President of DORO-CHIBA(National Railways Motive Power Union of Chiba)
Create a new movement and a history of working class!
Today we are holding the seventh November Workers' Rally. We have been
focusing on only one issue: "Bring back workers' unity! Bring back
workers' pride of being a master of the society! Revitalize labor unions!"
It is time to rise up, uniting angry workers and throwing the labor bureaucrats
into a trash bin; they already lost their pride and became pawns of capital.
We are confident of immense potential of every worker. We have absolute
confidence in far more potential of united workers. With this confidence,
let's create ourselves a new workers' movement and a new history.
Our struggle is now joining with angry voices of innumerable workers;
we are about to make a rupture in the thick wall standing before us.
2. Great Endeavor of the Million Worker March
Also in the United States the working class started a historical endeavor:
the Million Worker March on October 17 in Washington DC. In opposition
to the more and more corrupt and bureaucratic leadership of the AFL-CIO,
the rank and file workers began to make history in their own name. The
Million Worker March gathered enormous endorsement of labor unions and
organizations representing 3,500, 000 workers from around the United States,
despite the obstruction of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy horrified at this struggle.
Such turbulence taking place in the very center of imperialism of the
world means beginning of a new struggle which gives tremendous impetus
on the labor movement of the world, not to mention that of the United
The most remarkable fact is that this struggle was started with unbelievably
audacious endeavor by a small local union. We have the honor to have the
delegation from the ILWU Local 10 and Local 19 at this rally. The call
for the Million Worker March came from ILWU Local 10, a small local representing
1200 workers, which has been defending their militant tradition since
the Great General Strike of 1934 in San Francisco. Their determination
and resolve to call on the workers coast-to-coast and all over the world
for an action in Washington DC must have been a matter of life and death
to them. The spark came from them ignited the fire of anger at unendurable
circumstances and rapidly expanded it throughout the United States.
The MWM is the same movement as our objective and our effort in Japan.
3. General Strike of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
The struggles of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) is also the
same. Under very difficult circumstances, the Workers of KCTU have grown
up into the national labor federation representing 700,000 workers, the
mainstream of the Korean labor movement. Under military dictatorship and
its innumerable repressions, and outlawed by it, they started to organize
labor movement risking and scarifying their own lives. KCTU Seoul Regional
Council is the locomotive of their struggle. In this November, KCTU is
launching a general strike to stop the bill on irregular workers and the
entering into of the Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Korea, whose
negotiation is now in crucial stage.
The participation of fellow workers from ILWU Local 10 and KCTU Seoul
Regional Council in this rally shows enormous opportunities of regeneration
of the Japanese labor movement.
4. Stop Massive Privatization and Proliferation of Irregular Jobs and
Let me speak about our objectives of this rally.
The first of the objectives is to create a nationwide network of fighting
labor unions which can defeat a new massive privatization drive by the
Koizumi administration and Okuda of Japan Business Federation. The Koizumi
administration is bulldozing the scheme of so-called "large-boned
policy" (Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Structural
Reform), which aims privatization of the postal system in 2007 and reform
of public employees system. They are about to privatize not only the postal
system but also industrial civil services such as garbage, waterworks,
transit systems, hospitals, nurseries, and school catering and even the
collection divisions of the National Health Insurance and issuance of
resident cards. The privatization drive is about to inundate the whole
society and attack workers. On the one hand it deprives them of official
rank of public employee. On the other, it limits the right to strike because
"they should be deemed public employees."
Privatization is #virulent poison for workers. Privatization means also
proliferation of irregular jobs and union busting. During three years
under Koizumi administration, 2,600,000 regular jobs have been lost; 1,950,000
irregular jobs with extremely low wage and little rights have been created
instead. The public pension and healthcare are also privatized; they are
slashed and changed into so-called "self-responsibility." Now
in the Diet, the deliberation on a bill for revision of Labor Union Law
aiming at destruction of the right to organize and Conspiracy Crime Bill
for oppression of labor movement is entering in crucial stage.
We, the three unions, have been organizing workers of medium, small and
minute companies, who are under the most difficult circumstances. We have
been struggling against attack by capital using bankruptcy. We have been
experiencing many disputes and promoting organizing drive in regions and
industries. Risking our jobs, we have struggled against the division and
privatization of the Japan National Railways and defended our unity.
The struggle for reinstatement of dismissed 1047 railway workers needs
now a new leap forward. The national leadership of the Kokuro (National
Railway Workers' Union) is about to join JR Rengo (Japan Railway Trade
Union Confederation), sacrificing 1047 dismissed workers. The leadership
of NRU West Japan has gone so far as to say "1047 workers cannot
be employed in Japan. Go to Iraq!" However, anger of workers at massive
privatization is about to erupt; the struggle of 1047 workers has now
new prospects and cohesive power.
In every front, stormy turbulence is taking places. In this world of crises
and opportunities, new struggles for fundamental transformation of the
society are beginning. The rich become more and more richer, the poor
more and more poorer, deprived every right to live. Now, we must end the
domination of greedy capitalists by the power of united workers.
