workersaid (by way (Richard Barbrook)) on Tue, 6 Apr 1999 12:48:25 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Workers' Aid for Kosova, UK.

Demonstration  Saturday 10th April. midday.  Highbury Fields. near Highbury
Islington Tube - march to Clerkenwell Green.

Show solidarity with the Kosova people in their fight against ethnic
cleansing - For the right of self determination - for the right of self

Dear Friends,

There is a huge debate raging over NATO actions and the human misery now
happening but what is largely missing in all this debate is any kind of
proposal for working class solidarity action in defence of the Kosova
people.  The horror of the present events is sending shock waves through
society at every level. We need to develop an international campaign which
appeals to people, above all workers' organisations, to take responsibility
for the fate of the Kosova people - from assistance to refugees right
through to asserting the rights of the Kosova people to return to their
homes and to decide on the future of Kosova.

  We are convinced that the appeal from Kosova TUs signed by Agim Hyseni
will get a big response from Trade Unions and other organisations.  But how
to respond to this appeal exactly?  The appeal was written a few days
before the bombing started and before Milosevic embarked on the last  stage
of the 'final solution' and obviously the situation has changed completely.
We must rapidly come to some concrete deciscions how to make the first big
step in our response.

We feel that the appeal for a humanitarian corridor into Kosova, in effect
challenging the blockade around Kosova should remain the central target of
a working class campaign of action. But we cannot be blind to the huge
obstacles in our way. So we will have to build up the campaign step by
step, probably open up several lines of campaigning, and being very
flexible in our tactics, particularly because the situation will change day
by day. We propose the following  outline of action but need to hear what
everyone thinks.

We launch a campaign to respond to the appeal to open the corridor into
Kosova. Within the framework of this campaign we begin a series of aid and
solidarity convoys - the first to go as soon as possible (3 weeks? ). This
convoy should stop in various big towns along the route to campaign
/demonstrate. The aim of the convoy will be to  reach Kosova via
Montenegro.  Will it get into Kosova? Almost certainly not but it will make
its aim clear and deliver the message to the world - We will return again
and again, bigger and bigger until we can enter Kosova.  If we cannot reach
Kosova we will deliver aid to refugees in Montenegro.

Why Montenegro?  - We will have entered 'Yugoslavia' (which we can do via
Croatia.) and it will be easier to make publicity of our aim.  In Albania
we will be swamped in  the deluge of 'aid'.

We must try to get as many trucks as possible for this first convoy but
cannot leave it too long to go or we will miss the urgency to act now.  All
the time the convoy is on the road we must keep up a campaign of meetings /
demonstrations etc preparing the next convoy which should not be confined
to aid but should include minibus, cars, etc to make  the biggest possible
demonstration at the Kosova border.  In every country people will have
different ways to best pursue the overall campaign.

 To all the people contacting us from outside Europe we hope you will join
in this action as best you can.  Send people to join the convoy if you can.
Raise money which is depserately needed for trucks etc.  Send your messages
of support.  Publicise the Kosova appeal letter as far and wide as

We will meet obstacles along the way.  To overcome these obstacles we will
need organisations around the world to put pressure on embassies, on
governments by fax, email etc.

We must get this first convoy of the ground, but as soon as possible we
should call for an international congress of solidarity in order that trade
unions etc can come together to hammer out how to really make this campaign
refound the spirit of internationalism, of solidarity and humanity that,
sadly, has been so lacking in our movement.

Last night in london we had a big meeting with many young Kosova refugees
present. This meeting was very difficult.  These people all had relatives
whose whereabouts are now unknown.  They wanted action now today - to stop
any more killing.  They wanted NATO ground troops to go in.  They could see
no other way. There was heated debate about wether NATO cared about Kosova
people or not. Opinion varied on this.  From our side as trade unionist and
socialists we tried to outline our campaign to build up a movement of
solidarity.  For some this was to late, but others disagreed.  It is never
to late.  Even those who thought this was 'too late' wanted to help us as
there was nothing else for them to do, apart from  those who were going
back to join the KLA.

This meeting, our proposals to it, the deciscions we came to in terms of
the campaign we outline above, was very tense. A   young Kosova asked "How
much darker can it get than this?  This is not Albanians, this is humanity
that is being destroyed."

>From Workers' Aid in the UK we send greetings to the many organisations
that have contacted us.  Please understand we are a small organisation.  No
paid workers, no office, just a network of people who will not stand by and
accept this barbarism. So we cannot immediately reply to everyone
individually.  We will do so over the next few days.

Here we are paying two national newspapers to print the Kosova Trade Union
appeal as advertisements this weekend. The Kosovars want us to organise a
demonstration in London as soon as possible.  We plan to take a lorry down
through the UK with a group of refugees, stopping in each town to camapign
and spread the news of the  campaign.

Please tell us all your ideas - about our plan, about what you are doing or
about any information you need.

best wishes,
Bob Myers.

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