printer and an active member
of the International Typographical Union. He worked in this trade for much of his adult
life. In the 1990s, Tom participated in the effort to create a Labor Party and when that effort stagnated, he, along with Jerry Gordon and some of the other leaders of what be-
came the LFN, continued to organize for labor to break with the Democratic Party.
After layoffs in his 50s and subsequent struggles with medical bills and foreclosure
— a painfully direct experience of the trials of U.S. working class life in 2000s — Tom
became a paralegal to labor attorney Bennet Zurofsky.
Inspired by Woody Guthrie from his native Oklahoma, Tom shared with Zurofsky a love of labor music. Tom was a talented songwriter, singer, and guitarist, writing songs addressing workers’ rights, poverty, peace, and environmental justice. He served, as Zurofsky does now, as the director of the New Jersey-based Solidarity Singers, which
participates regularly in the Great Labor Arts Exchange and performs at picket lines and
demonstrations in New Jersey, New York, and other Eastern states. As says his close
friend, fellow musician, and LFN leader Jerry Levinsky, “His songs will leave a legacy of hope for the future of the working class.”
While Tom has left us, his legacy will live on among all who work and sing for workers’ liberation. — The Editors


ALGERIA UPDATE: Solidarity in U.S. / Millions in the Streets / Mass Strikes

8 Nov

via ALGERIA UPDATE: Solidarity in U.S. / Millions in the Streets / Mass Strikes

Hundreds of Thousands Take to the Streets Across Puerto Rico to Demand Justice!

21 Jul

Interview with Eduardo Rosario, president of the New York City chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA, AFL-CIO)

The Organizer: NYC LCLAA has convened a press conference to call for the immediate resignation of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Why this call and what is happening on the ground in Puerto Rico?

Eduardo Rosario: We are holding the press conference later today [July 19] to stand in solidarity with the Puerto Rican labor movement that will be marching in San Juan and across Puerto Rico to demand Rosselló’s resignation.

The Puerto Rican people have said, “Enough Is Enough!” — “Ya No Aguantamos Mas!” They are tired of a governor — and government — that do nothing but carry water for the U.S. State Department, continuing the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been protesting and marching against Rosselló’s corrupt administration over the past week. On Wednesday, an estimated 500,000 people took to the streets in the largest demonstration ever held in Puerto Rico. The anger is so deep that — as we just learned today — the Puerto Rican Police Association, the union representing more than half the police force on the island, has joined the call for Rosselló to resign.

The Organizer: What sparked this week of mass mobilizations?

Eduardo Rosario: The straw that broke the camel’s back was the disclosure by the Center for Investigative Journalism of 889 pages of a chat on Telegram between Rosselló and his top advisers that revealed his misogynistic, homophobic, sexist, demeaning and disrespectful attitude toward the people of Puerto Rico, even those killed during and after Hurricane María.

But that is not all. Past and present high-level officials of Rosselló’s administration have been arrested for their participation in money-laundering schemes involving vulture hedge-fund investors. The corruption is widespread. Millions of dollars have been stolen under Rossellós watch from the public coffers, including $18 million destined to the relief fund for Hurrican María. Rosselló, as the chats reveal, knew what was going on and may have been involved.

Meanwhile the unelected Fiscal Control Board that runs Puerto Rico’s economy — in the name of administering the repayment of a debt that was never incurred by the Puerto Rican people and did not benefit them — has sliced workers’ pensions; imposed austerity; and shut down 230 public schools, while advancing a brutal school privatization agenda, among other anti-worker policies.

The Fiscal Control Board itself is a den of corruption. The Board has not released all the funds that reached the island, while approximately 30,000 houses still have blue tarps as roofs.

The Puerto Rican people are saying, “Ya Basta!” — “Enough!” They are undaunted. They are marching without trepidation. They want justice now! They will not stop until Rosselló steps down!’

The Organizer: What can labor-rights activists and supporters of Puerto Rican self-determination do in support of this struggle?

