By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
22 November 2007
The International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) supports both the strikes of the more than 12,000-strong Writers Guild of America and the stagehands of for-profit Broadway over just compensation issues.
It is clearly the fundamental democratic right of the members of the WGA, who mounted the strike November 5, to demand the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for what is actually a small share of the hefty profits generated by the behemoth media companies from their work, in an industry definitively shifting toward new, digital media.
It is likewise the basic right of the members of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, who staged their strike beginning November 10, to demand the League of American Theaters and Producers to make new work rules more favorable to them.
Despite efforts of the big media companies to downplay the justness of the strikers’ demands, public sympathy for the strikers and their demands is overwhelming. Recent surveys by US firms Pepperdine and Survey USA showed public sympathy at 69% and 63%, respectively, in contrast to the big media companies receiving only 4% and 8%, respectively.
The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, which represents 21,000 screenwriters in guilds worldwide, has in fact set November 28 as an international day of solidarity to show support for the WGA strike and oppose moves to undermine the democratic action.
The strikes signify to all working people and even those from the “middle class”? in America and elsewhere, that more than ever, unions are necessary and effective in their fight for a fair deal, in pushing back the full offensive of monopoly capitalists to squeeze superprofits to the detriment of hundreds of millions of working people.
It has been part of the dogma of neoliberal globalization to demonize unionizing among all those oppressed and exploited by the big monopoly capitalists. It has been the longstanding effort of imperialism to scuttle, if not suppress, union efforts everywhere through schemes as contractualization, to accelerate its globalization agenda’s real intent to ensure maximum megaprofits for the few.
The strikes highlight once again the extreme oppressiveness and greediness characterizing the strikers’ true protagonists, the handful of powerful media conglomerates now lording over Hollywood and Broadway and the world’s media industry at large. This handful of media supergiants are prime beneficiaries of neoliberal globalization advanced by the WTO and the commanding circles in the USA since the 1980s, especially after the emergence of the US as sole superpower upon the collapse of the Soviet Union.
With the unrivalled and unprecedented concentration of power in US imperialism, less than ten US media megaliths have gained totalitarian control over what the world’s multitudes get to watch, listen and read.
The biggest of the US media overlords are part of the ruling neoconservative clique in the United States. They have connived with the Bush-Cheney fascist clique in perpetrating the deceits and suppressing the ugly truths characterizing the US global war of terror since 9/11. It is no mere coincidence that the US media conglomerates were behind the isolated moves of the US and Israel to counter the approval of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions last October 17, 2005.
The US media hyperprofiteers are opposed to any effort to carve out cultural goods and services from the WTO/free trade regime, especially from the onerous terms of the WTO’s General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS) and significant bilateral and regional so-called “free trade” agreements. They are viciously consistent in strangling the writers, talents and workhands.
Clearly then, the fight of the WGA and Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is the fight of working people everywhere, and of all forces and people struggling for real democracy, greater freedom and social justice against US imperialism and all reaction.
The ILPS urges all its participating organizations, allies and friends to take solidarity action with the WGA and Broadway stagehand strikers, both at the picketlines in the United States and elsewhere within and beyond the belly of the US imperialist beast. #