ILC international newsletter No. 207

ILC INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER
A dossier of weekly information published by the
International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples
October 21, 2006
Issue 207
Price 0.50 Euros

INTRODUCTION

Mexico: End the military intervention against the teachers and the people of Oaxaca! We are publishing a letter from one of our correspondents.

United States: The midterm elections will take place on November 7 to renew a third of the Senate and all the House of Representatives. In a situation where, according to one poll, 54% of U.S. citizens support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, 200 soldiers in Iraq have signed an appeal calling for the return of the U.S. troops.

Ecuador: The Movement for the Construction of a Workers Party has prepared, on the eve of the second round of the presidential elections, a national conference around a Manifesto for a Sovereign Constituent Assembly of the People, against the candidate of the oligarchy, Alvaro Noboa, to build struggle committees and forge a united front for a Constituent Assembly.

Caribbean: The Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean has sent us an urgent appeal for solidarity with the teachers and people of Mexico, the trade union, and the victims of the violence in Haiti, as well as the general strike called by the trade unions of Guadeloupe for November 7.

Italy: Forced-labor camps were dismantled in the south of Italy.

Angola: We are publishing an interview with Alberto Neto, the president of the Democratic Party of Angola.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Contact:
Informations internationales
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United States: Two hundred U.S. soldiers call for a return from Iraq


On November, 7 the mid-term elections will take place in the U.S., which will renew a third of the Senate and all the House of Representatives. The Republican Party, the party of Bush, is not at all assured that it will keep its majority in the two chambers.

Bush recently affirmed that "the only manner to lose is to leave before the job is done." The bloody chaos provoked in Iraq by the occupation is intensifying, with thousands of U.S. soldiers losing their lives. "The candidates aim to disassociate themselves from the mess," said one commentator.

This electoral fever is a symptom of a deeper crisis because the Democrats offer no more of a solution than the Republicans. Though they dare to denounce the "incompetence of Bush," the other main party of the U.S. capitalists, does not at all call for the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq.

"We are offered a choice between staying on blindly or continuing on with a distant timetable," declared a former advisor of the president. "The real alternative is between escalation and disengagement," writes a journalist of the New York Times, on October 30. "But an escalation would require more troops, money, and most of all the will of the nation -- all things that are lacking."

In a recent poll, 54 % of citizens are in favor the removal of the troops within a year. After the mid-term elections, the question is posed with even more intensity: Seeing as no established party wants to bring back the troops, how can the growing will of the U.S. people to end the occupation be expressed?

This sentiment was expressed by the 200 U.S. soldiers in Iraq who signed an appeal calling to bring the troops home.

For the first time since the invasion of Iraq, it was not just the families of the troops or the veterans, but active troops, serving in Iraq, who have called on Congress to end the military occupation of Iraq.

This appeal will be distributed to the members of Congress in January 2007, on Martin Luther King day.

"I am an American patriot loyally serving my country in uniform. I respectfully call on the political leaders, members of Congress, to call for a speedy removal of all the U.S. military forces and all the bases in Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work. It is not worth the price. It is time to bring the troops home."

Technically, it is not a petition, but, rather, to respect the military constraints, an individually signed appeal. Nevertheless, this initiative is first collective action of troops demanding a return home.

These troops utilized a law that authorizes troops to communicate in their own names to Congress concerning any illegal actions or actions contrary to the Constitution of the U.S.

The appeal names various reasons for their request: the financial cost, the cost in terms of human lives, and the "suffering of the Iraqi people."

This appeal takes place in a context of profound political crisis, which is reaching up to the summit of the political summits. This crisis has deepened with the passing of the law authorizing torture.

This is the march to barbarism that two hundred U.S. soldiers in Iraq reject.

- Correspondent

-----

The cost of the war in Iraq: Four times the health care funds for all Americans for over 10 years

"One minute in Iraq: 380 dollars," is the title of an article of the New York Times, from October 25. Each minute more of occupation comes from the pockets of the American people.

