The WFTU General Secretary made the following speech at the XV Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation on February 24th, 2013 in Moscow, Russia:
Dear comrades and friends,
On behalf of the World Federation of Trade Unions allow me to convey a greeting to the Congress of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and wish to you Congress every success for the benefit of the Working Class and your People.
It an honor and joy for the delegation of the World Federation of Trade Unions to be in the country whose Working Class, who trade union movement, whose trade union cadres where the heart and the mind of the World Federation of Trade Unions from 1945 to 1990. As the current leadership of the WFTU, we are proud for the role of Trade Union Movement of the Soviet Union and we are grateful its internationalist contribution and its progressive role in the International Trade Union Movement.
What is the WFTU and what the does WFTU want
Comrades and friends,
The WFTU was founded in October 3rd, 1945 after the end of the World War II and under the impact of the defeat of fascism and the victory of the Red Army.
The foundation of WFTU was a mature outcome of the evolvement of the Labour Trade Union Movement in national level and expressed the necessity for an international coordination, the necessity for proletarian solidarity and common action of the International Working Class against the capitalist exploitation.
The WFTU is the organized, progressive section of the International Trade Union Movement and has as its main central objective the improvement of the living conditions of the International Working Class, the struggle for the demand of general trade union liberties, the simultaneous struggle for the overthrow of the barbaric capitalist system.
The long experience, positive and negative, the hard struggles of the Workers and the People from the era of Spartacus until today, confirm two basic timeless conclusions:
Firstly, that as Karl Marx wrote: “the history of all hitherto existing societies is a history of class struggle” and secondly that the International Working Class cannot defend its short and long term demands and its class oriented objective if it does not have except from a political vanguard, its own strong, well-organized and theoretically equipped Trade Union Organ. Such an international Trade Union Organization, an international coordinating centre, which will have strong stable roots with the base, which will work for the base and will be empowered by the base. This is the role that the WFTU is obliged to play and is playing in the International Trade Union Arena.
We are proud for the course and the action of the WFTU from 1945 since today. It defended Socialism from the first moment of its foundation; it stood actively with moral, material and trade union solidarity to all the people who fought in a peaceful manner or in an armed struggle for their independence and liberation, it facilitated the survival of dozens of thousands of militants of the trade union movement who were under persecution and threat in Africa, in Latin America, in Central America, in Asia, in Middle East, in Europe, in the Caribbean and elsewhere in every corner of the world. We are proud because the most radical slogans of the trade union struggles and action were written for the first time at the banners and the documents of the WFTU.
At this long and hard course, the WFTU was never afraid to recognize its mistakes, to make open self-criticism to the simple workers, to fight against its own weaknesses and delays. For the international class-oriented movement, criticism, self-criticism and emulation were and continue to be vital forwarders.
The WFTU since the first moment of its foundations confronted the hostility of the bourgeoisie and the imperialists.
In 1949 with the initiative of the governments of the USA and Britain, the first frontal attack was carried against the WFTU with the dirty manners of the CIA, the Intelligent Service and their counterparts.
Their initial aim was the dissolution of the WFTU and when it failed, they withdraw from the WFTU and moved to the disruptive move to found the ICFTU. The second effort took place in 1956 initiator of which was the Ministry of State Security of Austria with use of provocative methods and an occupation by the police of the Central Offices of the WFTU in Vienna they seized all the archives. This effort of capitalism also failed.
In the years after the overthrows of the period 1989-1991, the WFTU was in a very difficult situation. It had to confront a fierce attack by Europeans and other opportunists from France, Italy, Spain etc. aiming for the dissolution and the integration of the WFTU to the ICFTU, i.e. the trade union organ of the USA, the European Union and the International Capital.
The plots of the opportunists failed and despite the great difficulties, the political persecutions and the anti- communism, the WFTU remained stable and maintained its historic course. There were forces that stood up and kept the WFTU alive.
After the 15th World Trade Union Congress that took place in La Havana, Cuba our organization started again to grow, to become stronger, to develop action and to regroup.
