Second day of the Trade Union International Meeting 

From Europe, Americas, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, one at a time, the approximately 250 trade unions delegates from 32 countries started to crowd the auditorium of the Bourse du Travail of Saint Denis, a municipal building that houses all the regional sections of the French trade union centrals and the sites where collective use are shared by central trade unions, labor groups and the community.

In addition to the delegations of the organizers – Union Syndicale Solidaires – France, CSP- Conlutas of Brazil and CGT of the Spanish State – were present, among others, representatives of the RMT, the England Transport Union, one of the largest in the country, several rank and file Unions from Italy, such as the Coordination of Struggles ‘NoAusterity’, the Co.Bas of the Spanish State and the National Trade Union Confederation of Indonesia.

Just one crisis and the need for a unified response

The proceedings were opened by Desidério, on behalf of CGT, who made a presentation on the world situation, particularly about the capitalism economic downturn that plagues the European people. He said that this is a global crisis, which has several aspects: the economic crisis, the social crisis, and the ecological crises, which are interconnected throughout the world and that they feed each other.

Desidério said that “all the adjustment policies are equal across the European Union, through the Euro agreement and the stability agreement” and that these four policies are expressed in 4 factors – the attack on wages; the labor reform, which gives companies full flexibility to dispose of the workforce the way that best suits them; the pension reform, because pensions are seen as unaffordable to the States; and the States’ public debt crisis, the payment of which to the bankers takes priority over social rights .

In the end of his speech Desidério stated that “there is no turning back” and that it is possible “to change to another system without the financial system intervention” through the “labor and wealth redistribution, with the distribution of work amongst all and the sharing of the labor products as well as the social wealth amongst all.”

The debate was then opened with the participation of all delegations attending, who reported their struggles experiences, the attacks that workers have been suffering from governments and employers and the indispensable support these governments and employers get from trade union bureaucracies so that the crisis is paid by the workers.

However, among all interventions, one stood out for being the only one to tackle the issue of working woman oppression. According to Ana Rosa, a representative of the ‘Movement Women in Struggle’, affiliated to CSP-Conlutas, the fight against the women’s oppression is part of the struggles that occupy the “Tahrir squares” around the world. However Ana Rosa made it ​​clear that “we do not support Angela Merkel, we do not support Cristina Kirchner and we do not support Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, once they pursue policies against workers and against women’s liberation”. Ana stated, “Our place is beside working, oppressed and exploited women”, and that, against those who say that the struggle against oppression divides the workers, “we say that it is the machismo that divides the class and helps capitalism to explore all of us, men and women.”

All the interventions have formed a world scenario of the struggles waged by the workers, where a certainty prevailed: despite regional differences and the different ways of attacks used, the crisis is not only European or of the Middle East and North Africa countries, it is a global crisis attacking all workers on the whole, therefore it is required a unified response of the working class, the peasants and the oppressed peoples.

Common campaigns for a practical solidarity

On the second point of the day Dirceu Travesso (Didi) of CSP-Conlutas explained that the main challenge of the meeting is to implement a common response to the crisis and exploitation, not as a sum of all the resistance against localized attacks, reported in the first point, but as a summary on some points that can unify the action of all parties attending the meeting.

Asserting that at the meeting “are, in a way or other, those who are leading the concrete struggle against imperialist measures”, Didi stated that, “if we do not transform our discussions into action, everything we have done so far may become empty words.”

By refusing the “old trade unionism of ‘bosses’” Didi said that “this project can only move forward if it is discussed with the workers, not only in a closed room among ourselves” and that despite the different conceptions on the economic crisis, there is an understanding that it is a global crisis, which attacks all the peoples in different ways and, therefore, “when we talk about redistribution of wealth, it must be made clear that we do not accept any cut, we do not accept any cutting of rights and social achievements. We do not want any company shutting down; we do not want any cutting in the number of jobs, because, in addition to the issue of democracy, in addition to the need to restore democratic rights lost in the last period, there is the issue of living conditions, made worse due to the imperialist attacks and the economic crisis.”

In accordance with this diagnosis, Didi proposed four major campaigns themes that can respond to the local needs expressed at the meeting. “The first of them is the economic crisis, the imperialist crisis to which we are all vulnerable. It is crystal clear for us about what and who we are.” “I wish I could discuss here, and I think all of you would also like to discuss a date for a general and continental strike in Europe where we could also stand to our feet in solidarity with Latin America, Africa, Asia and all workers the world. That is what we would like, but unfortunately we are unable to do that now.”“But we can, as from the movement which already exists, to strengthen the notion of the need of a general strike, as from a country that puts this process on the march.”

As a second campaign theme, Didi highlighted the defense of the right of organization, the fight against criminalization of social movements that increases every day, with anti-union laws, the fight against the union leaders’ persecution, the fight against the repression of those who struggle, the fight against arrests and murders.

The third theme that “I would place together with the European process is the process that is happening in the Arab world.” Didi said that there are many differences from processes such as in Syria that entities such as the CSP-Conlutas consider as a progressive struggle against a dictatorship, but that not everybody thinks so. Therefore, he has proposed, as a unity campaign of all the attending entities, the Palestinian cause defense,as a symbol of the general struggle against imperialist intervention, against militarization, for the nationalities right for self-determination.

Finally, Didi said that the fourth major campaign theme should be the fight against oppression, which encompasses the immigrants struggle for their recognition, the oppressed nationalities struggle, but that has in the fight against gender oppression, in the women struggle against oppression, the theme most comprehensive feature.

“This is the general idea that we have discussed and we want to see how we could move forward in order to materialize them in campaigns that could be carried out by everyone,” he said to finish his speech.

It was with these ideas in mind that the attending delegates left the plenary session to prepare for the third and final day of the meeting, when it would be taken the main resolutions. A hard day of hard work, that left on all of us the feeling of mission accomplished.

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