April 22, 2011
WFDY speech at WFTU 16th Congress (Athens - Greece)
Dear comrades,It is with great pleasure and honor that I salute this Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of the World Federation of Democratic Youth!
Since the year 1945, when our Federation was born that we were closely related to WFTU and throughout the years we have been made even closer, united fighting against the wars, injustices, inequalities and exploitation of imperialism.
For the youth of the world, the development of your congress, as well as the development of trade unionist movement as a whole, is a vital aspect of its present and future. Unlike what many imperialist sponsored tendencies like to promote, the trade union and the struggle in each work place are the key factors of the struggle, the resistance and the transformation of societies.
Particularly, to the young people, those researchers and analysts sponsored by the big economic groups and reactionary forces, try to impose the idea that the trade unionism movement is old, something of the past, out of date and that the existing trade unions are nothing but an attachment of the dominating order.
However, it is reality itself that is proving these ideas and misleading concepts wrong. As collective bargaining, limitless contracts, fair wages, social, political and associative rights are being destroyed, and precariousness, misery salaries and unemployment are being widespread without limit, it is ever more clear that the role of a truly revolutionary trade union - that stands by the workers at all times and organizes them for the struggle regarding all aspects of their labor life (from the most specific to the most general) - is an urgent need of all workers of our times.
Twenty years after the overthrown of the Soviet Union, the so called “end of history” is clearly countered by the wars and inequalities that are, in our days, bigger than any time during the past 65 years. The anti-communist propaganda that a new era of democracy and social rights started in the nineties is demolished by the cruel evidence of facts.
The big economic groups and corporations, rallied in their governments, economic blocks as the EU or structures as the IMF, WTO, World Bank or OECD, want to make the current generation of young people, a generation without rights.
Under the framework and many times excuse of the international capitalist crisis, at all levels, the offense is unprecedented and after one attack comes another and then another consecutively, just so that their profits can continue to grow more and more. This has an impact in the workplaces and in the destruction or privatization of public services and rights, particularly for the youth, education.
To this the students’ movement has increasingly been answering with more struggles and more massive ways of demonstration and protest. Also, the participation of the young workers in the general movement of the workers and in their specific movement have been increasing more and more, despite the huge difficulties and obstacles faced by them to be organized and participant in the struggles.
In fact, the growing obstacles to the participation of the youth are result of the decreasing working and living conditions, but also of the specific and powerful attack against democratic rights and liberties that aims to criminalize all forms of resistance and struggle. Side by side with a powerful propaganda machine, to corrupt the minds of the workers and youth, imperialism wants to isolate all those who oppose it, to better control what is happening and keep its domination.
However, and despite that, it is everyday more relevant the role of young people in the trade union movement. The young people are assuming more responsibilities in the trade unions and showing that only through confrontation in the working place it is possible to achieve any sort of demand. The examples coming from many countries where workers with precarious contracts are massively participating in the struggles and at the forefront of the demonstrations are an inspiration for everyone and a sign that the young generations are committed to change their present and their future.
From WFDY, we denounce the theories that workers with precarious contracts should not engage in the struggles or that they should be separated from the rest of the working class. Such concepts, as the “precariat” (as a sort of new proletariat that is in precarious situation), are nothing more than a division of the movement and an inconsequent tactic promoted by inconsequent forces. Only united the working class can win - disregard their color of skin, geographical origin, type of contract, sector of activity or any other difference. To divide the workers is to follow the same line as the dominant class, that breaks the bounds of solidarity between countries, sectors of activity (particularly private and public) and generations.
As time goes by, imperialism is showing that there are no limits to its offense against the peoples to secure and increase the profits of the dominating classes. After the interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the war against Libya is a proof of this statement. Following the Summit of NATO in Lisbon, last year, the conditions were then better to deepen further the manipulation of the international institutions, particularly the UN, and take forward yet another unfair and unjustified war.
These thugs claim to be defending the human rights of the Libyan people, but let as look at what they are doing where they were also defending the human rights, let us see the consequences of their depleted uranium bombs in few years, and then it will be clear that this was yet another shameless lie to legitimate their greed for oil and for another sort of colony from where they can control all that happens in Africa.
In this moment, it is necessary that all anti-imperialist forces may join hands against the aggression to Libya, so that it can truly be the Libyan people to march the paths necessary and chosen by it to reach its liberation and the accomplishment of all its demands. We need also to reinforce our solidarity with the struggles of the people of Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan, being victims of slaughtering every day. In fact, these examples show also that US, UK, Germany, France, etc. don’t care about human rights in Libya, otherwise they would have bombed the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East long time before, starting with their main allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia or UAE!
As time goes by the situation in Palestine, Colombia, Cyprus, Western Sahara, Burma and others continues to worsen. The blockade continues to choke the Cuban Revolution. These are not new struggles, the international media doesn’t give them headlines or front pages, but they are still going on, and more than ever our solidarity is necessary to help those peoples to win.
My fellow comrades,
Despite the grim scenario, not everything is negative. The recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt have reminded the world that when a people is united and struggling, it is unstoppable. For both these peoples there is a long way to go, as there is for many in Latin America, after they have released themselves from the imperialist chains, but we should never let go these examples that inspire and reinforce our struggle.
In fact, just in December, in South Africa, this was the key message of our 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, where more than 15000 young people from 126 countries underlined the need for us to defeat imperialism, as only way for peace, solidarity and social transformation, for a world free of inequalities and these crisis that will always happen while we live under this economic and political order called capitalism.
This year, our struggle continues, WFDY is organizing its congress, which we call assembly, to take place in Lisbon (Portugal), in November. From now we invite the World Federation of Trade Unions to attend, to deepen our relation, so that - as we write in our slogan - “strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle, for a world of peace, solidarity and revolutionary social transformation!”
We are sure that the success of your congress is also a success for the struggle of all the youth of the world. May it accomplish all the goals to take our common struggle even further!
(WFTU = World Federation of Trade Unions)
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