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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!

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.

CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS for the Binational Fightback Conference

22 Nov

Brothers and sisters:

On December 2nd and 3rd, in Carson, California, a Broad-Based Binational Fightback Conference to:

• Tear Down the Wall of Shame; Not One More Deportation!

• Stop NAFTA and CAFTA!

• Stop All Privatizations and Counter-Reforms!

• Support Workers’ Rights to Unionization and Collective Bargaining on Both Sides of the Border!

Is being held, endorsed by union and political activists in the United States and Mexico. A four-page leaflet about the conference is attached. LEAFLET FOR BINATIONAL CONF.

The conference committee is asking for endorsements from Canadian political activists, unionists, and all opposed to NAFTA. If you will, please sign the attached endorsement letter and email to me.


• Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO), Toledo, OH; • Alan Benjamin, Member, Continuations Committee, Mumbai Conference Against War & Exploitation, Delegate, SF Labor Council, San Francisco, CA;

• Eduardo Rosario, President, New York City Labor Council for, Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO), Brooklyn, NY;

• Nativo Lopez, Senior Advisor, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional “La Original”, Los Angeles, CA;

• Chris Silvera, Secretary-Treasurer, Local 808 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Long Island City, NY;

• Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita, OPEIU, Washington, DC;

• Al Rojas, LCLAA-Sacramento AFL-CIO, Sacramento, CA;

• Saladin Muhammad, Southern Workers Assembly, Rocky Mount, NC;

• Colia Clark, National Coordinator, Judicial Violence Symposium, Harlem, NY;

• William I. Robinson, Professor of Global and International Studies, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA;

• Sara Flounders, CoDirector, International Action Center, New York, NY;

• Erin McKee, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Mt. Pleasant, SC;

• Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Delmar, NY;

• Itzel Medina, Immigrant rights organizer, San Francisco, CA;

• Clarence Thomas, Past Secretary-Treasurer (retired), ILWU Local 10, Cochair, Million Worker March Movement, Oakland, CA;

• Rodrigo Toscano, Labor Institute / United Steelworkers, National Projector Director for Health, Safety, and Environment, New Orleans, LA;

• Donna Dewitt, President Emeritus, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Swansea, SC;

• KatherineBlack, Co-Convener, US Labor Against the War, Philadelphia, PA;

• David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War, Campaign Coordinator of, Charlottesville, VA;

• Nnamdi Lumumba, State Organizer, Ujima People’s Progress Party, Baltimore, MD;

• Gene Bruskin, Co-Founder, USLAW; trade unionist, Silver Spring, MD;

• Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, CA

• Mary Prophet, Member, USLAW Nat’l Steering Committee, Delegate,Alameda County Labor Committee, Berkeley, CA;

• Ralph Schoenman, TakingAim, Vallejo, CA;

• Mya Shone, Taking Aim, Vallejo, CA;

• Allan Fisher, AFT 2121 delegate to San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco, CA;

• Julia John, Ujima People’s Progress Party, Baltimore, MD;

• Traven Leyshon, President, Green Mountain Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Montpelier, VT;

• Laurence H. Shoup, UAW 1981 ret., Oakland, CA;

• Melina Juárez, Ph.D Candidate, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM;

• Dennis Gallie, UAW 249 retired member, Kansas City, MO;

• Rodger Scott, Past President, AFT 2121, Current Executive Board Member & Delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco, CA;

• Jerry Levinsky, Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network, Member, SEIU 509, Amherst, MA;

• Haldon C. Sutton, Executive Board Member at Large, SW Florida UAW Retired Workers Council (for id only), North Port, FL;

• Larry Duncan, CWA 14408 (Retired), Chicago, IL;

• James M. Wallrabenstein, Social Justice Activist, Spokane, WA;

• Lindsay Curtis, Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper, Sacramento, CA;

• Elizabeth C Wright, Social justice activist, San Francisco, CA;

• Steve Early, Member, Richmond Progressive Alliance, and Pacific Media Workers Guild/ News Guild/CWA, Richmond, CA;

