Nov. 6 International Workers’ Solidarity Rally
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Nov. 6 International Workers’ Solidarity Rally
Labor Movement under the Global Economic Crisis
and International Solidarity
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba
Welcome to this international solidarity rally.
We are very thankful for your enthusiastic international solidarity: Over 40 members from KCTU Seoul Regional Council, the delegations from the United States and Germany and many representatives of foreign workers in Japan are here. The delegate of Conlutas from Brazil, who are prevented from coming to Japan by illness, sent us a solidarity message. Also the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association—a ground crew union—sent us a message. In firm solidarity with you, we work hard to revive a militant labor movement here in Japan.
We are now experiencing a tremendous change of the world. As the economic crisis engulfs the world today, a total eruption of a crisis is nearing in Japan. Japan’s fiscal deficit is now the worst in the world as a result of the repeated huge public spending for rescue of big corporations. Two decades of neoliberal attacks forced one out of every four workers into poverty. Not only wage and employment, but also all the aspects of social life—education, health care, pension etc.—are collapsing.
The Kan administration of the Democratic Party of Japan is now aiming to fire millions of public service workers and force them to take irregular jobs.
The recent conflict between Japan and China over “Senkaku” (Diaoyu) Islands demonstrates that escalating competition over natural resources, market and sphere of influence is now developing into a territorial conflict, which in turn spurs a campaign for constitutional revision to turn Japan into a military power and for strengthening of Japan US Security Alliance and the military bases in Okinawa. Spreading chauvinist and nationalist propaganda is now creating a new Fascist movement.
In these circumstances, the established labor movement is caving in and degenerating unrestrained. Therefore, it is urgent for us to create a genuine labor movement. Although our power is still very weak, we have been squarely confronting with these adverse circumstances.
The division and privatization of the Japan National Railways in 1987 led the sweeping neoliberal policies all across Japanese society. As many as 200,000 rail workers were chased from their workplaces and Kokuro, the then pivotal union in Japanese labor movement, was reduced from 240,000 strong union to 40,000. The then national trade union center, Sohyo, and the Socialist Party, which abandoned to organize any effective fightback against the privatization of JNR, were driven to dissolution. Thus, over 10 million workers have been driven into irregular jobs since then.
Only Doro-Chiba waged strikes against the privatization of JNR and defended unity of membership. The struggle for withdrawal of dismissal of 1,047 rail workers was born from these strikes. Many workers of every industry from across the country have joined this 1,047 rail workers’ struggle. This struggle has constituted the decisive and pivotal counterforce against neo-liberalism.
This year, the government focused its attack on breaking down of this struggle. In return for some money, the leaders of two railway unions accepted the settlement plan that openly stated, “the privatization of JNR brought about tremendous benefits for our people” and terminated the struggle.
The “settlement” will invite more and more massive attacks on workers and labor unions. We decided to continue our struggle, held a nation-wide rally in June and launched a new Nation-wide Movement of National Railway Struggle to achieve withdrawal of the dismissal and to fight back privatization and union busting. This movement is a tremendous endeavor, in which we rebuild labor unions from scratch and establish a nation-wide network of workplaces and communities. We have no silver bullet for it. However, only through this effort we can build a genuine labor movement that fights in the global economic crisis.
Our workplaces in Japan Railway Companies are embroiled in bitter fight. The main focus is the outsourcing of railway jobs to hundreds of contractors and sub-contractors with rail workers transferred. Jobs and safety are about to be destroyed.
So-called “Outsourcing Revolution” goes hand-in-hand with
privatization. It constitutes a central neoliberal attack on workers.
Numerous workers have been driven to irregular jobs, many unions were
destroyed and poverty increased dramatically. Japanese labor unions
could not fight back this attack. Rather, they served for it.
Now, it is time to the decisive battle again. We will launch a new struggle from this fall on to next spring. Without struggle against outsourcing, we cannot win a struggle for withdrawal of dismissal. Without struggle against privatization and outsourcing, we cannot revive labor movement. This battle is very decisive for the future of labor movement.
Now, we are winning another great victory. Since July, the co-sponsor of tomorrows’ rally, Kan-Nama (Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers, Kansai Area Branch) has waged a four-month strike against the huge general contractors, which have been so to say the rulers of Japan. Kan-Nama organizes workers of hundreds of small and micro enterprises in ready-mix concrete industry dominated by monopoly capitals of general contractors and cement producers. Under the global economic crisis, majority of such enterprises were on the verge of bankruptcy. In these circumstances, Kan-Nama decided to launch a strike. The workers shut down all the construction sites in Osaka area—the second largest metropolitan area in Japan. After three months, all the general contractors caved in to the powerful pressure of strike and accepted the union’s demand. It is a historic victory of about 1800 workers of small and micro enterprises who organized an industry-wide strike, drawing in other unions and even the owners of the small and micro enterprises against gigantic monopoly capital.
