Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/306/12666
Support Colombian Trade Unionists - Boycott Coca-Cola
International Socialist Resistance (ISR) is campaigning in support of the international boycott of Coca-Cola products. This is because of the company's activities against workers in Colombia and in many other countries.
Clare James, ISR national coordinator
In Colombia, Coca-Cola workers fighting for decent wages and conditions have been murdered. Their union, Sinaltrainal (the National Union of Workers in the Colombian Food Industry), has appealed for support from workers around the world and called for a boycott of Coke from 22 July.
Sinaltrainal union President Javier Correa describes conditions in Coca-Cola's Colombian bottling plants:
"The paramilitaries have graffitied threats and accusations against us on the walls of the bottling plants. These plants have become like concentration camps. The army patrols the buildings. There is so much repression that union workers are even followed into the toilet. One worker killed himself - in his suicide note, he blamed Coca-Cola."
Correa explains the corporation's attitude:
"Coca-Cola has turned from a time of exploitation to a time of slavery. Because the workers continue to resist this oppression, the paramilitaries now try to kidnap family members. They've burnt union headquarters and destroyed whatever evidence they can so we are unable to bring a case against them."
The paramilitaries have so far assassinated eight workers who were local union leaders, three union members have been forced into exile, over 60 live under the shadow of death threats and 48 others have been displaced. Union leader, Carlos Jul'a:
"When you drink Coca-Cola remember that you are contributing to a process which sows unemployment, hunger and pain..."
Bush's war of terror
While the US government proclaims it is conducting a "war against terror", it actively promotes terror groups in Colombia on behalf of US corporations. Under 'Plan Colombia' the US military has assisted the Colombian army - officially to fight guerrillas and drug cartels - mainly to arm paramilitary death squads to fight ordinary workers who are peacefully fighting poverty wages and for union rights. So far, these private armies have murdered over 3,000 workers. One of the US companies to benefit from this practice is Drummond, part owned by... the Bush family.
Join the international day of action on 22 July, join your local protest or action. If you would like help or information to organise your own protest, please contact us.
If you are a member of a trade union, ask your local branch to sponsor the campaign in solidarity with Sinaltrainal and other Colombian unions attacked by the paramilitaries (contact us for model letters or resolutions to take to trade unions).
Whether you are in a workplace, school or college, ask your friends, people at work etc to sign the petition in support of the Colombian Coca-Cola workers. When you have some petitions filled out, send copies to us and we will send all the signatures collected with a letter of support to the Sinaltrainal Coca-Cola workers.
Organise a meeting at your union/college/school in support of Colombian workers with an ISR speaker or contact the Colombian Solidarity Campaign PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ
ISR is an international anti-capitalist organisation run by and for young people.
As well as in England, Wales and Scotland, ISR has groups in many countries: such as Sweden, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Northern and Southern Ireland, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, USA and more.
By building an international organisation, we aim to help link up the many struggles young people are involved in across the globe, against the policies of big business and governments.
Above all, we aim to build international opposition to capitalism itself.
ISR, PO BOX 858, London, E11 1YG
Telephone 020 8558 7947
In The Socialist 28 June 2003: