People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 52

December 25, 2011


WFTU Secretariat Decides to

Strengthen Ideological Campaign


Swadesh Dev Roye


A meeting of the central secretariat of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) was held at its headquarters in Athens on December 12-13, 2011. Apart from the general secretary George Mavrikos, the secretariat is composed of six other office bearers from different continents, including the two deputy general secretaries from India, Swadesh Dev Roye and H Mahadevan. The main agenda of the meeting was preparation for the presidential council meeting of the WFTU that is scheduled to be held on February 9-10, 2012 at Johannesburg, South Africa. The outline of the political-organisational report to be submitted to the Johannesburg meeting on behalf of the secretariat was discussed and finalised.


The secretariat noted that after the 16th Congress of the WFTU held at Athens on April 6-10, 2011, the world capitalist economic crisis has further aggravated shaking the fundamentals of capitalist economic system. While the crisis has further deepened in the US, both the major and minor economies of Europe have come under the grip of unprecedented crisis with snowballing impact particularly all over the European Union. The looming danger of sovereign debt default crisis and absence of any room for monetary maneuvering for the weaker economies, under the frame of common currency have poised potential threat of crack in the common currency system.


In discharge of their obligation to serve the class they represent, the governments have been frantically extending one after another bailout packages to the private big business concerns at the cost of public exchequers. However, let alone any real recovery on the economic front, the governments of the crisis-ridden economies are sinking into vicious political crisis. Political incumbents are changed with incumbents with bureaucratic background to head government. Change of guards in Greece and Italy are concrete examples. The crude intention behind such characteristic change in the incumbencies of prime ministers is to intensify class exploitation with bureaucratic brutality on the suffering people. Under the guise of addressing the crisis, the capitalist class rulers have been dolling out truck load of public money to the private big business.


However, in the absence of any directional change for an alternate, people oriented policy, the class biased steps of the governments are producing rather reverse result. Therefore, let alone recovery, the crisis is aggravating dimensionally. In the situation, the capitalist class onslaught on the working class has intensified continuously. The principle adopted by the governments to address the crisis is directed to ‘Rescue the “Sinners” (the capitalist class) and punish the victims (the working class)’.  ‘Austerity’ has become the buzz word to the ruling classes. Pay cut, perks cut, pension cut, permanent job cut; and such other measures have been autocratically resorted to aimed at imposing the burdens of the crisis on the working class.   


At the same time, the secretariat took note of the ever growing struggles of the people in all the continents. Most striking is the repeated strike struggles of the working class in Greece and such struggles of the working class of Italy, France, Spain, Portuguese etc. Then the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in the USA and also the struggles of the working class of other countries of the world. The WFTU secretariat traced the political and organisational aspects of these struggles and decided to deal with these developments with due focus in the report to the forthcoming presidential council meeting. 


In this connection, Mavrikos reported to the secretariat on the latest political developments in the Arab Region based on his recent visit to Egypt, Syria etc. In Egypt, a major country in the region, the trade union movement has been witnessing crude onslaught of the Military Council government. The administration has been brazenly interfering in the internal matters of the trade union movement so much so that the democratically elected trade union leadership has been summarily dismissed and union offices sealed. On the other hand the class collaborationist International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has been given free hand by the Military Council to exercise all tricks to force the trade union of the country into the fold of ITUC. The ICATU (International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions) and OATUU (Organisation of Arab Trade Unions Unity) have been affected by the machinations of imperialist agencies. According to the understanding of the WFTU, unfortunately, the Syrian working class has been deprived of deserving support from even the expected trade unions of the region, courtesy the presence of agents of western powers within the region.


The secretariat discussed the developments in Latin American countries. Incidentally, the WFTU delegations recently visited Peru, Chile, Argentina and Venezuela. One of the most striking developments of the period in the region on the trade union front was the resounding success of the 13th Congress of CGT, Peru held on November 16-19, 2011 at Lima, Peru. This union is one of the leading trade unions in the entire Latin America. Moreover, along with the conference, an international seminar was also organised under the banner of the WFTU.  Also of significance has been the emergence of a new trade union centre in Venezuela led by the progressive oil trade union leadership of the country. From the picture presented to the secretariat on the Venezuelan trade union movement, it appeared that, while the pro-imperialist trade unions are getting decimated, the progressive trade union organisations are slowly getting consolidated. The secretariat also heard report from Osiris, the permanent representative of WFTU at ILO, Geneva regarding the developments centering round the forthcoming election of a new director general of ILO. Incidentally, the present incumbent Juan Somavia is demitting office pre-maturely on health ground and his successor is scheduled to be elected on May 28, 2012 on the eve of the next ILC.


The secretariat took stock of the observation of the ‘International Action Day’ on October 3, 2011 at the call of the WFTU and noted that “Members and Friends of the WFTU in tens of countries organised strikes, demonstrations, protest marches, conventions, seminars and even theatrical performances” on the day.  The secretariat decided to recommend to the forthcoming presidential council meeting to declare October 3, 2012 to be observed as International Day of Action and finalise the demands of the day.


The secretariat adopted the report of activities for the year 2011 to be presented to the next presidential council meeting and also decided to place a draft proposal for comprehensive action programme for the year 2012 consisting of wide-ranging political and organisational activities. Most significant organisational decision, the secretariat has adopted is to conduct camps for trade union education with internationally reputed teachers with knowledge and commitment to the doctrine of class struggle and leadership of working class in transforming the society.