Almost all of labor leaders are degenerated to go to the rescue of capital believing that fightback is impossible. However, just because we face global economic meltdown, workers’ fightback is necessary.
Workers are waking up under fierce enemy attacks; enormous strikes and demonstrations are erupting all over the world. What is needed is organizing struggles in workplaces in defiance of established labor leaders who degenerate more and more, yielding to the crisis. The struggle of united workers is the driving force of social transformation. Workers’ unity has a power to make the history. Get back our unity! Revive our labor unions!
We have many difficulties to overcome. However, angry voices echo in every corner of the society; innumerable workers desire fundamental change. They have been repeatedly betrayed by politicians and labor leaders. But they have not yet recognized their own power to change the world. Our task is to promote awareness that the struggles of each worker and of united workers are the only power to fundamentally change the society. We must organize angry voices, strategize and revive labor unions.
These objectives cannot be achieved without two efforts: daily and
steady organizing in our workplaces and international workers’
solidarity. We have learnt a lot from Korean comrades from KCTU and
American comrades from ILWU and UTLA. They have greatly inspired and
encouraged us. We are more and more convinced: “Workers united
will never be defeated.”
Thank you very much.
Comrades who gathered here to strengthen the working class unity and
the international solidarity! I’m very glad to meet you. I’m
Chon Jefun, vice president of Seoul regional council of KCTU. Here is
my heartfelt greetings to you: Tu jaeng.
South Korea acts as chair country of G-20 which will take place from
November 11 to 12. Stepping up crackdowns on workers, President Lee
Myung bak are eager to help capitalists of the world make more profit.
From the outset of taking office, Lee Myung bak administration has been yelling out new industrial policy and recently enforced the legislation of the Time-off System and is now planning to curtail the role of full-time union activists. Its aim is to hinder solidarity struggle and tie down the activist to the Enterprise labor union to uproot the foundation of KCTU through tying down union activists to the system of company union. The government does not approve the establishment of construction workers’ union and transport workers’ union on the ground that irregular workers are participated in these unions. The government also refuses to accept the notification of establishment of Public workers’ union on the ground that laid-off workers are organized in this union. Increasing short time work and dispatch work, the government is seeking to promote labor-market flexibility.
In the name of modernization of public sector, the government is stepping up overall crackdowns (abolishment of the collective bargaining, etc) on public sector labor unions: , such as railway union, urban railway union, electric generation union, National Pension Plan Corporation union. If the public sectors are privatized, it becomes difficult to supply the sufficient public service and its quality will be deteriorate in compliance with market principles. Even now there are many people who can’t get the public service. If the public sectors are privatized, workers will not keep very low standard living.
Now in South Korea, many irregular workers are fighting at the risk of their lives. Workers of Kiryung Electronics and Donghui Auto are besieging the factories against dispatch work system, contemporary slavery. The struggles of irregular workers such as study-aid book workers, construction and transport workers, who are not officially approved as worker and oppressed by the government, are continuing. Seoul regional council of KCTU is organizing Joint Besieging Group to support these struggles and spreading the struggle over the entire area of Seoul region.
Capitalist strategy is to bypass regularly-employed workers of big factories and to find way in increasing part-time, temporary workers or irregularly-employed workers, such as dispatch workers for their survival. Democratic labor movement, however, has failed to fight back this capitalist offensive and ended in allowing division and classification among workers. Only way to confront the enemy attack is to strengthen unity and solidarity of workers. It is urgently required to bring together those workers who are separated among big corporations and medium and small enterprises, regular and irregular jobs, men workers and women workers to fight against the common enemy.
Capital and government are suppressing not only workers but also vast number of people. They are forcing several kind of sequestration or evacuation for their profit: street merchants are forcibly swept away by the name of environmental purification, “rough sleepers” are driven into camps during the period of G20 to be held in Seoul in November. Immigrant workers are under severe and extreme repression. They are regarded and treated as criminals and threatened to expulsion. Horrible persecutions are taking place on them, causing a large number of injured and even dead among them by the police.
