On the Reconstruction of the Labor-Trade Union Movement


Reconstruction of the labor, trade union movement with the aim to overthrow the anti-people’s policy or resurrection of the governmental and employers’ trade unionism with the aim to continue the same brutal class policy

  1. PAME, for more than a decade, has set the basic problem of the trade union movement with clarity. Its release from the influence of the employers, governments and the mechanisms of the E.U and its release from the chains of the ideas of the class collaboration are the main conditions for the rehabilitation of the class orientation and the rebirth of the trade union movement.

PAME has highlighted in a comprehensive and clear way the necessity of the reconstruction of the trade union movement, which has as main content: the organization and the unity of the working class in massive trade unions, both sectoral and industrial, based on its unified class-oriented interests and its contemporary needs, against corporatism and fragmentation. The working class needs stem from its position in the production i.e. that the working class is the producer of all the wealth and from the level of development of the productive forces, which can ensure today a higher level of prosperity. These needs are not satisfied today. On the contrary, they are limited; they are constantly compressed downwards while the dominant tendency is this of absolute and relative impoverishment.

This means that, while the wealth of production, the level of development of the productive forces, and science and technology are at incomparably high levels compared to previous decades, life, working conditions and living standards of the working class follow a reverse path.

This contradiction is not an exception. It is not a temporary phenomenon. It is not a Greek phenomenon, but an international one. The tendency to absolute and relative impoverishment and permanent mass unemployment is a permanent and long-lasting tendency both in conditions of development and in conditions of crisis. This tendency becomes even more sharp in time of crisis.

This contradiction has to do with the capitalist path of development. More precisely, it has to do with the development of monopolies and their dominance in all the spheres of economic and social life and embraces all countries. Development takes place unequally, which produces many contradictions, conflicts and makes the monopolies even more aggressive while expanding.

This capitalist development that gave birth to monopolies has reached its peak and final stage. It has nothing else to give. Everything we live today, crises, rottenness, wars etc. are manifestations of a system which has exhausted its historical limits.

In order for the monopolistic capital to have profitability today there must be a precondition: the sharp increase of the exploitation level of the working class through the abolition of the basic labor relations and rights and the predatory exploitation of its needs for the reproduction of its labor force (health, housing, education etc.). Everything we live today is the realization of this strategy.

That is how it is explained why the capital, internationally, long before the crisis,had launched a full-scale attack with a unified strategy for the overthrow of all the achievements and the rights of the working class, under the general direction of the labor market liberalization. This strategy was accelerated by the crisis. This strategy has sharpened to the highest level the contradiction between capital – labor.

  1. PAME, assessing these current developments, has set as a central problem the urgent need for the reconstruction of the trade union movement, in order for it to be capable of answering to the full-scale and generalized attack, to be a movement capable of struggling according to the line of struggle and alliances that is not restricted only to facing the consequences, but it will also set the perspective for the satisfaction of the working class contemporary needs; this requires the line of rupture and overthrow of the monopolies, the parties and the mechanisms that serve them; this requires struggle that will lead to the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.

From this perspective the forces that compose PAME today, have set 14 years ago the main problem of the trade union movement: its release from the governmental and employers’ trade unionism. This is a very powerful mechanism that entraps the trade union movement to the subjugation of the class collaboration, to the plans of the E.U. and its governments. It is a mechanism that converts the trade unions into a mechanism of reconciliation with the employers and the state mechanisms and makes them involve in the rotation of the bourgeois governments.

It is a mechanism of corruption of consciences, corporatism and degeneration. All the wings that formed the majority of the leaderships of GSEE, ADEDY, Regional Trade Union Centers, and Federations and in many first-degree trade unions, mainly in factories, enterprises participated in this mechanism. The trade union wings of PASOK, N.D. SYRIZA used to move in the same direction and the transactions between them are daily when it comes to frauds at the trade union elections. They cooperate altogether with the employers, the mechanisms of the E.U., in the several programs, sharing the roles and the dividends by exploiting of the trade union movement, having strong bonds between them and interdependencies.

Their common feature was the acceptance of the dominant policy, of course with the appropriate recompense for their extra effort, either on group level, i.e political wing or personal level. Another common feature of theirs is the war against every force that counterattacks this miserable situation from class-oriented position. This situation was leading the trade union movement with mathematical precision to degeneration, deterioration, consciences corruption, devaluation and dissolution.

Here lies the main reason why the trade union movement was found disarmed at the attack of the capital and especially in front of the capitalist economic crisis, which they all together baptized debt crisis, crisis of bad management, disorientating the workers.

