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Int'l solidarity with Million Worker March

Workers World received the following messages reporting on solidarity with the Oct. 17 Million Workers March in Washington, D.C.

Demonstration in Japan

Kikuchi Takao writes that on Oct. 17, in solidarity with the Million Worker March in the United States, more than 600 workers and students held a rally and demonstration in Tokyo, opposing George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Hundreds also came out in Hiroshima and Osaka.

At the Tokyo rally, a former member of the Japanese "Self Defense Force"--Hiroshi Ashitomi, an activist and anti-war journalist in Britain--spoke of the crime of complicity. Ashitomi made a special appeal about the struggle in Okinawa. He stressed the everyday fighting in Henoko and support for this struggle.

The solidarity message of the MWM executive committee was read to the participants.

Yasuhiro Tanaka, president of National Railway Locomotive Power Union, said, "We see a new age in which Japanese workers and American workers truly struggle together." He appealed for people to come to a Nov. 7 rally supporting his union, which also sent a delegation to the MWM in Washington.

A teacher who was fired for refusing to participate in the "Hinomaru," the raising of the flag of the rising sun, and the "Kimigayo," a song honoring the emperor, also spoke. So did a young postal worker.

Message from Russia

From Russia, V. G. Gamov of the Defense of Labor union at the Atomic Center of the Russian Federation sent a solidarity message saying the workers there "join hands with our American comrades in solidarity, as if we are marching together through Washington in defense of the oppressed workers of the world!

"Long live the World Workers' Solidarity! Socia l ism is our goal and the only solution for the catastrophe the world is facing! We look forward to strengthening our ties with the comrade workers throughout the world!

"Glory and victory to the workers' march in Washington!"

Slovak workers support MWM

Bill Cecil writes that while U.S. Steel, once the world's biggest steel producer, has eliminated tens of thousands of jobs in the United States, destroying whole communities, five years ago, in an effort to penetrate the European market, it acquired the East Slovak Metal Works in Kosice, Slovakia. Since then, conditions for the Slovak mill's 16,000 workers have become hell.

Zuzana Cingelova, a crane operator, had worked at the mill for 19 years. A union shop steward, she resisted company attempts to change work rules and defraud the workers. When she refused to be bribed, she was beaten, almost killed, falsely accused and forced to leave her job. She fought back with a hunger strike that became a symbol for workers and unemployed people all over Slovakia.

She and 24 supporters marched across Slovakia to the capital, Bratislava, finding welcome in poor and working-class communities as well as in villages of the oppressed Roma people. Zuzana and fellow activist Jozef Danis sent the following message of support to the Million Worker March in Washington:

"Dear brothers and sisters, we recently heard about your long efforts to organize a workers' march on Oct. 17. We understand your situation and we fully support your action. ...

"What we have in common is that our present bosses are U.S. multinational corporations. They are U.S. Steel at Kosice and MONDI through its Austrian affiliate, [the] Neusiedler paper mill plant in Ruzomberok town. Our present bosses fired us from work because we stood up against exploitation and mistreatment of Slovakian workers.

"We will not be slaves anymore. We realized that it is big capital that is dividing us, the working people of the world, against each other. They are threatening you: Be quiet or we will move more production to cheap labor countries like Slovakia. But our message to you is: Don't believe them, we are not your enemies. Since our fight began, we have a common goal with you: to have the same living standards and equal pay in the U.S., in Slovakia, in India, or anywhere in the world.

"Please support our fight by sending us solidarity messages. Please send email messages also to the bosses asking for our reinstatement to work, to assume our responsibilities as rank and file delegates. Thank you very much!!! We are internationalists."

Reprinted from the Nov. 4, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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