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NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER By Ken Howell

posted 10 Jan 2019, 06:27 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 10 Jan 2019, 06:54 ]
Friday 30th November 2018, will go down in the history books as the day when one of the descendants of the French slave masters, with the connivance of their respective minions, laid to waste the South Land by destroying the lives of thousands of families.

Notwithstanding the reality of our current situation, we have lost a battle, not the war. And as is always the case, we must make an honest assessment as to the reasons why we lost. We lost the battle because we were not prepared organisationally, physically and mentally to fight that battle.

Joe Young (left) and George Weekes
Our leaders did not learn anything from the crisis of the 1980s. After 1990 union leaders who succeeded stalwarts such as George Weekes, Joe Young and even some of the pro-employer leaders, neglected to recognise that the class struggle is always on. It is being fought every day: on the factory floor, in the office, on the rigs, in the shopping malls, stores, in every work place whether the workers are unionised or non-unionised.

But the leaders whose interest is to use their unions as a spring board from which to catapult themselves into politics deliberately neglected to train this army of workers so as to prepare them for protracted struggle. As a result we lost this battle. It remains now for us to call on the leaders who abdicated their responsibilities to do the right thing - fall on their swords!

The battles ahead require that the union movement must not make the mistakes of the past which resulted in our forces being unprepared. Thankfully, Mr. Espinet has already set the tone for the battles which we must fight. In his response to the concerns expressed for more than 600 so-called temporary workers who were sent home without severance benefits, he said “some wil
l suffer because we cannot develop a formula based on feeling sorry for people”.


Well it is only business! That is exactly what the young men who are killing themselves and their brothers, mothers, sisters believe that the illegal drug trade is only business. That is what our corrupt capitalist society has taught them.

Doctor Rowley is right when he says that the society is corrupt. But he did not discover that when he became Prime Minister. He knew that when he joined the party in the 1970s. It was his party which sent Gene Miles to her grave for exposing PNM corruption.

Another good example is the case of Mr Anisette, the deceased father of the Speaker of the House of Parliament. He was the Chairman of the National Housing Authority and due to the high incidence of tenants not fulfilling their obligation to pay their mortgages or rent, he decided to move against them. But he was prevented from so doing by PNM party functionaries.

In most of those cases, the mortgage monthly instalment was about $500.00 and the rents were from $9.00 to $12.00 per month. I have chosen to cite these examples to make the point that the corruption at the lower levels in the society was encouraged in order for the John O’Hallorans, Boysie Prevatts, Ou Wais and those who fled to Panama to conduct a higher level of corruption.

So the con game that Doctor. Rowley is trying to pull on us will not work. No amount of bleach can wash that stain out of the history of the PNM. It was always, and it is still, the mission of the PNM to build a capitalist economy in this country. You cannot talk about independence and sovereignty when your intention is to build an economy that is controlled externally; at a time when American exceptionalism is on a mission to dominate the global economy when corruption in capitalism is rampant at its highest levels in the centres of capitalist power.

Image result for yellow vestsThat is why the struggle to defend the gains made by the working class throughout the capitalist world and in countries such as ours is crucial. The attack on the OWTU and its members at Petrotrin is no different from the attack on the French workers. What we are witnessing is capitalism at its most brutal stage - the stage of neo-liberalism.

It is at the stage when the stench of its decay will overpower the working class if preventative measures are not taken to insulate that class who are the producers of all wealth in the world from the machinations of the capitalist, whose intention is to seek to weaken the bargaining position of the workers when they come to the labour market to purchase labour power.

Their intention is to use the new and emerging technologies, such as robotics, block chain technologies, Artificial Intelligence and so on to achieve a negotiating advantage. This does not mean that the introduction of new technology into production processes is evil. New technology is necessary to remove the drudgery from the production process, but it must not be used to place workers on the unemployment garbage heaps.

In our case here in this country the intention is to dismantle the state sector in order to increase the influence of foreign and local capital in the local economy and simultaneously weaken the influence of the trade union movement on the production process.

The plan is simple and deadly for the trade unions and the workers both unionised and non-unionised. Therefore in order to fight the battles to come we cannot continue with the current crop of leaders.

New leaders must emerge and I have every confidence they will emerge. While some people see gloom and doom in the mind set of some of our misguided youths, I see hope and a bright future. Lurking within the subconscious mind of this new generation is the will and determination to bring about change for the betterment of mankind. That is the pool from which the new leadership of the movement will emerge.

It would seem therefore that by an act of fate those who have been committed to the struggle for real social change, have been assigned the task to transmit to the upcoming generation in the workplace, in the sports clubs, in the steelband movement, in the training sessions in the respective union halls, education about the workers struggles of the past; about the struggles from the 1930s through to the 1980s and to educate them about the real mission of the working class.

This task must be divided into three parts. The first is the immediate. The movement must begin to mobilise and educate the workers as to the reasons why we must ensure that this right wing PNM government must be voted out of office in 2020. An essential part of this mobilisation programme is a massive education programme.

This would be necessary in order to lay the foundation for a massive recruitment drive in which all trade unions must participate. No effort must be spared in our campaign to increase the number of workers who are unionised. We must do everything possible to increase the presence of the trade union movement in the labour market because that is where the capitalist class does not want us to be.

The second phase is the medium term programme. This second phase must be built on the achievement of the immediate. Because the intention is to foster real unity and solidarity within and among unions and among the members of unions; if and when this is achieved the question of mergers could be a real possibility.

While it is hardly spoken of, the reality is that trust among the leaders of the movement is lacking because they are ignorant of the fact that the real mission of the trade unions is not to be an appendage of the capitalist system. Trade unions must not only be for the purpose of serving the system, carrying out the task of keeping the working class quiet so that the capitalist vultures can exploit them.

The real mission of the working class is to take political and economic control. The capitalists are aware of that. That is why they are mortally afraid of the working class. That is why opportunism among the leaders and within the movement at any level is damaging to the movement. The long term task of those who are committed to rebuilding the movement is to rebuild the confidence of the workers in their ability to cultivate and maintain solidarity within the movement. In order to achieve those objectives, we cannot and must not retreat or surrender. The struggle continues!
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