The forces that form PAME today, have separated their position from this mechanism of entrapment, manipulation and subjugation of the trade union movement. The forces of PAME left the presidiums of the GSEE and ADEDY, from their various mechanisms. Afterwards, PAME was formed as a class-oriented pole with the participation of Federations, Regional Trade Union Centers, Trade Unions and unionists who do not accept nor compromise with this mechanism. They remained, however, in all the organs as members of the administrations and continued to interfere making proposals, expressing positions, making criticism and applying pressure.

3. The formation of PAME set a new perspective for the reconstruction and the revival of the trade union movement. Thanks to PAME, the trade union movement has acquired a stable support for the restoration of its character as a movement with class orientation. With the pioneer work of PAME forces positive steps were made for the reconstruction of the trade union movement. Struggles and resistances were developed in factories, sectors, of a general and a local character with good results. PAME forces temporarily prevented, and in some cases delayed the implementation of the anti-people’s measures, while in other cases they moderated the attack of the capital and the governments.

They mainly created better preconditions and infrastructures so that the trade union movement will acquire an integral and independent policy against the employers and the state. The appearance and intervention of PAME, we all remember, roused up a dirty war, not only by the employers and their governments, but also by all this mechanism of attrition and corruption of consciences, by all the trade union bureaucrats.

Who pioneered in this war with the deceptive accusation of division? First of all the forces of Aftonomi Paremvasi (leftists) rallied today in SYRIZA and together their satellites which compose ANTARSYA (leftists). They pioneered in the war, because their role and responsibilities for the gigantism of the governmental and employers trade unionism have been revealed. Who led to the weakening of massification? Who is responsible for the degeneration of the trade union capacity? Behind the slogans of unity and “all together”, they tried to hide their obscenities and ensure an alibi to continue their cooperation with PASKE, DAKE and the employers. Before the crisis, all these forces voted for the flexible forms of employment, the privatizations, accusing PAME that led people to demonstrations without having any serious reason and they act now as the complainants.

Whathasbeenhappeninguptonowshows that the governmental and employers’ trade unionism is like Lernaean Hydra which is produced, reproduced and constantly transforms like a chameleon. It is produced and reproduced because it functions as the long arm of the employers so that the working class and its movement will be kept subjugated, riveted in subjugation and fatalism or as a partner of the bourgeoisie to maintain its privileges and dominance. In one case it was about our entering the E.U. and the EMU and in another it was about the support competitiveness. In another case it was about avoiding bankruptcy and in another case it was about all of us finding a way out of the crisis.

Experience shows that the war with this mechanism for its crash or isolation is tough, but compulsory so that the working class and its movement will breathe and proceed to its reconstruction.

4. Today, this warenters a new phase. While demerit, exposure of rottenness, corruption and stench that this whole framework emits are obvious, its restoration and its transformation into a new governmental and employers’ trade unionism is attempted.

Copying the slogan and the goal of PAME for the reconstruction of the trade union movement, the leaders of the war against PAME, e.g. the forces of SYRIZA in the trade union movement, have suddenly discovered the moral bankruptcy of the employers trade union leaders and are trying to play the leading part in the supposedly reconstruction of the trade union movement.

The groups that are in full alignment with PASKE and DAKE, facing the moral bankruptcy of these forces, thought that they found the opportunity to lead the trade union movement to cleanse their “sins”. They are trying today, together with the forces of PASKE and DAKE, with whom they have never stopped co-operating, to set up a new mechanism of manipulation.

Their target is not the purge of the trade union movement. They do not have such a policy. They do not want to release the trade union movement from the tombstone of the governmental and employers trade unionism. The main peak of their action is and continues to be the war against PAME.

What leads them to the adoption of the need for reconstruction and what content do they give to this target? What is new is the probability to demand the governmental power. They want the trade union movement to fully applaud their policy, to support the new caliphs who want to replace the old ones. In front of the possibility of the governmental chair and the collapse of PASOK in several places, they want to subjugate the trade union movement and its struggles in this target. Every motley, opportunist and corrupted element, which existed within the old mechanism, is now rallied to this direction. They are useful, moreover, because they are trained in machinations,subversion, opportunism, consent, social dialogues, in the logic of “lesser evil”, for which people have paid very expensively.

They are revealed by the content they want to give to the reconstruction of the trade union movement, but also by the methods they follow. What exactly do they want? They want to play the leading part in the movement and to subjugate it according to their political target. They want the government of Samaras, the central-right, to leave and a government with SYRIZA as the head to come in its place so that the same strategy will be followed within the E.U. and the capitalist path of development. To this end, they set as main demands and slogans “the government must leave”, “general strike”. To this end, they demand the change of forces’ correlation within the trade union movement and to this direction they do not hesitate to cooperate with anyone has learned to live on the sly. They drag to this path their satellites, ANTARSYA.

They do not want the change of policy and direction of the struggle. They do not have class-orientation in their struggle. They do not want conflicts with the capitalist employers and the E.U. They do not want the trade union movement to bemassive, organized against the employers and the state. They want now a trade union movement “of the squares”, being subjugated to their plans for government’s rotation and tomorrow a movement supporter of the same antilabor policy.

They are supporters, however, of respective governments;Earlier of the center-left governments of France and Italy, more recently of the governments of Brazil, Argentina, and fans of the Tahrir square. They are the leaders in strike-breaking and in strikes without strikers. They hold animosity againstthe organization of the workers against the employers, in workplaces, in factories more than anything else.

The big-employers are not worried. They use them and continuously intervene in their preparation as an alternative solution. The big employers estimate that the governmental and employers’ trade unionism with a new mask and with the hypocritical slogans “parties out from the trade unions” may seem today more effective in the prevention of the development of the class-oriented struggle with PAME as head.

They defile whatever they get their hands on. Likewise, they try to defile the current slogan of “reconstruction of the trade union movement”, deceiving the poor, unemployed, desperate workers and employees, promising the moon to them.

5. The struggle for the reconstruction of the trade union movement is today of great importance and must awaken every honest worker and unionist and especially in front of the new obstacles the employers and the modern social democracy have been tryingto erect. We call upon every unionist, every trade union, and every worker to think hard; to put criteria and thoughts in their action. The movement can not have the same goals with the employers and the multinationals. Today a great variety of people and groups, ranging from capitalists to fascists, appears to be against the memorandum. Our goals can not be the same, and for us they are exclusively defined by the needs of the working – popular family. This means full-time and stable jobs for all, decent wages and pensions, free health benefits – education and welfare.

Sector by sector, Trade union by trade union, factory by factory,the alarm for coalition and struggle must be raised, so that the honest labor forces will not be encircled in the trap of the new governmental and employers’ mechanism.

Trade unions which will operate democratically and will gain strength by the participation of workers in the planning of their action must proceed with the process of reconstruction of the trade union movement.

The basic and main content of the reconstruction is the change of the correlation of forces, between the forces that struggle for the way out of the crisis in favor of the workers and the forces that act in favor of the capital. To be In favor of both, the capital and the workers, is impossible. Forces are needed that struggle for the abolition and the overthrow of the antipopular policy and of the antilabor laws and not for the continuation of the same policy with another government; for ruptures and overthrow of the monopolies and the E.U. and not for the perpetuation of their power, the exploitation; for the satisfaction of the contemporary labor and popular needs and not for the poverty management; for the strengthening of international solidarity.

The real dilemma is:

A movement that is organized, class-oriented or a movement of a walk on the square? A movement that is away from the trade unions, with the workers unorganized in workplaces, alone against their employer or a movement with the worker organized in his/her trade union, in his/her workplace and with his/her trade union on the streets and the squares? A movement that is emancipated and hostile against whom? Against PAME which is the pillar and the perspective of the movement or a movement that is emancipated by the capitalists, their parties, the imperialist organizations?

A movement that is politicized targeting to change a right government so that another one, supposedly left, will come, for changes in the way of management always aiming at the competitiveness and profiteering of the businesses or a movement that is politicized and placed against the economy which is planned by the capitalists and their state, placed totally against the bourgeois parties, the imperialists unions as a whole?

Revitalization and reconstruction of the trade union movement based on which forces? On those that have resisted and resist, like the forces of PAME or on those that have supported and support the reactionary restructurings of the governments and of the European “wolf-alliance” and support the EUROPEAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION, which is the long arm of the monopolies, like the forces of PASKE, DAKE, AFTONOMI PAREMVASI and other forces that support the same strategy?

Massiveness, intense forms of struggle, lasting strikes, confrontation, unity of action etc., with what demands, for what purposes, to what perspective? For the change of the manager of the so-called national parliament with the capitalist property and its privileges untouchable, eternal exploiter of the wealth produced by the workers or a struggle for another path of development with the people in control of the wealth they produce?

The power of monopolies may seem stronger today, but it is not more powerful than determined people; it is not eternal.

We can shake their system, create bigger cracks, obstruct their decisions, delay their attack, gain time and ground through our struggles, by strengthening our disobedience and insubordination to their decisions.

Precondition for the above is to strengthen the class-oriented struggles, the organization of workers in every sector, workplace and factory, the working women and men to be emancipated from the influence and the positions of the employers, to fight against the perceptions that put them aside, i.e that others will care for them, like parties of the system and sold-out trade union leaderships.

The workers have only one road; to proceed fearlessly to a systematic organization and to organized disobedience that will question not only the government, but also the matrix that creates memorandums and makes the life of people hell; the power of monopolies. This is the only hopeful perspective and requires the people to play the leading part in the level of economy and politics so that they will control the wealth they produce and their lives.

September 2013

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