5. Prepare mass struggles against war on Iraq and for immediate withdrawal
of Japanese troops, and against revision of Fundamental Law on Education
and the Constitution!
The second of the objectives of this rally is to prepare mass struggles
to stop revision of Fundamental Law on Education and the Constitution,
reserving difference and increasing agreement. Today's rally is a renewed
starting point for this preparation.
If the Fundamental Law on Education is revised, it will open the way for
the revision of Article 9 of the Constitution. The labor movement faces
very crucial period from this autumn through 2005.
Japanese troops have already been dispatched to Iraq and Emergency Bills
passed by the Diet. 160 institutions, including railways, airport, port
and healthcare, were nominated as "designated public institutions"
under Emergency Laws; workers of these institutions are forced by the
laws to cooperate with war. In Iraq, a Japanese was killed; Koizumi administration
has full responsibility. It has flagrantly violated the Constitution and
intensifies war drive. Before the expiration date of Iraq Troop Dispatch
Law, a temporary statute, Koizumi administration proclaims that it cooperate
with occupation and war. We, all participants in this rally, must demand
immediate withdrawal of Japanese troops from Iraq and immediate end of
all war policy.
The last year's November International Solidarity Rally ignited a great
anti-war struggle of March 20 in an occasion of the first anniversary
of launching the war on Iraq. The struggle was the first large scale united
action of workers crossing over differences between the national labor
federations since the disbandment of Sohyo (General Council of Trade Unions
Moreover, uprising of the education workers of Tokyo and the rest of Japan
has shown a gateway to victory for workers struggling against revision
of Fundamental Law on Education and the Constitution. The education workers
of Tokyo who refused to stand up and to pay homage to "Hinomaru and
Kimigayo" (flag of "Rising Sun" and anthem of "His
Majesty's Reign") in defiance of intimidation of Fascist Ishihara,
Tokyo Metropolitan Governor, and sell-out of leaderships of teachers unions
did not shy away from filing a lawsuit against unfair disciplinary measures
and dismissal and formed a group of 480 plaintiffs including those of
preventive lawsuit. They have built a stronghold of regeneration of labor
movement as a whole, shaking even Tororen (Federation of Metropolitan
Government Workers' Unions) and Tokokyo (Metropolitan Senior High School
6. Create a new Ampo-Okinawa Struggle
The third of the objectives is to struggle against US-Japan Security Alliance
(Ampo Struggle) and Okinawa struggle. The Bush administration states that
it will reinforce capabilities of US bases in Japan through the "military
transformation" - a project for realignment of US military bases
abroad - and escalate the US-Japan Security Alliance from "Security
Alliance in Far East" to "Global Security Alliance." The
Koizumi administration is turning Okinawa and all of Japan into an advanced
base for wars.
In these circumstances, a renewed struggle has erupted upon the recent
crash of a helicopter into a building at Okinawa International University.
There can be no retreat from the struggle.
Our Solidarity with US and Korean workers gives us a new perspective on
the struggle for removal of the US military bases and against construction
of new bases. "US-Japan Security Alliance and Okinawa" has been
the most important focus of Japan's labor movement or class struggle.
Let's create the third Ampo-Okinawa struggle, learning the forerunners
of Ampo Struggle of 1960 and Ampo-Okinawa Struggle of 1970.
7. By international unity of workers, fight against mass unemployment
Finally we must accentuate a common agenda. The struggle against privatization
is the same as the struggle against war. The struggle against privatization
and war is the common agenda of workers of the whole world.
Capitalism cannot survive its crisis without waging war. It can no longer
feed workers. Its ruling system is in decay. Koizumi and Okuda see their
only way for sustaining Japanese capitalism in creation of "East
Asian Free Trade Zone." In the negotiation with Korea, the Japanese
government are insisting on fundamental revision of labor laws and oppression
of militant struggle of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. It is inseparably
integrated with Japan's war policy.
Furthermore, a part of labor movement cooperate with this war drive. Some
of the union bureaucracy of Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)
say "economic crisis of Japan cannot be overcome without promoting
armament industry", creating a chilly hostility among labor movement.
Even the President of Rengo said that Article 9 of the Constitution should
be scrapped. Zenroren (National Confederation of Trade Unions) plays thef
worst role of splittist who disrupt creating of broad united action of
angry workers. Now, it is time for rank and file workers on shop floor
to override labor bureaucrats and give them a coup de grace.
There is seething anger among workers of the world. The war on Iraq has
brought forth an anti-war struggle of workers and people around the world
like a forest fire. The rulers of USA, Japan and Korea have fallen further
and further into a quagmire. Bitter attacks on labor movement likewise
brings forth an international workers' struggle and solidarity. Each struggle
on shop floor is inseparable from struggles of workers of the whole world.
Workers' struggle has infinite possibilities.
Although we still face a thick wall standing in front of us and our forward
march is generating stormy reaction, we are, however, scenting a regeneration
of labor movement in this upheaval.
By international unity of workers, overthrow Koizumi, Bush and Roh Mu-Hyun!
Continue to fight! Continue to organize!