The NEHAWU 11th National Congress continues today, June 27th under the slogans NEHAWU 11 congress: Strengthen workplace organizations -Deepen class consciousness – Advance internationalism and WFTU: With the working class in the vanguard – Against imperialist wars and capitalist barbarism. For socialism.
Today, Hariharan Mahadevan WFTU Deputy General Secretary, Artur Sequeira President of the WFTU TUI PS&A and member of the WFTU Secretariat and Sidumo Dlamini COSATU President addressed the Congress.
In his speech the Deputy General Secretary underlined the long history of the WFTU and the African Trade Union Movement, the dirty role of ITUC in benefit of the monopolies and the imperialists and the need for the trade-union movement to struggle against the capitalist barbarity.
The 2nd Day concluded with an International Seminar on the “100 years of the Great October Russian Revolution” and “The fight to preserve public services: struggle of class oriented trade unions” with the participation of all the International delegations.
The Speech of H.MAHADEVAN Deputy General Secretary of WFTU:
Respected President, Functionaries of Nehawu, International Guests, delegates, friends and Comrades, brothers and sisters,
I am extremely happy to represent the World Federation of Trade Unions in this important 11th National Congress of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union ’ being very enthusiastically held from 26th to 29th July 2017, in this historic city of South Africa.
On behalf of WFTU, its 92 million members who live and struggle in 125 countries of the world and on behalf of our General Secretary Com . George Mavrikos and my own behalf, I bring greetings and solidarity to your congress.
I am the working President of All India Trade Union Congress ( AITUC ), the premier trade union organization of the Indian working class, with over 14 million members, and going to celebrate its centenary celebrations just in 3 years in 2020.
It gives me great pleasure that I am in the land of Mandela, Mabhida, Mtsali, the land of the heroes of the working class, the land has shed enormous blood in the struggle against apartheid, against capitalist barbarity and in the struggle for rights for the people to be the masters to their own wealth. The struggle against apartheid was part of a global struggle for working class power and a just world order. It is also well appreciated world over that the newly elected President of WFTU Com .MIKE, the President of the Nehawu from South Africa.
We have had a very long history with the African tread unions and this is being renewed again for the better.
We are aware that Nehawu’s policies are guided by a commitment to workers rights and socialism Principles guiding your international perspectives ,as also in the case of COSATU, are based on (i) working class internationalism (ii) Concrete solidarity actions,( iii) anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism,(iv) working class unity, (v) rejection of racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of inequality and oppression, (vi) democratic worker control and leadership, (vii) alliances with progressive social forces. That is why, I believe ,you have democratically chosen to go with WFTU. You extend solidarity to all migrant workers regardless of legal status, in order to secure non-discrimination and equal treatment of all. Your international solidarity is built on the traditions of the predecessors SACTU, FOSAV and currently by COSATU.
The international situation is characterized by the economic crises of capitalism and the hard anti-labour and anti-people policies. This is a crisis that affects all countries more or less, while there are possibilities for a return in an even deeper recession. The consequences of this crisis are the generalized unemployment which increases by the closing and merging of the companies, also from the lack of new investment, the increased public and private debts, poverty and misery experienced by a big part of the popular families to cover their basic needs, This is also a crisis of over production and accumulation.
The ruling elites are forcing the workers to pay for the global economic crisis by cutting the jobs, wages and pensions. Global powers assert political and military might to control economic resources. Even with this crisis, the profits and super profits of the monopolies accumulate. A characteristic example is that the 500 more profitable companies, according to Forture 500, claimed profits of $ 1.5 billion just 2 years ago.
The so called agenda of ‘structural reforms and the exemplary public finances, Co-operation for innovation for the so-called new industrial revolution’ and the ’digital economy’ are spoken about loudly everywhere Behind all these words, is the more severe attack against the rights of the workers, the widening part-time employment and contractualisation, the work with a few or no rights, the privatization of sectors there are still in public in the hands of private capital ( such as Health care, Education, Energy, Transport etc ) and the use of new technologies in favor of the capitalists for the intensification of exploitation of the working people.
