Joint Appeal of Three Unions for November Workers’ Rally 2023

In February last year, we have issued “Joint Appeal of Three Unions” at the 25th anniversary of this Rally which has been held every year without interruption, calling on you “to join us for a new stage of the struggle of reviving labor movement”.

Having received many endorsements for it not only from around the country but also internationally, we have made another step forward successfully together with many comrades who had participated in the Hibiya Open-air Concert Hall on November 6th last year. Our appreciation keeps growing.

It was immediately after we issued our appeal that the Ukraine War broke. Now one year after, the world has undergone a tremendous change and wars are about to engulf the whole world for the third time. Like taking the hoops off, a massive military buildup is called loudly out, and fear, hatred and national mobilization are going to be the spirit of the times.

In East Asia, the crisis of war of aggression on China, under the pretext of an alleged “Taiwan contingency” has risen up rapidly. The Kishida government has begun to introduce historical massive military buildup, development of the “enemy base attack capabilities,” transformation of South-west Island and entire Japan to marshalling bases, in a word, historical change of national security policy, cooperating with U.S. Biden government.

Contravening overtly the Constitution which should have defined renunciation of war as the fundamental national policy, the world in which we are living, has been changing completely in little period of time.

The very crisis of capitalism, whose life-time has already been expired, is the real cause of these wars.

Especially neoliberalism has thrown billions of people around the world into starvation, destroyed everything democratic and brought about fierce antagonism and collision among nations.

Confronting the economic and political crisis which have been caused by the war, workers around the world have begun to wage uprising in a large scale.

In the U.K., nurses, ambulance workers and other health workers, workers engaging in railroad, mail, schools, immigration inspectors and customs officials in airport and other hundreds of thousands of workers have organized strikes in line with other European countries, and also in the U.S. the big wave of unionizing and strikes have occurred.

In South Korea, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has begun to wage general strike against big suppression by Yun government wielding the State Security Act. Now four years after 2019, “the year of disturbance”, overcoming the disaster of the Covid 19 pandemic longtime accumulated anger of the people has begun to explode for the change of history.

In Japan, a serious crisis of labor movement has been continuing. It has been triggered by the division and privatization of Japan National Railways 36 years ago, followed by the dissolution of Sohyo and forming of Rengo.

However, the largest Japanese national trade union center, Rengo, has now lost all of its authority, its centripetal force. While the people’s livelihoods are fundamentally threatened by inflation, and the crisis of peace is approaching, Rengo not only fails to raise voice against it, but increasingly allies itself with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The revitalization of the labor movement is urgently needed. This task must be accomplished by our own hands even if there are a lot of difficulties with it, and even if it must start from small steps.

We emphasized four tasks in “Joint Appeal of Three Unions” last year.

Firstly, we appealed that we must concentrate all the power of people in our country to the struggle against the largest

scale union busting after World War II against Kan-Nama union and the attempt to create “society without unions” in JR, because, rights of all workers and the future of labor movements depend on how we tackle with the fierce struggle around Kan-Nama and JR.

Secondly, that we must rise up for the struggle to end the neo-liberalism; the unions hold the key for it.

In face of increase in irregular employment to 21 million, ruined basic workers’ rights, wage decline for 30 years and society which is torn apart, only the united struggle of workers can reshape all these realities of today’s society.

Thirdly, that we have to rise up for the struggle against the war, the most essential task of labor unions. Japan is rapidly going to be transformed into a nation capable of waging war. We must fight with all our power to prevent war in East Asia.

Fourthly, that as the indispensable task of labor movement, we have to fight for the development of international workers’ solidarity beyond the national borders.

Motivated by the Iraq wars in 2003, the annual Workers’ November Rally has been vigorously developing into an epoch-making international labor solidarity rally and joint action with the participation of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) Seoul Regional Council, Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) Seoul Regional Division, labor unions of U.S., Germany, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Myanmar and other countries.

The four issues mentioned above, demand us to confront more intense task.

Thus, we have decided to continue organizing activities which have taken a new step, for one more year. For the 20th year of continuing international solidarity rally since 2003, we are planning together with Soul Regional Council of KCTU a commemorative project for 20th Japan-Korea Solidarity in parallel with the Annual November Workers’ Rally.

In February this year, we drafted a Joint Resolution of Japan-South Korea Rail Workers against Japanese massive military buildup together with KRWU Seoul Regional Division. With all these preparations, we will rise up for the struggle against the Kishida administration.

On November 19th this year, we will hold National Workers’ all-out Rally / Grand March of Ten Thousand Workers at the Hibiya Open-air Concert Hall in Tokyo, under the slogan: “Let’s stop War and Constitutional Revision with workers’ united power! Let’s abolish neoliberalism! Revive militant labor unions!”

The change does not happen suddenly by miracle, and sometimes it takes long hard effort and time of generations.

But, making our way on the ground is our own one step. We will call on you to join us in our struggle together with many of your colleagues.

We ask you endorsements of and participation in November Workers’ Rally on November 19th in large number. Let’s discuss together, organize various activities and work up an effective project of change!

We earnestly wish that twice the number of workers’ united power than last year will assemble at Hibiya. The change of labor movement is the issue on the front line, which is eagerly needed at this time. Let’s fight together!

February 12, 2023

Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)

Metal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)

National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)

National Workers’ All-Out Rally / Thousand Workers’ Grand March against Constitutional Revision and War

Date: Sunday, November 19, 2023, at 12 Noon

Venue: Hibiya Open-air Concert Hall