November 7, 2008

November 2 National Workers' Rally hit neo-liberal offensives

November 2 National Workers' Rally hit neo-liberal offensives
5700 workers determined against reactionary trends

On November 2 in Hibiya Outdoor Music Hall, 5700 workers and youth gathered to National Workers' Rally in confrontation against reactionary trends within labor movement. A gigantic step forward was thus made to revive Japanese labor movement in a revolutionary direction through smashing the defeatist line of "The Four Parties and Four Organizations" in regard to the struggle of dismissed 1047 national railway workers.

The participation of militant labor union leaders and activists of Korea and US one again confirmed a steady progress of forging international labor unity of three countries and demonstrated to all participants that we are reaching a new dimension for achieving proletarian world revolution.

The opening address was made by brother NAKAMURA Yoshimasa, vice-president of Minato-Godo (Metal and Machinery Workers' Union in Osaka), followed by solidarity messages: Mr.TAKAYAMA Shunkichi, representative of Society for Constitution and Human Rights in Japan Federation of Bar Associations; Mr.NISHIKAWA Shigenori, vice-director of Block The Road to War - Million Signature Campaign; brother HAGIWARA, vice-General Secretary of Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against Construction of Narita Airport together with brother SHITO Takao (who is fighting against the planned expropriation of his farmland).

The first speaker from Korea was sister Jun Eun Ju, vice-president of Korean Metal Workers' Union, Seol Branch, Local Hitech RCD Korea, who reported on the struggle of her union by means of hunger strike and occupation of the company tower. She was followed by brother Lee Jae-young, President of Seoul Regional Council of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). He denounced the capitalists who pushed ahead neo-liberal agenda to be responsible for current worldwide financial crisis and demanded that they, composing only 1% of total world population, pay for that. He concluded his speech with an appeal: "Let's achieve international unity of working class and launch socialist movement to change the world, overcoming reformism! "

From US labor movement, brother Jack Heyman, Executive Board Member of International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 10, spoke first. He proudly reported on the historical May Day stop work that shut down all the West coast ports in solidarity with Iraqi workers and emphasized: "Class collaborationist ideology dominates the trade union movement globally" "We call for raising the level of struggle from protest to resistance" " We workers need our own party, a party of the working class"

The second speaker from US was brother Gregory Sotir of UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) and CAMS (Coalition against Militarism in our Schools) who exposed expanding attempt of introducing curriculum for corporate interest and enforcing militarization of school and appealed for a determined struggle against greedy capital that is driving neo-liberal policies.

The keynote speakers of the rally were brother KO Hideo, vice-president of KAN-NAMA (Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers, Kansai Area Branch) and brother TANAKA Yasuhiro, president of Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba). Brother KO summarized the development of three unions' (KAN-NAMA, Minato-Godo and Doro-Chiba) coordinating efforts for these ten years as most successful achievement with rich experiences and called for further strengthening of the three unions' bond, pointing out, "When divergence of opinion emerges, it is a favorable opportunity to strengthen unity through candid discussion. As long as workers keep fighting, it is possible to change the whole society". His speech was fully supported by brother TANAKA who noted that what we are now witnessing is the beginning of the end of capitalism and that we need to stick to the original stand-point of labor movement to address the serious situation. He pledged to keep absolute opposition to the defeatist line of "The Four Parties and Four Organizations" and finally called on all the participants to stand up for general strike demanding a large-scale wage raising on the occasion of the Spring Labor Offensive next year.

Special reports were delivered by the following people: Dispute groups of the struggle of dismissed 1047 national railway workers, including union members of Doro-Chiba delivered passionate speeches, denouncing the surrender of "The Four Parties and Four Organizations" ; sister NEZU Kimiko spoke about her struggle against Hinomaru and Kimigayo, representing other dissident teachers; a member of Okinawa fighting group spoke out against the plan of US navy base construction on Henoko of Okinawa, resisting rotten leadership of the movement.

Workers, fighting in workplaces, expressed their determination for fresh struggle: a medical worker, a public service worker and a postal worker.

At the end of the rally, a vigorous group of students of Hosei University, representing militant students belonging to Federation of Cultural Clubs, emerged on the stage and reported their courageous struggle against the reactionary repression of the university authority. Currently 22 students are detained in prison for their activity on the campus, for example, distributing flyers, putting out political billboards or making outdoor speech, etc. The participants warmly applauded their speech.

After the rally, participants in a high spirit stormed into the street of Ginza, popular down town of Tokyo and carried out a powerful street demonstration, overwhelming the lively quarter. Police, trying to suppress the demonstration in vain, outrageously arrested one of the demonstrators, but could not prevent sympathetic passers-by to join the demonstration.