The international multilateral system is skewed in favor of the global powers and the global north, which claim a monopoly or decision making working process at the international level. Terms and trade are largely determined by a few powerful countries, which are able to make use of the undemocratic nature of the multilateral system, and the WTO in particular.
As we know ‘Free trade is not Fair Trade’ Fighting unequal trade relations is essential for global and economic justices, confronting multi-national corporations and ending their rein of democratization is a central concern for all of us and should be approached with urgency. Strengthening initiatives for economic justice at the global level provides space for the sustained struggle for socialism.
It is becoming obvious that in the time of crisis, in the time of our especially painful anti-people and anti-labour policy and intense imperialists aggression, the response of the workers and peoples movement was not up to the circumstances. This is due to the long-lasting influence of the dominant current of reformation in the ranks of the trade union movements and the long term impact of corruption, elitism, careerism of the compromised union leaderships. Those leaderships have created false hopes and illusions for ’a capitalism with a human face’, for ‘social dialogue’ and for sacrifices that the workers must do for the sake of serving the economy and the country’. Those leaderships have hindered the rise of the peoples reaction thus offering great services to the monopolies for the implementation of anti-people measures.
The ITUC, ETUC and Industrial global union leaders, support and promote this current within the union movement that is subjected to the strategy of the big capitalists and monopolies; they support the imperialist policy ; they support maintaining inequality and dominated by the US, European Union and Australia in detriment of the countries and economies of Africa, Asia, Latin America; They apply and promote compromise with bourgeoisie and towards enslavement of the working class under medieval conditions.
The leadership of ITUC has a deep anti-democratic and authoritarian operation. For example, its tactics in ILO, in the Headquarters in Geneva and the Regional offices in all the continents, they are opposed to proportional representation in ILO Governing body which is a basic principle of United Nations. They cultivate the perception that they are monopolizing the trade union movement. They do not stand the democracy of pluralism, The democracy of the different opinion, They refuse to listen to the other trends than theirs.
Remember the position of the leadership of ITUC in all the imperial wars, in the war against Yugoslavia, war against Iraq, war of Israel, against Lebanon, Syria, Mali, Venezuela; Always in the arms of imperialists. It is not accidental. The leadership of the ITUC is partially guilty for the millions of refugees, of victims and of migrants.
The leadership of ITUC promotes reformism and class-collaboration inside the working class. They deny the basic Marxist principle ’’that the history of societies is a history of class struggle’’ and at the same time they try to put make up on the capitalist systems and present exploitation as good. Ultimately who benefits from such trade union practices? Those who benefits are the capitalists the multinationals, the anti-labour governments who want a trade union movement imprisoned in class collaborations and surrenders to the GOD of capitalist profit. We criticize their leadership because it is our responsibility to help the workers to build their own independent, militant, class-oriented and international trade unions fighting against imperialism and capitalist barbarity.
Further, the effort to defend and promote reformism, corruption and buying of trade union leaders in benefit of the monopolies and their countries who are in Africa, Latin America and Asia continue. The way is led by dangerous institutes and foundations with massive funding from states and other institutions. Their dirty role and reactionary character have been proved in practice historically against all workers struggles. Some of them: Solidarity Centre ( of AFL-CI0) of USA, Friedrick Elbert Stiffing (FES) and others from Germany and their counter parts in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and other countries. European trade union confederation (ETUC/ CES) defend the anti-labour policies of the EU.
Serious obstacles in the life and action of the unions are put by the hundreds and thousands of Non-Government organizations (NGOs) who are mushrooming and the vast majority of those organizations serve as long arms of the imperialists. These NGOs are not what they like to appear. The experience from the wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, Syria, Libya and others over the world assure that the big majority of the NGOs are instruments of corruption and promoting of dark plans in the service of getting simple people caught in the traps. The few exemptions of NGOs that have made positive contribution are a very few.
Dear Friends and Comrades,
In sharp contrast with their situation, the class oriented trade union forces, the unions and federations all over the world launch hard fight to reverse the climate of defeatism and fatalism within the working masses, to break with the false hopes and illusions promoted by the compromised trade union leaderships to lift the workers and peoples movement, to re-construct the trade union movement and to organize the struggle for the elimination of anti-people measures, for realizing the rights, strengthening class oriented trade union movement, the formation of social alliances and finally the abolition of exploitation by man by man and the imperialist barbarism. As WFTU, we have made an important effort with notable results, in our effort to strengthen the class oriented trade union movement internationally, to support these forces in every country organize common coordinated struggles on sectoral, regional and international level, strengthening the expressions of proletarian international solidarity.
WFTU presented the considered views on several tripartite fora on various economic issues, which included the following;
WFTU’s considered views:
- ”The Global economic & financial crisis underscores the fundamental flaws of capitalism and the urgent need for radical transformation towards a new economic order built on certain principles, such as economic justice and equitable development, people participation in the shaping of economic policy, food and energy sovereignty, universal access to essential services and public utilities, protection and promotion of all human rights, in particular right to food, air, right of workers, rural& urban communities, indigenous people, women & children.
- Protection of jobs; labour and migrant workers in accordance with ILO core labour standards and based on the definition of real decent work( contents of work, nature of jobs, security & representation), creation and facilitation of alternate employment and in the process advance other development goals; prioritization of Govt, assistance to small & medium scale sector and assistance to big industries should ensure employment of a significant number of workers.
- Re-orient budgets to finance immediate measures to address the impacts of the crisis, additional public investment to social infrastructure; Repeal and reverse the policies that brought on this crisis (eg) Liberalization, deregulation, privatization.
- UN should play a central role; Govts to re-negotiate the ’free trade agreements’, placing control on capital flows and applying sensible conditions to investments and financial transactions.
- Radically reduce military spending and allocate to social sector, commit massive public funds to reverse privatization of common essential services and public utilities.
- Apply stringent ’ progressive ’ tax systems by raising exemption from income tax to the poor, no tax on basic consumption foods and tax on the rich and luxury goods. Adopt controls such as, Tobin Tax, on movement of speculative capital. Dismantle Tax Havens’.
- Finance Capital and financial system should not dominate over the real economy (production and social production) and ensure economic equity self determination of sovereignty of peoples and nations.
- Cancel unsustainable and illegitimate debts of developing countries unconditionally; Tied aids to be rejected. Restitution of undue wealth should become a principle of international law.
- Phase out the WB, IMF and WTO and help to build a new international financial architecture; withdraw from ICSID. A reformed and democratized UN and not the G7 or G20 must be the at the heart of the financial system reform. Decision making should be based on the 192 country parity vote.
- Introduce full scale socialization of Banks, not just nationalization of bad assets; recover the cost of the bailout from the Banks/companies assets and assets of the executives; potentially big banks must be subjected to anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws; The offshore banking system to be shut down.
- The end goal of trade should be social usefulness and not just financial profits; Trade policy should not destroy traditional, home-based and small and medium industries, as these have huge amount of potential employment for the urban and rural poor.
- Abondan capitalist practice of ”(a) capital-intensive industrial structure (b) lean model production, (c) free exit policy”. Industrial policy should prioritize employment generation, safety and health, improving the quality of life, implementing the actual Decent Work in letter and spirit.
- Goal of agricultural policy should be food self-efficiency; Abolishing big land system and corporitation of land of land, to protect small farmers and not the needs of the transnational agribusiness. WTO should be kept out of agriculture”.
As Karl Marx has said ” we have nothing to lose but our chains” Nowadays the chains are not necessarily on the hands; the chains are in the brains, due to information imperialism and various tactics of the capitalists. With a glorious history, full of sacrifices, struggles, successes, overcoming the setbacks and weakness, we shall go toword. We are optimistic. We believe in the working class movement led by the internationalist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist character of WFTU
Long live NEHAWU
Long live the African Trade union movement
Long live the proletariat internationalism.