Since its outset, all the G20 Summit talks were nothing but banquet events of capitalists for perpetuate the exploitation system. We must change G20 in Korea. International solidarity between Korean and Japanese workers and their struggle against G20 in this month is now growing. We must turn the G20 into a forum of solidarity
We must workers intensify international solidarity struggle across the borders and thus fight back against the governments’ schemes to massively augment low wage and precarious jobs under in the guise of resurgence of capitalist economy and job security. Workers in Korea, the host country of G20, will fight at the forefront of international solidarity for workers rights, exposing the conditions of Korean workers.
Let’s forge international workers’ unity against capitalists’
exploitation and establish workers’ right to live! Let’s
create an alternative world!
Kim Seung-Tae, First Vice-President of Seoul Regional Council of Korean Government Employees’ Union
Hello, I am the First Vice President of Seoul Regional Council of Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), Kim Seung-Tae. On behalf of the Korean delegation, I give you Korean comradely greeting. Tujaeng! (Fight!)
KGEU represents 130,000 public employees who work in cities, counties, wards, autonomous wards and agencies of the central government and so on. The Seoul Regional Council of KGEU is the largest union in Seoul region representing 23 local unions, which represents 16,000 employees of 22 autonomous wards out of 23 and Seoul City Government.
Although the Lee Myeong-bak administration promotes in word democratic “labor relation”, its reckless repression against KGEU is now culminating.
It is shutting off of web sites of labor unions, suppression of check
off of union dues, police raids and seizures of union offices, unilateral
canceling of longstanding contracts, refusal of collective bargaining
and so on and on.
The MoL blamed the eligibility for affiliation of dismissed workers
and “problematic political contents of merger.” On top of
it, the MoL demanded to submit the list of all the names of 140,000
Under the current Korean labor law, we can freely organize a labor
union. This principle of freedom of union organizing notwithstanding,
the government invoked the authorization power for the first time. The
government is thus aiming to annihilate the KGEU.
The leadership of the KGEU is fighting back against this oppression
with unity and wisdom of the 140,000 union members.
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Doro-Chiba and working people of Japan!
We stand in solidarity with your principled struggle for workers rights
and for the defense of working people in Japan as well your international
solidarity links and opposition to imperialist war.
It is also the answer to the increasing racist reactionary assaults on not only Black and Latino people but also Arab American, Muslim and increasing homophobic attacks. As the economic decline deepens, the capitalist media and the billionaires seek to pit worker against worker and use racism and xenophobia in this campaign.
They also seek to stereotype Black and Latino youth as criminals when
the real criminals are those who profit off of exploitation of the working
Transit and transportation workers throughout the US face layoffs hurting not only the workers but all working people including those who rely on public transportation. These attacks have also increased the health and safety problems for workers and the public yet the onslaught on workers continues. The need for united action of all transportation workers to fight these attacks is crucial and our committee is working to help build this unity in action.
We also join you in your struggle against the imperial war adventures
and efforts to provoke war with North Korea, China in an escalating
militarization of the region. US Democratic and Republican party politicians
are united in supporting military confrontations and using the military
escalations to divert the attentions from their enemies at home.
Speech of Ingrid Gunnell (UTLA) on Nov. 6 International Solidarity Rally
Good afternoon! My name is Ingrid Gunnell and I am an Elementary School
Teacher from Los Angeles. I am honored to be here and share in this
international rally of solidarity for workers. This is my 13th year
teaching. I have taught 2nd grade, Kindergarten, and SRLDP (School Readiness
Language Development Program), which is a Pre-Kindergarten program.
I am fortunate to say that I love my job. I love going to work and working
with young children. Every day is different when you work with 4 year-olds,
and they keep me busy!
My name is Harold Kenneth Brown. I am a train operator rank and file member and former President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 (ATU 1555).
Labor Video http://www.blip.tv/file/4376613
On behalf of my union brothers and sisters we would like to thank you
for this opportunity to participate in the international labor conference
November 2010. Doro-Chiba consistently extending their hands across
the waters is greatly appreciated.
The rich and powerful suffer from a yet to be diagnosed disease. How
else can you explain the behavior of an individual who has possession
of $50,000,000,000 (50B) putting the life and well being of millions
behind their unquenchable greed and drive for power?
Union workers contributed their ideas and expertise for improvement
in efficiency and performance. Management gladly accepted and implemented
A bold response was initiated by our sister union SEIU 1021. A group of engineers and mechanics took over the repair shops, barricading themselves in and welding the doors shut.
This got media attention and coverage. The police decided they would
starve them out instead of a violent invasion in front of the cameras!
ATU 1555 and SEIU 1021 have negotiated our contract jointly ever since!
The message we send out today and always is:
Today we cross the waters to join Doro-Chiba, hand in hand and together
we stand strong!!!
