|AUTHOR´S EDITORIAL 06/09/2002|
|THE EMANCIPATION OF THE SYNDICATES|
Constitution of the WORKERS PARTY
The time for protagonism of the syndicates has arrived
It has been said that the disappearance of the Berlin wall, emblem of the separation of the two socio-economic systems in permanent conflict, has meant that capitalism has been imposed as the only general system. The confrontation of ideas is substituted by the imposition of economic practices with the free market as the fundamental law. The terms left and right subsist, with the purpose of continuing to consider them as symbols that represent the two social groups integrated in free commerce. Two words, watered down in meaning, that equate the rich and poor and, by extension, the beneficiaries of political power with control over the rights of the governed.
It has also been stated that the impulse of capitalism supported by the new technology has invented the sociological concept of the global village, giving it a sense of brotherhood between people in order to integrate, exchange knowledge and prosper. A controlled anesthesia imposing the fact that the means of communications are what make possible the benefits of globalization reaching the most hidden places. They leave off explaining that the results of globalization are not collective benefits but capital yields, expansion of markets and empires of the multinationals, using high technology that permits increasing production, decreasing the cost of human labor and stimulating the consumption of sophisticated offerings.
It is insisted that the failure of communism should be considered as the disappearance of the only spokesman that continued the confrontation between the two traditional socio-economic plans, and that its liquidation represented the death of discussion based on economic doctrine that was erased with a stroke of a pen. Consequences: one witnesses the disintegration of political leadership that no longer has anything to offer the citizenry, leaving the road free for the political rise of the representatives of the most conservative economic power. The least-favored sector of the population remains leaderless among the multitude of leaders that divide the influence over the masses. As the fountain of inspiration dried up, so did their gray matter and they are disoriented at not finding any economic proposal that restrains this voracious capitalism as the only system. Empty speeches are repeated and repeated that increase the number of citizens that no longer pay attention, a fact confirmed by the statistics of abstentions recorded in the elections of democratic countries.
While the traditional leaders are disappearing, others are arriving with a rush, assuming leadership and channeling the popular discontent towards proposals of random future, with distinct objectives. Some, the antiglobalizers, take advantage of all the forums, conferences, political, economic, social or any other type of events to achieve massive attendance, sometimes with a festive nature, others with violent attempts and always calling for a better world that annuls the differences between persons, countries or continents. They demand a dignified existence. They are idealists without programs, without projects or cohesion that permits them to have representative strength to impose dialog and to convince.
There exist other multinational groups that are subtler and potentially dangerous, carefully preparing the leading strategies in accordance with the degrees of citizen sensitivity. They are the hardest fraction of capitalism. Enthusiasts of liberty and democracy, of free expression because they dominate the media and, based on this potential and self-interested channeling of the ingenuity of the readers, they achieve sufficient majorities to direct policies to satisfy their economic objectives. In Europe, we observe that the social democratic welfare state has been frontally attacked with three demands: deregularization, with which absolute liberty is permitted in market prices; flexibilization, equivalent to not protecting the labor field; privatization, with the fictitious argument of defending the consumer by stimulating competition between companies in order to achieve greater quality and lower prices. They disguise the reality that all privatization means is selling the State heritage accumulated during generations and depositing enormous quantities of money that will serve to cover budgetary holes. They boast of good administrators, hiding the fact that the States collective heritage has been fleeced in favor of strong economic groups. The small savers, lacking resources, can only get scant portions of the pieces of the succulent pie of the privatizations. In the air there are always suspicions without tale-telling proof.
These groups are already decisive in five EU countries, which Spain can join if the current Government completes its metamorphosis. The first stage of the Popular Party, with relative majority, presented a façade of forced dialog, restraining its atavistic purposes. The absolute majority of the second period permitted it to show its traditional authoritarianism. In order not to frighten the electorate, the Popular Party reserved the application of its true essence, under the condition of renovating absolute majority. If it achieves it, the idiosyncrasy of the PP will be known, and there will then be six States that, with joint extreme right-wing policies, could slow doe the European political unity.