• Thomas Bias, National Secretary, Labor Fight-back Network, Flanders, NJ;

• Gayle McLaughlin, Former Mayor of Richmond, CA and Candidate for Lt. Governor of California 2018, Richmond, CA;

• Timothy Stinson, Socialist Organizer, Albany, OR;

• Don Bryant, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, President, Cleveland, OH;

• C.T. Weber, Peace and Freedom Party of California, Legislative Committee Chair, Sacramento, CA;

• Rolando Revilla Jr., FLOC, Toledo, OH;

• Julian Kunnie, First Nations Enforcement Agency, Tucson, AZ;

• Mark Weber, Social justice activist, Cleveland, OH;

• Dan Kaplan , Executive Secretary, AFT Local 1943, the San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, San Mateo, CA ;

• Michael Carano, Teamsters Local 348, retired, Tallmadge, OH;

• Carol E Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council, Brick, NJ;

• Jeffrey Segal, National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320, Louisville, KY;

• David Walters, Member, IBEW 1245 (retired), San Francisco, CA;

• Millie Phillips, Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network, Oakland, CA;

• Todd Jelen, Member, American Federation of Musicians (AFL-CIO), Brook Park, OH;

• Sarah-Emily Carter, Administration Assistant, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Swansea, SC;

• Mary Findley, Vice Chair, Lorain County Forward, Amherst, OH;

• Cindy Fanderys, Peace Action (retiree), Cleveland, OH;

• Cindy Sheehan, Executive Director, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox, Vacaville, CA;

• Bill Shields, Member, AFT 2121, San Francisco, CA;

• Barry Hermanson, SF Green Party, San Francisco, CA.

• Jeff Mackler, Socialist Action.


• Luis Carlos Haro, OPT Tijuana, Coordinador Campaña Binacional en México;

• Alianza de Organizaciones Nacional Estatal y Municipal por la Justicia Social, San Quintin, Baja California;

• Sindicato Independiente Nacional de Jornaleros Agrícolas (SINDJA);

• Comisión Ciudadana de Derechos Humanos del Noroeste, A.C;

• Fidel Sanchez, Secretario General, Alianza, San Quintin, BC;

• Bonifacio Martínez Cruz, Dirigente, Alianza, San Quintin, BC;

• Lorenzo Rodriguez Jimenez, Secretario General, SINDJA;

• Venustiano Cruz Hernández, Dirigente, Alianza, San Quintin, BC;

• Octavio Angel Lopez, Dirigente, Alianza, San Quintin, BC;

• Fernando Serrano Monroy, Secretario General del Sindicato Único Independiente de los Colegios de Bachilleres de Chiapas SUITCOBACH;

• Fernanda Justo, OPT Jalisco;

• Mario Roldán Robledo, Dirigente del Consejo Central de Lucha de la Sección 40 SNTE – CNTE;

• Muriel Gómez, Dirigente del Consejo Central de Lucha de la Sección 40 SNTE – CNTE;

• Daniel Gómez Mesa, Nueva Central de Trabajadores Sindicalista de la Sección 7 del SNTE- CNTE, región Frontera Comalapa;

• Daniel Martínez Velasco, Comisión promotora de la Nueva Central de Trabajadores sur sureste de México;

• Raúl-Drouvalliet Patiño, Coordinadora Nacional de Petroleros Mexicanos, Villahermosa, Tabasco;

• Mario Díaz Ortega, Coordinadora en Defensa de PEMEX, Minatitlán, Veracruz;

• José Raúl Calleja Lacorti, Coordinadora Estatal Democrática de la Sección 50 de SNTSA;

• Susana Prieto Terrazas, Asociación Obrer@s Maquiler@s de Ciudad Juárez y Movimiento de Resistencia Civil del Estado de Chihuahua;

• Fredy Rodríguez Méndez, sindicalista Sección 7 SNTE- CNTE;

• Roger Cerda Medina, Secretario de Organización de la Delegación D-IV 9 Jubilados y Pensionados;

• Misael Palma López, CORCI México;

