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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.

* * * *


A poem from the July-August issue of SO

15 Aug

They’re Your Children

Poem by Luis Olivencia Baldassari

(translation into English by Doroteo Arango)

[Note: “The presidents from the whole world condemned the November 13, 2015, attacks in Paris. My reflection is about all those presidents, along with all the owners of global capital, who create, nurture, educate and feed the terrorists. This is where the inspiration from the poem comes from.” — L. Olivencia B.]

You have nursed them with the milk of your violence.
Violence from your television programs
Daily domestic violence instilled in your homes
Violence built in your colleges.

You have nursed them with the milk of your religions.
Religions that compete against each other
To annihilate the other
Religions based on hatred toward one another
Religions based on suffering.

You have nursed them with the milk pouring from the weapons that you sell.
That are given to you for the defense of your properties
Weapons to hurt the ones on the bottom of the heap
Weapons to secure your regime of exploitation.

You have nursed them with the milk of racial segregation.
To scorn the Black one
To scorn the Indian one
To scorn the Mixed-race one
To scorn the Asian one.

You have nursed them with the milk of misery.
Showing them day after day everything that can be obtained with the money
that they will never have
Showing them day after day your “brands” and luxuries
Exhibiting them with vainglory in front of the hapless majority.

You have nursed them with the milk of your patriotism.
To divide up our worldwide unity
To confront each other in defense of the Motherland
Mother and that is the domain of your mafioso businesses.

You have nursed them with the milk of daily frustration.
As they are transported daily like animals
As they see their children die of hunger because “there is not enough” or
Due to the lack of medicines as they have to go to overcrowded and depleted hospitals.

You have nursed them with the milk that flows from alcohol.
Alcohol that denigrates young and old
Alcohol from which you generate your millionaire lives
Alcohol with which you assassinate millions of human beings.

You have nursed them with the milk of your ideologies.
Building a right, center and left
That serve the same purpose “disguised as competition”
Building states and institutions
That each time fewer and fewer citizens believe in.

You have nursed them with the milk that flows from your in…justice.
That you use to imprison the petty delinquents
While the big delinquents go about freely
While they extort with impunity.

You have nursed them with the milk that flows from drugs.
Amassing fortunes with them
Killing millions with them
Making them legal and illegal
Though both equally destructive.

You have nursed them with the milk that flows from the corruption.
Corruption that floods and corrodes all social structure
Corruption which like beer drips from the top.

You have incubated, raised, deformed and used them.
They are your product and you don’t recognize them as your legitimate children.
Terrorists! You call them.


16 Mar


On Thursday, March 13 City College students calling for the resignation of Bob Agrella and the reversal of the new tuition policy were beaten and pepper-sprayed by the police. Yet the CCSF administration is now claiming that it was the students who were violent. What are the facts?