The article notes that, "while the war for Iraq was being prepared, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, estimated that the total cost of the operation would be at least US$50 billion. Concerning the reconstruction of the country, Paul Wolfowitz, assured them that Iraq 'will use its oil revenue to finance its own reconstruction.'"

But, today, studies have appeared suggesting that the total is more than US$1 trillion. This means US$6,000 for each American citizen.

"To get a sense of these totals, the amount of money represented," argues the article, "it is necessary to understand that this represents four times the funds needed to assure medical coverage for ten years for all U.S. citizens without health coverage."


BRAZIL

A powerful push "from below"

Lula was re-elected in Brazil with over 60% of the vote, which testifies to a radicalization and push "from below" in favor of the candidate of the Workers Party.

"Confronted with vicious attacks, the former trade unionist returned to the class struggle rhetoric that pushed him into power four years ago," noted the Associated Press, which also recalled that, "once president, he adopted a more conciliatory attitude toward the market economy and the bosses, to the great surprise of the conservatives. But after the first round, Lula returned to his electoral base. Š Sometimes it is very easy to mobilize the poor, but it is often difficult to demobilize them after the election."

It is a fact that the Brazilian people clearly demonstrated its desire for a sovereign Brazil and for a government that deals with the big problems of the nation: giving land to the landless, ending the sell-off of the national resources and public enterprises, and ending the dictatorship of the debt, which is imposing privatizations and misery.

This powerful movement of the workers and people of Brazil is also connected to the struggles of their brothers and sisters in Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico and the entire continent.

At the same moment, in La Paz, Evo Morales, who was pushed into power by the Bolivian people one year ago, announced a law essentially nationalizing the main mining resources of the country. Faced with the repeated destabilization attempts by the oligarchies and the U.S. Embassy, Morales took the only path that would guarantee the support of working people: the path of satisfying the demands of the people and the nation.(1) This lesson is true for Bolivia, but isn't it also true for Brazil? Isn't this the meaning of the massive vote for Lula?

------

Endnotes

(1) We should note, nevertheless, that at the same time, Morales retreated on the agrarian reform, ceding to the big land-owners. We will return to this theme in a later newsletter.


MEXICO


Armed goons and federal troops attack the strikers in Oaxaca: End the military intervention against the teachers and people of Oaxaca!

In various past issues we have written about the situation in Mexico, before and after the presidential election. We have written on the struggle of the teachers and the first incidents that took place.

The most dramatic news is coming to us from Oaxaca, where armed groups in the pay of the governor of the state, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, then the army itself, under orders from the federal government, provoked a demonstration of forces that could have resulted in a bloodbath. One of our correspondents from Mexico has sent us a letter written below. The ILC immediately published a communiqué calling for international solidarity with the teachers and people of Oaxaca (see page 8).

Yesterday at noon (Friday, October 27), I was in Mexico City, with 400 teachers and activists from Oaxaca, who have been there since October 9, after a march of 500 kilometers, of more than 2,000 delegates of the teachers and the population of Oaxaca to the Mexican capital. A few minutes after the granaderos attacked our encampment to get rid of us, we learned that in Oaxaca, armed men under direct orders of the governor, attacked the barricades, with the goal of kicking out the defenders of Section 22 and the APPO from the center of the city, which they have occupied since June 14.

Three people were killed during the attack: a New York journalist, Bradley Will, from Indymedia, Emilio Alonso Fabian, of Section 22, and Esteban Ruiz, a militant of the popular committees. At least 23 others were seriously wounded and are currently in the hospital. Fourteen activists have been killed on the barricades since the beginning of the movement in May.

We then learned that, in the neighboring town of Santa Maria Coyotepec, the police arrested and imprisoned 20 strikers. Thirteen of them were wounded. The teachers and their supporters also organized a demonstration and set up an encampment in front of city-hall, to demand that Ulises Ruiz be kicked out.

The Mexican daily newspaper, La Jornada, reports that no less than 50 teachers protesting in front of the governors' office, in Oaxaca, have disappeared. As I write these lines, we have no more information concerning their whereabouts.

In a declaration published Friday night, the leaders of Section 22 and the Popular Assembly accused Ulises Ruiz and Concha Arellanado (president in Oaxaca of the CNC peasants federation, which is controlled by the PRI) of having planned out and organized this brutal aggression by the plains-clothed police.

Ulises Ruiz and Concha Arellanado both publicly declared in recent days that the encampment would no longer be in place after October 28.

Concha Arellanado was even more explicit, declaring on October 16 that: "We, members of the PRI, will take matters into our hands if the federal government does not end the occupation and vandalism in our State before Saturday. Radical elements are the problem. We will do everything necessary to re-establish order, law, and social peace."

The minister of the interior, Carlos Abascal Carranza, holding out both the carrot and the stick, pressured, during the past ten days, the leadership of the teachers' union to accept the agreement negotiated on October 10 in Mexico City.

The carrot is the creation of a Senate commission to examine whether it is possible to dismiss Ulises Ruiz, as well as satisfy some of the demands on wages and working conditions. The stick is the deployment in Oaxaca of more than 3,000 troops, with tanks and helicopters, who are waiting for the order to come in and smash the strike and the mass movement built around support for the teachers.

As was to be expected, the Senate Commission decided that there was no reason to fire Ulises Ruiz and a unanimous vote in the Mexican Senate ratified this conclusion. The teachers, with other activists of the Popular Assembly, decided to continue to demand the ouster of the governor, who represents the worst vestiges of the corrupt and repressive PRI regime, which led Mexico with an iron fist for over 70 years. The teachers will not feel secure enough to work until Ulises Ruiz is gone. They fear repression by the governor and his death squads against groups and individuals.

It is urgent that all the sympathizers of the teachers' movement and the people of Oaxaca address the embassies and consulates of Mexico, throughout the world to call for the end of the repression in Oaxaca, the punishment of the all culprits of the violence against the teachers and Popular Assembly militants, and the satisfaction of all the demands, which is the only way to bring back peace.

Mexico,
Saturday October 28
Correspondent


ECUADOR

No to the electoral fraud! Unity for a Sovereign Constituent Assembly of the People in Defense of National Sovereignty and for a break with North-American Imperialism!

On Sunday, October 15, 2006 the first round of the Presidential elections took place, in a context marked by a brutal propaganda drive by the bourgeoisie and a premeditated and systematic fraud

In the second round of the elections, which will take place next November 26, two candidates will face off:

Alvaro Noboa Pontón, owner of more than 120 companies, unconditional defender of capitalist globalization, of the free market, of the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., and the maintaining of the North-American military base in Manta, is one candidate. He aims to implement the full privatization plans, the sell-off of the whole national patrimony.

The candidate of the Alliance for a New Country, Rafael Correa Delgado, raises the banner of the sovereignty of the nation and the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., for the end of the military base of the U.S., against labor precarity and for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly of the People.

In the face of the evidence of fraud, powerful demonstrations took place, particularly in Quito. The Movement for the Construction of a Workers Party in Ecuador is organizing a Conference of Committees in Struggle and Unity for a Constituent Assembly, on November 15, 2006 around the "Manifesto for a Sovereign Constituent Assembly of the People, All Out Against Alvaro Noboa!" which we are publishing below.

On October 15, 2005, the elections took place in Ecuador, in a society where the system of the private ownership of the means of production reigns, a society marked by the struggle between the exploited and the exploiters. This is what is at the heart of the discussion in these elections around class interests and the convocation of a Constituent Assembly.

The second round of the elections, which will take place on November 26, will express even more clearly the struggle for or against a Constituent Assembly and will concentrate the mobilization of the working people of Ecuador against the bourgeoisie and imperialism.

