|Written by International Executive Committee of the IWL-FI|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 16:58|
Statement in opposition to serious accusations against PSTU, CSP-CONLUTAS and the IWL-FI
A political-trade union trend from Brazil, the Unidos Para Lutar, led by the CST (Socialist Workers’ Trend) member of the UIT (Unidad Internacional de los trabajadores) is posing a serious accusation against the PSTU and against the CSP-Conlutas of that country and against our international trend IWL – FI (International Workers’ League – IV International.
According to this trend, militants of these organizations are said to have formed an opposition list (list 2) in the Chemistry Workers Trade Union in Sao Jose dos Campos (Brazil) with the support of the employers in order to try and remove a “classist” trend (list 1) from the leadership of the trade union. But as if this were not enough, they are accused of having appealed to the justice, together with the employers of the multinational Johnson & Johnson requesting the dismissal of five workers.
We found it hard to believe that such accusations could be real, but we could not discard this possibility beforehand. There was only one possibility to know the truth: to go deeply into the matter and this was what we did. And we did with one conviction: if we arrived at the conclusion that these accusations were true, we would defend the expulsion of the traitors from our rank and file.
The research proved that the accusations were totally false. So once more we were up against slander.
The results of our inquest
a) A PSTU/IWL list that never existed
Our inquest led us from surprise to surprise. The first one was when we found out that the alleged “list of traitors of the PSTU and IWL never existed. As a matter of fact in these elections there was no list of PSTU/IWL.
The second surprise was when we found out that the two lists that participated in the elections for the trade union surfaced as an outcome of a division of the leadership of a trade union headed by UNIDOS PARA LLUTAR. This so far true that in both lists there are militants of the PSOL (the party of the CST led by UNIDOS.
a) What did exist was an anti-bureaucratic struggle inside the UNIDOS trade union
For many years now, the trade union of the Chemistry Workers in Sao Jose dos Campos has been headed by the CST (PSOL) trend which, after the split with CSP CONLUTAS in the year 2010, joined UNIDOS.
Lately several leaders of the trade union began challenging the majority of this leadership because of their bureaucratic behaviour and this was what spawned the two lists in the elections.
In the leadership of the IWL we cannot know all the details of this struggle that took place inside the trade union UNIDOS. Be that as it may, there are several facts that indicate that the main criticism of the opposition has been correct. Let us see some of these facts:
First: the leadership accuses the opposition of being allied to the employers, of being traitors, etc. This accusation could have been valid, but, if it was, why did they not pose it when they were together in the same leadership of the trade union? Why did these accusations crop up as late as the eve of the elections?
Second: During the electoral campaign, list 2 (opposition) presented a serious accusation: in order to control the trade union money, the majority of the leadership changed the treasurer (they appointed a CST militant) and, in order to do so, they manufactured a fake records of an assembly that had never taken place.
The majority of the leadership did not respond to such a serious accusation.
Third: Faced with the accusation posed by the majority of the leadership of the trade union, the opposition posed a very simple proposal: “Assembly no to determine the truth!”
If the majority of the leadership were classists, fighting and democratic as they self-proclaim themselves to be, why did they refuse to summon an assembly so that the grassroots can decide whether there are traitors there and if so, who they are.
The layoffs issue
The employers appealed to the justice demanding that only 14 members of the leadership should enjoy labour stability (so far the number was 41) and they managed to have their appeal passed so five members of the leadership were dismissed.
It was easy for the employers to win their case because the trade union did not submit in due form the necessary appeal (they did so out of the legal terms) and that is why they could dismiss 5 members of the trade union that were not on the list of the 14 stable members that the judge had determined.
Trying to revert the layoffs, the trade union includes the five dismissed on the list of the 14. The judge accepted this change and the five trade union members were readmitted. However, later on, the employers lodged an appeal requesting annulment of the judge’s verdict and thus the reincorporated trade unionists were dismissed once more.
It seems incredible that the trade union should commit such juridical errors with serious political consequence, but what is even more incredible is that the majority of the leadership, instead of admitting their error, they shifted the responsibility on to the opposition: the PSTU, the CSP Conlutas and… even the IWL for the layoffs.
b) How does the PSTU, the CSP Conlutas and the IWL-FI fit into this story?
It all began when a group of Chemistry workers addressed CSP Conlutas to expose the outrageous and arbitrary actions committed by the majority of the leadership and after analysing the situation, the CSP Conlutas, granted the requested support.
