By ILPS Philippines Chapter
Warmest greetings of solidarity from the Philippines to all workers and peoples on the celebration of International Labor Day 2015!
We take this occasion to thank the global solidarity and mass support to save at the last hour the life of our compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. We hope to clear her name before the state authorities in Indonesia and seek justice not only against the international drug syndicates who victimized her but also against the exploitative system which continues to breed poverty, oppression and this modern slavery.
We also take this occasion to extend our call for immediate relief to the people of Nepal. Just before the killer earthquake, the workers of Nepal went on a general strike for a constitution by national consensus.
The capitalist world knows only money and profit – at the expense of both man and nature. We only have our solidarity and mass struggles to assert our collective welfare and rights. The worker’s union and the strike movement remain as powerful weapons to defend our working and living conditions. Democratic mass actions have foiled imperialist wars, intervention, aggression and the destruction of our means for human existence.
We congratulate the oil workers in the United States for carrying out the largest national strike since 1980. They have stood up against such corporate giants as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and other companies. As they struggle for an industry-wide contract, workers and protesters from New York to Los Angeles are demanding for a minimum wage of $15 an hour from the federal minimum of $7.25. Protests came not only for wages but for justice such as the most recent death of Freddie Gray following recent killings of several black men at the hands of white policemen.
We laud the workers in Europe fighting against austerity cuts, labor market reforms, unemployment, anti-migrant measures, as well as for their political rights. Among them are the general strikes of workers in Italy, air traffic controllers in France, public sector workers in Belgium, social workers in Germany, airport staff in Finland, college staff in the UK, Dutch oil storage workers, Norwegian teachers, and Czech auto workers among others.
In the Middle East, we commend the public-sector strike in the Gaza Strip, the protests against the demolition of Palestinian homes in Israel, the heroic struggles of the Kurdish people in Syria and Iraq, and the continuing democratic struggles in the Arab world.
In Latin America, we praise the worker’s general strikes in Argentina over income tax, in Brazil against the liberalization of outsourcing, and in Haiti against the UN occupation. We support the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela led by Nicolas Maduro in fighting US intervention. We acclaim the efforts of the Latin American workers to build ALBA and their own regional integration free from the neoliberal impositions of the IMF-WB-WTO and monopoly corporations. The normalization of US ties with Cuba is but a by-product of the growing isolation of the US in the region.
In Africa, we congratulate the strikes of mine workers and nurses in Ghana over wages, the judicial workers and miners’ strike in Nigeria over unpaid wages and bonuses, and the general strike in Guinea for a fourfold increase in pay. The efforts against the spread of Ebola were helped greatly by the international solidarity of Cuba and Venezuela.
In Asia, we praise the most recent general strike and protest called by the Korean workers in fighting back the Park Geun-hye government’s anti-worker policies. We also note the state-wide general strike in West Bengal, India. In China, strikes are also on the rise: from 656 in 2013, more than doubling at 1,378 last year. This year, some 40,000 workers of the Adidas and Nike supplier in China went on strike to demand social insurance payments. In Vietnam, shoe workers for Converse and Reebok also went on strike. As many as 90,000 workers protested the government policy on social insurance coverage.
As Filipino workers struggle for a national minimum wage and against the “contractualization” of labor, we also fight back against the corruption, the semifeudal backwardness and the subservience of the Aquino government to US imperialism. We remain defiant over repressive attacks which killed, abducted and forcibly disappeared union organizers and activists. Their lives will never be forgotten.
The US strategic pivot to Asia only seeks to strengthen its own vested interests in the region and the world. However, it is becoming even more isolated before more and more peoples and nations. The working-class struggles are reaping more and more victories. Imperialism and local reaction everywhere will be defeated.
We celebrate May Day today. We celebrate a brighter life for tomorrow.
Assert workers’ economic and democratic rights!
Fight for social equality, justice and freedom!
Down with imperialism!
Long live International Labor Day!
Long live international solidarity!