The candidacy of Alvaro Noboa represents the interests of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. Alvaro Noboa and the leaderships of the Social Christian Party and the Democratic Left have come out against a Constituent Assembly! Why?

Because they want things to remain the same in our country. They want the corrupt institutions, such as the National Congress, the Supreme Court, the Electoral Tribune, etc. to continue to work in the interests of exploitation and oppression, in the service of privatizations, the TLC, and the payment of the debt.

On October 15, the decomposition of the institutions in the service of the bourgeoisie was demonstrated, through the electoral fraud organized by institutions in the service of imperialism, particularly the OAS.

The resistance of the workers and peoples of Latin America expresses itself in the struggles of the peoples of Bolivia in defense of the nationalization of the hydrocarbons, in Venezuela in defense of national sovereignty, in Mexico against electoral fraud, and in Brazil, where the workers demand that Lula break with imperialism.

Despite the division of the presidential candidates who called for a Constituent Assembly, despite the electoral fraud, the majority of the nation said: Sovereign Constituent Assembly now!

The majority vote in favor of Rafael Correa reflects this popular aspiration, as well as the nul and blank votes, as well as the votes for Luis Macas, Marcelo Larrea, Luis Villacís. Unfortunately, the proposal of the Movement for the Construction of the Workers Party for UNITY in defense of national sovereignty against imperialism was not heeded because electoral and partisan interests were privileged. This position of division, of course, helps the oligarchy.

Things cannot continue like this. There is nothing more urgent than creating the unity of the working people and its organizations! It is necessary to fight the candidate of the oligarchy. Not one vote for Alvaro Noboa!

But voting is not enough; it is necessary to organize the united struggle for a Constituent Assembly.

The Coordinating Committee of the National Movement for the Construction of a Workers Party, constituted on October 7, decided to propose to the political and trade union organizations that they urgently unite and that they convoke an Assembly or Parliament of the People for a Constituent Assembly.

We categorically affirm that it is not enough to vote for Rafael Correa, it is necessary to fight to make the Constituent Assembly and the popular demands become a reality.

With the perspective for a United Assembly for a Constituent Assembly, we call for the creation of the united struggle committees for a Constituent Assembly!

We propose a big conference of united struggle committees for a Constituent Assembly on November 15 to tell Rafael Correa what the popular mandate is, that is, our platform of struggle. We had the popular will ignored after the fall of Bucaram, so we must remain vigilant to tell Correa that we are ready to fight for:

-- A Sovereign Constituent of the People will full powers
-- The non-payment of the foreign debt. No to the TLC! No treaties with imperialism! Break with the policies imposed by the international financial organisms.
-- The end of the U.S. military base in the city of Manta
-- The nationalization of the hydrocarbons and all the strategic sectors of the national economy
-- The creation of a national production base with capital and technology at the service of the majority
-- The end of illiteracy and public and free education
-- No to the concession/privatization of the drinkable water distribution
-- No to the division of the country into regions, which threatens national sovereignty. No to autonomies which will break up the unity of the nation.
-- A rise in the education and health care budgets
-- Jobs with workers' rights and a decent wage. End precarity and flexibility. No to the reforms of the labor code.
-- The defense of the pensions, health care, and child care systems
-- A real agrarian reform. For the end of the privatizations and the end of the structural counter-reforms and privatizations of the economy, such as with electricity, telecommunications, oil, and others. Nationalization of EMELC!
-- The Renationalization of the banking system, which are currently an instrument to pillage our country.
-- A policy in defense of our immigrants to other countries, against their exploitation and humiliation. International unity of the workers and oppressed peoples of the world! International solidarity against imperialism! For the recognition of the government of Manuel Lopez Obrador, the legitimate government of the Mexican people! Solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Cuba!

To implement all these demands, a Sovereign Constituent Assembly is necessary. Its content must these demands listed above, if we want to refound the country.

In conclusion, it is more than clear that the people, the workers, and the unemployed are looking for a new political representation. The only guarantee of this is the independent political organization of the workers. We propose to the labor and political activists who agree with this proposal to unite with us to build our political instrument, that is, a Workers Party.

For a government that breaks with imperialism! For a Constituent Assembly that decrees the immediate end of the payment of the debt and an end to the plans of the IMF!

For more information, contact: jelv83@hotmail.com


Association of Caribbean Workers and Peoples ATPC

Pointe à Pitre (Guadeloupe), October 27th 2006

Dear Comrades,

Together we took part in the 2nd Caribbean Conference on December 15th and 16th 2005 in Guadeloupe FOR THE INDEPENDENCE OF TRADE UNIONS AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF NATIONS. After debates and analysis, we adopted resolutions in this way, which notably encourage the reinforcement of links and exchanges and especially solidarity between Caribbean Workers and People.

Since that conference there has not been much contact between us but we know the workers and people from our different countries never stopped struggling with their trade unions for their demands, against anti-trade-union repression, against oppression, against the violence and the cruelty generated by imperialism and the capitalist system. We also know that the governments, in the pay of the multinationals and employers, with their police and army, with their justice under their orders, do not stop attacking the workers' conquests and the sovereignty of the people.

That is what happens in Mexico where they assassinated trade unionist teachers on strike several times. Responding to the initiative of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples, we are leading a solidarity campaign with the workers and the people of this country.

That is what happens in Haiti where violence strikes trade unions and their families, and the popular masses. At the request of the comrades of the CGT and the OGIT from Haiti we started a solidarity and financial support campaign.

That is also what happens today in Guadeloupe where, with the call of the trade unions, a general strike is beginning on November 7th 2006.

WE ARE MAKING A URGENT CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE WHOLE OF THESE WORKERS AND PEOPLE.

Send motions of protests to:

- For Mexico to:
Vicente Fox Quesada, President of the Mexican United States:
vicente.fox.quesada@presidencia.gob.mx
Carlos Abascal, Secretario de gobernación:
segob@rtn.net.mx

- For Guadeloupe to:
Mr le Préfet de Guadeloupe: prefecture.region.guadeloupe@wanadoo.fr
Tel: 590 99 39 00 Fax: 590 81 58 32
Mr le Président du Conseil Général: info@cg971.fr
Tel: 590 99 77 77 Fax: 590 99 76 00
Le Conseil Régional: Fax: 590 81 34 19

Send solidarity messages to:

- For Mexico to:
Copy to Fernando Mendoza Perez
Member of the authority of national coordination of the section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE: oax@hotmail.com

- For Haiti to:
Patrick NUMAS: ogith2002@yahoo.fr
Gérard PIERRE: cgthaiti@yahoo.fr

- For Guadeloupe to:
UGTG: ugtg@ugtg.org
ATPC: mptpg@wanadoo.fr

For the ATPC

Robert FABERT


ITALY: Polish slaves at work camps in Apulia (Province of Foggia)


During the summer of 2006, a forced labor ring was dismantled in southern Italy. The Poles were held prisoners in labor camps of the region of Foggia (Apulia), harvesting tomatoes, artichokesŠup to14 to 16 hours a day in the scorching heat. They were supervised by kapos and confined to slavery. Any attempt at an escape was punished by the use of corporal punishment.

The investigation revealed a ring of clandestine labor that had been in operation for at least two years between southern Poland and the Foggia region. It is the deterioration of living conditions in Poland, unemployment and misery that are the direct consequences of privatizations, the dismantling of public services and the dislocation of the country put into action under the aegis of the European Union that has driven the youth and workers in search of a better future. But this is the reality they found.

