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Archive of Communist Workers Group of Aoteaora/New Zealand up to 2006

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Chile – El Teniente Miners Strike

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For an indefinite strike of the contract workers of the El Teniente mine and a Workers’ national congress of rank and file delegates!

To all the contract workers of Andina of the Andes, Chuquicamata in Calama, Ventana in the V Region, all the privatised mines of the country, and all the sectors of the workers in struggle in every workplace. Hold rank and file meetings to elect 1 delegate for each 100 workers to go the strike of the contract workers of El Teniente, to fight for the formation of a National Congress of the working class and exploited people of Chile.

For 5 days the contract workers of El Teniente, Andina, Chuquicamata, Tomic and Ventana have held an indefinite strike for a US $972 bonus for 2005. Over these days the class enemy of the bosses’ parties, the presidential candidates Bachelet and Piñera, the church which was part of the Pinochet fascist regime, the press etc., have all been preaching peace and reconciliation. The government tries to deceive the striking workers by changing the law on subcontracting claiming to have the interests of the workers of the subcontractor companies at heart. It wants to bring contract workers under the ‘legal’ coverage of the existing workplace unions. Lagos, Bachelet and Pinera want this law changed urgently because 50% of Chilean workers are currently working under subcontracts. But the purpose of this new law is to break the strike using the official union leadership to prevent it from spreading and developing into a national strike that sets off an uprising in the whole Chilean working class capable of smashing the FTA with US and European imperialism, breaking with the IMF, and bringing down the ‘socialist’ government of Lagos that covers for the Pinochet regime – in short, of revolting against the re-colonisation of Chile.

Go on the offensive to defeat the Subcontracting Law!

The Government is ruthless. There is no bonus on the agenda in its negotiations with the CUT and the Coordinatora [national union of the contract workers]. Only secondary questions that can be included in the reformed law are being discussed. Lagos has already rejected any bonus for contract workers because this would reduce the superprofits of imperialism. That is because the huge profits made by the state-owned Codelco in 2005 (around 33% of the copper production in Chile) do not go to the State but to pay the external debt to the imperialist IMF, or to buy new weapons for the Chilean military to use against the people (10% of the copper revenue funds the Armed Forces). It is a sad joke that Lagos claims that he will use the money the contract workers claim in bonuses to help benefit youth in poverty when his government has privatized many State companies, the ports, health and education, road construction, bridges etc.; in short, when it is his policies that are responsible for the poverty and oppression of workers in Chile.

We can gain nothing from reforming a law that ‘legalises’ the slavery of the working class. We must fight to defeat it. But who is against this law? Not the leaders of the CUT [trade union federation] who are the puppets of the Ministry of Labor and the Government. Not the leaders of the Coordinatora who also agree with the Government’s law. Only the workers who have gone on strike are against this law. The bourgeoisie only grants concessions to workers when it is afraid of losing everything, and these conquests can only be defended by constant struggle. Instead of negotiating with the class enemy over the terms of their exploitation, workers must go on the offensive and fight to smash the subcontracting law of Lagos, the FTA, Pinochet’s 1980 constitution, and the plundering of copper by imperialism, by renationalising the industry under workers control!

For a national congress of workers and poor farmers delegates in Rancagua!

The indefinite strike has been very strong up to now. In Rancagua the highway 5 South that is used to ship copper has seen strong confrontations with the police. In the cities the strikers have mobilised to stop the buses carrying strikebreakers. There have been many demonstrations in support of arrested comrades. The same strong actions have been made by the comrades of the Andina mine, who have cut the highway to Mendoza (Argentina) to stop buses reaching the mine.

Despite threats of dismissal, non-renewal of contracts, use of strikebreakers etc, the strike has held firm. But the contract workers of Codelco who are leading the struggle against super-exploitation cannot be left to fight alone for one more second. By uniting the miners with the maintenance and service contract workers in the fight for the bonus, they have set an example to the workers of the whole country on how to fight for their demands. But the leaders of the CUT and the Coordinatora do nothing to unite and generalise the strike. By burying the demands in negotiations, the leaderships hold back the offensive, preventing the building of the strike through street protests, pickets, barricades and workers self-defence committees.