• Melquiades Velueta Velueta, Coordinadora Democrática de la Salud, Sección 50, SNTSA, región Palenque, Chiapas;

• Russel Aguilar Brindis, Secretario General Delegacional Escuelas Secundarias Técnicas, Sección VII SNTE-CNTE;

• Gilberto Montes Vázquez, OPT Chiapas;

• Wilner Metelus, Presidente del Comité Ciudadano de Defensa de los Naturalizados y Afroamexicanos;

• Hugo Castro Vázquez, Coordinador de la organización Ángeles sin Fronteras en Baja California;

• Mónica Acosta Zamora, National Political Campaign for the Freedom of Ramsey Muñíz;

• Unión General de Obreros y Campesinos de México Bandera Roja;

• Guillermo Almeyra, escritor y periodista;

• Sara Fernández, Grupo Gestor Águilas de Baja California, Tijuana;

• Cirilo Gómez, profesor Tecate;

• Asociación de Padres por una Educación de Calidad, Tijuana;

• Ubaldo Rosas Valladeres, Jornalero Agrícola San Quintín;

• Alejandra Rivera Arvizu, OPT Tijuana;

• María Rivera, OPT Tijuana;

• Joaquín Torres, OPT Tijuana;

• Christian Santana, Estudiantes en Defensa de la Educación Pública;

• Juan Carlos Vargas, CORCI México;

• Jesús Casillas Arredondo, OPT Mexicali;

• Carlos Rosales, Profesor de UABC;

• Manuel Hernández, Profesor de preparatoria, BC;

• Abril Angélica Rodríguez Martínez, activista en el movimiento feminista y en defensa del agua, Mexicali, Baja California;

• Juan Antonio Avalos Rojas, STUNAM;

• Eduardo Félix, Estudiante San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora;

• Erick Omar Jimenez Campaña, estudiante UABC;

• Liliana Plumeda, OPT Mexicali;

• Marco Morales, Activista de Mexicali Resiste;

• Teresa Saavedra Talavera, Partido Popular Socialista de México;

• Laura Benítez, Movimiento Ateo Feminista Internacional;

• Emiliano Raya Aguilar, Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria;

• Ismael Ruiz, Asistente de Investigación.

(Note: All titles & organizations for individuals are listed for identification only.)

The conference call was issued by a number of organisations, including the Hermandad Mexicana-La Original; Sacramento LCLAA (AFL-CIO); Asociaciones de Organizaciones por la Justicia Social (San Quintin); Farm Labor Organizing Committee, (FLOC, AFL-CIO); Sindicato Nacional de Jornaleros Agrícolas (SINDJA), México; Sacramento Labor Council (AFL-CIO); San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO); Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME); Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT); Sindicato Nacional de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana; California Faculty Association CSU Dominguez Hills; Comité Promotor Mexicano de la Conferencia Binacional (sede Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas);- Department of Modern Languages, CSU Dominguez Hills; UAW Local 551; Labor Fightback

Network; OPT Tijuana; The Organizer; Worker Action Solidarity Network; SEIU Local 1000.

The Trudeau Government imposes sanctions on Venezuela

24 Sep

If Christia Freeland, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the false-majority Trudeau regime, actually intended to sanction the people responsible for attacks on democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, she would sanction the leaders of the MUD. They are the ones who have attempted to subvert by force the legally established process of electing a Constituent Assembly to consider rewriting the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic. They are the ones who attempted to overthrow the legally elected President, Chavez, in 2002, and who had to back down when the people of Venezuela forced his restoration. They are the ones responsible for burning suspected Chavistas to death in their “peaceful” protests at street barricades. They are the ones who have shot at Venezuelan soldiers in the streets.

They are the ones who, like the Dishonourable Ms Freeland, are determined to define “democracy” to mean “conformity with the wishes of the United States Government and the corporations whose interests it represents, as it always has in Latin America”. To me, and to all real friends of democracy, it means “government by all the people”, not just the economically well-off, but all of them, and particularly the broadest layers of the working class.

