I am writing to all to you how satisfied and pleased I was to have met with workers of a whole region, we who suffer in our flesh of the exploitation, domination and humiliation that we know… meeting and discussing. Discussing of working class issues! With friends who offer to help in our battle to leave this hell (which is why we our repeating our thanks to the members of the Solidarity Center for having offered / built this opportunity), but, especially, satisfied and grateful to have seen workers, we repeat, meeting and discussing of working class issues! Furthermore, of basic issues, since, for me, the capacity of the bourgeoisie to move its capital, and, on the other hand, of the “textile industry” are, amongst others, two of the most important characteristics of the said modern “globalization”: we are, without wishing so, in the center of the storm!
Because of this, I insist on repeating once again (even though, in the end, it is Us) that it is our own struggle, with our own mechanisms, our own independent Organization towards and for our combative, mass Mobilization, that is the key for our true victory. I say “true” because, as we well know (otherwise we find out sooner or later) unions and collective bargaining contracts don’t necessarily mean better lives, nor worse ones; they don’t necessarily stand for real strength although, certainly, they are - for sure - tools for more and better advances. The text I gave out “Sobre Sindicato” concerns these points. We, workers of Batay Ouvriye, hope to share your comments, those of each and every one of you, so we can come together more seriously, as is needed, in view of a more conscious understanding and better thought out. Our struggle and our capacity to mobilize concretely being not only the key for a first step in the planned “campaign” but also, and above all, for the concrete Application of the objectives that we will have been able to attain in the benefit of the satisfaction of our various demands as workers.
The three friends from Guatemala, thinkers-militants of our cause, who, with the greatest grace, seriousness and dedication met with us in the night of the second day, Nov. 5th, all touched, deeply, upon the essence of what is needed, today and historically, for all workers, that is: our obligatory “mobilization” as key for a truly “strong” unionism, the opening towards the “large peoples’ camp”, including all workers, all resistant cultures, all the unemployed, in end: the people (“our friends, neighbors, loved ones…”, as says our text), the concrete suggestions that on the way we will construct and vehicle, all for a (the!) “Qualitative Jump” (well said!) necessary, imperative, now, in the conditions of extreme domination that we are living… For this, political consciousness is of foremost importance.
In this sense, I must repeat that the “Campaign”, as it was put ahead in the meeting and as, in the end, it was planned, doesn’t allow for the full development of our own reality. It is included, yes, but very little, on the side, “forced”, so to speak. As the debates occurred, the main focus appeared to be much more on “research on the brands” and “home visits” than taking into account our demands, as workers, as peoples, our struggles in the factories and neighborhoods. The main characteristic of our strength which is our mass mobilization in the field of struggle is thus if not excluded, at least relegated to a secondary, almost symbolic, role. There’s more: these “researches” are concentrated basically in knowing the brands, their strengths, weaknesses, and such…; the workers’ knowledge, as such, and making it the center of our thoughts and actions, given my insistence, was included, but very weakly, proportionally. “Negotiations” take the form, then, of a “social dialogue” instead of the correct confrontation that is the characteristic of the working class’ struggle.
This focus clearly reveals two things: one is the importance that this “campaign” will have on bureaucratic practices; the second, the fac that this form will never allow us to really accumulate forces, as a class, neither in a large nor concentrated, solid, sense, so: neither quantitatively nor qualitatively. We will always have to depend on the thoughts, tactics, strategies and mechanisms of the “supporters”.
The struggle against the brands is useful. At times, very much. As the friends of the Nov. 5th evening explained it to us clearly, it is the weight of the North-American working class’ struggle that was being felt there. We, at Batay Ouvriye, with others as well, can certify as to the importance of these forms of pressure but also we can clearly demonstrate the deviations they can lead to when we they considered in the way and with the main focus that were established.
From our point of view, the history of the working class can be considered as a long and laborious class struggle precisely for its self-determination. And, within this struggle, there is a line that seeks to confuse, consciously or not - and thus have us do so as well the success of the brands (their productivity and levels of competitivity…) with the satisfaction of our demands. Under the system presently dominating us, the success of the brands (condition for them to “stay”) demands concretely more and more profits for the capitalists, and so: more exploitation (work intensity, overtime hours…), more domination (and humiliations) for us.
Such a focus will contribute greatly to weakening our forces. This is due to the fact that all serious conflicts arising between the bosses (including the brands) and ourselves don’t do so by “lack of communication” or “lack of one part’s ‘feeling the need’ to negotiate”, but rather because of the simple fact that the capitalists’ interests are indeed antagonistic to ours. And, to resolve the smallest issue in our interest, not only will we need the “qualitative leap” mentioned, but also, and for this very reason, the basic and independent accumulation of forces, of the working class and, larger then but as well structured, of the peoples’ camp.
The working class’ resistance with the evolution of international struggles can lead the textile industry to lose some of its immense present profits. The need for it to reestablish its rates of profits will force the bourgeois of this textile branch to find new ways of exploiting us more once again. This degree of development in this contradiction will unavoidably arrive. And, when this moment occurs (if it hasn’t already), that of most sharpened and explosive confrontations, a weak working class movement, based on negotiating delegations and dependency of support practices will be, for sure, fatal!
We hope the support and solidarity organizations will come to realize how crucial the historic moment we are living is, that which may be awaiting us in a near future and how the points we transmitted were essential, always in the real interests of the workers’ and the suffering peoples.