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Strengthening of the class-oriented forces at the Congress of GSEE

On the 22-25 of March 2013 the 35th Congress of the General Confederation of Workers in Greece (GSEE) was held in Alexandroupolis. Sectoral federations and “Labour Centres” (local trade union councils) of the workers in the private sector of Greece’s economy participate in it.

The class-oriented forces, supported by the KKE, did not merely maintain their position in GSEE at this congress ,but they strengthened it, electing 10 of their representatives to the Board of GSEE (1 more than previously). In addition, despite the losses of the social-democratic grouping PASKE, supported by the PASOK party, the scenario of the parliamentary elections was not repeated and SYRIZA’s forces remained at a relatively low level (see the full results below). We should note the following in order to explain the developments in the trade union movement of our country.

As is well-known the All-workers’ Militant Front (PAME) was founded in Greece in April 1999, with the participation of 230 first-level trade unions, 18 sectoral and regional trade union organizations and 2500 elected trade-unionists. PAME since then has rallied dozens of first-level trade unions, sectoral federations and labour centres in the line of the class struggle against capital, the European Union, the bourgeois governments. PAME’s forces although they have not withdrawn from the Confederations of the trade unions in the private (GSEE) and public (ADEDY) sectors, coordinate their activity separately, and have their own coordinating bodies. PAME, which has the full support of the KKE, states that the struggle for the workers’ interests is directly linked to the strengthening of the front against employer-government led trade unionism, against the majorities in GSEE and ADEDY. PAME poses its own demands and goals at the strike demonstrations and mobilizations, it organizes its own militant demonstrations, against the compromised bureaucratic leaderships of GSEE and ADEDY. PAME’s forces do not participate in the Presidium of GSEE.

The congresses of the sectoral federations and labour centres had been held before the Congress of GSEE in order to elect delegates to the 35th Congress of GSEE. The workers (members of trade unions) in these elections vote for the boards and delegates based on electoral groupings, which are supported by various political forces.

On the eve of the Congress, PAME stressed amongst other things in a statement:

“The 35th Congress of GSEE is yet another congress remote from the problems and needs of the working class, its children, the unemployed, the pensioners. It is yet another congress for the disorientation, subjugation and entrapment of the trade union movement in the line of class collaboration, governmental orientation, the betrayal of the interests of the working class for the salvation and perpetuation of capitalist profitability and exploitation.

It will be yet another congress to support the demands and strategy of capital, the European Union, and the governmental choices. This historical line of class collaboration and submission, with the responsibility of the majority of GSEE’s leadership: PASKE (PASOK’s grouping), DAKE (ND’s grouping), Independent Intervention (SYRIZA’s grouping), is the main cause of the decay and generation, which has taken on serious dimensions within the ranks of the trade union movement, and the is the chief obstacle for its class-oriented regroupment and rebirth. No transformation, as the leadership of PASKE is very hypocritically attempting, as well as a belated denunciation of employer-government led trade unionism, as the trade union grouping of SYRIZA and others are attempting, are going to release them from their responsibilities. It is time for the working class to overturn this correlation of forces from the bottom up.

The forces which form PAME (federations, labour centres, first-level trade unions and hundreds of elected trade unionists), together with many honest trade unionists, have not merely taken a distinct stance against this downward spiral, but played the leading role as far as they could for the regroupment and rebirth of the trade union movement, for the organization of its resistance and unity of its ranks based on its class interests in the war that has been unleashed. They adopted and unwaveringly supported the slogan which was born inside the contemporary tough class struggles: either you are with capital or with the workers.”

PAME highlighted that “Only through this line of struggle can the class-oriented movement be reborn. The capitalist crisis exposed the impasses of a system that is rotting.”

PAME noted in its statement that “since its foundation it has taken a distinct stance and been on the receiving end of an attack by the compromised trade union leaderships, tabling its own proposals, with demands that correspond to the contemporary-real needs of the families from the working class and popular strata. It organized and supported struggles with great success, at the same time when other forces at the helm of GSEE were on the other side and undermined them in every way. It took a distinct stance in relation to the character of the crisis with as a central slogan “no sacrifice for the plutocracy” when the forces of class peace bargained for new reductions in the social dialogues so that the competitiveness of the Greek economy was not negatively affected, in essence accepting the joint responsibility in relation to the debt.

The basic role and mission of PAME is not restricted to the daily struggle, the small and major struggles for the defence of the workers’ rights. There, the presence and activity of the class-oriented forces is taken for granted and effective. It played the leading role in thousands of small and major struggles. There is no pressing problem of the working class family that has not concerned it. The basic goal and mission of PAME is to unite, to rally the working class in a class-oriented direction. A movement that can strike fear into them and win some gains is a movement which will fight concerning all the daily problems and at the same time struggle so that the people have the power.

We seek the regroupment of the labour and people’s movement on this line, the enhancement of the operation and activity of the first-level trade unions, the change the correlation of forces in the trade union movement. We seek to rally everyone in this line. Workers and employees, federations, labour centres, struggle committees, People’s Committees, trade unionists. So that the unified struggle and people’s alliance is strengthened. The offensive is unified, it strikes against all the popular strata, it requires a unified front of struggle of the workers, employees, pensioners, poor farmers, self-employed, women, every young person.”

The results of the 35th Congress of GSEE

The grouping supported by the KKE and other forces rallied in PAME were strengthened at the 35th Congress of GSEE. These are the results in detail:

  • DAS (the grouping supported by the KKE and through which PAMEs forces in GSEE are expressed) received 94 votes, 10 seats (from the 9 it had previously), with 22.22%.
  • PASKE (the grouping supported by the social-democratic party PASOK) received 146 votes and fell to 16 seats (from 22), with a percentage of 34.52 %.
  • DAKE (the grouping supported by the right-wing party of ND) received 103 votes and maintained the 11 seats which it had, with a percentage of 24.35%.
  • Independent Intervention (the grouping of SYRIZA in which some people from PASKE now participate) received 44 votes and 5 seats (from 3), with a percentage of 10.4%.
  • The grouping Emeis, which is made up of trade-unionists who were formerly in PASKE, received 32 votes and 3 seats, with a percentage of 7.57 %.

As is stressed in the Declaration of PAME “Today if the struggle of every trade union and especially of third-level trade union does not question the development which has the capitalist profit at its centre, then this trade union is not waging the class struggle, it betrays the working class interests. Such trade union organizations constitute a support for the political line of the monopolies and their role is dangerous for the working class.

Today we need a class-oriented movement, an obstacle for the plutocracy, organized and oriented against the employers, the laws and its state, mass, organized in the workplace and sector. A movement free from the employers’ people, which will be supported on and develop the social alliance, which does not merely struggle for partial improvements but for the needs of the families of the working class and popular strata as a whole, a movement which will place the central problem-question on the agenda, which must be answered by the working class, the workers.

It is either us or the monopolies!

You are either with capital or the people!

Development for the people or for the profits of the monopolies…

Without you no cog can turn, worker, you can do without the bosses!

Ready solutions and mobilizations without sacrifices, effective struggles without organization and the participation of the workers in them, do not exist. We must organize the counterweight, the people’s alliance, the organized class-oriented movement, for another development path with the problems and needs of the workers at its centre.

All together in the counterattack to tear down the memoranda and the bosses

Worker you can become the master of the wealth you produce!”


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