The real crime of President Maduro and his late predecessor President Chavez is that they aspired and aspire to represent the majority of the Venezuelan people and to establish real democracy in their country. Their latest crime against US and international corporatist interests is the possibility of no longer accepting the US dollar as payment for petroleum…/201709091057234795-venezuela-pla…/ .

The Paradox of 23 April

27 Apr
Workers’ Tribune Issue no.86 – Editorial

By Daniel Gluckstein

Where is the paradox of 23 April?

The rejection that was expressed has a class content. The El Khomri law, counter-

reforms, lay-offs, privatisations, cuts in public services, state of emergency, anti-union repression: it was the anti-worker policy of the Hollande-Valls government (and the previous governments) that was massively rejected.

But this class content is not represented by either of the two candidates in the second round.

There are two explanations for this.

The first is immediately obvious: division. Hamon and Mélenchon could have changed things by agreeing on a single candidacy for the repeal of the El Khomri labour law. They refused to do so. They bear the responsibility for a Le Pen/Macron second round.
The second explanation has to do with the very nature of the Fifth Republic. To those who — worried about (or condemning) abstention — solemnly remind people that the ballot is a democratic gain, the workers and youth are entitled to reply: can democracy be reduced to choosing a king, one who of course does not wear a crown but who has full powers, notably the power to impose the programmes dictated by the capitalists, the bankers and the European Union?

No, clearly not.
If democracy is the power of the people, then it should be a sovereign Constituent Assembly that defines the form and content of that power. Without limitations: in a sovereign Constituent Assembly, the representatives of the people, elected on a fully proportional basis from the electoral lists, must be able to take all the measures called for by the situation, including a ban on lay-offs and privatisations, the confiscation of bank assets to apply them to the needs of the population, or a stop to the wars that are sowing devastation throughout the world.

The Fifth Republic has been struck a fatal blow. The two parties that have governed for almost 60 years have been eliminated from the second round. Macron is a Bonaparte by default, to whom the ruling circles of the capitalist class (together with the institutional left) are rallying under duress (until when?). His future government could only “hold out” by relying on a version of national unity that includes the trade unions . . . which is difficult to achieve.

The fact remains that, although having been struck a fatal blow, the Fifth Republic will not fall by itself. It is up to the working class, preserving the independence of its organisations and achieving unity on its demands, to open up the path towards the Constituent Assembly, delivering the final death blow to the Fifth Republic and breaking with the European Union.

On the evening of 23 April, we heard the main candidates call on “the patriots” or declare their love for “the homeland”. Such references erase the borders of class, since both the workers and the bosses, the exploited and the exploiters, are equally supposed to be “children of the homeland”.

Our choice is The Internationale over The Marseillaise, the red flag over the tricolour.

In the approaching class struggles, more than ever, the time has come to build a genuine workers’ party.

