ICFTU Says Nov. 9 Day of Action Will Go Ahead
by Andy Pollack
Andy Pollack is a labor activist and member of the
Labor Party in New York City.
In the document reprinted below (from the LabourStart
web site) the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions announces that
its Global Unions’ Day of Action by the Workplaces of the World will go ahead
as planned. This day of action, which was before a unique opportunity to broaden
out the movement against global capital, has now become an activity that could
be crucial in building a long-term movement that will determine the fate of the
Even the Islam-bashing mainstream media admit that
poverty in Arab countries plays a role in fostering terrorism. Since the WTO is
meeting in the Arab country of Qatar (on the Arabian peninsula), we have a
chance to educate millions about the conditions facing Arab workers, peasants,
and unemployed, to demand social justice, the right to organize, etc., in that
region, and thus to explain that in fighting war we are not just opposing
mindless killing but are actually presenting an alternative to both Washington’s
warmongering and the fundamentalists’ terrorism.
As the antiwar movement gets baited for being soft on
terrorism, we must be able to explain that we are the ones fighting for a world
where the conditions that breed terrorism no longer exist. November 9, and the
weeks leading up to it, can become the focus for a global movement in solidarity
with Arab and Muslim peoples around the globe — not only to protect them from
massacres at the hands of Washington but also in solidarity with their fight
against Washington’s economic exploitation.
One only has to read the quotes in the mainstream media
from ordinary people in Afghanistan, Palestine, Egypt, etc., to hear the link in
their minds between that exploitation and their hatred of the U.S.
November 9 now becomes a chance to reach out to millions of those people
in defiance of the war machine and the profiteers behind it.
Day of Action to go ahead on November
Brussels, September 21, 2001—In the aftermath of the
terrorist attacks in the U.S. last week, the ICFTU has announced that
preparations for the Global Unions’ Day of Action on November 9 will go ahead.
On and around November 9, unions and their members will
be calling for a “new globalization” at workplaces throughout the world. The
day is set to coincide with the first day of the 4th Ministerial Conference of
the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Qatar. Mike Moore, the
Director-General of the WTO, announced last week that the organization still
plans to hold the ministerial meeting set for Doha [capital of Qatar] despite
the terrorist attacks in the United States.
In a statement issued today, Bill Jordan, General
Secretary of the ICFTU, said, “At a time when democracy and open society are
under such brutal attack, we need to strengthen democracy and global governance.
We must recommit ourselves to building a world where democracy and rights
The demands made by unions participating in the Day of
Action are as follows:
NO to globalization that drives down workers’
rights and job security
NO to globalization that undermines education and
NO to globalization that helps the rich and hurts the
NO to globalization that stifles and denies democracy
YES to globalization that benefits all people
YES to globalization that delivers true global
justice and equality
“We remain firm in our conviction that the WTO
process must be reformed if it is to foster a fair and just globalization,”
asserted Jordan. “We will continue to fight for the right of workers around
the world to have a voice in the institutions which are shaping the global
economy. The response to international terrorism and criminality must include
support for the rule of law and international solidarity, rights, and democracy.
In this context, as a matter of urgency, intergovernmental processes such as the
WTO must be strengthened by making them more open and accountable."
[For information on the Global Unions’ Day of Action,
see the ICFTU web site.]
The ICFTU represents more than 156 millions workers in 221 affiliated organizations in 148 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions.
For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department
or call +32
(2) 224 0232 or +32 476 62 10 18.
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, B1, B-1210 Brussels,