On Sept. 22, the Alliance of Middle East Socialists (AMES) held a video conference dialog between labor activists from China, Algeria, Sudan, Iran, Venezuela and the United States. As listed by AMES, participants were:
Kevin Lin is an activist and researcher of China’s labor movement. He co-edits the open-access journal Made in China (https://madeinchinajournal.com) that analyzes labor and social movements in China. He works on building international labor solidarity and is a contributor to Jacobin, Labor Notes, New Politics and New Labor Forum.
Raga Makawi is a Sudanese labor activist and liaison for the Sudan Worker’s Restoration Movement.
Kamal Aissat is an Algerian university lecturer, trade unionist and has been a member of the national bureau of the higher education lecturers’ union. He was also a founding member with other trade-unionists of the Solidarity Committee with workers’ struggles in 2012. He has been very active in the current ongoing popular movement in Algeria.
Jose Bodas, general secretary of the Unitary Federation of Oil Workers in Venezuela, was not able to attend. Instead Simon Rodriguez spoke as a labor activist from Venezuela. (Note: Jose Bodas was unable to appear due to other obligations in Venezuela. Simon Rodriguez appeared in his place.)
Simon Rodriguez, Venezuelan political activist, alternative journalist and musician. Founder and coordinator of Laclase.info during the years 2008-2015 and currently part of the editorial committee of Venezuelanvoices.org. Co-author of the book Why did chavismo fail? Author of hundreds of articles translated into seven languages. Member of the Socialism and Freedom Party, Venezuelan section of the International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International, and former congressional candidate in 2015. He has worked with the Unitary Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela.
Frieda Afary, produces Iranian Progressives in Translation and is a member of the Alliance of MENA Socialists. She has written articles in English and Persian about labor and feminist struggles in Iran, socialist feminism, Marx’s Capital, and Marxist critiques of state capitalism in the former USSR and Maoist China.
Ellen David-Friedman is a retired organizer with the National Education Association in Vermont. She is a founding member of Vermont’s Progressive Party and a member of the Labor Notes policy committee.
John Reimann has been a union activist for 35 years. He is the former recording secretary of Carpenters Local 713 in the U.S. He helped organize a wildcat strike of San Francisco Bay Area carpenters in 1999 which led to his expulsion by the union bureaucracy. He produces the blog, Oaklandsocialist.com, and has written various articles about solidarity with international labor struggles including Iran and Venezuela. He has visited the workers movement in Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt and Venezuela.
Selma Oumari is an Algerian French member of the New Anticapitalist in France and member of the Alliance of MENA Socialists. She is involved in antiracist struggles as well as international solidarity.
Oaklandsocialist is proud to have participated in that conference. Several suggestions were made by participants as a follow up. Among other things, we suggested:
- Looking into organizing labor visits to any of the countries represented by panelists.
- Writing a letter of support from labor activists and socialists addressing the issue of the imprisonment of union activists/leaders in Venezuela.
We look forward to further such collaboration in the future.
Again, to repeat, the video of the dialog can be found on the AMES web site here.