However, out inquest into what had happened led us to discover new surprises even within this scope. We thought that the PSTU and CSPP Conlutas had propose the formation of an opposition list and that this had caused the ire of the majority. That was not the case.
Seeing the offensive of the employers (they had achieved in court the reduction of the leaders with stability) the CSP Conlutas, suggested that the opposition should try and build a joint list, elected democratically by the grassroots and so oppose the employers with more consistency. The list should be elected at a convention of grassroots or even in a previous election in the factories.
The CST/UNIDOS never even bothered to answer this proposal. Instead, they issued a last moment summons to an assembly, with barbecue and beer all free, paid out of the funds of the trade union and during this “assembly” they had the date of elections advanced and that there would be no joint list. Two days later they enrolled List 1 where all those who had posed criticism (15 comrades of the leadership of the trade union) were left out. It was only then that the opposition could do nothing but to register list 2, which adhered to CSP CONLUTAS.
The alleged “cooperation with employers” by PSTU, CSP CONLUTAS to dismiss five leaders
The most sordid aspect of the campaign of libels of the majority of the trade union is the part that refers to the alleged collaboration of the PSTU, the CSP COPNLUTAS and the IWL-FI with the employers of Johnson & Johnson to dismiss five trade union leaders.
The attitude of the majority of the leadership of trying to insert the five leaders on the list of the 14 so as to revert their dismissal caused great indignation, because placing the five dismissed people on the list of the 14 with stability meant that other five had to be left out and that would mean that, having lost the stability they could be sacked at any moment.
Two of the comrades of list 2, of the opposition, furious at this new arbitrary and bureaucratic action, started proceedings in the court of justice, challenging the request of the change of the five leaders, pleading the antidemocratic character of this decision.
This was a serious mistake on behalf of these comrades of the opposition for, even if there was a new bureaucratic attack, for, if the judge satisfied their demand, the employers would be legally authorized to dismiss them again.
This evident error by the two comrades of the opposition was used by the CST/UNIDOS launch an international campaign of accusations. But what was absolutely incredible about it is that the campaign was not launched against those two comrades or against the opposition list, but centrally against PSTU, the CSP/CONLUTAS and the IWL, regardless of the fact that, when these organizations were informed of the court action initiated by these two comrades, responded that it had been wrong to start that action because what had to be done is to struggle for the stability of all the comrades and proposed that the action should be withdrawn. The two comrades withdrew their claim before it could be examined by the justice and therefore it had no juridical-legal effect of the case at all on the case of the layoffs.
So where is the PSTU/IWL list? Where is the agreement of the “PSTU list with the employers of Johnson & Johnson?
Calumny as a political weapon
Systematic calumny used as political weapon is a “contribution” of Stalinism.
Trotskyism as international trend was born in the struggle against Stalinist calumnies. but the weakness of our movement allowed for important sectors of the movement yielded to Stalinism on the methodological scope so much that our international trend, founded by Nahuel Moreno was born in the struggle against not only Stalinism but also of “Trotskyist” organizations and leaders.
In 1941, Nahuel Moreno started his militancy in a small organization, known as LOR, led by Liborio Justo. Shortly after having joined this organization, Moreno posed some criticism to Justo and, as a consequence, Liberio Justo issued a leaflet announcing that Moreno had been expelled from the LOR as a pimp. This calumny made young Nahuel Moreno (he was 18 years old at that time) fell with a crisis so deep that as he said much later – he seriously considered suicide. Probably this was one of the reasons for which Moreno spent all his life to fight against slander. When he founded our international organisation, the IWL-FI, he did so standing in opposition to another campaign of calumnies launched by a Trotskyist leader, Pierre Lambert, who accused the Peruvian Ricardo Napuri of having pilferedparty money.
What is the role of the CST and the UIT in this campaign of calumnies?
All revolutionary organizations are submitted to tremendous pressures. That is why it is not surprising that every kind of deviation is to be found there. For example, in the IWL sections, bureaucratic deviations have been found in trade unions where our comrades were leaders. Leaders have been involved in moral problems with, there has been slander referred to pilfering, stealing, male chauvinism…
Our organizations do not live in splendid isolation. They are submitted to all the pressures of decadent capitalist society we all live in and that is why there are many comrades and even organisations that succumb to all these pressures.
But we do not judge national and international organisations in accord with the problems there may be inside them no matter how serious these problems may be. We judge then in accordance with the measures they take to cope with these problems.