La vraie vie, c’est la lutte des classes

12 Apr

Édito de La Tribune des travailleurs 84, Par Daniel Gluckstein
Un même drapeau tricolore flotte sur les meetings des cinq « grands candidats ». Une même Marseillaise les conclut. Tous Français, sans distinction : tel est le message suggéré…
Une manière d’exorciser la lutte de classe pour l’évacuer du débat présidentiel.
Mais pendant le cirque électoral, la vraie vie continue.
Et la vraie vie, c’est la lutte des classes.
Faire travailler les ouvriers quinze jours supplémentaires par an, gratuitement, dans une entreprise d’Eure-et-Loir : c’est possible et légal, c’est la loi El Khomri.
Liquider les centres de protection maternelle et infantile dans le département le plus pauvre de France : c’est possible et légal, c’est l’application du pacte de responsabilité.
Dans tous les domaines, les travailleurs subissent les attaques les plus brutales de ce gouvernement qui poursuit la politique du précédent et prépare celle du suivant.
Dans tous les domaines, les travailleurs sont contraints de dresser leur propre lutte de classe avec leurs organisations syndicales, parfois même avec leurs comités de délégués unis avec les syndicats.
L’âpreté de la lutte de classe contraste avec un débat électoral convenu et aseptisé.
L’âpreté de la lutte de classe, c’est le prolongement de la mobilisation de millions contre la loi El Khomri.
Une mobilisation qui trouve une expression déformée et partielle dans la progression des intentions de vote pour Mélenchon (après que Hamon, d’une certaine manière, a jeté le gant).
Pour autant, il faut constater que plus les intentions de vote en sa faveur augmentent, plus Mélenchon tient un discours éloigné de la lutte de classe.
Fidèle à sa propre formule selon laquelle la notion d’intérêt de classe n’est plus à l’ordre du jour (Le Parisien, 23 mars), il adopte une posture de plus en plus bonapartiste, avec une pincée de social ici, une poignée d’écologisme là, mais surtout aucune référence à la lutte de classe, ni à l’Union européenne, ni à la V e République, ni à la rupture, ni même à ses propres mots d’ordre d’Assemblée constituante et de VI e République. On comprend dans ces conditions qu’une partie des travailleurs et des jeunes emprunte la voie de l’abstention, tandis qu’une autre partie place ses espoirs malgré tout dans
Il reste que la loi El Khomri s’applique. Il reste que dans la période qui vient, quel que soit le résultat de l’élection, les travailleurs auront besoin, pour combattre (en particulier pour l’abrogation de cette loi infâme), de disposer d’organisations de classe
indépendantes des patrons et du gouvernement. Et cela, au plan syndical comme au plan politique.
Dans une situation où beaucoup de choses peuvent basculer, le libre débat est indispensable.
Le Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique combat pour un gouvernement ouvrier qui prenne les nécessaires mesures de rupture. Préparant son II e Congrès, il invite sans préalable à participer à la discussion les travailleurs et militants de toutes tendances qui refusent de renoncer à la lutte de classe et au drapeau rouge des prolétaires.


16 Mar

Striking Maruti WorkersThe Maruti Suzuki strikers are being railroaded, as surely as Big Bill Haywood and Joe Hill were. PLEASE copy the coupon at the end of the letter to an email, fill it in and send it to the ILC at the address given. The sentencing is Friday and these fellow workers may hang. (The statements of the Provisional Working Committee and of the NTUI are available at and http://


Mr Navtej Sarma

Ambassador from India to the United States

2536 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Washington, DC

Dear Ambassador Navtej Sarma,

We, the undersigned supporters of labor and democratic rights,  write you this Open Letter urge you and your government to take immediate action to save the lives of 13 trade unionists of the Maruti-Suzuki corporation, who were arrested and charged in connection with the incidents that took place at the company’s Manesar factory in 2012, in which a factory manager died. As you most certainly are aware, the imprisoned Maruti workers have just been tried in court; 117 of them (who have already spent 4 years in prison) were acquitted, but 31 were convicted of various offenses, including 13 who were convicted of murder — which, as you know, is punishable by death or life imprisonment. The sentencing is scheduled for Friday, March 17.

We have read the appeal from the Provisional Working Committee of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union and the March 10 statement by the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI). We agree fully that these workers have been convicted on trumped-up charges for their trade union activity. No evidence was provided to link any of these workers to the unfortunate death of a factory manager. Eleven of the 13 facing the most serious charges were leaders of the MSWU, the independent union that was formed in Maruti and that management sought to break through violence.

We urge you to relay to your government in India our call for justice for all the convicted Maruti workers, and more particularly for the 13 Maruti trade unionists, whose lives are in grave danger. We call upon you and your Government to save their lives and to drop all the bogus charges against all those convicted unjustly. We call upon you and your Government to free all the imprisoned Maruti workers.


[follows list of signatories]



[  ] I endorse the above Open Letter to the Indian Ambassador to the United States


UNION/ORG [list if for id. purposes only]




(Please fill out coupon and return to <>)

Unionists and Labor Rights Activists Rally in front of Carl’s Jr.

