Throughout 2018, U.S. newscasters hung on every irrational and obnoxious tweet by Donald Trump. But many workers and oppressed people around the world had little time for that — they were busy with the sensible task of coming together to fight rising repression and exploitation.
Bosses everywhere shivered as they watched a pandemic of rebellion spread across the globe. Hotel workers in several U.S. cities waged an eight-week strike. Their slogan was “One job should be enough,” and they forced major concessions from the Marriott Corporation. Yellow vest protesters rocked the streets of Paris, forcing President Macron to abandon new taxes that would fall on already hard-pressed workers. Factory employees in Shenzhen, China, faced arrest as they struggled to form an independent union, while other workers and students from around the country rushed to support them.
Cheers as well to the planetary uprising of women! Feminists in Ireland forced the government to scrap its law banning abortion, and women in Argentina historically pushed one house of parliament to do the same. And sexual harassers the world over certainly got the memo from the courageous #MeToo movement.
These struggles over the past year did not add up to a mortal blow to the profit system that inflicts so much misery. But they were far more than mere brush fires to be snuffed out by the powers-that-be. Why? Because working folks expressed solidarity with one another across borders and even continents. Agricultural workers, especially berry pickers, supported each other up and down the North American west coast; for example, Mexican farmworkers recently toured Washington state to explore avenues for cooperation. A binational movement of Canadian First Nations, tribes in the U.S., and students put the brakes on a dirty tar sands oil pipeline in British Columbia. Kurdish women freedom fighters sent an inspiring solidarity video to abortion rights organizers in Argentina.
And, as the caravan of Central American refugees made its way toward the U.S. border, people in both Mexico and el Norte helped them in multiple ways, from sharing food and shelter to providing legal advice. Two Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) members are currently at the border working with the National Lawyers Guild.
FSP was also actively engaged in strengthening international ties through our work with Latin American socialists to build the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment. CRIR collaboration resulted in thrilling U.S. tours by Argentinians Maria Alvarez, Daniel Campos and Celina Contu. Through their speeches and in discussions with them, FSP members and people attending their events learned a great deal about battles being fought by women and workers in the midst of Argentina’s political and economic crisis, an aid to future cross-border organizing. In Melbourne, party comrades participated in protests with Brazilian community members in Australia against ultra-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and the murder of feminist and human rights activist Marielle Franco.
One of the most heartening developments of 2018 was the coming together of socialist groups within the U.S. to organize against the far right and outright fascists, who continued to take to the streets to spread their white supremacist, misogynist and xenophobic message. In several cities, together with the party’s sister organization Radical Women, FSP was key to this long-overdue advance in left cooperation. This is a trend that we will do our best to strengthen in the coming year.
It is no wonder that working people and those who are most abused and marginalized are everywhere battling against tyranny and for a measure of justice. They are compelled to do so because they live under a capitalist system that requires war, racism, sexism, super-exploitation, and ecological devastation to survive.
Let 2019 be a year when international solidarity flows even more swiftly and deeply, working-class protagonists take aim more and more at the profit system itself, and the banner of revolutionary socialism is raised higher and higher.
FSP will be in the thick of the fight, and we look forward to joining together with all of you to score victories for humanity and the planet in the year to come. Happy New Year!