Harold K. Brown
Greetings Brothers and Sisters and Agent Provocateurs
My name is Alan Hollie Sabudo. I am a train operator, a member of the
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and a former community liaison.
Unions must fight against having a narrow vision and embrace the fight of workers and the oppressed throughout the world. Workers are faced with the issues of privatization of the public sector, public resources, land and the destruction and the heath care for workers, the elderly and poor. How do we succeed forward in order to usher in a world where the working class, the poor and oppressed will benefit equally?
Brothers and sister WE must stop spending our recourses on electing the lesser of two evil politicians and start RIGHT NOW USING OUR RECOURSES TO EDUCATE OUR MEMBERS (RANK AND FILE) ON THE POWER OF OUR LABOR! Our labor creates wealth (creates commerce). Without our labor there is no commerce.
We must move onward in the fight against privatization neo-liberalism and global capitalism. So, my dedicated fellow brothers and sisters the time is NOW! Are we ready?
Thank you with love, gratitude, unity and abundant solidarity!
Alan Hollie Sabudo
KRD Speech for the Nov. 6 Rally
Genossinen und Genossen,
Sie haben im unglaublich heissen Sommer dieses Jahres in Japan 2 Wochen lang mit den japanischen Genossen zusammengekaempft und sehr viel gelernt. Dieser Kampf war buchstaeblich schwitzig aber sehr fruchtvoll.
Die Tatsache dieser Zusammenarbeit bleibt fest in der Geschichte des japanischen Klassenkampfes aber auch des deutschen. Wir danken euch noch einmal herzlich und wir schwoeren heute hier noch einmal fest, unsere(deutsch-japanische) Danketsu weiterzuentwickeln und unsere Zusammenarbeit weiter zu vertiefen. Lernen wir gegenseitig zusammen! Kaempfen wir zusammen!
Nun spreche ich jetzt von Deutschland.
Hinter uns werden Hans, Peter und Maria sein, einfache Namen wie Taro,
Hanako, Takashi. Kurz: gewoehnliche Menschen und gewoehnliche Arbeiter.
Unsere eigenen Haende haben die heutige Welt geschaffen: Wir sind der
Meister der Gesellschaft.
Genossinen und Genossen,
Es lebe die internationale Solidaritaet zwischen der deutschen und
Hoshino Fumiaki is an innocent political prisoner in Tokushima Prison. He has spent 36 years in detention. He appeals, “Workers who produce everything and run the society have the power to smash enemy attacks, transform workplaces and whole society, get back all the properties from capitalists and emancipate all human beings. Get back the power of labor movement, free the anger of all of workers and people! Build unity of all workers and people across the borders!”
On November 14, 1971, Fumiaki took part in the demonstration in Shibuya,
Tokyo, against the ratification of the Agreement on the Reversion of
Okinawa, which was strengthening of war efforts, especially the reorganization
and enhancement of the US military bases in Okinawa. The secret pact
on nuclear weapons was also included in the Agreement.
I married with him in 1986 while he was in prison. Since then I have
been living and struggling together with Fumiaki against Japanese inhumane
prison system, which prohibits even a minimal human contact: I cannot
touch his hands.
The first application for retrial was refused. The Supreme Court, however,
admitted that Fumiaki wore at the time “light blue clothes”
instead of “biscuit clothes” which was the previous story
of the framed up sentences.
We will file a lawsuit under national redress law. Protests from around the world are surely very effective. Please send protest and encouragement letters to the government and to Fumiaki. He himself said that his task is to encourage everyone.
In 1971, many workers and students in mainland Japan rose up for Okinawa struggle at the risk of their own lives. The life imprisonment of Fumiaki was retaliation against this historic struggle. This is also an exemplary punishment on Fumiaki who continues the struggles of 1970 and creates today’s Okinawa and anti- Anpo (Japan US Security Alliance) struggles in prison. Furthermore, the oppression against Fumiaki is meant to destroy the struggles of workers and people including Doro-Chiba outside the prison.
Smash the divide and conquer policy! Take back Hoshino Fumiaki with the power of international solidarity. Please support us to free my beloved husband, Fumiaki, and to corner the Kan administration of Democratic Party. Please join the national rally for free Hoshino.
Let’s take back political prisoners of the world, including Mumia
Abu Jamal, with international solidarity!
KODAMA Tadanori, Kokuro-Tosodan, Akita
I’m one of the members of 1047 national railway workers who were
dismissed because of our struggle against the Division and Privatization
of National Railway, a pivotal policy of neo-liberal offensive in Japan.
Now we are in the 24th years of the struggle and we are not defeated.