France was on the point of compromising its emblematic badge: liberté, égalité et fraternité.
There exists another group defined years ago by the Holy Father John Paul II during his visit to Barcelona. He said:
« From prolonged unemployment come insecurity, lack of initiative, frustration, irresponsibility, distrust of society and of oneself; the capacity for personal development degenerates; enthusiasm, love for goodness are lost; family crises, desperate personal situations arise, and one falls easily especially the young peoplein drugs, alcoholism and crime.»
The origin of all these calamities is in the lack of work, which leaves the body inactive while the mind works looking for a way to kill time. The combination of an active mind, obliged leisure and the lack of resources to cover primary necessities is an explosive cocktail. Provide permanent jobs and society will be transformed for the better. This ideal goal is achieved through the globalization of housing described in this Web page, a starting point for full employment.
NEW ECONOMIC MODEL
Capitalism is a runaway horse galloping without restraint, without obstacles in sight, with a free field to trample in any direction without looking back. There is no rider that dominates it to control its race. There is no saddle or ways to try to get the riches, or even some crumbs, created from globalization of the economy to reach the poorest levels of society; but the idea that capitalism has become owner and master of the world economic organization is not totally valid. It is true that the counterweight of communism has disappeared. It is also true that the aged social democratic parties navigate without direction due to internal conflicts whose maximum priority is to conserve or reach personal positions of leadership. In this context debating new ideas is impossible as they are inexistent, and one is limited to searching carefully for political strategies that do not lead to anything because the discourse is pure insignificant rhetoric. It does not occur to them to examine new horizons that awaken hopes for this 35 percent of the electorate that stays home, turning their back on these just-for-show politicians, obsessed with the surveys and on preserving their position. A sad spectacle of defeat of the creative imagination in order to look for a new approach to the economy that adjusts to neoliberal principles and to the purest capitalism.
The boom in the extreme right-wing parties is not accidental. Their speeches lull the mind of the voters with the ability to transform true facts in incorrect consequences. Their main weapon is to stimulate xenophobia by awaking resentments and rejections in order to accumulate votes, without caring about the consequences. The real social economic problems of the citizenry remain intact.
Is a new economic model possible, which is adjusted to the purest capitalism as an answer to the right wings advance and the uncontrolled populism?
The answer is affirmative, but some chips will have to be changed that up to now were considered immoveable.
As a prior condition it is necessary to abandon the concept of the right, left and equidistant center. The right and left are two diametrically opposed and irreconcilable terms because they are identified with persons. I interpret them as two integral parts of the social body without intrinsic physical existence, which can complement each other and collaborate closely without problems or incompatibilities if they dispose of the appropriate devices.
Objectively, they are two permanent and inseparable poles of the production of goods, with their own name, that is, capital and labor, impossible to exist individually. In this way, without subjective attributes, with total interdependence, we can think about the integration of both motors of the economic-social system in a new form of joint activity for the 21st century, from which will emanate equality of rights and obligations for capital and for labor. This would be the new economic model integrated in capitalism.
A union of capital and labor as a form of economic development for the 21st century. Why? The answer is obvious: there can be no labor without capital and capital without labor would not serve for anything. Consequently, when the two collaborate, it is not socially just that labor is subordinate to capital and capital keeps the profits; nor is it logical to maintain a state of permanent conflict that slows development when they could work together with equal participation in the profits.
I should explain in detail the process of this union because the approach seems to suggest, without further explanation, that labor keeps half of the profits achieved through capital investment. Such a conclusion is a brash response.
A union, not collaboration, means substituting the Work Contract, in which the employer only pays a salary and covers the social services that are legally in force, with Partnership Contract by which labor receives the same remuneration and besides fifty percent of the company profits because previously, together, monetary contributions have been made equal to those made by capital. Therefore, it is fair that labor be attributed 50 percent of the company results in addition to the salaries that correspond to them.
The basis, the structure, the different combinations of labor-capital association are explained in detail in the three editorials with the title of PARTNERSHIP CONTRACT, and are included in this Web Site. I recommend them to the reader.