One thing is certain, the workers will not win if instead of trusting in their own forces, they allow their fight to be subordinated to the politicians, the church, the fascists, the mayors and the bureaucrats. Comrades, if we want a strong union of contract workers we cannot allow it to become dependent on the state. The state unions are legally recognised but impotent in the face of the privatisations. We must build the union on the basis of rank and file solidarity with the working class method of workers democracy and direct negotiations independent of the state and the union bureaucracy.

Only a rank and file union can demand that the leadership of the CUT, Martinez (head of the Coordinatora) and the Communist Party, break with the bourgeoisie and with the civil-military pact of the government of Lagos and all those who backed the Pinochet coup. We must demand that the union leaders immediately summon a National Congress of workers and poor farmers based on rank and file delegates to strengthen the indefinite strike of the contract workers of El Teniente! Organizations like the CAT, the SINTRAC, CGT MOSICAM, the National Coordinatora of Dock and Ship Workers, all the unions and federations of the country, must break with class conciliation and give support to a National Congress.

Demand that the CUT breaks with the bosses and calls an immediate workers congress in Rancagua!

The contract workers or El Teniente are the symbol of Chilean working class slavery. The contract workers of all the other mines, all the factories, workplaces, ports and plants, must send one delegate for each 100 workers elected by mass assemblies, to El Teniente, to make a National Congress that can begin immediately to plan and prepare for a national general strike of masses; to create Self-Defence Committees to face the repression of the police; to defeat the subcontracting system completely; the privatisation of the mines; and the Lagos Government and the Pinochet regime – the Agreement of the Constitution of 1980 – of the client state of US imperialism’s IMF and FTA.

The Congress must plan for the re-nationalisation without compensation and under workers’ control of the whole copper industry! The non-payment of the external debt! The break with all Free Trade Agreements! An end to 10% of the copper revenue going to the Armed Forces! An end to the military investments in the Chilean army, to stop the Chilean bourgeoisie acting as the servant of US and UK imperialism to smash the Bolivian revolution!

Only by these means will the contract workers of Codelco win a bonus of 1 million 600 thousand pesos and the same conditions as the wage workers of Codelco. For a 7 and a half hour day without increased work! For equal pay for equal jobs, including overtime and other payments! It is vital that the contract workers get the same conditions as the wage workers as this is the only way to unite the workforce against the subcontracting system. There have been over 9000 ‘regular’ jobs, ‘protected’ by the union under collective agreements, lost since 1990 to the subcontracting system.

The most important demand is: Proletarian Internationalism!

We are the militants of Internationalist Workers Party (POI), members of Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction (FLT). We think that proletarian internationalism is the most urgent demand of the Chilean working class. Since 2003 the vanguard of the working class struggle of the Latin American continent has been the miners of Huanuni, Bolivia. They fight for the nationalisation of the Bolivian mines and the gas under the control of the workers, leading the struggle of all the American working class to strike a blow to the head of the bourgeoisie and its private property, that it has defended since the 1970s by means of military dictatorships and which it continues to defend by its ongoing repression and massacres.

Our continent continues being plundered and bled by imperialism. The natural resources and the enslaved manual labor is their main prize. It is the same way that the US mine owners have killed 12 miners in West Virginia because they took their profits without paying for the safety of the miners. This was what happened in 2004 in Rio Turbio in the south of Argentina in August 2005 when 14 coal miners died in a Rio Turbio coalmine after a gas explosion, and in El Teniente copper mine in 2005, where the number of workers killed was also 12. The demand of the miners of Huanuni is the only way to stop the imperialists from murdering miners for profit, because the workers would control and manage the mines ensuring good health and safety conditions.

