The last day of the International Trade Union Meeting, held in Paris, could not be better. Early that morning Annick Coupe, representative of Union Syndicale Solidaires, read to the attendees a manifesto for the May 1st, the International Workers’ Day, aiming at asking all the entities attending the meeting commit themselves in distributing the manifesto and also commit themselves in organizing an Internationalist May 1st in their countries.
The manifesto assumes that it is necessary to tell the working class who is the alternative trade union movement and what it advocates. For this reason the manifesto affirms that it is necessary to fight against the social catastrophe that strikes the workers and the peoples, and that one of the major tasks in the European current situation is to fight for the debt payments suspension.
According to the manifesto:
“The current economic, political and social crisis of the capitalist system pushes the workers / and the peoples to misery and leads many countries to a true social catastrophe.”
“The defense of a decent wage, decent employment, of public health and education, requires that the multiple partial struggles, happening currently separately at companies and sectors acrossthe old continent are unified around an urgent demand: Out the governments and the austerity policies!”
“We affirm that there are resources that can solve the crisis from the perspective of defending the workers and the popular interests. But it requires carrying out decisively anti-capitalist measures. We therefore advocate the immediate suspensionof debt payment, a spurious debt which the workers and the peoples did not contract.”
It was also discussed the issue of the North Africa and the Middle East revolutions, for which “no one can fail to provide the most resolute solidarity to all workers and peoples of the world, who face the imperialism and dictatorships. Especially our solidarity with the Arab peoples of the Middle East, indigenous communities and all the popular struggles.”
But these general objectives do not forego the concrete workers struggles for wages, employment and better living conditions, as well as the fight for the maintenance and broadening of social rights. According to the manifesto, “the fight for employment, for the work and wealth distribution requires withdrawing all financial assets from the speculators’ and the bankers’ control. Nationalization without compensation of the financial system and key enterprises, tax reforms in which those who possess more, will pay more in order to use all these resources in the only bailout plan that is missing, a bailout plan for workers and most of the people (99%).”
With regard to the oppressed sectors struggle, the manifesto states that “we must, therefore, raise the flags of struggle against sexism and all forms of oppression against women, the flags of the fight against xenophobia and any kind of oppression of immigrant workers; and the flags of the struggles for the right to self-determination of peoples, for defending the right of all oppressed nationalities to exercise their sovereignty.”
The presentation of the manifesto was followed by interventions which made proposals for amendments and addenda. In this round, several delegates made suggestions, but there was a clear consensus that the manifesto rescues the classist character of 1st May, against the multiclass character of the festivities organized by the trade union bureaucracy, together with employers and governments every year.
By the end, Annick Coupe of Solidaires said that several of the proposed changes were important, but that the manifest could not be regarded as a comprehensive program, but as a first approach in an embryonic process of unity of entities that live different realities and have concepts and different programs to face these realities. He proposed that the manifesto should beadopted with the content displayed and that the different contributions should serve as a support for forthcoming discussions.
The International Trade Union Network is born
Then it was made the proposal which may be regarded as the highest point of the meeting: the creation of an International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle to bring together in a united front, the entities of the attending 32 countries, to ensure that it is started a common practice around the campaigns submitted the day before.
The interim document on the Network is addressed to all trade union organizations that recognize the need for “fighting unionism, for workers’ democracy, for workers’ self-organization and for soc.il transformation” and emphasizes that this “does not declare the proclamation of a new international trade union organization.”
And as concrete objectives, coming of the meeting held, the Network stands for the “international solidarity against all anti-union repression and against all oppressions, especially those involving women.”
One of the Network’s objectives is a united and coordinated intervention in support to the struggles and campaigns that are already under way such as the support for the Palestinian people, the struggle against the occupation of Haiti, against the European austerity treaties and for the right of self-determination of peoples.
Finally, the strengthening of the workers’ organization by professional categories, such as transportation, education, metallurgical, so that they can better lead their specific struggles and combine them with the general struggle is one of the points raised in the document.
Thus, the International Meeting of the Alternative Trade Unionism has taken important steps to resume the classist, democraticof solidarity and internationalist character of the working class struggles and their allies for their emancipation.
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