From the newsletter no. 149 of Sand in the Wheels dated 7/24/02, sponsored by ATTAC, I transcribe a part of the article by Dominique Plihon, economist, professor of the University of Northern Paris and President of the Scientific Council of ATTAC France, entitled:
ENRON - WORLDCOM - VU and the rest or the crisis of new capitalism
Two lines of reform are primordial: the first should be to aim for a different idea of the meaning of commercial companies in which the company is considered not as an 'object' owned by shareholders, but as a 'community of interests' for which the final goals are not making profits, but creating jobs and wealth. What must be done away with is the concept of management being aimed entirely towards 'the creation of shareholder profit'. This implies the remodeling of current legislation in order to recognize the rights of all partners within the enterprise, among which the first are its employees. These employees represent the current fundamental economic strength based on knowledge and their new rights should be recognized, limiting those linked to the ownership of capital and empowering a labor code that acts in favor of the shareholders strategies.
I feel this article is very important because, with no connection to the author, we coincide in the necessity of recognizing for labor the rights that today capital monopolizes. I am convinced that the Partnership Contract that I describe fulfills all the demands urgently posed by professor Plihon, although he does not specify the form or the means to achieve them.
When I state that in the 21st century the Partnership Contract will dominate the current Work Contract, it is not a utopia nor will it represent any trauma, either for capital or for labor. It is a new modality of working within a capitalist economy, such as the multinationals, the franchises or globalization itself, with the difference being that in these three modalities, capital absorbs the total of capital gain while labor has a increase in unemployment. In the Partnership Contract, capital receives benefits proportional to its investment and labor also perceives the same amount as investing partner independently of its nature as salaried employee.
Other consequences of the union of capital and labor will be disappearance of labor conflicts, the increase in productivity and a more diaphanous administration of the companies.
I recommend to the reader the contents of this Web page where I present the program of globalizing housing as a starting point to accumulate substantial economic resources of which only a part will suffice to finance the contributions in favor of labor, justifying in this way the demand of parity of rights with capital.
Partnership Contract. Leadership crisis
Who should be the managers of this new economic production model adjusted to the purest capitalist nature?
Emphatically it cannot be the political parties because of their innate features and personal incompatibilities; they would spoil the system before its functioning was consolidated.
The lack of political leaders to propose new economic projects is the origin of the mistrust of the electorate. They only offer projects of resource administration oriented towards services, how to improve the quality of citizen security, institution of the neighborhood police force and proximity of judges or creation of centers for adaptation of immigrants. Also the direct election of mayors and other similar events. No initiative to increase employment, provide housing to young people in order to make the rapid formation of new families easier or avoid the frustration of the recently graduated university students inscribed in the ranks of the unemployed, obliged to accept any job. How can the development and execution of the Partnership Contract, destined to be the axis of the labor relation in the 21st century, be confided to politicians of this stature?
If we hold to the movements of antiglobalization, all the initiatives contain petitions destined to cover necessities. No approach to improve the productive economy. As financial resources they call for a tax on monetary transactions. No project to generate work and consolidate the cycle of production consumption savings. In good faith, with hope, they demand a better world because it is possible, but the results achieved do not compensate for the energy consumed and down this road little is going to be achieved.
There also exist the preachers of participative democracy, true political tricksters. Their populist speeches awaken expectations but if they manage to achieve power, they become tyrants. There are more than enough examples.
Syndicates, born promoters of the Partnership Contract
The Partnership Contract should be promoted directly by labor, without intermediaries, who are not needed.
In the shadow of the workers claims, of a strict labor nature, political groups were born. Seen in this way, this simple outline of the evolution of the relations between syndicates and political parties can be established.
1. A first period in which the working class, in the industrial era, fights against the machines they consider as destroyers of jobs. With no other support than their will to protest for the iniquitous conditions to which they are subjected, their fight is limited to the workday, salaries, working conditions of women and children and little else. All forms of association are prohibited and punished.