Eduardo Rosario: More than 100 Puerto Rican medical students in Guadalajara, Mexico, have organized large marches on their campus in solidarity with the Puerto Rican people fighting for justice. Similar actions no doubt are taking place in cities elsewhere. The Puerto Rican people need international labor solidarity; they need to know that they are not alone, “que no están sólos.”

Solidarity messages with this struggle can be sent to New York City LCLAA to <nyctaino@gmail.com>. All messages will be forwarded to the labor movement in Puerto Rico.

— Interview conducted by Alan Benjamin on Friday morning, July 19, 2019

Fighting PR activistJuly 19 protest

mass shot PR

Privatizacion PR

After Bouteflika’s Resignation: “Down with the Regime! Let the People Speak! Sovereign Constituent Assembly! Let’s Get Organized!”

4 Apr
The emancipation of the working class will be the task of the workers themselves. 
MINBAR EL OUMMEL (Workers Tribune)
For democracy and socialism
Publication of the Organizing Committee of the Internationalist Socialists of Algeria (COSI)
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 — Issue Number 7
Declaration of the Organising Committee of the Internationalist Socialists – COSI
After Bouteflika’s Resignation: 
“Down with the Regime! Let the People Speak! Sovereign Constituent Assembly! Let’s Get Organized!”
Abdelaziz Bouteflika is no longer president of the Republic as of Tuesday, April 2, 2019. This is the first victory of the entire people since they erupted onto the streets of the country’s cities and municipalities on February 22 to oppose “a fifth term” of the incumbent president.
It’s a first victory only because all the demands of the masses expressed over the past six weeks have not been met with the final exit of the outgoing president: The people have demanded, and continue to demand, “Down with the System – Let the People Speak!”
But it is still victory for the people that was wrested with the mass marches, demonstrations, rallies, strikes, and the struggle for the independence of trade union organizations, especially the historic trade union confederation of workers: the UGTA. The people, especially the workers, have shown “that everything is possible!” This initial victory will undoubtedly strengthen the people’s resolve to continue their mobilizations in support of their own aspirations, including their right to decide for themselves.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika left the presidency of the Republic, forced out by this mass movement — but he did so while opening the way to an “exit” from the crisis that preserves the regime and ensures its continuity. Bouteflika leaves, but the system remains: the National Assembly, the National Council, the Constitutional Council, the recently installed government … all remain in place. The men and women who were in his political orbit do too. It is one of them — Abdelkader Bensalah, president of the National Council — who now will be in charge of the interim presidency for 90 days, as provided for in the current Constitution, which itself has been targeted by the protesting people as illegitimate.
Bouteflika’s departure, requested more recently by Army Chief of Staff Gaid Salah and by former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, does not reunite the various factions of the regime nor does it resolve the regime’s crisis, which continues to deepen.
Gaid Salah, head of the Army, who claims to be an ally of the people in protest after having been the main supporter of the outgoing president, is pursuing his own objectives: to ensure the continuity of the regime by putting the military hierarchy back at the center and setting up his own oligarchs in the place of those who prospered under the shadow of the Bouteflika presidency.
All the crisis exit plans, whether they come from the various factions and clans of the regime or from the so-called opposition, turn their backs on the deep aspiration of millions of demonstrators, namely that Algeria be built by the sovereign people for the sovereign people.
What the people want and continue to want is not that the characters at the head of the institutions give way to other characters, what the people want is other institutions. “Down with the System! Down with the Regime!” are the cries calling to make way for another regime, another system.
The Organizing Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI in its French acronym) shares, with many of our fellow citizens, young people, women and workers, the conviction that it is up to the people to decide their future; it is up to the people to establish themselves as constituent people through their Sovereign Constituent Assembly.
There is one way to do this, one that has been charted for more than a month: organizing the mobilization by workers and young people themselves, with their unions uprooted from State control, with their independent unions, their autonomous unions, their UGTA sections that have regained their sovereignty, with their committees, etc. This movement cannot stop until full democracy is established. It is up to the Sovereign Constituent Assembly, representing all the people, to carry out this task.
For our part, we believe that such a Sovereign Constituent Assembly would allow the representatives of the people not only to decide on the form of the new institutions, but also on their content, because the people want to be able to decide:
– that young people are entitled to a real diploma, a real job, a real salary,
– that all the nation’s wealth, especially hydrocarbons, be returned to the working people,
– that all privatizations be cancelled,
– that all public services be restored.
It is through this means that the way will be paved for this new Algeria for which we have all been working since February 22nd.

Minbar el Oumel no. 2

17 Mar

“The emancipation of the working class will be the task of the workers themselves”
                                                                   MINBAR EL OUMEL
                                                        For Democracy and Socialism
Publication of the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists (OCIS)
Saturday, March 12, 2019 — Issue No. 2
• Down with the Regime!
• Let the People’s Voices Be Heard!
• Sovereign Constituent Assembly!
• For the Independence of the UGTA!
• Address the Workers’ Demands!
• No to the IMF’s Anti-Worker Plans! Let’s Get Organized!
• For an Independent, Democratic and Mass Workers Party!
The postponement of the presidential election and the renunciation of the 5th Term [by President Bouteflika, who has served four terms in office — Tr. Note] mark a new phase in the social, political and institutional crisis that has been unfolding since the demonstrations of February 22.

This announcement of March 11 was precipitated by the events of the preceding 72 hours:
– The demonstrations by millions of Algerians in the streets of all the country’s cities on March 8, increasingly combining the social and democratic demands of women, young people and workers with the one demand that was common to all: “No to the 5th Term, Down with the System!”;

– The irruption of youth on the streets after the closure of universities and high schools;
– the mass emergence of workers deciding to strike in the country’s main industrial areas (Rouiba, Arzew, El Hadjar, Hassi R’ Mel, Hassi Messaoud);
– youth marching side by side with striking workers;
– the growing number of labor bodies, federations, local unions, and departmental unions of the UGTA announcing the breaking of relations with the Secretary General, the main supporter of the regime;
– the creation of embryos of popular committees for food and basic necessities, linking together representatives of the communities in the districts and municipalities with workers and young people.

All of these point to the fact that a new situation has begun to emerge.
The working class, bursting onto the political scene as a class, has risen to the forefront of the struggle to address and resolve the crisis facing the country. It has brought together the people, all strata and all sectors of the population (after the journalists, we have seen the appeals of the magistrates, the Order of Doctors, and the organisations of the martyrs and mujahideen [veterans of the Algerian Revolution — Tr. note]) — all following the lead of the workers organised with their unions and their delegates.

The government and the elites understood that their obstinacy in wanting to impose the 5th Term was leading the country into a situation of open revolutionary crisis. They became afraid and decided to shift course. It was necessary, through a spectacular announcement, to give the impression of changing the course of events while ensuring the preservation of what was essential: the continuity of the system.

The uprising of the working class, the power of the mobilisation of all the people and youth, have forced this change of form.

Does this mean, however, that it is a substantive change? Has the regime given up on its objective, which is to remain in place?

One only has to read the official statement, broadcast on television on behalf of the outgoing president, to make a judgment. What was announced on the evening of March 11?

No longer will there be a 5th Term; rather, what you will have now is an extended 4th Term, with no specific time limit. At the very minimum, the president will remain in office for a year, or a year and a half. A national conference, the composition of which will be decided by the government in office, will make constitutional proposals. Which ones? We don’t know. All this leads to a proposal for a new Constitution, perhaps subject to a referendum in 2020, which would lead to new elections being called, perhaps by the end of 2020 or even 2021.

If this plan were to be implemented, it would be a disguised 5th Term — a 5th term without even going through a presidential election, with a change of personnel at the head of some institutions but the preservation and continuity of the institutions of the system.

Are these announcements commensurate with the mobilisations and demands that an entire people have been raising for the past 20 days? To ask the question is to answer it.
What have our compatriots been proclaiming for 20 days in the streets of Algiers, Bejaia, Constantine, Annaba, Oran….

What were we loudly chanting and demanding by the millions? We said, “No to the 5th Term.” And to this demand we quickly added another one: “Down with the Regime! Down with the System!” Yes, it is the entire political system, it is the entire regime and all its institutions in place that have been indicted by the mobilisation of the vast majority of the people.

