|Written by IWL-FI International Secretariat|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 17:27|
By late April, many activists and trade union leaders of several countries were amazed to see a number of reports against PSTU and the CONLUTAS of Brazil and against our International Trend, the IWL-FI (International Workers’ League – Fourth International.
These three organisations were being accused of having formed a slate for the forthcoming elections in the trade union, together with the employers of the multinational Johnson % Johnson in order to topple a classist fighting leadership and of having taken to court the dismissal of various trade union leaders.
Who posed this accusation was a small Brazilian group, known as CST and those who spread it internationally were the UIT (International Trend of which CST is a member, who got busy getting a petition signed by leaders of trade unions of different countries supporting such accusations.
In view of this serious indication, the leadership of the IWL-FI delved into the matter and arrived at the conclusion that that the entire matter was nothing but a campaign of slander by a group of trade union leaders headed by a CST leader in the trade union, by the name of Cabral, who – distressed by the possibility of losing control over the trade union apparatus – went so far as to forge the report of a non-existing assembly and so take over the control of the treasury of the trade union; he accused his former comrades of forming an opposition slate consisting of scabs and employers’ agents and to make things worse, for having supported that list, had previously made the same accusations against PSTU/IWL-FI and against CSP-CONLUTAS.
We are not surprised at such things taking place among trade unions. The fact is that trade union apparatuses, with their important material resources, exert tremendous pressure on trade union activists and many of then yield to these pressures and consequently, as in the case of our reference, they are willing to do anything (“anything goes”) not to lose the control of these apparatuses. However, what is so contradictory is that a trend like CST/UIT, which claims to be Trotskyist and therefore expected to be defending the principle of workers’ democracy should not only be defending this bureaucratised trade union group but should also be leading a slander campaign against PSTU, the CSP-COPNLUTAS and the IWL so much that sections of the UIL write in their press that the Brazilian PSTU is part of the “treacherous left”.
On May 20th the International Executive Committee of the IWL issued a statement titled “In defence of the proletarian morals” (See: Annex 1), in which, after analysing the facts and exposing the slander campaign, the IEC posed to the leadership of UIT nine very objective questions so as to make it very clear that if what that organisation was claiming (that we were leading a betrayal) or, to the contrary, that the what the IWL claimed was true: that we were confronting a slander campaign.
After posing these questions, the statement said, “The leadership of the UIT is compelled to respond to these nine questions because or else the UIT would be self-convicting themselves as an organisation of slanderers.”
Two months have elapsed since these questions were put forward and the UIT answered none of them. We are not surprised. The UIT is not seeking the truth. No slanderer ever does.
The UIT transferred this responsibility to its Brazilian section, the CST who, because it is sited in the country where the events took place, could not elude the answer. So, on June 10th, this organization published a statement of theirs, titled, “Who defends the proletarian morals? An answer to the IWL document…” (See Annex II).
Any activist who wishes to know the truth, should read this “answer” by CST thoroughly for there he will find a lesson on how to answer everything (or nearly everything) without actually answering anything so as to be able to go on with this campaign of slander or even build it up.
In their “answer” the CST refers to tens of other items but, when they refer to the issue under discussion, they cannot deny the facts described in the IWL statement. However, instead of submitting self-criticism for their campaign of slander they unleashed they assert this campaign and, what is more, they add new slanders, as when they allege, without offering any proof, that the PSTU has financial dependence” on trade union apparatuses. This means that now, after having accused PSTU of treason, they go ahead and accuse them of raiding the treasury of trade unions they lead.
This methodology of the CST surfaces even after the answer they offer to the first question.
The first question posed in the IWL document said, “Is it or is it not true that among the chemical workers and in the election in that trade union there have been no militants and no slate of the PSTU or of the IWL?
This question was pertinent, for the entire international campaign of the UIT hinged round exposing the “betrayals” of the slate of the PSTU/IWL while there was actually no such PSTU list. What did exist was an opposition trend stemming out of the split of the trend headed by the CST, which was supported by the PSTU. Whether it was a PSTU slate or it was merely supported by the PSTU is not an irrelevant detail, because PSTU/IWL support dozens of opposition lists against bureaucratic or bureaucratised leaderships, but this does not make them responsible for what these slates do. If this opposition slate had committed treason, as what the UIT reports, neither the PSTU nor the IWL could be held liable for it. In the same way, neither PSTU nor even the CST itself can be held liable for having supported Lula at a determined moment for the reasons this leader committed.
In their response CST had no way of going on spreading lies about an alleged PSTU/IWL slate for there simply had been none. That is why, to be able to go on with their campaign, in their statement they lie with respect to they had just declared. They say, “We never said that the members of Slate 2 were affiliated to PSTU… we always said that slate 2 was supported by CONLUTAS/PSTU, which is part of IWL:”
In this way, without as much as a blush, they try to conceal what is unconcealable: the petition they had made dozens of trade union leaders sign was titled: The Conlutas/PSTU (IWL-FI and the multinational Johnson get the Justice to dismiss three chemical leaders who had been re-incorporated.”
As from there on, they keep on lying when they say that militants of PSTU supported a court case – which they call “treason” – of two members of the opposition and consequently, the PSTU, IWL and CONLUTAS are also said to be traitors.
There was nothing like this in real life: most of the leaders of the trade union, without any previous consultation, changed the names on a list of leaders who had stability, leaving five of the leaders unsheltered against the dismissal of the employers. Faced with this fact, two members of the opposition requested from the court of justice to annul the measure taken by the majority of the leadership, thus creating the possibility for other leaders, this time of the majority, to be dismissed.
As soon as the PSTU and the CONLUTAS learned about this activity of the two members of the opposition, they posed that it was necessary to defend all the comrades and that, consequently, their request should be withdrawn. The opposition slate as a whole was convinced and the two members withdrew their request before the matter became res judicata.
Neither can the CST deny this fact even if they interpret it in a different manner: “Not before they could realize that this fact would cause uproar among the trade union vanguard…they were rapidly advised by the PSTU to withdraw their appeal”.
That means that the CST admits that the PSTU was against the so-called “treason”; once more, this should have led this organisation to plead self-criticism for their slanderous campaign. But, instead of doing that, at the last minute they “discover” an “argument” that can have been the cause of the “treason”: the PSTU was against the court action, but they did not request the Expulsion” of the two members of the opposition and therefore had to be regarded as traitors:
“If the CONLUTAS/PSTU and now the IWL do not agree with all that, why did they not request expulsion of these elements from the slate…?”
And what about the accusation that the PSTU, the IWL and the CONLUTAS are in connivance with the employers from the Johnson & Johnson? What evidence can CST offer? None at all… but they keep on repeating the same accusation.
The entire “answer” of the CST/UIT is built according to the same logic. They cannot deny what the IWL says but this does not matter: “The OPSTU, the IWL and the CONLUTAS are traitors”. This is the logic of this coarse campaign of slander carried out in the name of “fighting classism” and even of … revolutionary morals.
It is a curious sort of “revolutionary morals” that this trend can display while being unable to deny their campaign of falsification of registers of an assembly that never existed in order to grab hold of the treasury of the trade union. Neither can they deny that the “traitors” of the opposition proposed to hold an assembly of the trade union that they lead, so that the grassroots can get to know the truth and the alleged “classist and fighting” leadership refused to hold it.
Several comrades have criticized us because, they say, with our statement and trying to establish a dialogue with the CST/UIT we are wasting our time. These comrades have warned us, “They will admit nothing. They will go on slandering. They have always done so.”
But we do not think we have been wasting time. There is a battle to be fought to the bitter end against the heritage that Stalinism has left inside the workers’ movement: against the hugger, aggressions, blackmail, falsifications, lies, corruption and slander. We have launched this campaign internationally against the slander spread by CST/UIT and it is part of that battle that we are proud of having fought, not only because we have refused to naturalise such Stalinist practices – in this case committed by “Trotskyists” – but also because in this way we believe that we have achieved important results.
Thanks to this campaign we have re-introduced a discussion hinging round the need to recover the best of the tradition of the workers’ movement, bastardized by Stalinism. It is within this framework that we hope to have contributed towards militants of the UIT who opposed the methods of their leaders so much that an important leader of that organization whose name was published as supporting the campaign of slanders confessed that his signature was included by the leadership of the UIT and against his will. We also believe that our campaign has been useful for independent trade union leaderships, such as that of the workers of the Post Office of Sao Jose do Rio Preto (Brazil) who also figured as signing this roguish campaign of slanders have now issued a statement (See: annex III) where they say, “… the published material is different from what had been passed by the Collegiate Leadership for it attacks directly comrades of the CSP-CONLUTAS of siding with the employer, something we disagree with for these comrades are in the front line in the defence of the classist interests of workers.”
We also believe that our campaign has helped other organization of the left to stand up against the slander, as can be seen in the case of the LSR, who internationally is part of CWI (Committee for a Workers International) and in Brazil is part of PSOL (the same party as the CST) and who, on 5th July issued a statement (see annex IV) titled “No to the method of slander inside the left. In defense of Joaquin Boca! In defense of the morals of the revolutionary class in the socialist left”, where this organization where this organization exposes a new of slander by the CST/YIT, this time against them, in terms that are very similar to those used against PSTU/IWL and the CSP/CONUTAS.
We must furthermore highlight the important resolution of the National Coordination of the CSP-CONLUTAS (see Annex V) in which tens of trade unions, trade union oppositions and trends take part; among other things it points out that, “This is not the first time that CST-UNIDOS uses a campaign of moral accusations in order to attack leaders and/or classist entities, from the battlefields of the workers of our country… It is not possible to ignore the attitude of that trend and let things be, allowing this all-is-allowed become part of the everyday life and of the relations between organizations and movements of workers.
The National Coordination of the CSP-CONLUTAS resolved to send the dossier made during these last weeks, containing abundant evidence of how deceitful and insubstantial the accusations posed by CST-UNIDOS are, to all the national and foreign organizations of workers’ movement and warn that his political-trade unionist trend is dangerously advancing towards moral degeneration…”
Finally, we wish to end this new statement of the IWL expressing our special gratitude to an important number of militants from different left organizations, with whom we have important political differences, who even before they knew about our answer, told us in different manners, “We have many differences with the IWL, but we know that IWL is neither treacherous nor agent of multinationals. This attack against you can only be due to a slander of the UIT”.
It is not enough to challenge Stalinism. It is not enough to defeat it. It is necessary to stamp out its cursed heritage from the workers’ movement.
No to slander and to slanderers!
International Secretariat of the IWL-FI
Sao Paulo 31st July 2012
Annex 1: En defensa de la moral proletaria
Annex 3: Comunicado do SINTECT-SJO
 The meeting of the National Coordination of CSP-CONLUTAS was held in Rio de Janeiro between 13 and 15 July and it was attended by 251 leaders representing 50 trade union organizations (between trade unions and federations), 30 minorities of entities and trade union opposition, 5 popular movements, 2 movements against the oppression and one students’ entity. The resolution against the UIT slanders was voted unanimously.