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BEFORE OR AFTER ELECTION THE WAR GOES ON By Ken Howell

posted 18 Jul 2015, 07:39 by Gerry Kangalee

If the leaders of the trade unions are sleeping on the job then we must shout in their ears to let them know that the many Authorities established by governments, past and present, are the instruments designed to be used to dismantle the state and public sector.

We have to understand that the recent moves which the Finance Minister made of placing shares of First Citizens Bank on the Stock Exchange in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and its decision to do the same with shares of Phoenix Park is really a trial balloon. They are testing the waters to see the extent of the political back lash, and there was none!

As a result, I am fearful that every valuable asset in those two sectors is up for grabs. They are preparing to auction the family jewels! This is because there is support for privatization within the middle class as well as among those elements in the trade union movement, whose job it is, and has been for many years now, to divert the attention of the movement away from such issues that are relevant to the survival of the workers.

We must not forget that privatization means that public funds are transferred into the pockets of big business and selfish individuals who do not have the interest of the working people and the poor at heart. So that when these funds which now are used to provide schools, health care, wages and salaries for roads water etc. are no longer in the hands of the government, these public goods cannot be provided to the citizenry.

The situation becomes clearer when it is viewed in the context of the developments on the geopolitical stage. Transnational capital has assumed the right to follow in the footsteps of those who plundered our resources and that of the world in the fourteenth century with impunity. In our case successive governments have been giving it to them willingly.  The US ruling class is demonstrating that it can do as it pleases. It is pursuing neo-liberal policies, which include the destruction of trade unions (with the conscious assistance of some so-called trade union leaders) and the bullying of governments to remove rules and regulations which protect the integrity of the economy. 

This has been made clear, by its ability to control the countries of Europe politically with an iron fist through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the incursion into Ukraine, by orchestrating a coup through the use of right wing elements, which cherish memories of fascism. The fact that it was able to win the support of Germany and France, the leaders of Europe in that venture, speaks volumes about the extent of its dominance over the local and regional politics of Europe. 

If it was able to bully these two countries, it is not difficult to see how easy it is to succeed here. However, what it has not been able to control so far is the determination of the working people of Europe to fight back in defence of their hard-won social and economic benefits.  In that regard, there are some lessons to be learnt from the negative experiences of the Greeks, in their relationships with international finance capital.  These lessons are inherent in the punitive austerity measures which they are fated to endure for many years. It speaks also to the vicious nature of international capital and it's penchant for making profit from the social and economic destruction of countries and their cultures.                                                                                                                                                                             

The obstacle it faces in its attempts to run free over Eastern Europe is Russia which stands in its way, thereby preventing it from having the freedom to access energy and other mineral and human resources which it can exploit as it wishes. Having being limited by the rules of the World Trade Organisation, it is now seeking to impose new rules by which it is seeking to impose its will on the commodity and financial markets of the world through a new secretly negotiated trading agreement called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP).

This raises the question of the role a right wing government will play in regional and extra regional politics. Such a party will be critical to the strategic interests of the USA. Especially, since it is so close to Venezuela, whose government is currently not in the good books of the government in Washington. But more importantly, the neoliberals need to ensure that their influence, in the Caribbean and Latin America is secured by controlling certain governments, who will guarantee that their strategic interests are not undermined.

So far, it is certain to have Colombia in its corner, as well as Honduras and a few others. Therefore, a right wing government in this country will fit nicely into the new approach it has now adopted in its relationship with Cuba and will also serve, when necessary, to heat up relations with Venezuela to create an excuse for intervention.

Such governments will do its bidding and set about weakening and destroying the trade union movement from within and without. That is why the leaders of the trade union movement must be vigilant and begin the mobilisation and recruitment of those workers who are not unionised.

The leaders of the movement must move with haste to focus on the real problems facing the workers and not on trivia. They must know by now that the Workers Agenda is dead and will not be supported by the PNM or the PP if or when one of the two should be voted into government.

Some of the issues include but are not limited to education and training of second rank leaders; ensuring that branches are formed and are functioning in accordance with the Constitution and rules of the union; ensuring that effective lines of communication exist and are functioning efficiently on the shop floor and between the shop floor and the union bureaucracy; ensuring that effective lines of communication exist between the leaders of unions; ensuring that effective lines of communication exist between branches in each union and the need to begin a dialogue between the two federations, with a view to bring all unions in the country under one federation.                             

If we recall the history of the movement during the 1950s-1970s when the Central Intelligence Agency infiltrated the Caribbean Congress of Labour, and succeeded in dividing the movement, when there were more progressive leaders in the movement; imagine what will happen to the movement now, when the leading unions in this country are led by elements who are incapable of carrying out basic tasks. Given this scenario, if drastic steps are not taken by elements that have the interest of the movement at heart, the task of the dividers will be easy. 

This does not mean that the party that is currently in opposition is any better; not at all!  If you recall, when that party was returned to office in 1991 the then leader announced on the night of the election, that he was going to continue to implement the structural adjustment policies which the NAR government had introduced in 1987. If you have been listening carefully, you might have heard him saying that his government will have to introduce strong fiscal measures upon assuming office on September 7, 2015. What he is saying, is that he will have to cut spending on social programmes, complete the implementation of the structural adjustment programme and then blame it on the out-going government. We will also hear, that the treasury was left empty, and all the sad stories which we have heard in the past from incoming governments. 

So do not be fooled into believing all the ranting and raving on the platforms. If they win the elections they are going to continue the policies and programmes of the PP government and the war against workers will continue and, most likely, intensify!

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