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THE COSSABO AND WORKERS' DEMOCRACY

posted 18 May 2010, 02:21 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 6 Feb 2012, 09:31 ]

The National Workers’ Union has been calling for the revitalisation of the COSSABO for the last two years. We see the COSSABO as a deeply democratic institution which facilitates participation in thedebates and decision-making processes of the labour movement by the shop floor representatives of the membership and through them the mass membership itself. The COSSABO strengthens the movement of working class democracy and undermines the authoritarian top-down approach that we criticise in political parties but of which the trade union movement is just as guilty.

 A COSSABO is not a seminar or symposium, but a working body which addresses fundamental issues by drawing on the input of as wide a range of the membership as possible through the deepening of th eprocess of democratisation - a bottom-up approach.
 
Politics deals with the interplay of class and sectional interests and is not restricted to elections.
 
The working class has distinct, definite interests and the trade union movement advances, protects and defends those interests through class solidarity, mass organisation, collective action, organisational democracy and political education.
 
The long term interest of the working class involves the dismantling of capitalism which today is in deep,abiding crisis. One consequence of that crisis is the attempt by the employers and the state to shift income from the workers to the capitalist employers. To achieve this they have launched a massive assault on the rights, entitlements and benefits of the working class. The philosophy underlying that assault is called neo-liberalism.
 
The immediate short term interest of the working class involves the development of a programme of self defence which defines immediate priorities which will create space in the struggle against the employers and the neo-colonial state and their neo-liberal programme.
 
The struggle to implement the self defence programme utilises class solidarity, mass organisation, collective action, organisational democracy and political education and does not curry favour withgovernments and political parties which support capitalism and believe there is no alternative to neoliberalism.
 
When we develop consensus on the programme, we can use it as a basis to develop alliances with other classes, groups and/or organisations and especially the small farmers.
 
The process of arriving at consensus is vitally important. The COSSABO offers a deeply democratic process, created by the labour movement and capable of institutionalising participatory democracy. This will prevent the leaders of the trade union movement from monopolising the debate and foisting on the movement programmes and decisions developed behind closed doors that are not informed by widespread democratic discussion, but rather by sectional, partisan and personal interests. The programme must be subject to widespread discussion and not just ratified because the leaders have proposed it.
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Gerry Kangalee,
18 May 2010, 02:37
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