Since February 22, millions of Algerians have been demonstrating to demand democracy and sovereignty — chanting in unison “Regime, Out Now!” [See excerpts below from the May 12 statement by Minbar El Oummel / Workers Tribune for more background information.]
In response, the Algerian regime has unleashed repression against political activists, attorneys, young people, and trade unionists. In particular, the regime has targeted (listed in the order that they were arrested):
- Hadj Ghermoul, a young activist of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights and of the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed, who in February was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for waving a sign in January that read, “No to the Fifth Term!” (of former President Bouteflika).
- Dr. Kameleddine Fekhar, a human rights activist, and his comrades, who was arrested in Ghardaïa on March 31 and has been imprisoned ever since. [UPDATE: On May 28, Dr, Fekhar died in jail after a 56-day strike that took his life. Those responsible for his death are the Algerian authorities!]
- Louisa Hanoune, General Secretary of the Workers Party (PT), who was arrested on May 9 and charged with “conspiracy against the State authority and the military authority.”
Many other activists also have been arrested and imprisoned.
We — the undersigned labor and community activists in the United States — express our solidarity with the Algerian people and call for the immediate release of all political prisoners!
— Appeal initiated by Mya Shone, Alan Benjamin and Ralph Schoenman, on behalf of The Organizer Newspaper
[Please send your endorsement of this statement to <email@example.com>. We, in turn, will forward the compiled lists as they come in to our colleagues in Algeria.]
First List of Endorsers (as of May 30 — all titles and organizations for id. purposes only)
Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), Toledo, Ohio
Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita, OPEIU, Washington, D.C.
Colia Clark, Convener, Judicial Violence Symposium, Harlem, New York
Gene Bruskin, NWU (UAW), Dramatist Guild, Silver Spring, Maryland
Pam Africa, Co-convener, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Suzanne Ross, Co-convener, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Berthony Dupont, Director, Haiti Liberté, Brooklyn, New York
Eddie Rosario, President, NYC chapter of LCLAA, AFL-CIO, New York, New York
Donna Dewitt, Past President, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Orangeburg, South Carolina
Chris Silvera, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 808, Long Island City, New York
Peter Olney, Director of Organizing, ILWU (retired), San Francisco, California
Clarence Thomas, Past Secretary-Treasurer (retired), ILWU Local 10, Oakland, California
Denis Mosgofian, Retired President, GCC-Teamsters, Local 4-N, San Francisco, California
Lou Wolf, Co-founder and co-publisher CovertAction Magazine, Huntington, New York
Theresa El-Amin, Regional Director, Southern Anti Racism Network, Columbus, Georgia
Saladin Muhammad, Southern Workers Assembly, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
James Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild-LA, Los Angeles, California
Alita Blanc, Past President, United Educators of San Francisco (UESF), San Francisco, California
Kali Akuno, Organizer, Cooperation Jackson, Mississippi
Bill Leumer, Former President, IAM Local 565, San Francisco, California
Jeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action, Oakland, California
Ron Dicks, Retired Regional Director, IFPTE-AFL-CIO, San Francisco, California
Tom Lacey, San Francisco Peace and Freedom Party, San Francisco, California
Al Rojas, Vice President, Sacramento LCLAA, AFL-CIO, Sacramento, California
Millie Phillips, Steering Committee, Labor Fightback Network, Berkeley, California
Eric Blanc, Author, “Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working Class Politics,” New York, New York
David Walters, Retired, IBEW Local 1245, Pacifica, California
Robert Irminger, Chair, Inland Boatmen’s Union, ILWU, San Francisco, California
Steve Zeltzer, Director, Labor Video Project, San Francisco, California
John Leslie, Carpenters Local 187, retired, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT 1493, Berkeley, California
Hal Sutton, 1st Vice President, SW Florida UAW Retired Workers Council, North Point, Florida
Lindsay Curtis, Los Rios Community College CFT, Sacramento, California
Rodger Scott, Past President, AFT 2121, San Francisco, California
Timothy Stinson, Socialist Organizer, Albany, Oregon
Mark Demming, National Lawyers Guild, Oakland, California
Betty Davis, New Abolitionist Movement, Brooklyn, New York
