Auckland University student Omar Hamed (Radical Youth, Students for Justice in Palestine) was recently in New Caledonia attending the conference of one of the Pacific’s most militant unions.
Between the fourth and the sixth of December the Union of Kanaky and Exploited Workers (USTKE) held their 12th Congress and celebrated their 25th anniversary in a large hall outside Noumea. Over the three days of the Congress around 500 USTKE delegates and militants from across Kanaky/New Caledonia came together to report on the progress of the union and the new directions for the USTKE in 2007.
On the second night of the Congress, an international meeting was held. A range of speakers spoke about the continued struggle for socialism and decolonisation across the world.
Speakers came from Corsica, Guinea, Tahiti and France.
Bernard from the French League of Communist Revolutionaries, talked of how the LCR were the first political organisation in France to organize in support of Kanak independence
Libyan trained, Jose Bove, from the Confederation Paysanne spoke on;
the new tide of rebellion in Latin America and of how the victory of Evo Morales heralds a new turn for the health of Bolivia…
Pierre Chauvat of the USTKE told me frankly that they want a Kanak Chavez or a Kanak Morales who will be able to take the struggle against colonialism both new and old into the new millennium. The USTKE preparing for a long struggle both industrially and politically even though they are told to keep out of politics by many of the ruling elite.
They are also training their young militants for the new struggle so that they can continue the fight against colonisation. Pierre Chauvat is adamant that rebuilding a network of struggle across the Pacific is a high priority and building links with activists and unions in Australia and Aotearoa is important to cement the bonds of solidarity and struggle needed to free Kanaky from the iron grip of colonisation.
Omar’s playing with the big boys now.