The Our America Union Meeting (ESNA by its Spanish acronym) emerged in 2008 as part of a call to build unity during a time of significant popular mobilization throughout Nuestra América for emancipation against neoliberalism and capitalism. It was this time of change and popular organization that motivated the aggressive counteroffensive from Yankee imperialism’s dominant power bloc. It was a time characterized by significant struggles for unity taken up by an immense number of Central Trade Union, progressive unions, associations, and social movements. It was a unity that recognized our diversity, and was recognized as a fundamental principle for understanding the political changes that have occurred in our region. We will have to study this period in depth to draw conclusions and build a new popular offensive, as unique struggles are yet to be waged throughout Our America.
Today, May 1, 2020, the day of international struggle of the working class, we want to reaffirm our purpose in working towards the organizing of the working class and contribute a strategy that contends for political and economic power in a moment of deep crisis for capitalism. In Our America, social inequality, expanded labor exploitation, and the looting of our public resources are growing; aggravated in a wide-ranging crisis that now includes the coronavirus. It is a crisis that has dramatic effects on the income, rights, living, and working conditions of millions of workers. This crisis becomes more burdensome for workers with the onset of the pandemic and confinement due to COVID19 and being forced to deal with a health system destroyed by the hegemonic policies of liberalization and pro-business privatization in the last half-century. People know what this crisis represents and how it will end, with the poor becoming even poorer and the rich ending up richer; in that equation, the majority of nation-states play in favor of the capitalist class. This pandemic has emerged within the framework of a capitalist and civilizational crisis.
Strategy of power
Everything is a result of the offensive of capital against workers. This offensive destroyed the healthcare system, the public education system, and, in short, the set of social rights conquered in the history of people’s struggle. This offensive is against our peoples; it responds to a strategy of power and demands the construction of an alternative approach led by workers and popular movements. At ESNA we intend to challenge ourselves at this moment to think and act on what we can do to stop this new offensive by capital and imperialism, and defeat it by building a new society without exploitation – anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, against patriarchy and all forms of discrimination and racism.
As ESNA, we are aware that the ruling classes have a plan to resume the «normality» of capitalist accumulation after the stoppage of production and economic activity due to the pandemic, which, strictly speaking, is the result of a residual recession from the 2007/09 capitalist crisis. The capitalists with the highest concentration of wealth intend to maintain their profit margins and demands for the return of the productive forces (workers). Still, they intend to do so by affecting historically obtained rights at the detriment to workers themselves. That is why they take advantage of this moment to adjust the labor relationship regressively and remove unionized workers; attack the social, individual, and collective rights, affecting the income, working, and living conditions of millions of workers around the world.
From ESNA’s perspective, we propose more organization and struggle in defense of our rights and further still, build with imagination towards a perspective of independence and social liberation under other social relations, of cooperation and friendship between peoples, in defense of the environment, with full respect for women’s rights, gender equality, and diversity.
These goals involve struggles to secure an income and the expansion of labor and union rights, confronting the logic of precariousness promoted by employers and the right-wing. This is why ESNA calls for working-class unity to confront the power of capitalism. At the same time, we are developing a transition process of structural reforms that enable the realization of the other possible world, an alternative «normality» to that of the oppressor class. This is why we promote that health must be guaranteed to the entire population, especially the most vulnerable; along with living wages, employment and a general income for the millions affected by COVID19 and a recession that is now in full swing; promote actions against the health crisis and the commodification of healthcare, affecting all the cost of necessary medical resources.
Measures are required to confront the world capitalist order, and in this framework, strengthen the ESNA and the unity of struggle of the workers towards that perspective of another world is possible! We demand greater integration and not the subordination of Cuba, which today leads by example the meaning of solidarity, against militarism and interventionism by US foreign policy and its partners in the world. ESNA reiterates our solidarity with the heroic people of Cuba and the rejection of the brutal economic, commercial, and financial blockade. Our solidarity is with all the peoples in struggle and especially with Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
Our struggle is against the capitalist regime, its international institutions, and imperialism, for a fundamentally different society, one without the exploitation of the labor force nor the looting of the people’s resources. As ESNA, we propose a broad-based articulation of organized workers and popular movements to make this historical maxim have more relevance today than it has in the past: WORKERS OF THE WORLD: UNITE!
Given in Nuestra América on May 1, 2020
International Worker’s Day