Ralph Poynter, Lynne Stewart Organization, Brooklyn, New York
Marilyn Vogt-Downey, author and activist, Brooklyn, New York
Fred Lonidier, Professor Emeritus, UC/AFT Retirees, San Diego, California
Julian Kunnie, Free Mumia Campaign, First Nations Enforcement Agency, Tucson, Arizona
Carole Seligman, Co-editor, Socialist Viewpoint, San Francisco, California
Allan Fisher, Past President, AFT 2121, San Francisco, California
Bruce Neuburger, Past President, CFT Local 4681, San Mateo, California
Howie Hawkins, Retired Teamster, Green Party, Syracuse, New York
Marsha Feinland, Peace and Freedom Party of California, Berkeley, California
David Walsh, Former President, International Association of Machinists Lodge 1089, Boston, Massachusetts
Elizabeth Wright, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California
Bradley Wiedmaier, SEIU Local 2015 delegate to San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco, California
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TITLE (list if for id. only)
CITY AND STATE
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Unity to Free Louisa Hanoune and All the Political Prisoners!
Excerpts from the editorial by Minbar El Oummel (Workers Tribune), Issue No. 17 – Sunday, May 12, 2019
Published by the Organizing Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI) of Algeria
Louisa Hanoune, General Secretary of the Workers Party (PT), has been placed temporarily in a civilian prison in Blida, following a decision by the military court. No reason was given to justify the warrant of arrest against the political leader who had been summoned, as a witness, to be heard by the military magistrate in charge of the case of Said Bouteflika, brother of the outgoing president, and two former officials of the Toufik and Tartag security services, all of whom have been imprisoned and charged with “conspiracy against the State authority and the military authority.”
Immediately after we were informed of the military court summons of the PT’s General Secretary, even before her incarceration, the Organizing Committee of Internationalist Socialists (COSI) gave its unconditional support, in a statement issued Thursday, May 9 at 3 pm, to the political leader and to her party against the harassment to which they were being subjected. Likewise, we have issued our unconditional support to the activists of the Socialist Workers Party (PST), who have been summoned continuously without reason to the Aokas police station, as well as to other human rights activists.
Our solidarity was renewed on Friday, May 10 in another statement in which the COSI called for the release of Louisa Hanoune. In the Friday marches, in which we were present, we denounced this arrest, while supporting the PT activists who had made banners calling for “the release of Louisa Hanoune.”
The COSI’s position is not a conjunctural one. It is an attitude and approach based on the principles that built the workers’ movement, and specifically the current in the workers’ movement of which we are a part — namely, to provide unconditional support to militants facing repression by the bourgeois State. We do so, not only in words but by investing ourselves, where we are, in concrete actions, seeking at all times to expand and broaden the solidarity protests.
We always seek to promote the broadest unity to be effective; no one can turn away from this elementary duty. The COSI and its activists are part of the “National Committee for the Liberation of Louisa Hanoune,” and we are massively gathering signatures on the petition adopted by the committee at its first meeting.
On May 10, the COSI declared its readiness to take its place in the campaign against repression, and considered it necessary to extend this stance to include other victims of repression whose detention is equally unacceptable, and to strive for the broadest unity of organizations, parties, unions, personalities and citizens. This is the only effective way to get Louisa Hanoune and Hadj Ghermoul out of prison as quickly as possible, to stop the arm of repression and to stop the harassment of young people, students, workers and activists.
The struggle for unity is not an economic struggle, nor is it reserved to fight repression. It is essential to deal with the entire current situation:
– No to repression!
– Meet all our democratic and social demands!
– Unity of the UGTA, the free trade unionists, and the CSA [autonomous unions] to prepare and organize the general strike in order to put an end to the regime!
– Convene and organize the election of the Sovereign Constituent Assembly!
– Everywhere let us organize ourselves into popular committee so that we can take our destiny into our own hands!