For example, some four years ago, PSTU acted in the trade union of the chemistry workers in Sao Jose dos Campos. What is more: an important cadre of the party (once he was a member of the CC) was in the leadership of the trade union. This comrade reached an agreement with the employers to leave the company in consideration of an important amount of money. In other words: he sold his trade union mandate to the employers. That mandate did not belong to him but to the workers who had elected him.
The leadership of the PSTU, supported by the IWL-FI expelled him from our rank and file.
That is why we are proud of PSTU. Not because there are no problems there. We are proud of our Brazilian section because of the way they cope with the problems.
Now here comes the big question: what will de CST and the UIT do about the militants that are in the lead of the chemistry workers’ union? What penalty will they receive for this campaign of slander carried out within national and international scope? What penalty will there be for forging minutes of an assembly for the only and sole purpose of controlling the money of the trade union?
It is impossible for them to do anything because it is CST in Brazil and the UIT at international level who are leading this campaign of slander.
It hurt to verify this but it did not surprise us.
It hurt, because we had not lost hope that this international trend had drawn some lessons from their actions in the past.
In the early 90s, the current leaders of the UIT were among those who – in Argentina – split away from MAS, at that time the main Trotskyist party in the world using Stalinist methods for that: in order to crystallize the split they occupied violently the premises of MAS and took them over. In Brazil they did not occupy premises, but they just the same used despicable method to divide: they formed a secret fraction. The UIT was constituted after these events bore the birthmark of the method where everything is allowed.
To the militants of the CST of brazil, of the is of Argentina and the remaining members of the UIT who will choose to think
A short time ago, in spite of all the differences, the leadership of the UIT commended the IWL-FI as the most important international Morenist trend. So much so, that for several months, we had been testing out the possibility of uniting our organizations. Now UIT is internationally leading a campaign of collecting signatures exposing the IWL-FI and its main section: PSTU as an organization of traitors.
How come that in such a short time the most important Trotskyist-Morenist in the world should have become an organization of traitors?
How come that such a transformation happened without the most relentless internal struggle in these organizations?
What is the Marxist explanation that the leadership of the UIT can offer for such a transformation? They offer none. They limit themselves to having petitions signed against the “traitors” from PSTU, the IWL and the CSP CONLUTAS.
The PSTU has published data on this event in the trade union of the chemistry workers; they are very similar to ours. And what did the CST and UIT respond to this? Nothing. They limited themselves to keep on exposing the “traitors” of the CST CONLUTAS.
How come that the UIT does not respond to the serious accusations we are posing against them?
We have been saying and proving that the CST and the UIT is leading an international campaign of slander. We dare the leaders of the UIT to say whether what we have been saying is true or not.
Is it true or is it a lie that in the trade union elections of the chemistry workers there has been no militant or list of the PSTU or the IWL?
Is it true or is it a lies that that there has been an important questioning to the leadership of the majority of the trade union, members of CST/UIT by an important number of trade union leaders?
Is it true or is it a lie that this leadership has been questioned – among other things – because of they had falsified the report of an inexistent assembly with the intention of taking control over the money of the trade union?
Is it true or a lies that the CSP CONLUTAS and the PSTU proposed to form a joint list democratically elected by the grassroots so as to build up a more effective opposition against the employers’ project of dismissing several trade union leaders?
Is it true or is it a lies that the militants of the CST refused to become part of a joint democratic list to confront the dismissals?
Is it true or is it a lie, that when two members of the opposition presented a court case that could have favoured the dismissal of some comrades PSTU and the CSP CONLUTAS intervened saying that it was necessary to defend all the comrades and that therefore it was necessary to retreat from that presentation at court?
Is it true or is it a lie that after the intervention of CSP CONLUTAS all the opposition agreed to this proposal and both comrades withdrew their case from court before it could even be analysed?
Is it true or is it a lie that the majority of the trade union leadership refused to summon for such an assembly?
The leadership of the UIT is compelled to respond to these nine questions or else see that the UIT itself is self-convicting itself as an organisation of slanderers.
We request from the comrades and friends of the UIT who signed the petition against PSTU and the IWL without having the real awareness of the facts that they should ponder on what they have done. Nobody can be criticised for having signed a determined statement for simple political faith. But what you have signed is not a simple statement. It is a campaign of slander and – regardless how much political confidence there can be – such a raid on proletarian morals is inadmissible.
After reading this statement, the comrades who signed up a backing for this campaign will know what to do and from those who still will believe that the denunciations against PSTU and IWL are veritable, we request – or rather – we demand that you should answer the nine questions we are posing for the leadership of the UIT.
CEI (International Executive Committee) of the IWL-FI
Sao Paulo, 20th May 2012