Today, May 1st, 2020, the Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions has issued a statement for international unity and struggle. The New Unions state "We Palestinians express our solidarity with our sisters and brothers all over the globe in fighting the pandemic and the capitalist corporations which rake in profits on the backs of workers. Crises are moments of change and today we reiterate our call for more collective action to intensify the movements that eventually will overthrow the racist, colonial, capitalist, patriarchal and neoliberal world order that hinges on the exploitation and subjugation of workers."
May 1 statement for international unity and struggle by the Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions
Today, May 1st, 2020, the Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions joins nations around the world to mark the International Workers’ Day. May Day comes this year while workers are battling the worsened working conditions, exploitation and loss of jobs and income amid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. We Palestinians express our solidarity with our sisters and brothers all over the globe in fighting the pandemic and the capitalist corporations which rake in profits on the backs of workers. Crises are moments of change and today we reiterate our call for more collective action to intensify the movements that eventually will overthrow the racist, colonial, capitalist, patriarchal and neoliberal world order that hinges on the exploitation and subjugation of workers.
The spread of the epidemic has brought to the forefront the racist face of the Israeli settler colonial project through the escalated exploitation and ill-treatment of Palestinian workers in Israeli corporations. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers have been forced by the need to survive to keep the economy of the Israeli apartheid and settler colonial system ongoing as Israel has accelerated operations in the sectors with most Palestinian workers. They have not been provided by their Israeli employers with the minimum preventive measures to stay safe from the pandemic. Tens of them contracted the virus while others suspected of infection with the virus were denied their humanity and were thrown ailing like trash at Israeli military checkpoints.
Hundreds of thousands of other Palestinian workers commemorate the day – originated within the historical struggle to achieve fair and better working conditions and standards – while they are unemployed without any income to secure them and their families’ livelihood. Today, Palestinians face the impending annexation of 30% of the occupied West Bank, a fundamental part of their land and natural resources, as part of Israel’s continuous policy of dispossession. Taking advantage of the pandemic, the Israeli occupation has accelerated and escalated its violence, demolition and arrest campaigns and aims to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the so-called area ‘C’, a step that was green-lit by Trump’s plan for the ‘Theft of the Century.’
Thousands of Palestinian farmers will be thrown in more poverty and, exploited by Israeli corporations, will serve as cheap labour once the Israeli occupation annexes their land, their main source of income. The Israeli settler colonial and apartheid project is an economic enterprise, whose relentless quest to expand is predicated upon the wretchedness and deprivation of the Palestinian population of their natural resources.
The Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions believes that the anti-colonial struggle for national liberation has to go hand in hand with internationalist class struggle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed that both the capitalist and colonialist enterprises speak the same language of discrimination, exploitation and racism by demarcating and differentiating the ‘lives that matter’ from ‘those that don’t matter’ more than ever before. Many governments in the ‘developed world’ are now revealing the full scale of their contempt for internationalist values and principles of human rights as they respond to the pandemic with hectic, protectionist and racist practices leaving the rest of the world without support to mitigate the pandemic. Even towards their own citizens, Western governments adopted measures to contain and mitigate the pandemic under the motto of ‘the survival of the fittest’. On the day of remembrance of those who wanted to force the capitalist enterprises to respect their humanity through strikes and protests, we mourn all those colonized and the many old and disenfranchised people and workers who were among those not fit enough to survive and combat the pandemic.
The International Workers’ Day amid the pandemic is an urgent call to all of us that only together we can win. We have to unite in internationalism and overcome borders between peoples and the walls of oppression, exclusion and discrimination. It is time to build justice, equality, unity and solidarity among nations.
Reinforcing the role of trade unions in Palestine and other parts of the world is central in our effort to dismantle the oppressive and dehumanizing regimes of capitalism and colonialism.
We shall never forget that we are all fighting the same battle. In our unity and within the local struggles of an internationalist labour movement we shall raise our voices to demand our rights and a dignified life.
Long Live May Day as a symbol of the struggle of the Palestinian and international working class.