Read here the speech of WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos at the International Conference of WFTU and GFTU in Solidarity With the Syrian People held in Damascus, Syria on 13-14 September 2015.
“It is my honor to greet this very successful International Conference organized jointly by WFTU and the General Federation of Syria and ICATU in order to express the solidarity with the Syrian people and the Syrian working class.
Dear President of GFTU, brother Jamal Kadri, on behalf of the members and friends of the WFTU who live and struggle in 126 countries of the five continents, I convey to you our honest, fraternal and international salutation.
We appreciate that in our invitation was accepted by 230 trade unionists from 43 countries representing with the trade union organizations millions of members.
Despite the difficult conditions they did not hesitate to travel to Damascus to be on the side of the Syrian people who the last five years suffer under the target of imperialism.
We are here:
- To demand that the foreign intervention in Syria ends now!
- To demand the immediate end of the blockade
- To demand the immediate seizing of the economic sanctions and discriminations against Syria.
The World Federation of Trade Unions, from the first moment of the outburst of this methodically planned and orchestrated crisis in Syria, openly expressed its support to the Syrian people and the Syrian workers. We did not follow the flow. Against the massive propaganda manufactured by USA, by the European Union, by their allies; a propaganda that the International Organizations and the ITUC accepted and promoted; a propaganda that some workers parties and trade union organizations fell for, against this propaganda the WFTU was opposed and we exposed the truth. We informed the workers around the world. We clearly stated that in Syria, terrorists mercenaries are working for the destabilization of the country serving the interests of the USA, the EU and their monopolies.
The WFTU supports the fair struggle of the Syrian people. In an organized way and in every podium we had in the international sphere we projected the truth contrary to the lies of the Mass Media, the USA, the NATO, the EU, the ITUC. The WFTU contributed in forming the public opinion and creating a movement of solidarity with the Syrian people. From the first minute until this International Conference we remained stable in our fraternal position on the side of the Syrian people and we defend the right of the Syrian people to decide by themselves with democratic procedures for their present and future without foreign interventions.
The WFTU in its 70 years of struggle since 1945 until today it has proven ethically and practically its solidarity with the Arab workers, the workers of all the world and the public who struggle for their fair demands. While, the WFTU was on the first line of the struggle and the international trade union coordination for the achievement of important socioeconomic demands of the workers such as better wages, better working hours, social security rights, working women’s rights, trade union and democratic rights, for health and safety at workplaces, for healthcare, for education countering illiteracy, for a better quality of live (housing etc.), the WFTU always at the same time defended the fair struggle of the people in the Arab countries against colonialism and against imperialism and fought for the completion of their struggle.
There are dozens of statements of WFTU, interventions in the International Organizations, protests against persecutions, tortures and executions of militants, protests towards Governments and appeals for the expression of international solidarity with were organized and coordinated in various forms. All these reflect the positions of the WFTU in all crucial moments as well as daily problems of the Arab trade unions and the Arab workers. Such as the struggle of the Algerian people in November 1954 for the recognition and the independence of Algeria and the withdrawal of the French troops, in the struggle of the Iraqi people for the recognition of the newly founded state, in the struggle of the Egyptian people for the autonomy of the Suez Canal, in the struggle of the Syrian people against the imperialist aggressiveness, in the struggle of the Lebanese people, in the struggle of the people of Jordan, Libya against the military operation of the Anglo-American troops, in the struggle of the people of Sudan, of the people of Aden for the independence and the creation of Yemen. In the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation and imperialism for an independent and democratic Palestinian State. And later on against the plot for the New Middle East and the imperialist wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya.
On the same way today, from this hall, we unite our voice with the the people and the working class of Syria, with the workers in all Arab countries and we denounce the Government of USA, the Governments of the European Union countries, the NATO for the invasive policy adopted undermining the freedom of choice of the Syrian people and looking to plunder its natural resources and wealth. Their objective is to fragment the Arab states, to fragment the Arab people and to profit from the exploitation of the wealth-producing recourses and the paths of transportation. They want the Arabs divided, humiliated, surrendered; they want the Arab workers to be economic migrants in Europe and the USA and to work for meager wages in terrible conditions.
We express our respect to the religious beliefs, the culture, the great traditions of all Arabs and appeal to you brothers and sisters to coordinate our struggle together against the imperialists and against the foreign, invasions against the plot for the new Middle East with states that are puppets of the USA.
Based on the strong foundation of the 70 years of internationalist solidarity in favor of the interests of the Arab workers and the people of the Arab countries, dear brothers and sisters from the Arab Organizations you know very well that the WFTU never let you down, never gave up on you, never sold you out. On the contrary, it was your stable, consistent, trustworthy ally. The WFTU is your family, your Organization. This family we want to strengthen all together, make it more strong against the plan for the new Middle East, more strong for the interests of the workers.
We appeal to you for unity and action, for unity in action against imperialism. Against privatizations of the strategic sectors of the economy, for labour, social and democratic rights for all, for social and economic development based on the needs of the people and not the profit. We call upon you for unity in action in order to protect the right of our people to decide upon themselves for their present and future.
In conclusion of this short greeting, allow us to express our fraternal solidarity with the migrant workers and the refugees who seek a better future in Europe. The imperialist interventions generate poverty, deaths, refugees and migrants.
In Europe, today, the Governments and the Employers exploit the refugees, profit from the refugees and treat them as modern slaves. We will continue our struggle so that we can all live in our countries peacefully without foreign interventions and without the barbarity of capitalism.
We demand that the discriminations end now against the refugees and migrants.