Today, on September the 20th, Anda Anastasaki, the WFTU representative in the 42nd General Council of Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) took the floor and addressed the delegates from all over the African continent.
The WFTU delegate made a special mention to the cancelling of the African countries’ debt and called African unions to participate in the WFTU Panafrican Conference in DR Congo, on 1 and 2 November, 2019.
See full speech below:
On behalf of the World Federation of Trade Unions, I would like to salute the OATUU’s 42nd General Council, as well as the leaders of the African Trade Unions which are here today, many of whom also represent members of the WFTU.
Since the day of its foundation in 1945 and until today 74 years later, the WFTU fought alongside with the working class and the people of Africa against slavery, colonialism, racism, imperialism, for the national independence and contributed significantly in the workers organization and the creation of trade union organizations, the empowerment and reinforcement of their ideological and organizational level.
But above all the WFTU stood by the side of every fighting worker and trade union in all the countries of the world, we have shown and we are showing in practice the solidarity that the militant trade unionists show to all the workers of the world independently of language, color and religion.
In this course we continue even stronger after our congress, shoulder to shoulder, with unity, internationalism, class orientation, until the victory of our class over capitalists and their competitions who create colonies, wars and immigration in order to have in hand the natural wealth of your region and of all peoples of the world.
The fights of the workers in Africa show how strong is the WFTU which gives priority to the most affected and looted continent of the world, the richest continent in natural resources but with the poorest and most harshly exploited workers.
The African continent is one the richest areas of the world, the 85% of the African oil production come from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Angola. In Africa there is uranium, natural gas, diamonds, gold, oil, cobalt, iron, platinum, agricultural production and enormous arable lands.
The sources and the natural wealth of Africa are enough to cover the needs for infrastructure, communication, transport, energy, social services, and healthcare. But their lack plagues the peoples in Africa. The wealth of Africa belongs to its workers. Over the last years, there is much talk about the notorious “African Debt”; we say that the workers of Africa did not create it, on the contrary, they have multiply paid it with their work and in many occasions with their blood.
OATUU and the WFTU are related by long-term bonds of collaboration and friendship since its foundation in 1973, bonds which are based on the common fights of the WFTU and the African trade unions against colonialism, since the time that many European trade unionist leaders did not even consider that an African movement should be developed.
In fact, then, those only-by-name trade union leaders said that, allegedly the trade union movement should not be independent, that it should follow and implement the line imposed by the ex colonialists, which means the plunderers of the African Countries, the European and American monopolies.
Then, the heroic, class oriented trade unionists workers from Africa gave their answer, they did not submit, neither accepted to serve the imperialists. They stood up and fought so as to be able to be the masters of their region, and to have the right to decide for their present and future.
Let us commemorate the heroic fights of the trade unions alongside with the popular movement of the African countries in Algeria, Angola, Mozambique, and Senegal. The trade unions back then did a great job precisely because they were independent, they were not under the severe pressure of the European Imperialists, they acted only under one condition which defined their action line and their programs: Independence from the colonialism for their countries – Independence from the economic suffocation that the foreign oppressors wanted to impose to them – Independence in terms of the possibility to decide on their own about their action in the framework, of course, of the internationalist solidarity, along with the rest of the free peoples of the world.
Let us think of the example of our heroic brothers in South Africa, when the trade unionists of SADTU and COSATU, which afterwards became a member of the WFTU, did not listen to the voices of their assumed “friends” but also of their enemies that advised them not to fight for their independence, not to overthrow the hated apartheid, to accept the independence of the African worker by the country’s bourgeoisie. But it was precisely for this reason that they did it great: Because they followed the choice of the independence. The only “dependence” they ever accepted was the dependence on the interests of the peoples and the workers of South Africa.
The WFTU is a great, class, democratic, independent trade union. This is verified by the fact that 90% of its members come from countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. At the same time, affiliation requests from new trade unions from all the African Continent arrive at the central offices each day. In Africa the WFTU grows bigger every day, something which confirms the ethical superiority and faith in the principles, values, ideals and the best traditions of the world working class. Which other world trade union organization can say that it represents in a better way the oppressed people of the world than the WFTU?
Besides, this is one of the basic characteristics that guarantee the independence of the WFTU. That is why is on a stable orbit of increase. Because it does not commit but only to the interests of the workers and the oppressed people who form it. It stays away of dependences and of the governments political decisions which safeguard the imperialists interests. It does not close its ears when ordinary workers, ask for its help. Its guideline was, is and will be the class interests of the workers of the world.
We continue in that way and this is why we need the African worker, the collaboration with OATUU and the trade union movement of Africa. In that direction we address an open call to the African Trade Unions to be present in the Pan-african Meeting of the WFTU which is to take place in the D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, where the heart of the African working class will beat on November 1st and 2nd, 2019. This is how we are moving forward, so that the workers of the world claim the contemporary life they deserve. With struggle, coordination and independence.