2. Groups of volunteers from which arise the international communists inspired in the doctrine of the clean sweep and construction of a new society. In this doctrine, labor sees long-range promises and its immediate needs continue to be the same.
3. In Spain the following are founded: in 1879 the Spanish Socialist Workers Party; in 1888 the General Workers Union (UGT) with socialist inspiration and in 1910 the National Labor Confederation (CNT) with anarchist inspiration.
4. Therefore, there exists the following sequence: a) Labor acts alone against the power of capital. b) There are no political parties. When these are formed, they absorb the management of the workers movement and become its spokesman, with vocation to achieve party representation in the different State institutions. They are supported by the syndicated mass in order to attain votes. Thus, the syndicates become satellites of the parties. c) The syndicates are emancipated, recovering their independence. Undoubtedly there exist similarities, but their management is autonomous.
The syndicates recover their autonomy but without the direct capacity to intervene in the State policy. Only the right to strike is left them as power of pressure, strictly regulated, with limited effectiveness and always dependent on the legislation approved by the governments in force at the time. In this way we find that labor, which together with capital are the two motors of the economy, does not have real voice or vote in the institutions that dictate the labor laws. The petitions of the syndicates are subjected to the will of the political parties, whose strategies are established according to electoral yield, in votes.
As an immediate necessity, if the syndicates really want the workers to be raised to the category of entrepreneurs through the Partnership Contract, they should add to their independence the faculty of deliberating directly in the institutions that promote and approve the laws, recovering the autonomy of being able to study, defend and approve general provisions in favor of labor and of the citizenry. In this way the syndicates respond to the arrogance of the author of the phrase that the ballot boxes, not strikes, provide legitimacy. With this democratic principle, the Syndicates should materialize their strength in bringing people together in the streets into votes in the ballot boxes; nominative, true and not transferable votes that legitimize their direct parliamentary representation not only to hear them but on the basis of the Government, to drive the Partnership Contract if the voters support them.
New policy of the future Syndicate
The syndicates should modernize
Having arrived at this point, what I write next should be meditated upon.
The syndicate is the group of workers forming a unit of interests against the proprietary part of the means of production. In this way the syndicate is the organism that protects all the labor rights. If the syndicate does not have political connotations, we will accept the possibility that the syndicate leaders are politically neutral, lacking any preference for a society organized according to certain modules, concerned exclusively with taking care of the problems derived from labor in its relation with capital; but the syndicalist does not live in a state of political indifference because the environment in which he lives is political par excellence, and whether he wants to or not, he is immersed in that environment. The syndicate political party binomial has to cease to exist. Its objectives are different, but if we stick to reality, they continue to exist, without one being the instrument of the other. There is some interaction between them but it is always the syndicates activity that is subordinate to the political activity, not in an attitude of dependence but rather as a result of the limited attributes of the syndicate. The reason is simple: the management of the State is in the hands of the political parties through the legislative and executive powers. The syndicates can give their opinions, negotiate and also influence, but proposing and approving laws is not in their competence.
If we analyze the human factor of both institutions syndicates and political parties we will find that the syndicate is an organization of workers with heterogeneous ways of thinking, united by the same work needs a common aspirations to achieve an elevated level of living; therefore, it is obvious that the syndicate is integrated by a community of interests that are quantitatively very superior to the members that a political party can have. On the other hand, it will be the political parties with the least number of components that have the mission to rule the policies of the nation, including the economic and labor policies. In the elections, the syndicated mass disappears and is distributed among the political parties in order to elect the national and local representatives. If the syndicates have some project in mind, they will have to propose it to the most similar party. If this party does not have parliamentary majority, it will have to negotiate the doubtful approval of the project. In short, the syndicates are subordinate to the political decisions, whether they agree with them or not, with the absurdity that by not directly using its electoral strength, which is very superior to that of the parties, they must always accept the results of the ballot boxes, with no guarantee that the resulting correlation of forces does not favor the extreme right-wing organizations becoming consolidated in the power.
