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 planet.

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 prevail. The Day of Action will not only be a time for protest, but also a time for reflection and discussion. The wave of strong reactions to the recent events we have received from trade unions around the world will serve to strengthen the sense of a global trade union community and solidarity as we put forward the central demands of the Day of Action.”

The demands made by unions participating in the Day of Action are as follows:

“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, Belgium