We rejected the governmental proposition firstly because the conditions
of this “settlement”, presented by the government implies:
(1) to drop all suits concerning the dismissal, (2) to promise not to
raise the issue of unfair labor practice or the demand for reinstatement
(employment), (3) not to give any guarantee to the job of dismissed
workers. In exchange for accepting these conditions, a certain sum of
“reconciliation money” would be paid to the dismissed workers.
The headquarters of Kokuro (National Railway Workers’ Union)
which accepted the “political settlement”, decided on the
National Convention in July that we, the dismissed union members, were
given a status of “special union membership” who are exempt
of paying union fee and are deprived of the right of electing and being
elected. Further decisions were made to abolish strike fund and it woud
be used to finance “report meeting of the settlement”.
However, we are not scared at all. Capitalism has been thrust into the global economic crisis and its end is approaching. To confront the fresh capitalist offensive, Doro-Chiba launched a new “nationwide movement of national railway struggle” on June 13. Quite different from the traditional labor movement, which used to beg mercy from the government in the name of “humanitarian rescue”, a new movement has started a struggle of 1047 dismissed national railway workers based firmly on the class struggle principle of working class.
This new movement is to kindle fires of struggle in every workplace
against capital, overthrow the rule of Rengo over workers and put class
struggle labor movement in the position of mainstream of class struggle,
a rehabilitation of militant labor movement. Establishing a close link
of solidarity with fighting workers all over the world, this movement
has been powerfully developing.
Brothers and Sisters of Doro-Chiba
It is an honor to address this important rally in Tokyo in such a critical
moment of International Class Struggle.
Massive layoffs, attacks on labor rights, budget cuts to social services,
pension reforms and wars are on the agenda of the capitalists.
In the Middle Eastern and South Asia, the most powerful armed forces of the history of humanity, the United States army is suffering a defeat in the lands of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The most advanced weapons are not enough to crush the will of the people in struggle.
Our brothers and sisters in Palestine are standing up against the daily
massacre perpetrated by Israel. The solidarity towards Palestine is
increasing all over the world, bringing up the necessity of boycotting
Israel and breaking the blockade against Gaza.
The point is, however, that the majority of the Union leaders chose
to compromise instead of to resist to the capitalist backlash. They
are prepared to accept concessions because they are not willing to fight
Long live the unity between Doro-Chiba, CSP-Conlutas and all militant
unions across the world!
Workers of the world, Unite!
Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association
Solidarity Message to the November Workers Rally in Japan
Greetings of solidarity!
In the name of the working class of the Philippines, the Partido ng Manggagawa or Labor Party, extends the long hand of solidarity to the workers of Japan and other countries who are participating in the November Workers Rally. The call of the November Workers Rally for the establishment of a nationwide network of militant unions in Japan to lead the revival of the labor movement and the fight against the onslaught of neoliberal globalization is utterly correct and necessary.
All over the world, workers are facing the vicious attack of the capitalists
and their governments against labor standards and workers rights. As
international capitalism plunges into a deep and historic crisis, the
race to the bottom in wages and working conditions worsens ever more.
The working class is being made to pay the price of a crisis that is
not of its own making.
In the Philippine Airlines, our national flag carrier, more than half of the workforce, some 3,000 workers, is facing retrenchment. Regular unionized employees will be replaced by agency workers who will have cheaper wages, less benefits, no security of tenure and no right to organize. While the plight of workers when the Philippine Airlines was nationalized was no heaven, it has become hell after the flag carrier was privatized and bought by the second richest man in the Philippines.
The fight for job security and workers rights at Philippine Airlines is the biggest labor dispute in the country. Not only is it a litmus test of the labor policy of the new government in the Philippines but it is a trailblazer struggle for the workers movement. The future of labor relations and the labor movement depends on the outcome of the fight between labor and capital in Philippine Airlines.
The defense of labor standards and workers rights is the content of
the struggle at Philippine Airlines and in other establishments, factories,
shops and offices in our country. In fact it is the same everywhere
else for workers. In Japan, you call agency workers as dispatch workers.
In the Philippines we call them contractual workers. The term is different
but the conditions are the same for all workers exploited by the greed
Indeed there is much that binds the workers of the Philippines and
Japan in particular and of other countries in general. If not for the
labor dispute at Philippine Airlines, I would have also participated
in the international conference and workers rally in Japan. Still the
workers of the Philippines are one in spirit with the call and demands
of the November Workers Rally for defense of workers’ rights and
the fight against neoliberal globalization.
DORO-CHIBA (DC): National Railway Motive Power Union of CHIBA