Today it has more than 82 million members in 120 countries of the world. It is present in all continents; it is present in all basic sectors of the production.
Two years ago, in April 2011 we held in Athens, Greece, the 16th World Trade Union Congress. It was an open, democratic, class-oriented Congress which took important decisions and formed the new objectives for the International Class-Oriented Trade Union Movement in the contemporary conditions.
According to these resolutions, what the WFTU objectives today are:
• The enhancement of the class-oriented, the militant characteristics of the trade unions in all the levels, in all the sectors. To accomplish this, the line of the class collaboration must be defeated; we must need to conduct an open war against the trade union aristocracy, the trade union bureaucracy and careerism.
• The strengthening of the class-oriented unions in the work places, in the monopoly groups, in the multinationals, in the big industries. In traditional and modern sectors of production. The activation of the workers strengthens the unions.
• The strengthening of our ties with the base, with the ordinary workers and the enhancement of the democratic functioning of the trade unions. With elected leaderships that will be accountable on the base, which will express the base and will be supported by the base. Leadership that will respect the collective decisions and will promote the collectivity.
• The enrichment of Internationalism and international solidarity which are the tool of all the workers, especially today that the local, regional, sectoral and trans-sectoral coordination of the labour struggles is so necessary. The active defense of the people who struggle for their rights. For the right in the self-determination of their present and future.
• The constant pursuit for the Unity of the working class independently of any differences. The unity of the working class is a precondition for our class to build its social alliances with the poor peasantry, the self-employed, the progressive intelligentsia.
• The faith in the role of the working women and the working youth which can give new blood, new dynamics, new live and action to the trade unions. Their election in leading positions and the constant renewal of the leading core of the trade union organizations is vital.
• The utilization of the rich experience, positive and negative, in the forms of struggle and the content of the class-oriented struggles, the combination of the economic with the political struggle, the pursuit of demands that unify the workers and are in harmony with the contemporary needs of the workers and the popular families. The combination of defense, offence and the reserves.
• The continuous care for the ideological support towards the trade union cadres, though trade union education, international exchange and trade union programs that will enhance their faith to the fair struggle of the working class and the necessity of the class struggle; that they will assist the realization of the need to defend and strengthen the class-oriented characteristics of the trade unions.
• The necessity for each union to gain its financial independence without dependence from the bourgeoisie, from the international institutes of opportunism and the international centers of corruption. The financial dependence of the trade union gives birth to other dependences. The healthy financial self-reliance is the one that is only based in the membership fees of the workers.
• The ability of each trade union to study the developments in its field, in its sector, and to utilize the developments for the promotion of the labour interests in all basic fronts of struggle, for the solution of all the labour demands, social security, salary demands and trade union demands.
• The understanding that the capitalist system has surpassed its historic limits, it is rotten and thus the solution and the real way-out for the liberation of the international working class cannot occur from the make-up and the modernization of the capitalism, but though its overthrow.
• The active participation to the struggles peace, friendship and cooperation between the workers and the people, the struggle against the phenomena of racism, xenophobia, neo-fascism. The consistent struggle against the imperialists, against the imperialist wars and capitalism which is the economic base of imperialism.
Dear comrades and friends,
We shortly described to you what the WFTU is and the WFTU wants. You have a clear picture of our organization. We have nothing to hide.
We are ready to strengthen our relations with the working class of your country and to renew our fraternal relations with the people of Russia. The WFTU owes much to the Russian People and showing our gratitude we are ready to support in any way the strengthening and the class orientation of the trade union movement of the Russian Federation.
The strengthening of the relations between the WFTU and the Working Class of Russia and its militant trade unions is today more necessary than ever.
The deep capitalist crisis in Europe and the whole world, the restoration of capitalism, the poverty, the large labour migration and the anti-labour attack against the achievements of Russian people demand coordination and internationalist solidarity between our unions.
At the same time the intensified inter-imperialist competition, the imperialist wars and the aggressiveness of the monopolies and the multinationals impose upon us the high task of without further delay action thought the ranks of the WFTU.