The manifesto of the miners of Huanuni and of the Bolivian workers is the internationalist manifesto for the whole American working class. For that reason it is necessary that the Chilean working class fights for the re-nationalization without compensation under workers control of copper and all natural resources. But even more important, is that the workers of the continent rally in support of the victory of the Bolivian revolution. The Bolivian working class holds the key to the victory of the working masses and poor farmers of South America. With the gas controlled by the Bolivian workers, the fuel necessary for all industry to operate under the control of workers in the Continent would be made possible. This and no other reason is why the Leninist-Trotskyists of POI say that the victory of the Chilean working class will be decided in the streets of Bolivia, in La Paz, in El Alto, Oruro, etc.

Chilean Workers must support the victory of the Bolivian Workers’ and Poor Peasants Revolution!

Workers International Party (Leninist-Trotskyist Fraction) 2006-01-10

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Campaign of workers solidarity with ex-political prisoners

I am Carlos Rojas, ex-political prisoner.

I was arrested in 1988 in Rancagua, in the last years of military dictatorship. I spend these hard years mainly in the Public Jail. In 1993, by the authority of the Christian Democrat Government of Patricio Aylwin – who along with Jaime Guzmán created the Intelligence Office – I was granted parole which means I must present myself to the police every month (even today). Many of my comrades were ‘benefited’ by political exile.

At the end of 2005 I became strongly involved in the fight begun by the subcontracted workers of the El Teniente mine of Rancagua, for the same wages and labor conditions as the workers employed by Codelco at the mine. I participated in the 16 day strike and marches and protests, before being arrested by the police during a march on the 4 January.

True to my class and my convictions, I am now up against the Chilean State again, the one that now has a ‘democratic’ and ‘socialist’ face. Because of my struggle for the exploited as a member of my class, I and ten other comrades who are employed by subcontractors like Metalcorp have been sacked without the wages owed to us being paid. But not only that on 2 February Cedelco told me that I was banned from working at any of its state owned mines.

The strikers now being prosecuted by the military prosecutor under the Interior Law of State Security; the mineworkers sacked and facing all sorts of reprisals; the militarization of the mine, the political persecution such as I am suffering; all those are the reply that the police/military regime under the command of the “Socialist” Lagos and the “Socialist” Bachelet, gives to the workers who are fighting for the rightful and just demands of their class.

I am making an urgent call to all workers organisations, and popular and human rights organisations, to join this campaign and to win as much support for it as possible by means of newspapers, magazines, Web pages, etc.

  • For the quashing of the sentences of all ex-political prisoners! 
  • Enough of the political persecution! 
  • End all the persecution by the state of the contract workers and all worker and popular militants! 
  • Throw out the Antiterrorist Law! 
  • Throw out the Interior Law of State Security! 
  • Immediate unconditional freedom for Hardy Pena and all Chilean and Mapuche political prisoners!

Carlos Rojas 3 February 2006

From Class Struggle 65 Feb/March 2006

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Leaflet for the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS in Porto Allegre, January 2005

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For a CONLUTAS with Soviets everywhere!

The electoral victory of the popular front in Brazil and the participation of the CUT in the government of Lula, proved conclusively the bankruptcy of the bureaucracy which began in the 80s and crystallized in the last twenty years. The CUT, PT bureaucracy never called for the overthrow of the bourgeois state. Its record of struggle was limited to fighting for improvements for workers within capitalism
 
The conformism and adaptation of the CUT bureaucracy was accompanied by a form of undemocratic union organization separated from its membership base that gradually consolidated into the extreme that we see today: the statization of the CUT, the vertical structure, and the defense of the privatizations and neo-liberal reforms. While the CUT defends sectorial representation and ‘organic unionism’ it is already completely bureaucratized with only 1 delegate for by each 1500 members; the high wages paid to the officials creates a privileged and corrupt gangster layer whose interests are totally opposed to those of the membership; a caste that uses the union apparatus of the central command to serve Lula. For this reason the CUT could not give birth to an anti-capitalist program.

