Great Enthusiasm in “Workers’ Solidarity Festival”

“Workers’ Solidarity Festival” organized by UID-DER with the slogan “Against Crisis and War - Forward to May 1” was held with great enthusiasm. Hundreds of working men and women from every age joined the festival in Tuzla Orhanlı Center of Culture. The attendance was so big that the 1000-seat capacity hall proved insufficient and many members of our association had to watch the event on foot giving their seats to the visitors.

The event started with the song “Merhaba” ["Salute"] performed by UID-DER workers’ choir and music band. A minute of silence in memory of the combatants we buried in the sun is followed by the opening speech of our spokeswoman of the association. In her speech she stated that UID-DER set out to contribute to the workers’ international solidarity and unity of struggle and noted the necessity of heightening the struggle against crisis and war. She said “in May 1 we shall take to the streets with our class brothers/sisters all over the world to settle scores with those who wrested our rights and confront the crisis and war”

After the speech, a short film was shown demonstrating the activities and workshops of UID-DER since its foundation. Later on, a metal worker from Sinter Metal, where there is a wildcat strike going on, spoke on behalf of the striking workers and said “there is no salvation but struggle for the working class” and invited all his class brothers/sisters to support their strike. In addition to striking workers from Sinter Metal and Marport, officials from various unions such as Tuzla Deri-İş (Leather Workers Union), Tez-Koop-İş (Commercial and Bureau Workers Union), Gebze Kristal-İş (Glass Workers Union), Esenyurt Emek-İş, Tuzla Emekli-Sen (Retired Workers Union). There were also representatives from the Gebze branch of the Kurdish party DTP (Democratic Society Party).

Our celebration, along with a main script read out by the presenters throughout the whole event, continued with images and video fragments that showed the struggles of the working class, the pain and destruction caused by unjust and imperialist wars and the persecution that oppressed peoples faced; with songs of different languages of the world and with poems of fight and songs of the working-class. Hundreds of workers in the hall uttered our slogans all together with enthusiasm against the system of capitalist exploitation: “Long live May 1, Long Live Our Organized Struggle!”, “We Shall Bring down the Capitalist System and Build a Classless Society!”, “Crisis, War, Unemployment, The Only Solution: Workers Power!”, “Workers of the world, unite!”

There was a strong emphasis on organising and struggling against crisis and unjust and imperialist wars. Also our immediate demands which should be carried to the streets on May 1 were expressed. It was stated that our immediate demands on unemployment, de-unionization, high cost of living, long work hours and so on could only be achieved by organising and struggling. It was also emphasised that May 1, the international unity, struggle and solidarity day of the working class, should be celebrated in a way that will pull working masses forward to struggle, move reluctant sections of the masses forward, and give morale and confidence to wider sections of the class.

Our class friends who joined our festival experienced a great enthusiasm with the revolution songs that have become a symbol for struggle of the workers of the world. Besides the marches and songs that express faith in revolution, melodies reflecting the tragedies of the peoples to whom unjust and imperialist wars brought pain and tears, echoed in the hall. While the songs in languages Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Georgian and Bosnian reflected the sufferings of the peoples of the Middle East, Balkans, Caucasus and Anatolia, there were also songs in English and Italian. This internationalism of languages befitted the name of UİD-DER.

In the end of the program we sang “May 1” and “Internationale”. We chanted “the feast of the workers” and “our final struggle” all together with a single heart and with our clenched fists. Young and elderly, we shared the beauty of being together and crying out our anger against exploitation. For all our friends, “Workers’ Solidarity Festival” has been a means of realising the power of the class and the necessity of struggle against capitalism, which is the source of all malice. The satisfaction and enthusiasm could be seen from the faces of our friends who joined our festival. After the event, they expressed their appreciation to UİD-DER.

Workers from all nations of the world will take to the streets with the same faith in their hearts and the same hope in their heads. They will express their anger against capitalism and sharpen their determination for struggle. And we shall be there under UID-DER’s flag against crisis, unjust and imperialist wars. In this working class day of international unity, struggle and solidarity, we invite all our class brothers/sisters to get united under UID-DER’s internationalist flag.

Long live May 1!

20 April 2009