Bringing the war home: my experience with a workers' aid convoy in Ukraine and a call for support
G1PS joined the international convoy for support to Ukraine
A few weeks ago G1ps was contacted by a sister union in Poland Inicyatywa Pracownicza [https://www.ozzip.pl/english-news] to join a international workers aid convoy.
After quite a bit of understandable fear and hesitation I – a cultural worker in G1ps – joined the convoy, leaving my home in Vilnius Lithuania to assemble with comrades in the leftist organization Sotsyalnyi Rukh in Lviv and deliver 800kg of emergency aid supplies for the Independent Labor Union of Metalworkers and Miners in the city of Kryvyi Rih (60km away from the frontlines of the war). Medicine, first aid kits, dry food, ready-made baby food, as well as batteries and generators were all financed and coordinated by this international network of workers unions.
My encounters in Lviv were transformative, empowering, and overwhelming. The first nights sleep under bomb sirens and (fortunately) unsubstantiated sounds of jets welcomed us alongside our dear comrades from Sotsyalnyi Rukh.
On our second day in the city we went to the storage facility and completed our foremost mission, delivering the goods.
Finally, we assembled with Ukrainian unionists, activists and leftist theorists for a May Day at the historical Palace of Culture, built and financed by workers themselves in the 1930s. At the assembly issues were shared on the situation of workers, everyday mental health, and the war as experienced by women. Also discussed was the various mutual-aid and humanitarian relief efforts carried out by unions and social movements across Ukraine. Important from a leftist standpoint is the call for the canceling of Ukrainian debt, based on the dual critique of the neo-liberal state which has shown itself inept in the face of social crisis and the IMF who suffocates the public sector, stifling efforts to reorganize the social infrastructure.
The scarcity is real, I saw men buying their own uniforms from simple vendors on the street.
Finally the story of waiting at the bus stop and witnessing the soldier together with his partner and child all crying as one side prepared to leave to fight against imperialist war in the East while the other went off to the economic war in the West – the war of survival and migrant life.
As Magda from the Amazon workers branch of Inicyatywa voiced in our assembly, the economic war is in our yard, and as workers we are called to take up arms alongside our Ukrainian comrades to fight together for a life worth living while continuing our international solidarity efforts to support armed workers resistance in the other war not so far away.
How To Support
The next aid convoy is already being planned for next month.
ILNSS and comrades from the network will finance the logistics of donations, which will be bought according to the orientation of the Ukrainian working class’s needs.
Transfers can be made to:
Ogolnopolski Zwiazek Zawodowy Inicjatywa Pracownicza
Koscielna 4 street, 60-538 Poznan
Volkswagen bank directed
Code BIC/SWIFT: INGBPLPW
IBAN PL88 2130 0004 2001 0577 6570 0001
The amount received will be reported, as well as all the work that is carried out by the workers’ aid convoy.