23 Jan

Unionists and Labor Rights Activists Rally in Front of Carl’s Jr. in S.F. to Protest Trump’s Anti-Labor Agenda

By Alan Benjamin (*)

SAN FRANCISCO — An estimated 100 labor activists braved the torrential rain Friday afternoon, January 20 (Inauguration Day), to protest Trump’s anti-labor agenda. Fourteen unions were represented at the rally, which was held in front of Carl’s Jr. to denounce Trump’s nomination of Andrew Puzder as the new Secretary of Labor. (Puzder, the CEO of Carl’s Jr., is opposed to an increase in the minimum wage; in fact, he does not believe in the need for any minimum wage.)

The half-hour Labor Rally was held immediately prior to the 5 p.m. mass rally organized by the ANSWER coalition. Many union contingents arrived for the main rally but could not make it to the earlier labor feeder rally, as union members were just getting out of work at that time.

The Labor Rally was co-sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and Jobs with Justice SF. The leaflet calling for the Rally put forward the following demands, all of which were addressed by the rally speakers:

* No to Privatization of Social Security & Medicare!
* No to Right-to-Work (For Less) Laws!
* There Is a Real Solution: Single Payer Now!
* Money for Jobs and Social Services, Not War!
* End All Deportations, Stop All Hate Crimes!
* $15 Minimum Wage and a Union!

The labor rally was chaired by two co-emcees: Alisa Messer, Political Director, AFT 2121; and Kung Feng, Lead Organizer, Jobs with Justice San Francisco. Both highlighted the powerful protest marches, rallies, and actions held earlier in the day throughout downtown San Francisco.

Six speakers addressed the labor gathering. They were:

– Tim Paulson – Executive Director of San Francisco Labor Council

– Fakhra Shah – Mission High School Teacher and member of United Educators of San Francisco

– Raquel Botello – Organizer with La Colectiva, the San Francisco Women’s Collective and leader with the California Domestic Workers Coalition

– Lucia Lin – Senior Movement Building Coordinator with the Chinese Progressive Association and leader with the Progressive Workers Alliance

– Jonathan Meade – Chairperson of Campaign for a Healthy California San Francisco Chapter and retired member of SEIU Local 1021

– Michael Gene Sullivan – San Francisco Mime Troup Collective and member of SAG-AFTRA

Following are the presentations from three of the six speakers (Fakhra Shah, Raquel Botello, and Jonathan Meade) who addressed the Labor Rally. These were the only speakers who had prepared written statements. We were not able to tape the other speakers.

– – – – –

(* Alan Benjamin, an OPEIU Local 29 delegate to the S.F. Labor Council, was a co-organizer of the Labor Rally)

* * * * * * * * * *

Presentation by Fakhra Shah

[Note: Fakhra Shah, a social studies teacher at Mission High School and a member of United Educators of San Francisco, is the author of a lesson plan, drafted just hours after Trump’s election, to help teachers at her school struggling with how to answer students’ questions and concerns about Trump becoming president. The four-page plan’s introduction includes this guidance: “Let us please not sidestep the fact that a racist and sexist man has become the president of our country by pandering to a huge racist and sexist base.” The lesson plan was posted to the union’s website, stirring a huge national debate that was covered widely by the media.]

Good Afternoon!

I said this to you once before, I will say it again: A racist and sexist man has become our president. However in saying that, there are a few things that I left out, I missed: an ABLEIST, xenophobic, and Islamophobic man has become our president — and we MUST REFUSE to allow ourSELVES, OUR students, OUR YOUTH to be threatened in our schools. WE WILL NOT NORMALIZE bigotry and HATE IN OUR SCHOOLS.

How many here today are educators? How many are educators of color? How many of you have fought oppression your entire lives? It’s true, we have always been threatened, but now we are going to be directly assaulted by Trump, by his cabinet, and specifically by Betsy DeVos!

BETSY DEVOS is unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education, and she is an ableist. How can someone be nominated for Secretary of Education and not be familiar with the federal law, specifically with the INDIVIDUALS WITH DIASBILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)?

In the hearing, DeVos did not agree to uphold federal law to protect students with disabilities; as a matter of fact she had no idea that this was a federally mandated law that all schools receiving federal funding must uphold.