What the people want is not that the individuals at the head of the institutions give way to other individuals. What the people want are other institutions. “Down with the Regime! Down with the System!” to make way for another regime, another system.

If it is a question of the people forging new institutions, then it is up to the people to decide. There is no other way than to convene a Sovereign Constituent Assembly by which the representatives of the people — appointed, mandated and controlled by them — can decide what the new institutions of the new Algeria should be.

Yes, what is called for is a Sovereign Constituent Assembly with no limits, no restrictions other than respect for the mandate entrusted to it by its constituents; a Constituent Assembly, not in two years’ time, not emanating from a national conference with an obscure composition decided from above. It is a Sovereign Constituent Assembly now, immediately, that must take the future of the country into its hands.

There is no answer other than the Sovereign Constituent Assembly, as all other means have been rejected in advance. The entire people have shown their maturity and responsibility in the mass demonstrations that have erupted over the past 20 days. The Algerian people are mature and responsible enough to lead a constituent process without supervision.

The Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI in its French acronym) was formed on March 9, 2019, in the very course of the mobilisations. It shares, along with many of our fellow citizens, young people, women and workers, the belief that it is up to the people to decide their own future, that it is up to the people to establish themselves as constituent people through their Sovereign Constituent Assembly.

The Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists is aware that what is at stake, what is being raised, with this proposal are both democratic and national demands. It is a question of preserving the sovereignty of the people and the country, in particular of preserving it from the appetites of the large multinational corporations — be they American, French or other — that want to get their hands on the country’s wealth.

It is a question of restoring to the nation what belongs to it, so that its wealth can go to those who produce it, and not to those who benefit from it. It is a question of stopping privatisations and enabling the re-nationalisation of what has already been largely ceded to the private sector, so that the nation’s wealth and the future wealth that can be obtained from its natural resources can be devoted to social needs, housing, education, and employment.

It is a question of preserving the peace and resisting external pressures from those who have never given up trying to drag Algeria into the chaos and disintegration caused by the imperialist and neocolonial interventionist wars. All this, a Sovereign Constituent Assembly will have the strength and legitimacy to address, establishing the laws that will guarantee this real change.

For the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists, these are proposals that we submit for wide discussion. Of course, no one can decide in advance what a Constituent Assembly will do. But the Constituent Assembly can decide that it will be sovereign and that it will do sovereignly what is good for the people.

There is a way to carry forth; it is the one that has emerged over the past 20 days, namely, the organised mobilisation by workers and young people themselves with their unions, torn from the State’s control — with their independent unions, their autonomous unions, their UGTA sections that have regained their sovereignty, with their committees, etc.

With all forms of organisation, the workers, young people and women have been moved to take action, and with them large sectors of the population have followed suit. This movement cannot stop until full democracy is established. It is up to the Sovereign Constituent Assembly, representing all the people, to do so.

                                                                                                             Algiers — March 12, 8:30 a.m.

In the middle of the struggle in Algeria, a new organisation is born

17 Mar

“The emancipation of the working class will be the task of the workers themselves”
For Democracy and Socialism
Publication of the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists (OCIS)
Saturday, March 9, 2019 — Issue No. 1
We are working-class and trade union activists, youth, and students who engaged resolutely in class struggle. After we discussed at length on Thursday, March 7th, Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th, we decided to constitute our group as the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI-OCIS). This decision was made in the midst of the revolutionary process that started on February 22nd with the huge marches that enveloped the whole national territory and involved the entire Algerian people. Our aim is to start and address the contradiction between the masses’ powerful mobilisation and the tragic lack of an independent, democratic mass party without which, the compradore bourgeoisie and its institutions are still able to “digest” the most advanced forms of our struggles.

The inspiring movement of millions and millions of women, men and youth has set the whole of Algeria into motion these past two weeks. It can be summarised in one sentence: the people as a whole, and first and foremost the workers and youth, the jobless in city and town areas, are yearning for total and unrestricted sovereignty. As they rise up against the Fifth Term, they rise up against a system which, for decades upon decades — actually since the independence of the nation that was wrenched from colonialist hands in the summer of 1962 — has worked to prevent the sovereignty of the nation from being placed in the hands of the people as a whole. Not only do they yearn to break loose from contrived elections with candidates that are mere shadows or that have been selected according to the needs of the regime, but, beyond this, they yearn to be able to decide for themselves the political forms, the social content and the national content that the sovereignty of the people over themselves must recover.

On every continent and in every situation, such an aspiration has always been addressed by calling and electing a Sovereign Constituent Assembly, which means an assembly with full decision-making powers. A Constituent Assembly, without restriction, without pre-condition, with no other control than the one of those who give their mandates. The working people, the nation, should have full decision-making powers. To make decisions, to cast in iron unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of association and organisation, to walk out and go on strike, to ensure full equal rights for men and women in every field. Those deep-seated aspirations politically and democratically collide with the regime, which has turned its back on democracy and sovereignty, and which, in collusion with imperialism has turned every component of the regime and the compradore bourgeoisie, into its – not always dutiful but ultimately compliant – agents.

And this overwhelming aspiration also has a powerful social content, which today is expressed in the strikes that are expanding and in the process that is now on its rails of reclaiming the UGTA (General Union of Algerian Workers), the historic federation of workers that has for a long time been a subsidiary of the power structure. Through the strikes what is expressed is the need for the nation’s natural wealth be in the exclusive service of working people. Sovereignty also implies social and economic sovereignty. It implies meeting the aspirations of the more than 30% of jobless youth, those thousands of university graduates who, year in and year out, leave the country for lack of prospects that the country does not offer; it is the aspiration to have social justice, jobs, public services, housing. Fully meeting the people’s aspiration to sovereignty and democracy, sovereignty on the economic and social level, is an emergency. Any answer that would not address all the demands will be looked on as a diversion and will only fuel the anger of the people, workers and youth. Any solution other than the Sovereign Constituent Assembly, whatever the intentions of those who propose it, will be viewed as an attempt to continue with a massively rejected regime.

From all corners one can hear fears that the current situation may result in a period of instability, may lead to live again the terrible dark years of the previous period. Those fears are legitimate when expressed by the “grass-roots society” but when formulated by the “top circles” and their representatives, they are just diversions and attempts at shattering the united people’s mobilisation. Things must be made clear: it is merely the refusal to heed the people’s determination and voice, the voice of workers and youth that threatens stability. It is not through the continuation of an anti-democratic regime that stability can be restored and maintained, on the contrary, it is through full, total and trusting opening up to all the needed forms of the people’s sovereignty. This is what is at stake in the calling of an unrestricted and unlimited Sovereign Constituent Assembly.

There exists no artificial separation between the fight for democracy and the fight of workers for their own demands, which, today, sees workers seek to reclaim their trade union federation, on the basis of the living and working conditions, their trade union centre, the UGTA, which cannot play its part to defend the interests of workers while it remains tied to a power and institutions that the people reject. The UGTA must become again the property of the Algerian workers, of their rank and file unions. It must be the property of union representatives desingated by workers themselves. The process is on its way. It must continue and gain traction. Workers must demand that the UGTA totally break with the regime, at the same time as they present their demands and discuss the means to have them met. An action that has been decided on can and must be monitored by workers themselves. Reclaiming the UGTA will empower workers to have their own interests as wealth producers heard and heeded. Like the UGTT for Tunisian workers during the revolution in Tunisia, the UGTA will be the backbone, the organising and unifying body that will make it possible to extend workers’ decisive action to the whole of society in this process of open crisis that is gathering momentum.

The CSA federation and all the autonomous unions should no longer hesitate. Everywhere, on the shop-floor, in junior and high schools, in colleges and universities, at the municipal and wilaya (department), as well as national levels, they should seek to join the different UGTA structures. As the regime persists to reject the Algerian people’s aspiration for a change and wants again to force its decisions on the people, we shall counerpose the force of large numbers and the unity of workers with their trade union organisations, freed from its yoke. The general strike of workers and citizens would appear as the concrete answer. Unity is needed now, it must be realised without delay, now and still more urgently, in the near future.

