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posted 1 Oct 2018, 11:19 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 1 Oct 2018, 11:27 ]
The Communication Workers Union opened its 25th Annual Conference at the Lyle Townsend auditorium, Upper Henry Street, on Friday 28th September 2018. It came after a one year hiatus as the new young leadership struggled with internal and external challenges in a period of transition and a sustained onslaught against organised labour by the ruling class led primarily by the existing administration

More significantly, it is taking place when storm clouds, the likes of which we may not have ever seen, gather on the political, social and economic horizon. As the feature speaker of the evening, Comrade Gerry Kangalee pointed out we are headed for an upheaval that will be catastrophic in its impact.

Comrade Kangalee's presentation was described as 'classic, historic, compelling' by activists who have heard such before by many 'name' presenters. The comrades rose and applauded as he finished. The general view is that aside from his well established ability to effectively communicate, Comrade Kangalee's comments demanded that we address the realities that stare us in the face.

To be not sentimental about love and unity and about whose feelings might get hurt because they personalise principled criticism. To admit that there is no united pro-active leadership in the existing movement; that the population is very much aware of the magnitude of the impending crisis; that they have seen past the narrative of profit and loss, of management versus union, of red versus yellow Party card, of rich Petrotrin carpenter vs. poor maxi taxi driver.

And if we do not struggle from the ground up, in communities, workplaces, social groups, professional organisations, to stop the closure of the refinery we will experience the social barbarism which has already developed to a much greater degree.

But crisis provides opportunity and challenge at the same time. Butler did not start out from Paramount building nor did Jim Barrett and Elma Francois start out with the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union. They had faith in themselves and the common man to face the mighty British empire

Though many institutions and individuals, who are dithering today, want to see themselves as heirs of this legacy, what are the sounds emanating from UWI, Cipriani Labour College and 'labour' in the Opposition benches?

They did not seek 'strategic alliances' with capital (read government posts and advisory positions) but believed as Fanon said “that we should shake off this darkness. We can accomplish anything if we put our brains and muscles to it.''

We must have that faith in ourselves, comrades. The hour compels it.
Gerry Kangalee,
1 Oct 2018, 11:19