The CONLUTAS is a progressive initiative of a sector of the vanguard militants who have broken with the CUT and are opposed to the government of the Popular Front of Lula PT/PC neo-liberal health reforms, and in response to the CUT entering the FNT (National Labor Forum) definitively abandoning its roots in the working class. The formation of the CONLUTAS is the vanguard’s answer to the complete servility of the CUT to the government of the PT and the bourgeois State. It is also a demonstration that the will to struggle of the proletariat in Brazil did not die with the betrayal of the CUT with the subservience of the PT to the reforms of the bourgeois State.

The CONLUTAS and POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

The CONLUTAS is made up of several political organizations including the PSTU that today is leading the process of construction and strengthening of the new union, reorganizing the vanguard, the union and the popular movement for the defense of social and labor rights. We must support and participate in that process.

But it is necessary to say clearly that the PSTU, for a long time, was also in the leadership of the CUT. In fact, it played the role of left cover for the right policy the majority. Now, as a calculated political and electoral move, the PSTU decides to break with the CUT and to create CONLUTAS. Sadly, the PSTU does not have revolutionary politics. It will try to transform the CONLUTAS into a pressure group on government, into a sort of “CUT No 2”. Thus, in the unions it leads, it does not organize the membership base; the mobilizations it leads are token marches to pressure the bourgeois parliament in Brasilia. The political program of the PSTU does not go beyond the limits of capitalism either: that is, not beyond opposition to the union, labor and university reforms, the FTAA and the “neo-liberal model” in general.

The PSOL – the Party of the Socialism and Freedom, organized by the sector of the PT left that broke with the PT – is, in fact, “a new” version of the PT. It does not participate actively in the construction of the CONLUTAS due to its electioneering focus; it has a foot in both camps. While the PSOL has broken with the CUT, only some of their tendencies (e.g. Cliffites) defend CONLUTAS. PSOL does not call for its members to break with the CUT. On the contrary, it reinforces the illusion that the membership should stay in the CUT and fight to take over the leadership.

Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyists and CONLUTAS

What worries us is that the Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists who are active in the day to day building of CONLUTAS – and we call on all the activists and fighters who are engaged in this process to listen to our concerns – is that the CONLUTAS must bury all the bad habits of the bureaucratic unionism of the CUT, or risk recreating a new union bureaucracy which will again deceive the vanguard that is fighting for a democratic CONLUTAS.

We use this occasion to denounce the PSTU’s use of the same policy as the CUT bureaucracy to finance Cesar Benjamim and James Petras to come to the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS. We are against this because it uses the funds of the workers struggle without demanding that the money be repaid. On the contrary, anybody who has the interests of proletariat in its struggle against capitalism at heart will pay out of their own pocket for that fight. While we workers rely on our poor wages to be at the congress, these gentlemen are privileged to have their hotel, food and transport costs guaranteed. These gentlemen, who live much better than workers, should have to donate to the movement, not to be paid by it. The PSTU hypocritically condemns this practice, used for years by the CT bureaucracy as a means of corrupting militants and activists, before the membership, but defends it to the intellectuals.

No to the CORRUPTION of the MILITANTS (“We must live for the movement and not on the movement “, Leon Trotsky – Transitional Program).

There must be maximum workers’ democracy in the daily operation and decision making of CONLUTAS. Transparency, respect and equality in relation to minority sectors, discussion and decision making by the rank and file membership, are essential conditions to guarantee workers’ democracy inside the union. CONLUTAS, taking the example of the Soviets, must be open to a broadest membership, from the union organizations, student movement, popular movements and revolutionary political organizations, to prevent the formation of a bureaucratic apparatus.

This form of organization must be combined with a workers and farmers political platform:

· Down with the Lula/PT/PC government of Brazil and its neo-liberal reforms!
· Down with the regime of the social pact headed by Cardoso yesterday and Lula-Alencar today, supported by its agents in the CUT, accomplices in the murder of the poor farmers and the domination of Brazil by imperialism!
· Expel from the unions the CT bureaucracy sold out to the regime!
· For a CONLUTAS with a proletarian and Soviet program, and down the reformist program of the PSTU for the CONLUTAS!