With some variations, the story of these 113 Polish agricultural workers is the same: "A small ad in a newspaper or on the Internet, the promise of employment properly paid (5 to 6 euros, food and lodging), a loan from the bank or the family to pay for the trip on a minibus, driving for hours through the Italian countryside, waiting for night and the arrival in hell." (Le Monde, September 22, 2006)

Over-exploited daily, the Polish workers had to pay to survive: pay to sleep, to eat and even transportation. If they were unfortunate enough to fall sick, they had to pay a 20 euros fine for each day lost from work.

Marek said: "I have lost all hope of being paid on the day six of them started to beat up a strong guy who demanded his pay." According to Italian and Polish authorities, at least four workers were killed, not counting the suicides and those who died from exhaustion. A list compiled by the Polish authorities counted 69 workers who had been in the Apulia camps and who have been reported missing by their families. According to the Polish agency PAP, over 1,000 Poles fell in this trap.

How have we arrived at this extreme in a country like Italy? There are three elements that can explain it. Italian agriculture operates with illegally hired workers. This accounted in 2005, for 33% of agricultural workers in Italy, that is to say one out of every four throughout the south in all categories taken together.

Italian seasonal workers are replaced by clandestine ones who, in the context of a veritable hysteria against migrant workers, have no rights, no papers, far from their families and in fear of being deported, are totally at the mercy of their tormentors.

The well-developed Mafia, has strong links to local political powers and encourages them to overlook their activities. In the framework of the European Union, one of whose major objectives is to "lower the cost of labor", Italy adopted the Biagi law in 2003, voted at the same time as the 'social cohesion' plan of Borloo in France. These laws have permitted the casualization of labor contracts and caused the labor code to be virtually ignored.

At the same time, after March 9, 2006 Prodi lowered the budget for labor inspection.

Other European countries are not exempt from these situations: the deterioration of labor conditions for immigrants concerns all of Europe. In France, in certain building sites in Saint Nazaire, where the state guaranteed supervision of construction, over-exploited immigrant workers were used in spite of the Labor code and collective bargaining. Throughout Europe, by attacking the rights of migrant workers, by organizing the systematic exile of workers reduced to repugnant exploitation, an unprecedented series of blows threatens the labor class and its rights.

- Correspondent


CZECH REPUBLIC

A brutal increase in rentals and privatization of public services The European Union causes all prices to soar

A correspondent from the Czech Republic informs us that she has gathered information on the disastrous results of the policy of the European Union.

On October 12, 2006, we were informed that increase in rentals would begin. Newspapers published a table showing the increases planned as of January 2007. For 'regulated' 60m2 apartments in Brno the increase went from 1, 645 to 2,154 Czech crown; in Olomoue from 1,539 to 1,876; in Prague-1 (the center of Prague) the increase went from 2, 224 to 2,899 crowns and in Hradec Kralove from 1,221 to 1,649.

Newspapers also stated, "Thousands of renters have already received notices advising of the deregulation of their apartments as of January 1, 2007Šrents will increase from around 19.2% and by the year 2010 would rise to 5% of the value of the apartment."

On October 19, another article indicated that as of "January, the price of apartments and houses will increase 6%. This will continue."

The same newspapers reported: "Brussels wants to remove the monopoly of the postal services." The European Commission has presented its plan, "to totally suppress the monopoly of the postal services in all European countries by January 2009. In less than two years, it will be possible to receive mail through the postal service and private firms. The Czech postal services if already confronted by competition by private companies handling parcel post."

Another article on October 12: "Water will increase 100% thanks to the European Union. Czechs will have to pay more for water. The Czech Republic has undertaken to construct water purification plants in every town from 2,000 to 10,000 inhabitants by 2010. Brussels does not plan to finance these projects and therefore it is the citizens who may have to pay."

For the time being, each citizen pays around 47 crowns for a cubic meter of water, but thanks to the Brussels decisions, "he might end up paying up to 250 crowns."

In other words, thanks to Europe, the price of water will be multiplied by five.

- Correspondent

ANGOLA: Interview with Alberto Neto, President of the Democratic Party of Angola

What is the result of 30 years of independence in your country?
From 1975 through 1991, Angola was under the direct domination of the Popular Movement of Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a party that resulted from the fight for national liberation which was transformed in 1986-87 into a labor party. During this time, the party's orientation was Stalinist version of socialism. And the people of Angola made many gains including public education, free health careŠ

The social conquests did not last. After the agreement between the MPLA and the UNITA-the Lisbon-Bicesse agreements under the guidance of the UN and especially the U.S.-Angola was opened to multi-parties and the possibility of ending a war that had caused two and a half million deaths, more than in the fight for national liberation.

In 1975 the Alvor agreement was signed by the MFA (Portuguese), MPLA, UNITA, and the FNLA for the creation of new political structures: the election of sovereignty organs, the presidency of the republic and the constituent assembly. But it wasn't possible.

The MPLA took over via a 'revolutionary' power without the recourse of an election. Having crushed other patriotic movements and refused to call for elections, the MPLA created the Council of the Republic, a government that did not represent the will of the people. This single Stalinist party was the reason for the continuation of the war that ended with the Lisbon agreement in 1991.

From an economic point of view, since 1992 Angola was one of the new colonies that produced and exported oil and diamonds. Angola produces a million and a half barrels per day, with highly advanced technology. It was inconceivable that a war could continue under the conditions. However the war continued until April 2002.

The mafia in Angola decided to end the conflict and postpone the political division. This resulted in a coalition government presided by the MPLA with components of the UNITA and other parties that continue to lead the country.

Angola is now subject to structures founded on the privatization of the national economy. Since 1992, the opening to international capital was done with the help of the IMF and the World Bank and the Paris Club. Angola contracted civil debts was well as military debts since it had to pay a heavy tribute for the purchase of arms.

The mafias who control the country plan to hold it: Angola needs to be a country at peace so that the great powers and the multinationals can pillage their oil, their diamonds, uranium, gold and other minerals they need.

What is the situation of the workers in Angola?

We are witnessing the dismantling of Angolan agriculture. Angola used to be the third producer of coffee on the continent. Thanks to the capitalist economy, Angola now imports coffee for its own consumption. Angola now imports sugar which it used to produce and export was well as rice. The dismantling of the large farms was created in 1975 by the expropriation of land.

At present large extents of land are given to the members of the nomenclature who often simply hold title to the property.

The war left mines everywhere and that is why a good portion of the population has taken refuge in the principal towns in Angola. There are five million inhabitants in Luanda where there were only 250,000 inhabitants in the colonial era. There are eight large towns in the country. Peasants have sought refuge in these towns to be safe from factional fights and the insecurity caused by the existence of anti-personnel mines.

The economic dismantling of Angola is not obvious where oil and diamonds are concerned, but there are mafias that have organized to obtain the greatest benefit. The productivity of industry is 15% lower than that of 1973.

Unemployment stands at 23.4% of a population of six million inhabitants. The informal economy allows people to survive but that is a powder keg that will some day explode.

Is there an active trade union movement?

Even before the national liberation movement, in 1975 the trade union movement was the National Union of Angolan Workers (UNTA) if we speak of the MPLA. It was a trade union movement that acted in common accord with the liberation movement. It was a trade union linked to the state.

After 1992, UNTA became an inoperative trade union, which was not interested in defending the workers' interests. In 1993-94 another trade union was born with the objective of defending primary, secondary and higher education teachers. This trade union fought for punctual demands but was unable to extend itself throughout the country, having little resources and was unable to develop into a coherent and permanent trade union.

Today, faced with privatization and the sub-contracting of oil, another trade union was constituted for the defense of oil workers. There is a considerable difference between the wages paid the expatriate workers who work 28 days on and 28 days off in the Angolans who do not have this right.

The teachers' trade union has organized several strikes in the country's only university named Agustinho Neto. This allowed an increase in wages but no improvement in living conditions.

Angola suffers from a weak purchasing power. The government has no way to combat the increase in unemployment or the misery in the country.

The PDA is preparing its congress. What is at stake for this congress?

The preparation for this congress is for Angola society to pressure this government to accept a process that would allow the country's economy to be under the control of Angolans, since Angola has a foreign debt of 12 million dollars. At present, Angola is no longer in control of its resources and is at the mercy of foreign interests in fixing the prices of its primary products.

This situation exists not only in Angola but in all other countries where the neo-colonial government is not the master of the disposition of its resources. That is why we say that Angola must have a government that can defend its primary products and ensure the freedom of its people, a real democracy and an Angolan economy designed to defend national sovereignty.

Today this sovereignty is fictitious. The PDA is conscious of the role that Angola can play within the southern African countries: the defense of the rights of man, and national sovereignty. We know there are foreign military bases in southern African countries whose purpose is to assist foreign powers in controlling the economy of these states.

The PDA estimates that in the area of culture and education, they would have to go back to the gains obtained during 1975-free health care, free education. There are two and a half million children that are outside the school system. It is necessary to develop a construction industry designed to satisfy the need for housing and get rid of the hovels existing around the principal towns in the country.

As for infrastructures, we need kindergartens, schools, social equipment. We need an integrated development plan designed to develop the country taking into account the need to improve the living conditions of the Angolan population and the workers in particular.

What do you expect from collaboration with the ILC?

In Angola there are workers that are conscious of their struggle, of their rights, right to health care, right to professional education, right to an equitable wage, right to housing, right to leisureŠbut these are not possible if there isn't a government to defend them. State property is indispensable to create the proper conditions for development. What we are seeing in Angola, is the dismantling of state powers: privatization of the principal companies, privatization of insurance, airlines, maritime companies and other important sectors. It is a world order to which we are totally opposed because it does not improve the lot of workers.


MEXICO: Comuniqué of the ILC, October 29, 2006

The contradictory news coming to us from Oaxaca (Mexico) is a cause for worry for all defenders of democracy and workers' organization of the world. It seems that force has been used against the teachers and working people in Oaxaca.

Let us recall that, with their organizations, particularly Section 22 of the SNTE and the Popular Assembly, the teachers and the people have called for the past months for equal wages for teachers, shoes and uniforms for the students, and the ouster of the corrupt governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, who they accuse of being the true culprit of various killings of workers' activists.

Heavily armed groups, during the night of Friday and Saturday, brutally came in to break up the occupation of the city by the strikers and the people, resulting in four deaths and many wounded. Among the dead are a teacher, Emilio Alonso Fabian, an activist, Esteban Ruiz, and an Indymedia journalist, Bradley Roland Will, from New York. At the same time, the police (granaderos) have attacked a picket line in front of the Senate in Mexico City.

While contradictory information is being sent out, according to various newspapers, President Fox gave the order for the army to intervene to end the strike and kick out the protestors; according to these newspapers, the order came after the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, publicly called on the Mexican government to "reestablish order in Oaxaca."

If this information is true, there is much cause to fear a bloodbath against an un-armed population.

The ILC recalls that, from the beginning of the movement, it has given its full support to the legitimate demands of the workers and people of Oaxaca and has called for a peaceful solution to the conflict, which today requires meeting the protestor's demands.

The ILC urgently calls on all its correspondents, all activists, and all workers', democratic, and popular organizations, to go to the representatives of the Mexican government -- embassies and consulates -- to demand the end of all armed interventions and the end of police violence against a people demanding its rights.

Daniel Gluckstein,
Coordinator of the ILC

Send your messages to:

Vicente Fox Quesada, President:
vicente.fox.quesada@presidencia.gob.mx
Carlos Abascal, Secretario de gobernación:
segob@rtn.net.mx

Send a copy to Fernando Mendoza Perez, coordinating member of the National Leadership of Section 22 of SNTE-CNTE: Alborotador_oax@hotmail.com

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