Workers World Forum
On Nov. 30, a week after the “Black Friday” protests at Walmart and the horrific garment factory fire in Bangladesh that killed more than 120 workers, most of them women, working-class activists at a forum hosted by the New York City branch of Workers World Party spoke on “The Global Battle against Walmart.”
The featured speakers were Kazi Fouzia, a worker organizer with Desis Rising Up and Moving, a working-class organization of South Asian immigrants in the New York area; Teresa Gutierrez, a WWP secretariat member and May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights organizer; and Caleb Maupin, a WWP youth organizer and Occupy Wall Street activist.
Each speaker explained how the deepening poverty and exploitation of low-wage workers at Walmart, McDonald’s and other retail and fast-food corporations have led to strikes and walkouts targeting these service industry monopolies.
Fouzia’s moving remarks included an indictment of the role that transnational corporations served by Bangladesh’s garment workers played in the factory fire in the Ashulia industrial belt north of Dhaka, the capital. Factory bosses had locked the doors, barring any safe escape from the blaze. She said that many of these workers are paid only 55 cents an hour, while giant retailers make billions of dollars in corporate profits off their slave wages and intolerable working conditions.
The meeting highlighted the need for unity and solidarity among the global working class, whether they toil in the developing or imperialist countries.