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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 January 17 - 23  > First International’s founding helped advance anti-slavery movement in America
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2024 January 17 - 23 [LABOR]

First International’s founding helped advance anti-slavery movement in America

January 23, 2024
Akahata ‘Morning breeze’ column

The year 2024 marks 160 years since the founding of the International Working Men's Association (IWA), also known as the First International, whose founding declaration was drawn up by Marx.

In September 1864, the First International was founded in London against the backdrop of the rising European labor movement amid a storm of reactions to the French Revolution of 1848.

The founding of the IWA put a brake on British interference in the anti-slavery movement in America. Regarding this view, a Japanese historian, Hattori Shiso, described in his book titled “Kindai Nihon no Naritachi (the Formation of Modern Japan)” wrote, “At that time, had it not been for the European labor offensive, and had Lincoln lost his resolute fighting spirit, the American revolution would have been defeated halfway through by British and French interference ... I believe that the power of unity, which led to creating the IWA, and the IWA’s leadership indeed served as a driving force for preventing British intervention in the U.S.”

The U.S. Biden administration refuses to stop providing military assistance to Israel and is complicit in the ongoing Israeli genocide against Palestinians taking place in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), which has friendly relations with a Japanese national trade union center, the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), has been pushing the U.S. government to discontinue all military support for Israel. It is noteworthy whether the U.S. labor movement, which is on the upswing, can force a change in the Biden administration’s position of unequivocal support for Israel.
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