Thirty years ago many banana workers in the Philippines made a radical change in their work and lives. They transformed the militant unions they had organized to wrest a decent living from the multinational corporations that control much of the world’s food production. Instead of working for wages, they used the country’s land reform law to become the owners of the plantations where they had labored for generations.
It was not an easy process. They had to fight for market access and fair prices against the same companies that had been their employers. But they developed a unique organization to help them, that provided knowledge and resources for forming cooperatives. Twenty years ago FARMCOOP and these worker/grower cooperatives defeated the largest of the companies, Dole Fruit Company (in the Philippines called Stanfilco). As a result, today the standard of living for coop members has gone up, and workers have more control over how and what they produce.
FARMCOOP became the source of everything from financial planning and marketing skills to organic farming resources and political organizing strategy. FARMCOOP then developed an alliance with one of Mindanao’s indigenous communities, helping it start its own coops that combine the use of local traditions with organic and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) joins with progressive, peace, and socialist movements everywhere in condemning the United States assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020. We endorse the statements below by the United States Peace Council and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). We also support the protest demonstrations against the illegal and immoral US assassination that were held January 4, 2020 all across the United States in over 80 communities with thousands of participants. We wish to express our solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi citizens who also mobilized against this act of war by the United States.
We condemn this political assassination as one more terrible crime committed by US imperialism and US capital in a generations-long history of attacks on the rights, land, and sovereignty of the peoples of the Middle East in the drive to obtain oil and other resources for US multi-national corporations and the US capitalist system.
We agree with the coalition of peace forces who organized the protest rallies on January 4 that along with the violations of international law and morality that we, in the United States, have a responsibility to organize a large peace and anti-intervention movement to stop US war aims, or this war will “engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences.”
We in CCDS join with our brothers and sisters at home and abroad in demanding:
No War Against Iran
The Elimination of Crippling Economic Sanctions Against Iran.
The Withdrawal of United States Military Forces and Bases, and the End to Arms Transfers in the Region
And a Qualitative Shift From Militarism to Diplomacy in Relations With the World
National Executive Committee
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)
This story was originally published by the Pacific News Service as “Seattle – Something Greater Yet to Come” on December 1, 1999.
Those who marched or stood or sat in the streets of Seattle this week made history, and they knew it. And like the great marches against the Vietnam war, or the first sit-ins in the South in the late 50s, it was not always easy to see just what history was being made, especially for those closest to the events of the time.
Tear gas, rubber bullets and police sweeps, the object of incessant media coverage, are the outward signs of impending change — that the guardians of the social order have grown afraid. And there’s always a little history in that.
Poeina, a young woman sitting in the intersection at the corner of Seventh and Stewart, waiting nervously for the cops to cuff her and take her away in her first arrest, knew the basic achievement she and her friends had already won: “I know we got people to listen, and that we changed their minds.” It was a statement of hope, like the chant that rose Tuesday from streets filled with thousands of demonstrators as the police moved in — “The whole world is watching!”
The Seattle protests put trade on the roadmap of public debate, making WTO a universally recognized set of initials in a matter of hours — what it took a year of debate over NAFTA to accomplish.