Syndicates as Political Parties
The situation would change if the syndicates politically administered their strength in convoking by presenting an executable project with immediate results, in the short and medium term. Consequence: the traditional dependence towards the political parties would end. So that this change is possible, it is sufficient that three conditions be met: the first is that the conviction exists that the Partnership Contract, gradually substituting the Work Contract, will raise the workers to the level of entrepreneurs. The second is being aware that there is not just one syndicate movement but there is just one working class, with the same needs and identical desires. Therefore, the criterion of oneness is imposed because there are no strategies to discuss but rather a new labor project to carry out. The third condition is that the unified syndicates, as there is just one labor class, adjust their protection of the workers, becoming the labor political party, turning to the ballot boxes with a single social program that basically comprises two proposals: the Partnership Contract so that the workers access the shared ownership of the means of production and a project of unlimited construction of houses to be paid for in 30 years with a series of added social benefits. A project in accordance with the globalization of labor, allied with the purest capitalism and under the flag of the union of capital with labor. Thus, the unified syndicates will have the support of all the workers, independently of their identification with the ideology of any organization. They would also awaken the interest of that 35 percent of voters who renounce their right to vote, bored with listening to mutual disqualifications and abstract and absurd electoral promises, demonstrating that the candidates to be elected do not perceive the means to achieve their objectives. Besides, it would be the conclusive and unexpected answer to the newspaper headline of July 27, 2002, which I copy verbatim:
Rato threatens the syndicates with approving reform of collective bargaining. CC.OO. and UGT warn the Government that they will answer with another general strike
I ask, a general strike, for what? Arrogant Governments shielded by absolute parliamentary majorities or stable coalitions, are impervious. The right to strike is only accepted as a purgative. If instead of a general strike the syndicates would widen their areas of activity and immediately intervene openly in national policy constituting the Workers Party, it is possible that the purgative of the abuse of power has its effect. A political party integrated in the Government, responsible for the areas of labor and social measures, of the execution and control of the Partnership Contract and also, together with the representatives of capital, of executing the Project of unlimited construction of self-financed housing and the entire system of generating resources described in this Web site, sufficient to finance the new labor organization, the creation of companies with a 50 percent share in favor of labor and the promotion of immediate employment with the construction of houses and infrastructures of all types.
The rest of the functions of Government would not suffer any change following the ordinary cannons of the organization, administration and defense of the State.
Naturally, it is expected that a proposition of this nature directed towards the progress of social welfare will raise voices of protest and disqualifications from those who have politics as a profession and means of living.
No reasoned criticism will be heard.
If the syndicates do not take the initiative of becoming a political party in order to develop the Partnership Contract, do not expect the existing organizations to do it, because of the impossibility of agreements due to the clash of party interests. It would be a lost opportunity and also a negative note in the long history of syndicate struggles. But, surely, it would only be a delay because, inexorably, they must revise the capital labor relationships in order to adjust them to the social economic demands of the current century and, for the time being, there only exists one firm project called PARTNERSHIP CONTRACT.
The professional politicians consider labor problems from a theoretical point of view because unemployment does not affect them. They count on extensive relations and productive connections that even allow them to offer work to their docile sympathizers. In the syndicates there is human solidarity; in the political parties, the solidarity is scarce, with hidden elbowing tactics and gory intrigues in order to reach the top positions of power. Ill be told that it has always been like this. Right. For this reason I say that in the 21st century the syndicates have the opportunity of achieving the transformation of society towards horizons of humane, effective and affective solidarity through the productive capital-labor combination.
The syndicates must accept the historic responsibility of legislating for themselves if they want their solidarity roots, sown in the 19th century and the reason for their existence, not to be diluted by accepting the subordination of the political decisions of non-worker organizations. Such an attitude would be the same as renouncing the economic liberation of the workers, achieved without traumas and with the hope that, at last, there exists an understanding and a firm union between capital and labor, achieving, truly, the access of the workers to the ownership of the means of production.
Confronting the arrogance of the political leaders, replacing them in their hereditary protagonism and demonstrating to them that with work and not with intrigue is how you build a country and create collective well being. In this Web site there exists all the material needed to achieve it.