CONLUTAS cannot avoid being a minority and the fact that most of the proletariat is still controlled by the CUT bureaucracy. It is not enough to offer the workers a place to go. It is necessary to go and look for them where they are and to show them the way. For this, it is necessary to raise the fight against the statization of the unions, for workers’ democracy and a revolutionary leadership of the unions; to create organs of workers’ democracy of the masses that overcome the barriers that the bureaucratic caste has imposed on the unions.

· No interference of the state in the working organizations!
· No union law with which the patterns and their state regulate the working organizations!
· Neither the current law, nor the new one that they want to impose!
· Down the compulsory conciliation, the boss’s state’s hands off the worker’s organizations!
· Independence of workers organizations!
· Down with the union bureaucracy!
· Pay union leaders the workers’ average wage, with mandates recallable at any time by decision of the assembly and bodies of delegates, and a return to the workplace without right of re-election!
· End the compulsory discount of the union quotas!
· For leaders and delegates to meet monthly in the factories and workplaces!

It is necessary that CONLUTAS boldly promotes the formation of strike and factory committees and pickets, which are the only means to organize the exploited layers of the proletariat alongside the committees of unemployed and landless farmers, united around the central demands for a sliding scale of wages and working hours, against the wage agreements and labor concessions signed by the bureaucratic officials, against the notorious social pact of exploitation and slavery, and for land for the farmers. This is the way to advance and realize a national Congress of workers’ and farmers delegates with self-defense committees – embryos of the workers’ militia with the perspective to defeat the regime of the social pact and its government, and to advance towards the creation of a workers’ and farmers’ government based on the armed, revolutionary masses in struggle.

NO SUBORDINATION of CONLUTAS to the WORLD SOCIAL FORUM

But the real danger to the revolutionary perspective of the CONLUTAS is its subordination to the World Social Forum that the PSTU is trying to impose. Because while the organizers of the WSF have not finally accepted that the 2nd national Congress of CONLUTAS is an official event of the Forum, it is clear that this is the policy of the PSTU: to make sure that CONLUTAS is born and develops inside the cave of bandits of the WSF –traitors of the world revolution, enemy of the Iraqi resistance, loyal servants of the apartheid forced on the heroic Palestinian people, stranglers of the Argentine and Bolivian revolutions, betrayers of the Central American revolution, lackeys of Bush with the AFL-CIO and of French-German imperialism along with the bureaucracies and workers’ aristocracies of Europe.

Thus, the PSTU, while on one hand it calls for a break with the CUT and to integrate itself into CONLUTAS, on the other hand it takes the combative vanguard that looks for a way to defeat the bureaucracy, the employer’s association and the government, and puts it on its knees before the WSF, that is to say, before the bureaucracy, the government of Lula, and the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing capitalist restoration in Cuba, etc.

For that reason, the Marxists, Leninists, and Trotskyists, who signed this declaration, put forward a motion to the assembled workers and youth vanguard in CONLUTAS: we propose that its Congress resolves explicitly to fight for “Down with the World Social Forum of Lula, Chávez and Fidel Castro, of the AFL-CIO, those accomplices and servants of imperialism, traitors of the Latin American and world revolution! No subordination of CONLUTAS to World Social Forum!

We propose that alongside this struggle and as the first internationalist task of the Brazilian working class, that the 2nd Congress of CONLUTAS denounces the counter-revolutionary continental policy of the government of Lula that, with the support and the support of the bureaucracy of the CUT, Fidel Castro, Chávez, and the reformist World Social Forum, which is at the point of the imperialist’s spear to contain and to strangle the revolutionary struggle of the Argentine, Bolivian, and Peruvian working class and of all Latin America.

· Down the continental counter-revolutionary policy of Lula, of the Castro bureaucracy that is preparing the completion of capitalist restoration in Cuba, and of Chávez who sells petroleum to the Yankee imperialists to kill the Iraqi people!

· It is necessary to declare war against that holy alliance that, at the hands of the mercenaries Lula, Kirchner and Lagos, sends troops in the service of imperialism to massacre the Haitian people!

From Class Struggle 59 January-February 2005

Written by raved

January 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm