This congress of PAME is taking place at a time of vital importance for the working class and there are many challenges ahead for the class-oriented trade union movement. Therefore, the debates of this congress and the decisions that will be taken are of vital importance for the working class in Greece and all over the world.
We are living in a complicated international context. The various crises that have hit the world over the last few decades are greatly altering the global picture.
Thus, during the 21st century, we are witnessing the military interventionism of the US and its allies, the financial crisis of 2008, the care crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine.
Those who years ago said that there was no alternative to capitalism are now talking about “re-founding capitalism”. But the truth is that capitalism has long since failed because it is an unjust political and economic system. It is an unjust system because it has succeeded in linking white supremacism and patriarchy as constituent values of class exploitation, giving rise to the greatest social inequalities in human history.
In short, we live in an era of globalisation, but of the globalisation of injustice. The right to education, to health, to decent housing, to adequate food and to development, although provided for in different international legal frameworks, is in practice denied to millions of people, precisely at a historic moment when fair access to land, territory and common goods, if given equitably, could eradicate poverty.
Neoliberal globalisation has imposed a globalised market controlled by transnational corporations. It generalises the mechanisms of exploitation of workers, converts human needs into commodities, privatises and makes public services precarious, and plunders the planet’s natural resources for the benefit of capital which, in turn, moves unhindered through the rigid borders of nation- states.
It is in this international context, deeply patriarchal and with deep colonial overtones, that the neoliberal model that today reigns in the maintenance of a walled Europe is circumscribed. A Europe at the service of states and capital is being created. A model that is building Europe to the tune of the interests of the large transnational conglomerates and financial capital which, in recent years, have strengthened their power and influence in the design of economic necropolitics.
However, not everything has been decided and not everything has been said, because this model of globalisation led by the economic and military power of the USA is in crisis and is showing signs of exhaustion, paradoxically due to the market’s own dysfunctions. Moreover, new emerging countries have emerged on the world stage, and many Peoples are demanding its capacity to decide their economic and political future.
In a walled-in Europe with less and less weight on the geo-political chessboard, hostage to the austerity policies of the prevailing neoliberal model, with an integration project that is increasingly being called into question, especially by the rise of the ultra-right, feminist and class-based trade unionism is the only alternative in the face of the obvious failure of social dialogue as a tool to guarantee the rights of the working class.
The project of the European Union is a project at the service of member states and corporate capital where the lobbies are at ease for the continuity of this system of class, sex, gender and race domination. This European Union closes ranks and looks the other way before the demands for freedom of the people, as was reflected in Catalonia, and at the same time acts as a fortress to close the doors to migrants who come to the continent fleeing the wars that its economic policies and its following of US foreign policy have provoked.
The current context has made even more evident the need for European integration on the opposite parameters to what exists today. The peoples of Europe are paying dearly for the foreign policy of the European Union, which is totally aligned with the geo-strategic interests of NATO, fuelling a climate of warmongering, far removed from diplomatic means of conflict resolution. The war in Ukraine is yet another demonstration that NATO is a criminal organisation that represents a threat to peace, stability, solidarity and social justice.
No social transformation is possible without the exercise of the peoples’ right to self-determination and, at the same time, there can be no sovereignty processes if we do not transform our realities marked by different and complex oppressions that overlap and, historically, feed off each other. We believe that it is necessary to strengthen these two struggles, as they are two sides of the same coin, they feed each other and will allow us to advance towards the freedom of peoples.
For all these reasons, LAB welcomes this congress wishing the greatest success to the comrades of PAME. We are convinced that the successes derived from this congress will be a step forward for the working class of Greece and the world, because only by strengthening the trade union model that we, the affiliated unions of the World Federation of Trade Unions represent, will we be able to change the course of history. As Salvador Allende said, history is ours and it is made by the people.