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Trade union calls on WFTU to play role in fight against capitalism, imperialism

Arah Juang - March 22, 2024

The chairperson of the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI), Sunarno, has conveyed the importance of trade unions and labor movements in leading the struggle in a period of crisis.

In a speech delivered at the annual session of the 2024 World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Presidential Council, Sunarno described the state of the economic crisis that has deepened in recent years.

Several major events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the wars taking place in various parts of the world have further deepened the economic crisis which in turn has made life difficult for workers and the majority of the ordinary people. This is very different from the capitalists who have in fact taken advantage of the pandemic and wars that are taking place.

In his view, Sunarno examined how the deepening economic crisis is often accompanied by a narrowing of democratic space for the ordinary people.

The authorities and owners of capital through various means, particularly by using the state apparatus, are continuously implementing policies of repression, intimidation and criminalisation against people who dare to speak out to challenge anti-people policies. This situation is occurring in Indonesia as well as other parts of the world.

Sunarno added that capitalism continues to maintain its domination by implementing policies that are extremely detrimental to workers and the ordinary people.

In Indonesia, these policies are clearly seen in the Omnibus Law on Job Creation, the enactment of which was full of controversy. The application of low wage policies, the concept of easy hiring easy firing, eroding the basic rights of the workers and the brutal exploitation of natural resources are the evil and anti-people policies contained in the Jobs Law.

Sunarno also highlighted the situation for workers in the digital industry and the very minimal protections provided because they are considered partners and not employees.

The annual session of the 2024 WFTU Presidential Council gave birth to several resolutions that are very important for the labor movement, including:

  • A resolution of support for the struggle by the Palestinian people who are facing aggression and genocide by the Israeli state. This is in line with the WFTU's position which expresses support for the Palestinian people's independence with the capital of Jerusalem.
  • A resolution of support for the Cuban people by calling for an immediate and unconditional end to the economic blockade of Cuba.
  • A resolution of support for countries where their people are victims of unfair international policies and economic blockades.
  • A Resolution on finances and contributions by WFTU members.

Detailed plans on the resolution a whole are to be outlined in the 2024 Action Plan.

Furthermore, Sunarno said that there was no other choice for the labour movement and progressive trade unions aside from increasing organisation and articulating resistance more strongly and broadly.

Sunarno urged the WFTU as an international federation to play a significant role in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. In closing his speech as an inspiration for resistance, Sunarno quoted from a poem by Wiji Thukul, an activist who was disappeared by the New Order regime in 1998.

"What is the use of higher knowledge, if it's only to deceive

What is the use of reading many books, if your voice remains silent."

Greetings Young Brave Militants!

Sao Paulo-Brazil
March 2, 2024

Notes: The Arah Juang editorial board received this article from the KASBI Central Leadership Board in the context of the WFTU Presidential Council annual meeting.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Serikat Buruh Harus Menjadi Pelopor dalam Perjuangan di Masa Krisis – Arah Juang".]

Source: https://www.arahjuang.com/2024/03/22/serikat-buruh-harus-menjadi-pelopor-dalam-perjuangan-di-masa-krisis