Always on the side of the working class of India*

Always on the side of the working class of India*


12th  Triennial Conference of CITU

January 17-21, 2007 – Bangalore India

Speech of W.F.T.U. General Secretary George Mavrikos


Dear friends and comrades,

It is a pleasure and an honour for the World Federation of Trade Unions to participate to the 12th Triennial conference of CITU and we cordially wish to thank you for this chance.

From the platform of your Conference, allow me to address warm, sincere and militant greetings to the Working Class of India and the class – oriented trade-union movement of your country.

We are sure that the discussions, documents and resolutions, will constitute a solid base of growth and reinforcement of your struggles for the interest of the popular strata. We also believe, that your congress is important for the international labour and trade-union movement, not only of Asia but the entire world.

Dear friends,

We live in an era of capitalist globalisation. The basic characteristics of this era, are the big economic inequality, huge poverty for the many and accumulation of big wealth for the few. The fights of developed capitalist states to keep under their economic, political and military control the entire third world.

 Today, in the 21st century, 800 million people suffer from starvation. 200 million children live in abject squalor. 900 million adults are illiterate. 115 million children do not go to school. This is the real picture of globalisation we experience in all continents. At the same moment, a few days ago, the UNE-WIDER University in Helsinki announced the results of research showing that the 2% of the world’s inhabitants own the 60% of its wealth! The study also notes that the inequalities between rich and poor are increasing each year. The economic power is assembled more and more in a few massive international, monopoly corporations. Only wihtin one year  6.134 mergers of such big corporations took place. This economic concentration strengthens the political and military pressure that the multinationals practice on governments and entire states.

These international economic developments particularly for Africa and Asia give birth to new, modern phenomena of colonialism. New systems of slavery through forms of exploitation are developed at the expense of workers. In the 21st century, there are people who have a monthly salary of 25-30 euros, without trade-union and human rights. This is slavery. Through this exploitation, the multinationals and the monopolies aim to secure their enormous profits for the next 50 years. This strategy means exploitation at the expense of developing and poor countries. It means the increase of debt for poor countries. This debt of the developing world has today reached 140 billion US dollars. We evaluate as very positive the initiative of Democratic People’s Republic of China to erase the debt of 1,3 billion US dollars of African countries.

The fundamental element of our era is Imperialist Aggressiveness with basic representative the governments of the USA, UK, NATO and their allies. In this aggressiveness European Union actively participates, to ensure access to new markets and gain spheres of influence. This aggressiveness is apparent in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine and in the threats against a number of independent countries. Recent developments in Somalia are one more confirmation of the imperialist aggressiveness. This aggressiveness, as well as the thirst for control of new markets, gives birth to coflicts within imperialism and capitalism. We see the one block constituting USA and UK trying to ensure alliances in Africa and Asia. The other block of French- German axis and the European Union, tries to build new colonial agreements for its own interest. These conflicts that were expressed between these two blocks in the war against Iraq, Lebanon etc, confirm that the Marxist theory for  conflicts within imperialism still holds true in our days.

In this international environment, the role of International Organisations is very specific. The World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund constitute a group that imposes its policy on the poor and the Working Class. While in their constitutions and principles the beautiful words and statements are not absent, actually they help the powerful to become more powerful and they impose worse conditions of poverty on poor people. The result of these policies is obvious in the recent statement made by the ILO from Geneva that today in the world there are 360 million unemployed young people.

 The world working class and all the peoples are worried and confused by the role of the UN during the last 15 years. The changes in the international correlation of forces have led to the UN legalising all the illegal activities of the USA.

Dear friends,

During the last 15 years the rulling classes of imperialist states present a new mechanism for defending their power. These are the so-called “Non Governmental Organisations”. Dr. James  Petras, professor of Sociology in the State, Binghamton University of New York, wrote that today, there are at least 50.000 NGOs in the Third World, receiving finances of 10 billion USA dollars from the governments of USA, Japan and Europe. The executives of most of these NGOs receive wages and earnings that can be compared with the salaries of the executives in multinational companies. Thus, the capitalist system has made an army, a modern mechanism that speaks against poverty, inequality, but only in words. It travels all around the world, organises seminars, lives in luxurious hotels and cultivates confusion among poor people. It teaches collaboration with the capitalist governments. It slanders the struggle for the overthrow of capitalist system. It defames the trade unions and the working-class struggles. Most of these “Non Governmental Organisations” are bodies of governments, they do not accept the role of the Trade unions and of course they question the existence of the very same Working Class as a class in society.


In such an economic, social and political world environment it is reasonable to put the question: What kind of trade unions does the working class need today? With which modern strategy and tactic? With what kind of alliances? With what kind of unity can we move on? What should the elements of our internationalism be today?

We know that we are all concerned with these questions. The answer in these questions should be serious and collective. By all together the class and militant forces.

We also all know, that within the trade union movement there were always two basic front lines. The one is the front line of acquiscence and class collaboration with final objective the improvement of capitalism. This front line is expressed by the ITUC.

The other, is the front line of the struggle and class oriented fight, which has always been supporting and still does, that proggress only comes through struggles and action. This front line is expressed, today, by the WFTU.

From our part, as WFTU on the basis of the resolutions of our last congress, that was held on December 2005, in Havana, we present the following thoughts:

We understand that the modern working class has a lot of new characteristics. It is more educated. It has more needs. It develops new technologies. It receives a lot of information etc. However, it has not stopped being the class that is being exploited by the capitalists. Our society has not stopped being separated into two basic classes. On the basis of this evaluation, we believe that we need trade unions with class orientation. Trade unions that will not be part of the system’s mechanism, but useful tools for the workers. Trade unions independent from the transnationals and the monopolies, that fight for social alliances with the poor peasantry, the progressive intelligentsia and the self-employed. Trade Unions that will unite the workers on the basis of their class interests, a unity that will gather forces for the struggle against capital. That will not only organise trade union – economic fights but will aim for the abolition of exploitation of men by men

We support the need for “decent work”. We underline at the same time that for us, decent work means 8 hours of work, stable and good payed job, with social security and good conditions of health and safety.

We believe that we must strike at the bureaucracy and elitism, if we want the young people, women and economic immigrants to return to trade unions and have new members. We must make the trade unions, schools of research, knowledge, democracy and collectiveness. Schools against the imperialist wars. Because today, in the globalisation of Neoliberalism we have to globalise our struggles, without forgetting that the first of all our duties is to develop the movement, each one in our country. Only by developing the movement within our countries, do we help the International movement. For a new Internationalism that will recognise the right of the peoples to self-determination.

Dear friends, We all know the difficulties that we have in front of us. We know the obstacles and our opponents. At the same time we know that only through the fight of the masses will progress come.

We know our possibilities.

We have rich experience.

We have our organisations.

We have the culture, traditions and history of the world trade-union movement.

We watch developing fights in all continents.

We watch the teachers in Mexico, the economic immigrants in France, we watch the huge strikes in India, Philippines, Korea, we watch the developments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and many other countries and we are optimistic.

Capital is not invincible. The working class that struggles is invincible.

Long live CITU Conference! Long live the working class of India! Long live international Solidarity!

Thank you very much.