We MUST NOT ALLOW someone like Betsy DeVos to become Secretary of Education. Everything that we have ever fought for is at stake. Human rights are at stake.

There are many who are asking us educators to be neutral, Betsy DeVos, is NOT NEUTRAL. TRUMP IS NOT NEUTRAL. They want to dismantle all of the rights we have ever fought for.
As educators, as adults, we must fight to keep ourselves and our communities safe. We must keep fighting, keep speaking out, and remember, when they are asking you to be neutral, that is their only way of disarming us! Will not be disarmed!

Remember the words of Desmond Tutu:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Presentation by Raquel Botello

Good afternoon,

My name is Raquel Botello. I am a member of La Colectiva de Mujeres (Women’s Collective) and of the Day Labor coalition. I am a domestic worker.

I thank the organizers of this event for inviting me to speak.

We have enormous challenges ahead with the new president, but we must resist. We must organize and mobilize to demand our rights. We must mobilize to defend and expand our healthcare rights. We need a real healthcare system — whatever name you call it — that meets all of our needs as working people.

We must mobilize to demand an end to the deportations of our undocumented immigrant sisters and brothers. Not One More Deportation. We cannot accept the separation of our families, with our children no longer able to live with their parents. We need to return America to its best values and traditions!

We must demand an end to the Border Wall of Shame!

And we must demand an end to the discrimination against women. We women should be valued and respected fully. We must demand equality in all realms. We must demand respect and dignity!

But to do all this we must unite; labor and community must work together. United we will win, because our unity is our strength.

Si Se Puede!

Thank you.

* * * * * * * * * *

Presentation by Jonathan Meade

Good afternoon. My name is Jonathan Meade. I’m with SEIU Local 1021, and I’ve been with my union for 36 years. It’s good to see all of you union members out here today. Because we know what’s going on here today is more than a protest. This is the beginning of a fight. And fighting is what we do.

It doesn’t matter if it’s our employer, Donald Trump and the Republicans in Washington, or corporate democrats in California. You come after me – you come after my family – you come after my grandchildren – these assholes/people do not even know what they’re in for.

I’ve been asked to talk to you about defending Medicare, Medical, and Social Security, but you know, I worked the streets of San Francisco for 30 years as a paramedic, so I know about healthcare. If the Affordable Care Act is dismantled – if Medicare is privatized – if Medical is cut to the bone – if your retirement age is raised and your Social Security benefits are cut – millions of people will be thrown into poverty – and thousands will die. They don’t care. And what will happen to our union healthcare benefits? We all know what’s going on there. We’ve been fighting that fight at the bargaining table for the last 20 years, and we are not winning.

From 1999 to 2014 healthcare premiums across America rose by 191% — and worker contributions rose by 212%. Many union members and union leaders still think we can protect our healthcare benefits through contract negotiations and fighting our own individual fights. That is dead wrong. The last 20 years have already proved that.

We can’t win by just trying to hang on to what we as union members have. If millions of people lose their healthcare coverage in California, you think they are going to care what happens to our benefits? Everyone needs healthcare. Not just union members – everyone deserves healthcare.

The only way to protect our union healthcare benefits from the death of a thousand cuts at a thousand different bargaining tables is to create a healthcare system in California that provides decent healthcare benefits to everyone. Some people call this single payer – some call it Medicare for All, but just like in Canada, in England, in France, in Germany, in Japan, in Taiwan, in Cuba – we can have universal health coverage. Medicare for All covers everyone, costs less than we are spending now, and takes healthcare off the bargaining table. No insurance companies – guess what, we don’t need them – they add nothing of value to our healthcare system – by cutting out the middleman, we can save tens of billions of dollars every year.

This is not pie in the sky. We can actually do this. Californians are not going to accept the dismantling of Obamacare, the gutting of Medical, and the privatizing of Medicare. We have an opportunity – to go big and go on the offensive – through the California legislature, or through the ballot initiative process. The only things standing in our way are the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and ourselves. We know that if all of California labor unites around an issue we can win. We’ve done it before. It’s time to unite – and fight – and win. Thank you. Long live unions.

* * * *