Sao Paulo, June 2014
AN INSTRUMENT OF STRUGGLE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKING CLASS, CONTRIBUTING ACTIVELY IN THE REORGANIZATION OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN BRAZIL
We are part of and heirs from that people who survived and fought against the bougeous-militar dictatorship that lasted for twenty years in Brazil; we are part from that people who put the workers in movement and, in a clandestine way, organized unions oppositions in the end of 1970s; we are part from the great movement of the class which, with intense and long general strikes, fought against the Capital, your military government and your auditors doormats inside the trade unions in that period.
We are part of thousands that, with rank and file and grassroots organization, created the conditions for setting up Unique Central of Workers (CUT – Central Única do Trabalhadores), that was born from the intense fights which appears in Brazil in the end of the 1970s and in the beginning of the 1980s, a central that born with the class and not only using its name. CUT was born independent in relation to bosses and governments, autonomous in relation to the parties, combating the union structure submissive at the State and with the strategically compromise of fighting not only for class demands in your immediate routine, but also building the conditions to a bigger struggle, for another society: a socialist one.
In the 1980s, CUT goes ahead to a pact with the Capital:
The submission of Unique Central of Workers to the Capital and your State didn’t happen only after the arrival of PT to the presidency of the Republic in 2003, it was a process trough all the 1990s, where the Worker’s Party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores) has CUT as a principal laboratory for the experiences of class conciliation.
In the Collor government (1990-1992), CUT was called to set up a social pact that made possible to the Capital to get out of your crisis, from policies where the workers would be again called for a sacrifice in the name of the “economic growth”, in other words, through of a growth of labor force’s exploitation. It’s from that time that the experience of Sectorial Chamber was created: a three-part agreement beetwen the workers and the bosses, mediated by the State that was born in Sao Paulo and evolved the industries from the automotive sector, having as protagonist the workers from the Metallurgic Unions from Sao Bernardo do Campo/SP.
With the argument to avoid dismissals, the business man (in agreement of worker’s representation) could implement new forms of organization of the production, which made possible the growth of production and allowed an offensive against the labor journey and against the rights of the workers.
But some unions said NO TO THE PACT: the Metallurgic Unions from Campinas, Limeira and Sao Jose dos Campos didn’t accept the Sectorial Chamber and a short time after the consummation of the Sectorial Chamber, the confirmation was that the dismissals happened in every place that the act was agreed.
In 1994, one more time the Central was called for a pact at the Fernando Henrique Cardoso government, and they accept one of the worst reforms in the social security system, attacking the rights to retirement, when they agreed with the change of criteria that guaranteed this right. They agreed that, instead of an retirement based in the service time, the new rule established that the retirement would be from the contribution time for the social security system.
It was in this decade that significant part of the unions, attached to the major direction of CUT, accepted pacts of labor journey flexible with the introduction of bank of hours and the reduction of wages. In the same time that pacts like this were conducted, the spaces of decision inside the Central would be more and more bureaucratic, changing themselves into only spaces of representation, and leaving the base far from the decisions.
2003 was the year in which it consolidated the transformation of a worker’s instrument in your reverse. Who was born with the class, now turns against it:
The “Letter to the Brazilian people” (“Carta ao Povo Brasileiro”), where PT announces your program in the 2002 elections, is the synthesis of the concertation of classes process which have CUT as one of the principals instruments of its execution. In this letter PT shows itself to the national and international bourgeoisie as “mature” and capable of managing the State machine in the interests of big Capital.
Already in your first year of government, Lula launches your proposal of Social Security Reform. In that format, the speech was about combating privileges inside the State machine, but its content was an attack to the retirements of public employers which attended directly to the worker people (teachers, social security employers, technicians from the health, education, basic sanitation areas etc).
CUT act to reform the social security and only in the eve of voting the project on the National Congress they took a position against. They don’t organize the working class neither were close to the workers in our strike. After that, there will be various moments that the Central will stand as a spokesperson of the interests of the Capital, together with the government: “helping” to get out of the crisis in 2008-2009 by expanding the pacts of wages reduction and rights. In 2011, together with the patronal federations, they launched the proposal called “Brasil Maior” (“A bigger Brasil”), which has as objective more measures from the government to reduce the “tax burden” from the companies.
In 2006, those who didn’t surrender to the pact with the Capital and didn’t wait for a State recognition to continue the fight, began to set up Intersindical:
In June 2006 dozens of unions, unions oppositions and collectives of workers break with the Unique Central of Workers and decide to set up a new instrument that returns to the process of organization and struggle, which was abandoned by CUT. Breaking with CUT didn’t mean breaking with hundreds of unions that, despites were affiliated to the Central, didn’t accept your surrender to the Capital.
This is how Intersindical – Instrument of Struggle and Organization of the Working Class (Instrumento de Luta e Organização da Classe Trabalhadora) was born, and it has as fundamentals principles: independence from Capital and your State, autonomy from political parties, and grassroots and rank and file organization as an instrument for class struggle.
Our main actions are the active international solidarity of the working class, the political formation as a potential instrument for fight and no submission at the recognition from the State to our organization. We defend the organization of the workers into unions and a Central that breaks with the corporatism imposed by the State, that divide us into categories, a Central that
contributes in a quality jump: from the class itself to the class for itself, but this will not happen through auto proclamation, as many organizations of the left try. During these years those organizations choose to demand to the State the solution of the problems of the working class. In the last 7 years dozens of new centrals were created, all full of old mistakes from the recent past, and significant part of them already recognized by the State. They keep at the expense of union tax, heir from the Getulio Vargas government which bounded the union’s structure to the State to restrain the class struggle, inspired in the fascist union law created by Mussolini in Italy.
CUT, which was born with the working class, fought the intervention of the State in the unions and confronted the Capital, nowadays is one of the principals Centrals in the class collaboration.
Intersindical is a national union organization, presents in every region of Brazil, which is coherent with the historical process of the organizations that are part of it. It has contributed decisively in the process of reorganization of Brazilian’s union movement.
To learn with the mistakes from the past, to advance without self-proclamation, to contribute decisively for the rebuilding of the union movement from the base and to face directly the Capital:
We are metallurgists, textile workers, chemical workers, workers in the food industry, cobblers, teachers, public servants, tankers, radio broadcasters and bank workers whose center of action is the direct struggle where the process of exploitation and oppression of capital happens: workplaces.
Besides not accepting any employer agreement where rights and wages can be reduced, Intersindical unions have managed to maintain and expand rights in various sectors. In the metallurgical branch between the trade unions under our direction and the unions opposition that we organize, we are approximately 200 thousand workers in Brazil. In the State of Sao Paulo, as a result of the struggle of more than two decades of the Intersindical unions, metallurgists have the most advanced Collective Convention on Rights, such as the clause that guarantees stability in employment until retirement for workers who are victims of accidents and work diseases that has left a permanent sequel.
More than a perspective or a strategic horizon, to the Intersindical it is an indispensable task in the current historical cycle in which we live in Brazil: to materialize in the actions of confrontation against the Capital and its State the struggle for socialism.
Therefore, with every direct action of confrontation against Capital in the workplace, with every advance that we guarantee in the mobilizations from the categories, we accumulate the necessary force to the working class as a whole confront the society of Capital and so we walk in the firm step towards the necessary society where the fruit of labor is socialized by and among those who produce it: a socialist society.