The unity and independence of trade unions will mobilise a larger number of workers, will attract and bring along the youth of marginalised areas, the jobless, all the impoverished rural and city layers. It will put on the agenda the organising effort of citizens in marginalised areas, the national independent and democratic union of students and university professors. Self-organisation among the masses to act “all together in unison” and control the struggles can and must surface in the same move.
We are activists and have no interests that are separate and apart from those of the workers, youth and broad layers of the population.

Wherever we are, we fight for the people’s sovereignty, the nation’s sovereignty against imperialism, to have all the demands met, to defend all the conquests, for the independence of trade unions where they exist, and towards the creation of a single unified independent and democratic trade union centre. The toiling masses are fed up with divisions; they aspire to the creation of trade unions where there are none, especially in universities where there is a strong yearning for a “student, unified, independent and democratic union” and a “unified federation for the whole national education system”. We fight for the general strike as a means for the people to impose their will and aspirations.

We activists of the Organising Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI- OCIS) are fighting for unity and, first and foremost, with the organisations fighting on behalf of the labour movement and of anti-imperialism. We say it loud and clear, we are ready to take part in any single action to help the masses but also to discuss the formation of a “front of working-class organisations, parties and unions, and anti-imperialist organisations” on the basis of a programme built on the people’s and nation’s sovereignty against imperialism on the principle “Let us walk separately, but let us strike together!”

If we have no interests that are distinct from those of the workers of our country, then we also have none that are distinct from those of workers in other countries of the world. We suffer from and we fight against the same policies that came out of the Bretton Woods financial institutions. We suffer from and we fight against the wars perpetrated by global imperialism – yesterday in Iraq, in Syria and in Libya, and today beyond the southern borders of our country. The political interference of the major powers in the domestic affairs of sovereign states has become a constant given. They use no kid gloves in their challenging of the sovereign legitimacy of the legitimate president of Venezuela. And what is to be said of what the sacrosanct alliance between imperialism and Israel that the people of Palestine have been subjected to for over 70 years?

Like all organisations, including revolutionary ones equipped with a programme, the “Fourth International” has been subjected to the pressure of those who promote – and especially who act for – the preservation of the present order, based on the private ownership of the means of production. Revisionist and liquidating currents have insinuated themselves into its leaderships, in an attempt to break it apart. In the early 1950s, the International was destroyed as a democratically centralised organisation. It was reconstructed, and has for four years now been through yet another crisis, the source of which is the same as in the 1950s: the abandonment of its party-building and an adaptation to bourgeois society.

We say that the time has come today for gathering the forces that will tackle the reconstruction of an independent and genuine labour representation of workers and young people. In the parties that already exist, there are many activists and currents who are perfectly at home in this reconstruction: the members of the PST, UTS and VOS, the members of the ex-PAGS and, naturally, the members of the PT (Workers Party– a party that has held on to its sympathisers in a broad sector of the working class, due to the battles it has waged in the past. But the revolutionary process that is taking place today has shed a crude light and exposed the orientation that its general secretary has fixed over many years now: that of adapting to the needs of the regime, or at the very least to the needs of a fraction of that regime, under the cover of saving the needs of society for security and stability. Its recent positions (postponing elections, a medical solution to the crisis, etc.) have now been assimilated by a broad vanguard as a treatment for the needs of the regime, or at least a fraction of the regime, in order to save what is essential: the continuity of the regime. Its advice distilled to the deciders at each of the crucial stages of the confrontation between the masses and the regime has clearly been a refusal to break with the regime in place and a refusal to fully assume the tasks of a fight for a Constituent Assembly. We are not happy with this situation. It is an expression of the crisis that is hitting the labour movement in Algeria just as on the international scale. It is the expression of the necessary re-building of forces on the line of labour independence, and the re-construction of the labour movement. For our part and based on the positions that are our own, we are ready to participate shoulder-to-shoulder with all those of all the currents of the labour movement, of all the supporters of popular and national sovereignty who are ready to engage, in the framework of free and open discussion, in this fight.