By Chris Giakoumelos / WFTU
These slightly edited remarks were made by Chris Giakoumelos, representing the World Federation of Trade Unions, during Workers World Party’s March 11 webinar, “Stimulus Bill — Relief or Ripoff?”
It’s 4:00 a.m. here in Athens, Greece, but we received your invitation, and we really wanted to participate, since we had a nice discussion with you in support of the Alabama workers [in a union drive at Amazon]. Always in solidarity!
I meet you tonight on behalf of the Secretariat of the World Federation of Trade Unions. As you know, our federation represents 105 million workers who live in 133 countries across the world.
So tonight we send you a warm internationalist greeting, comrades!
It is with great joy we received your invitation to participate in today’s discussion on the relief bill as announced by your president, Joe Biden.
In the eyes of the workers of the world, the promises of the imperialists and their political personnel cannot but seem provocative and empty. Especially since in your country, there are more than half a million people who have lost their lives due to the pandemic, while the cases of COVID-19 approach 30 million.
At the same time, your people are faced with class repercussions of the pandemic on a daily basis, even on the issue of vaccinations. The poorest and most unprotected populations in the Spanish-speaking and African American communities are those that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. It is now these same groups that have the lowest percentage of vaccinations.
The inability of the system to face the pandemic, to provide answers and guarantee the fundamental right to life, clearly shows that king capitalism is naked.
While on the one hand there is this gloomy outlook, on the other hand there is hope and optimism — the perspective for the abolition of exploitation as expressed through the struggles of the working class in your country.
The teacher strikes in the last years, the mass marches of the people after the racist murders perpetrated by the state, the struggles that today’s Amazon workers are conducting against union busting and employer persecution — all give hope!
Many workers — not only in the U.S. but also in Europe — understand the need to change the correlation of forces in the movement and the unions. That this is needed to defeat class collaboration, as expressed worldwide by the International Trade Union Confederation and at the North American level by the leadership of the AFL-CIO.
Many workers understand the need for the emancipation of the organized labour movement from the employers and the class collaborators, as a necessary condition to achieve more victories for our class comrades.
A victory of the workers’ movement in any country is at the same time a victory of the world working class.
At the WFTU, we believe that the best form of internationalism is to fight against the bosses in your own country. And, from our side, we commit ourselves to continue firmly on the side of the working class of your country.
You, dear comrades, you can always find in the WFTU an ally and friend in the struggle of the people for the elimination of exploitation. Long live international solidarity, dear comrades!